Associate Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1994
Office: McGraw 205
Research Interests: Ethnicity, race, nationalism, transnationalism, diaspora, hybridity and creolization; caribbean region, asian american studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial theory, anthropological theory and historical anthropology
I am an historical anthropologist working in the Caribbean (Trinidad) and the Asian Diaspora in the Americas. My initial research focused on the relation between ethnicity and nationalism and the politics of exclusion in nation building projects. My research specifically focuses on Indo Caribbeans who were brought as indentured labor to the New World when slavery was abolished in the British Caribbean. The New World context of the Caribbean allow for intriguing formulations of modernity and nationalism. I’m particularly interested in a comparative understanding of how narratives of mixture, like creolization or multiculturalism operate to exclude citizens from the nation despite their overt promise of inclusion. Theoretically, I am also interested in epistemological issues having to do with the articulation of certain "theoretical concepts" like race, ethnicity and nation with their lay and political discursive forms and the implications of such entanglements for disciplines, theory and politics. My current research explores how nations are constituted through projects of comparison in different empirical settings that include the Americas and Asia.
Callaloo or Tossed Salad? East Indians and the Cultural Politics of Identity in Trinidad. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001. (Association for Asian American Studies, Social Science Book Award)
- Dougla logics and nation building in Trinidad, in South Asian Review. Special issue on “Empire and Racial Hybridity.” Edited by Deepika Bhari. Vol: 27 (1): 182- 204.
- Claims to purity in theory and culture: Pitfalls and promises (commentary), in American Ethnologist Vol. 33 (4) 588-592.
- Theorizing World Culture through the New World: East Indians and Creolization, in American Ethnologist Vol. 33 (4) 549-562.
- Narrating the Nation through Mixed Bloods, in Social Analysis Vol. 49 (3):155-16
- Nationalism in Hybrid Spaces: The Production of Impurity out of Purity, in American Ethnologist Vol. 29 (3): 663-692.
- Redefining the Nation: The East Indian Struggle in Trinidad, in Journal of Asian American Studies Vol. 5.
- Culture Creators and Culture Bearers: The Interface Between Race and Ethnicity in Trinidad, in Transforming Anthropology 1997 Vol. 6 (1&2): 72-86.
Chapters in edited Volumes2009
- Foretelling Ethnicity in Trinidad: The Post Emancipation “Labor Problem,” in Clio/Anthropos: Exploring the Boundaries between History and Anthropology, Edited by Andrew Willford and Eric Tagliacocco. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Michigan. 139-186.
- Reclaiming theory in the face of epistemological collapse in Knowing How to Know: Fieldwork and the Ethnographic Present. Edited by Narmala Halstead, Eric Hirsch and Judith Okely. Oxford. Berghahn Books, EASA series.