Nitasha Tamar Sharma Associate Professor of African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and affiliate of Performance Studies; Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence

Research Interests:

Comparative Race Studies
Race and Anti-Racism
Asian/Black Relations
Black Popular Culture
Hip Hop Studies
Mixed Race Studies
Multisited Ethnography
U.S. and the Pacific


Winter 2016:

AFAM 218/ASAM 218 Asian and Black Historical Relations in the U.S.
AFAM 403 Theorizing Blackness and the Diaspora

Spring 2016:

AFAM 310/ASAM 310 Black and Asian Contemporary Relations
AFAM 251/ASAM 251 The Mixed Race Experience


Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara (2004)

Current Research:

Nitasha Tamar Sharma's academic activities are based on an interdisciplinary, comparative, and ethnographic approach to the study of difference, inequality, and racism. The central goal of her teaching, research, and writing is to develop models for multiracial alliance building by zeroing in on cultural phenomena that unearth and challenge the factors that structure contentious race relations.

Dr. Sharma is writing her second book, Hidden Hapas: Multiracial Blacks and Blackness in Hawai'i. This ethnography is based on interviews with 60 non-White mixed race Blacks in Hawai'i, including Black Hawaiians, Black Samoans, and Black Okinawans to analyze how mixed race people negotiate, express, and repress race as they identify across constructed racial categories. This work speaks to debates in Mixed Race Studies, Comparative Race Studies, and Diaspora Studies to analyze Blackness in the Pacific and offer new theories of belonging that emerge from the intersection of race and indigeneity.

Her first book, Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness (Duke University Press 2010), analyzes how second generation members of an upwardly mobile and middle-class immigrant group use hip hop to develop racial--and not just ethnic--identities. The racial consciousness expressed by these hip hop artists as “people of color” facilitates the development of multiracial coalitions that cross boundaries while explicitly acknowledging “difference.”

Dr. Sharma teaches courses on Hip Hop, Asian/Black Relations in the U.S., The Mixed Race Experience, and Race, Crime, and Punishment: The Border, Prisons, and Post-9/11 Detentions, and Ethnographies of Immigration, Race, and Immigration.

Recent Awards:

National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend for ethnography on Black people in Hawai‘i (2015)

Associated Student Government Faculty Teaching Award, 2007-2008, 2011-2012, 2013-2014

Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence Award (2013-2016)

Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Grant (2009-2010)

National Emerging Scholar of 2009, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Weniberg College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award, Northwestern University (2009)

Outstanding Teaching Award, African American Studies, Northwestern University (2006-2007, 2007-2008)

Recent Publications:

"Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness and Global Race Consciousness." Duke University Press 2010.

Hidden Hapas: Multiracial Blacks and Blackness in Hawai'i. (In Progress)

Beyond Paradise: New Politics of Race in Hawai‘i, co-editor with Rudy Guevarra and Camilla Fojas. University of Hawai‘i Press (in Progress)

“Black Hawaiians and Race in Hawai‘i.” In Beyond Paradise: New Politics of Race in Hawai‘i. Rudy Guevarra, Camilla Fojas, and Nitasha Sharma, eds. University of Hawai‘i Press (submitted)

“Epilogue: The When and Where of Critical Mixed Race Studies,” in Red and Yellow, Black and Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies, eds. Paul Spickard, Joanne Rondilla, and Rudy Guevarra. (Submitted)

"Hip Hop Music-Anti/Racism-Empire: Post 9/11 Brown and a Critique of U.S. Empire," Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique. Ronald Radano and Tejumola Olaniyan, eds. (2016)

“Brown.” Keywords for Asian American Studies. Cathy Schlund-Vials, Linda Trinh Vo, and K. Scott Wong, eds. New York University Press. (2015)

“Asian Black Relations.” Asian American Society. Mary Danico, Anthony Ocampo, eds. SAGE Publications. (2014)

"Marketing MCs: South Asian American Rappers Negotiate Image, Audience, Artistic Control and Capital" Popular Music and Society (2014)

"Pacific Revisions of Blackness: Blacks Address Race and Belonging in Hawai'."Amerasia Journal (37:3): 43-60.

"The Sounds of Social Consciousness: South Asian Rappers on Capitalism, Sexism, and Racism." In Essays in Inequality and Injustice, Kira Hall, ed. Meerut, India: Archana Publishers 2009.

"Polyvalent Voices: Ethnic and Racialized Desi Hip Hop," In Desi Rap: South Asian Americans in Hip Hop, Ajay Nair and Murali Balaji, eds. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers/Lexington Books 2008:17-32

"Musical Manifestos: Desi Hip Hop Artists Sound Off on Capitalism and Sexism." In The Subcontinental: The Journal of South Asian American Public Affairs. Spring 2007:25-38

"Rotten Coconuts and Other Strange Fruit: A Slice of Hip Hop from the West Coast." In the South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection. (11/01)

"Down by Law: The Effects and Responses of Copyright Restrictions on Sampling in Rap." In the Journal of Political and Legal Anthropology. (5/99)