My long-term research interest is in exploring how people in the Global South negotiate collective identities in the context of global/transnational power relations—from the perspective of transnational feminism. Specifically, defined as somehow less modern, less advanced and less developed, how do they position themselves in relation to hegemonic discourses of tradition, modernity, development, and progress? How are these negotiations implicated in their construction of cultural, national, and other kinds of collective identities? How do such self-understandings implicate particular visions of gender and sexuality, make space for certain performances of gender and sexuality and not others, and reproduce/resist inequality?
My recent work has examined how colonialists and anti-colonialists negotiated the onset of legal decolonization within the United Nations General Assembly from 1946-1960. Within the broader themes stated above, this work was concerned with how formerly dependent/newly independent Asian and African states made the case for general legal decolonization and the political independence of still-dependent territories, with a particular focus on the racial, gender and sexual politics of this negotiation.
My present work continues to be concerned with these broad themes within the current phase of neoliberal globalization, and particularly in relation to global processes having to do with tourism and diaspora.
Extending from these research interests, I am particularly interested in teaching courses on globalization in world historical perspective (i.e., incorporating the extended histories of trans-territorial contact via multiple colonialisms in Asia, Africa and the Americas); theorizing modern categories of collective identity, particularly ‘gender,' ‘race,' ‘nation,' and ‘culture,' in historical and transnational perspective; movements having to do with these categories of collective identity in the context of globalization; and ‘postcolonial' or Third World negotiations of modernity and development.
I am currently examining contemporary strategies for international tourist promotion in India. Situated within a larger history of the transnational production and circulation of racialized, sexualized images of difference regarding the ‘Third World' in general and India in particular, I am examining how the postcolonial, neoliberal Indian state negotiates past images and produces new images.