Prof. Kavita Daiya

Director of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Dr. Kavita Daiya
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Director
Phillips 302
Phillips Hall
801 22nd St. NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
United States
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Postcolonial and Asian American Studies

Global Feminisms

Race and Sexuality Studies

Film and Visual Culture

Migration and Conflict Studies

Dr. Daiya is Director of WGSS and Associate Professor of English; she is also Affiliated Faculty in the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, the Sustainability Program, and the Global Women’s Institute. A cultural critic, she is interested in how gender and sexuality have historically shaped the cultural imagination of nationalism, and of modern world migrations generated by geopolitical conflict, in South Asia and Asian America. Her feminist analysis of how literature and visual culture aesthetically present conflict, citizenship, and statelessness attends to how race, religion, and class intersect with gender and sexuality. Professor Daiya’s research has been generously supported by the NEH, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, and the George Washington University’s Sigur Center for Asian Studies and Global Women’s Institute. She is committed to creating, and promoting conversations across the Humanities and Social Sciences in inclusive, innovative, and collaborative ways that build on existing strengths and create relationships across departments and programs. Dr. Daiya’s articles and reviews have appeared in edited volumes as well as journals like the PMLA, Genders, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, American Book Review, Journal of Asian Studies, among others. Previously, she served as the Director of the M.A. Program in English (2010-2014).


Ph.D., English Language and Literature, University of Chicago.                                

M.A., English Language and Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

B.A., English Language and Literature, Magna cum laude, University of Rochester.

Visiting Scholar, Worcester College, Oxford University.


She has written numerous articles on gender and sexuality, South Asian literature, Bollywood film, Asian American literature, South African literature, and transnational cinema, and the book Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender, and National Culture in Postcolonial India (Philadelphia: Temple UP, [2008] 2011; New Delhi: Yoda Press, 2013). She is completing her second book manuscript entitled Graphic Migrations, which explores the gendered experience of displacement and citizenship. Her next project is provisionally entitled Gender, Violence, and Media Cultures in Asia and Asian America.


Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender and National Culture in Postcolonial India. (Temple University Press, 2008, 2011; New Delhi: Yoda Press, 2013).


Guest Editor, and Introduction "South Asia in Graphic Narratives" for special topic issue of South Asian Review, on “South Asia in Graphic Narratives.” Winter 2018. pp. 3-10.


“The World After Empire, or Whither Postcoloniality?” PMLA, May 2017. 149-155.

‘Gender, Sexuality and the Family in South-Asian Fiction’ Oxford History of the Novel in English (Volume 10). The Novel in South and South-East Asia, ed. Alex Tickell. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Mar 2019. 144-157.

“Partition,” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, eds. Sangeeta Ray and Henry Schwarz (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016) pp. 1278-1286.

“Ecologies of Intimacy: Gender, Sexuality, and Environment in Indian Fiction” in The Cambridge History of the Indian Novel in English, ed. Ulka Anjaria (London, NY: Cambridge UP, 2015) 221-236.

“Refugees, Gender and Secularism in South Asian Literature and Cinema” in Representations of War, Migration and Refugeehood: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, eds. Daniel Rellstab and Christiane Schlote (Routledge, 2014) 263-280.

“Why Partition survivors in the US believe it’s vital to keep talking about the trauma of 1947,”, May 2016.

“Zoos and Provincial Intimacies.” Piece on Indian Jewish community in American Book Review, special issue on “Little India,” edited by Saikat Majumdar, Volume 36, Number 6, September/October 2015, p. 9.

“Gender, Cultural Politics and History in I am Malala,” article commissioned by GWU Global Women’s Institute’s I Am Malala Digital Curriculum, 2014.

Book Review, Deepti Misri’s Beyond Partition: Gender, Violence and Representation in Postcolonial India, in The Journal of Asian Studies Volume 74, Issue 04, November 2015, pp 1059-1061.

Preferred Pronouns

She, Her, Hers


Dr. Daiya served as visiting NEH Chair in the Humanities at Albright College (2015-2016) and as Andrew W. Mellon Regional Faculty Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Humanities Forum (2014-2015, 2012-2013). She also served as Associate Editor for Book Reviews of the interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal South Asian Review (Taylor and Francis) from 2012-2018. She currently serves as an elected member of the Dean’s Council. She has been invited to contribute essays to edited volumes and encyclopedias like The Novel in South and South-East Asia, ed. Alex Tickell (Oxford UP); The Cambridge History of the Indian Novel in English, ed. Ulka Anjaria; Blackwell Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, eds. Henry Schwarz and Sangeeta Ray; MLA Guide to Teaching South Asian Women's Writing, eds. Deepika Bahri and Filippo Menozzi; and Representations of War, Migration and Refugeehood: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, eds. Daniel Rellstab and Christiane Schlote (Routledge).