Kavita Daiya

Andrew W. Mellon Regional Fellow in the Humanities

20142015 Forum on Color

Kavita Daiya

Associate Professor of English
The George Washington University

Kavita Daiya is Associate Professor of English and Affiliated Faculty in the Women’s Studies Program and Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University, Washington DC. She directs a Digital Humanities Histories of Violence and Migration initiative www.1947Partition.org and serves as Associate Editor of the South Asian Review. She has written numerous articles on modern British and postcolonial literature, gender studies, Asian American literature, and transnational cinema, and a book Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender and National Culture in Colonial India (Philadelphia: Temple UP, [2008] 2011; New Delhi: Yoda Press, 2013).  Her scholarship dwells on violence and migration in literature and film; in its sustained commitment to how gender and sexuality shape the narratives of ethnicity, migration and rights she work on, her scholarship also contributes to debates in Gender and Sexuality Studies.  She is currently working on her second book Peripheral Secularisms.

Secularism, Aesthetics, and Race in Modern India

This project examines the aesthetic representation of secularism in modern Indian literature and public culture.  Looking at a range of media-novels, memoirs, print media, film-, it tracks how the categories of race and color influence and inflect both secular rhetorics and gendered subject-formation. The project dwells in some measure on the 1947 Partition’s refugee narratives, and subsequent moments of violent displacement in a global context that signal secularism in crisis. Attending also to caste, disability, and ethnicity, across local and diasporic archives, I trace the relation between the aesthetics of color and political critique in postcolonial literature and culture about India.