Anupama Rao

Associate Professor of History

Barnard College

Anupama Rao has research and teaching interests in the history of anti-colonialism; gender and sexuality studies; caste and race; historical anthropology, social theory, and colonial genealogies of human rights and humanitarianism.

Her book, The Caste Question (University of California Press, 2009) theorizes caste subalternity, with specific focus on the role of anti-caste thought (and its thinkers) in producing alternative genealogies of political subject-formation through the vernacularization of political universals. She has also written on the themes of colonialism and humanitarianism, and on non-Western histories of gender and sexuality. Recent publications include: Discipline and the Other Body (Duke University Press, 2006); "Death of a Kotwal: Injury and the Politics of Recognition," Subaltern Studies XII; Violence, Vulnerability and Embodiment (co-editor, special issues of Gender and History, 2004), and Gender and Caste: Issues in Indian Feminism (Kali for Women, 2003).

She was the Director of Graduate Studies, Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia and was co-convenor (with Saidiya Hartman and Neferti Tadiar) of a project on “Subaltern Urbanism,” supported by the Heyman Center for the Humanities, and by the project on “Women Creating Change,” hosted by Columbia’s Center for the Study of Social Difference. Rao has served as president of the Society for the Advancement of the History of South Asia (SAHSA) of the American Historical Association (2010); director of the project on “Liberalism and its Others,” at the Center for the Critical Analysis of Social Difference at Columbia University; and as a member of the South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, 2010-12. Her work has been supported by grants from the ACLS; the American Institute for Indian Studies; the Mellon Foundation; the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the SSRC. She was a Fellow-in-Residence at the National Humanities Center from 2008-09, and a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford during 2010-11.