My research and teaching interests include global histories of modern and contemporary art, the anthropology of art, feminist theory, and postcolonial studies. In addition to my full-time appointment in Art History, I am an adjunct associate professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and an affiliate faculty member of the South Asian Studies program in the Jackson School of International Studies.
My first book, Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 (University of California Press, 2015) received the Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize of the Association of Asian Studies in 2017. Drawing on Edward Said’s notion of affiliation as a critical and cultural imperative against empire and nation-state, that book traces the emergence of a national art world in twentieth-century India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan ambitions and orientations. I am completing a book manuscript, Dislocation: Conflict and Collaboration in Contemporary Art from South Asia (under advanced contract with the University of California Press), which analyzes how collaboration has emerged as a hallmark of contemporary art from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, and a critical response to globalization since the 1990s. I have begun work on another book project, Fertile Grounds: Art, Primitivism, and Postcoloniality in Twentieth-century India and Britain, which examines intertwined histories of folk, tribal, and modern art, and a shifting relationship between art history and anthropology across empire and eventually independent nations. My research has been supported by the College Art Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the Japan Foundation.
In recent years, I have offered courses on the art of South Asia from antiquity to the present, colonial and postcolonial museums in South Asia, Indian painting, critical historiography and methods, and globalization in the contemporary art world. My research and teaching tend to be interdisciplinary, making active use of area collections and special exhibitions and working closely with curators, librarians, and faculty colleagues. I welcome students with a background in South Asian studies, architecture, history, anthropology, geography, literary studies, religious studies, feminist studies, and related disciplines.