Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Kamala Visweswaran

Associate ProfessorPh.D., Stanford University

Kamala Visweswaran



Women's movements in South Asia, human rights, Subaltern Studies, Transnational and Diaspora studies, feminist ethnography, and Indian literature in translation


Research interests:
Feminist theory and ethnography, gender and nationalism, comparative feminist movements, South Asian social movements, ethnic and political conflict, human rights, colonial law, critical race theory, South Asian literatures, Subaltern Studies, Transnational and Diaspora studies. Conducted research in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, India.
She is the author of Fictions of Feminist Ethnography (1994), Uncommon Cultures (Duke, forthcoming) and Perspectives on South Asia (Blackwell, forthcoming). She is currently working on two book manuscripts: and "A Thousand Genocides Now: Gujarat in the Modern Imaginary of Violence" and "Histories of Rights, Histories of Law." She served as North American Editor of the journal Cultural Dynamics from 2000-05, and continues to serve on the editorial board of the Feminist journal Meridians .


2005 South Asia Research Fellowship, Institute of International and Regional Studies, Princeton University
2001-2 Bunting Fellowship, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
2000 Dean's Fellow, University of Texas, Austin
1996-7 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Sawyer Seminar Program, Chicago Humanities Institute, University of Chicago
1995-6 American Institute of Indian Studies, Senior Research Fellowship
1994-5 CIES Fulbright, Senior Research Fellowship

Recent Publications:

2004 "Affective States: Rethinking Culture as a Site of South Asian Human Rights Work" HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY. 26(2):483-511.

2004 Introduction: Engendering Violence: Boundaries, Histories and the Everyday. Special Issue on Gendered Violence in South Asia: Nation and Community in the Postcolonial Present (With Sukhanya Banerjee, Angana Chatterji, Lubna Chaudhury, Manali Desai, and Saadia Toor) CULTURAL DYNAMICS. Vol 16 (2/3):125 -39.

2003 "The Interventions of Culture: Claude Levi-Strauss and the Internationalization of the Modern Concept of Race" in Robert Bernasconi (ed). Race and Racism in Continental Philosophy. London: Blackwell.

2002 Introduction to "Feminist Perspectives on 9/11" (with Amrita Basu, Paula Giddings, Inderpal Grewal) in MERIDIANS: FEMINISM,RACE, TRANSNATIONALISM. Vol 2, no. 2, March 2002.

2001 "An Idea of Race, A Philosophy of Hierarchy: Louis Dumont's Homo Hierarchicus" in Robert Bernasconi (ed). Race: Blackwell Readings in Continental Philosophy. London: Blackwell. pp.205-17.


ANS 361 • Natlism & Gender In S Asia

31711 • Spring 2013
Meets MW 330pm-500pm SAC 5.102
(also listed as ANT 324L, WGS 340)

This course asks why nationalist movements so oftentake reform of women's roles as central to their politicalprojects. By focusing on gender, the course explores theconsequences of Partition for the subcontinent, andexamines the cases of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka to understand what roleHinduism, Islam and Buddhism have played in thegenesis of nationalist ideologies and ethnic conflict. Thecourse is interdisciplinary and draws upon commercialand independent cinema, documentary film, novels andmemoirs, as well as contemporary historiography andsocial science to analyze South Asian nationalistmovements.

ANS 302K • Introduction To India

31555 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm UTC 4.110
(also listed as ANT 310L)


ANS 302K • Introduction To India

30885 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm JGB 2.216
(also listed as ANT 310L)


ANS 361 • Nationalism & Gender In S Asia

31110 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm ART 1.120
(also listed as ANT 324L, WGS 340)


ANS 361 • Nationalism & Gender In S Asia

30505 • Spring 2009
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BUR 112
(also listed as WGS 340)

Selected topics in south and east Asian anthropology, economics, history, geography, government, art, music, and philosophy.  Specific offerings are listed in the Course Schedule.  Asian Studies 320 and 361 may not both be counted unless the topics vary.  Prerequisite: Varies with the topic and is given in the Course Schedule.

ANS 391 • Nationalism And Gender

30670 • Spring 2009
Meets TH 500pm-800pm EPS 1.128
(also listed as ANT 391, WGS 393)

Study of various subjects with Asian studies-related content.  Specific offerings are listed in the Course Schedule.  Some topics are offered on the letter-grade basis only; these are identified in the Course Schedule.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing; additional prerequisites vary with the topic and are given in the Course Schedule.

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