Center for Asian American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies

New Core Faculty at CAAS

Tue, December 18, 2012

CAAS welcomes six new core faculty members, read more about them below. Core faculty members work closely with the director and staff on academic planning and programming for CAAS. See a full list of all core faculty, faculty affiliates and teaching affiliates here.

Dr. Syed Akbar Hyder is associate professor of Asian Studies and Islamic Studies. He directs the Urdu language and literature program and has served as the associate director of the Hindi-Urdu Flagship Program since 2007. He has also chaired/coordinated the Islamic Studies program. In 2012-2013 he is "Scholar in Residence" at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on South Asian aesthetics and Muslim devotional traditions, including those of the United States. His first book, Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory (Oxford University Press, 2006), explores the manner in which religious symbols are negotiated across linguistic, temporal and regional divides. Let's Study Urdu (Yale University Press, 2007), is his contribution to Urdu language pedagogy. With the assistance of a Faculty Research Assignment from the university this year, he is completing his study of the aesthetics of autobiography.  

Dr. Rowena Fong is the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor in Services to Children and Families in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. A former director for the Center for Asian American Studies, Fong has served as the President of the Society for Social Work and Research. Her areas of research are adoptions and child welfare, international adoptions in China, victims of human trafficking, disproportionality in public child welfare, Chinese American children and families, and culturally competent practice. She has published seven books with one in progress. Read more about Fong's work here.

Dr. Sharmila Rudrappa is associate professor of Sociology. She specializes in race, gender, labor, and immigration. Her book, Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and the Cultures of Citizenship (Rutgers University Press, 2004), contextualizes immigrant race politics within the larger cultural turn we see in the sphere of American politics in the late 20th century. At present she is working on the broad area of reproductive technologies and the globalization of immaterial labor. Her manuscript, titled Outsourced: Surrogate Mothers on India’s Reproductive Assembly Line, is based on field work in Bangalore, southern India, with Indian surrogate mothers, egg donors, and commissioning individuals/ couples from the U.S. and Australia.

Dr. Nancy Stalker is associate professor in Asian Studies. Stalker's scholarship examines the relationship between cultural and religious practice and national identity in modern Japan. Her first book, on new religious movements in the 1920s-30s, is entitled Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisaburo, Oomoto and the Rise of New Religions in Imperial Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 2008). Her next monographic project will examine the role of ikebana, the art of flower arrangement, in constructing national and international Japanese identity in the twentieth century, especially focusing on its rapid expansion in postwar Japan from the 1950s-70s.  Other research interests include the conception of traditional Japanese cuisine and gender ideology.

Dr. Cynthia Talbot, associate professor of History and Asian Studies, has received many prestigious fellowships including the Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies.  Talbot is the author of Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra (2001); co-author, with Catherine B. Asher (University of Minnesota), of India Before Europe (2006); and editor of  Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past (2011).  She recently had the article  “Justifying Defeat: A Rajput Perspective on the Age of Akbar,” appear in the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient.  This international journal is published in Leiden, the Netherlands.  Her article "Becoming Turk the Rajput Way: Conversion and Identity in an Indian Warrior Narrative," which first appeared in the British journal Modern Asian Studies, has been reprinted in the collection of essays Expanding Frontiers in South Asian and World History, edited by Richard M. Eaton et al. She is currently working on a book on historical traditions relating to the twelfth-century Indian king Prithviraj Chauhan.

Dr. Kamala Visweswaran ‪is associate professor of Antrhopology. She has done ethnographic research in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, India and writes on ‪feminist theory and ethnography, gender and nationalism, ‪‪‪transnational and diaspora studies. ethnic and political conflict, human rights, colonial law, and critical race theory.  She has received two Fulbright fellowships, and has also held fellowships at the Humanities Institute of the University of Chicago, the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, and the Princeton Institute for Inter-regional Studies, where she was also a visiting faculty member. She is the author of Fictions of Feminist Ethnography (Minnesota, 1994), Uncommon Cultures: Racism and the Rearticulation of Cultural Difference (Duke, 2010), and is the editor of  Perspectives on Modern South Asia (Blackwells, 2011),  and Everyday Occupations: Experiencing Militarism in South Asia and the Middle East (Pennsylvania, 2013). Her book "A Thousand Genocides Now: Gujarat in the Modern Imaginary of Violence,"  under contract with Duke University Press, is a study of mass violence and its relationship to "conflict diasporas."  She is also at work on another book, "Histories of Rights, Histories of Law," an examination of how women's rights and minority rights have been framed historically by democratic societies like India, Britain, and the U.S.


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