Nitasha Tamar Sharma
Associate Professor of African American Studies & Asian American Studies
African American Studies Department
1860 S. Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL 60208-2209
Comparative Race Studies
Race and Anti-Racism
Black Popular Culture
Hip Hop Studies
Mixed Race Studies
U.S. and the Pacific
AFAM 480: Race, Crime, and Punishment: The Border, Prisons, and Post 9/11 Detentions (graduate class)
ASAM/AFAM 218: Asian and Black Historical Relations in the U.S.
AFAM 327: The Racial and Gender Politics of Hip Hop
ASAM 203: The South Asian American Experience
Anthropology, University of California Santa Barbara (2004)
Dr. 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 collecting ethnographic data for her project, Hidden Hapas: Multiracial Blacks and Blackness in Hawai'i. This transoceanic analysis of multiracial Black Asians and Black Pacific Islanders details how mixed race people negotiate, express, and repress race as they identify across constructed racial categories. It illustrates the heterogeneity of African and Asian diasporas by locating Blacks in the Pacific. This work speaks to debates in Mixed Race Studies, Comparative Race Studies, and Diaspora Studies.
Her book, Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness (Duke 2010), analyzes why second generation members of an upwardly mobile and middle-class immigrant group would choose to identify with Blacks—a group that has been constructed as "disadvantaged." She reveals how South Asian Americans, or desis, develop new anti-racist models of immigrant identity that challenge the narrow identity politics of ethnicity. 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."
Ultimately, her research examines overlapping Asian/Black diasporas and in the process develops new ways of conceptualizing race—and forging models of anti-racism—that is global in scope.
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)
"Pacific Revisions of Blackness: Blacks Address Race and Belonging in Hawai'i," Amerasia Journal (Fall 2011).
"Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness and Global Race Consciousness." Duke University Press 2010.
"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)
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