Faculty / Sonal Khullar

Sonal Khullar

Assistant Professor
Art Building, room 363

M.A. University of California, Berkeley, 2004
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley 2009

Expertise: Art And Architecture Of South Asia

My research and teaching interests include the art of South Asia (with a focus on the period from the eighteenth century until the present); transnational histories of modern and contemporary art, the anthropology of art; feminist theory; and postcolonial studies. I am completing a book manuscript, “Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990,” which charts a distinctive trajectory of modernism in the visual arts that is foundational to the representational practices of the present. Through four careers, it traces continuities and change in artistic production from the late colonial through the postcolonial periods, which have been treated as discrete, if not disconnected, in art historical scholarship. In a new book project, “The Art of Dislocation,” I examine collaboration as a critical response to globalization in contemporary art from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Specifically, she analyzes how artists have responded to conflicts—defined along religious, ethnic, caste, linguistic, classed, and gendered lines—over place by embracing a collaborative practice of art that engages and departs from models of site-specificity and social activism in the West. A multi-year collaboration with UW anthropologist Sasha Welland, “New Geographies of Feminist Art,” explores histories and practices of feminism and transnationalism in Asia and the world. It has developed my commitments to feminism as academic inquiry and artistic practice, to the intersections of art history and ethnography, and to the comparative study of contemporary art.


Colonialism, nationalism, and modernism in South Asia
Feminist art practice and theory
Art and anthropology

Current Research Interests

Globalization, conflict, and collaboration in contemporary art
Postcolonial feminism, women artists, and international exhibitions
Collecting, connoisseurship, and cosmopolitanism


Selected Publications

"National Tradition and Modernist Art," in The Cambridge Companion to Modern Indian Culture, eds. Vasudha Dalmia and Rashmi Sadana, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012

"Feminist Forms, International Exhibitions, and the Postcolonial Woman Artist," Journal of the Korean Association for the History of Modern Art, no. 30 (December 2011): 251-264