Kavita Daiya
Biography . Research . Teaching . Talks & Publications . Links & Networks
Kavita Daiya is Associate Professor in the department of English at George Washington University in Washington DC, where she is also affiliated faculty and Executive Committee member of the Women’s Studies Program. A literary and film critic, and scholar of transnational cultural studies, Dr. Daiya’s research engages the field of feminist postcolonial studies with Asian American Studies. Her specializations include nationalism, public culture, migration studies, new media and globalization. Her interdisciplinary research and publications have focused on the cultural representation in global media of ethnic belonging, violence and gendered citizenship in India, South Asia, and their diasporas.

The 1947 Partition of India by the British is the focus of her first book Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender and National Culture in Postcolonial India (Temple University Press, 2008); this book takes up the postcolonial and diasporic representation of the 1947 Partition, from 1947-2007. Specifically, the book tracks a cultural genealogy of how religion and gender come to determine national belonging in the transnational public spheres of postcolonial South Asia. Examining novels, short stories, art and Bollywood films, journalism, Legislative Assembly debates and oral testimony, she shows how contemporary ethnic violence and ethnic nationalisms dominant in India and the Indian diaspora in the United States are informed, and indeed, partially constituted by this cultural history of Partition.

Currently, Dr. Daiya is working on her second book on memory, urban migrations, refugees, race, minoritization and human rights with a focus on contemporary urban India and immigrant America.

Dr. Daiya was born and educated in Bombay. She studied at Sydenham College before coming to the United States. She earned her B.A. from the University of Rochester in 1993, her M.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (1995) and Ph.D. (2001) from the University of Chicago.


Ethnographic research, Mumbai and Pune, India, Summer 2007, 2008, Spring 2009.

Library Research, Indian Office Library and British Museum, London, 1998, 1999, 2003-2004.

Archival Research, National Film Archives of India, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006.

Ethnographic and archival research (Maharashtra State Government Archives) in Bombay, India, Summer 1999, 2003-2005, 2006-2007.

Ethnographic research in Pune, India, Summer 1999, 2004-2005.

Ethnographic research in the United States, Summer 2004, 2006-2007.