Sonal Khullar

Wolf Humanities Center Penn Faculty Fellow

20212022 Forum on Migration

Sonal Khullar

W. Norman Brown Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, History of Art

Sonal Khullar is W. Norman Brown Associate Professor of South Asian Studies in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. She researches the art of South Asia from the eighteenth century onward, with a particular interest in histories of cosmopolitanism, postcolonial art worlds, and critical historiographies of art. Her first book, Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 (University of California Press, 2015), received the Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize of the Association of Asian Studies in 2017. She is completing a book manuscript, The Art of Dislocation: Conflict and Collaboration in Contemporary Art from South Asia, under advance contract with the University of California Press, and editing a volume, From Kitabkhana [Library] to Karkhana [Workshop]: The Arts of the Book in South Asia, under advance contract with the University of Washington Press.

A Million Migrations Now: Art and Citizenship in India's Northeast

Referring to V.S. Naipaul’s India: A Million Mutinies Now (1990), this project examines an intimate relationship between partition and migration in contemporary art and visual culture from South Asia, focusing on the state of Assam and northeastern India, a border zone with East and Southeast Asia. It highlights recursive patterns of migration in the global south that diverge from familiar narratives and tropes of migration in the global north. Boundaries between migrant, refugee, citizen, noncitizen, insider, and outsider have been and remain porous in South Asia because of particular histories and experiences of partition. Through close analysis of artistic work on these boundaries, I show how partition and migration produce distinctive forms of citizenship in India’s Northeast.