The University of Massachusetts Amherst


 

Swati Birla

I am a sociologist trained in historical and ethnographic methods. My work explores the connections between political violence, identity and belonging, and ethnic nationalism, with special attention to the post-World War 2 transitions in the South Asian subcontinent. I am particularly interested in how theories of belonging, freedom, self-determination, and sovereignty travel and therefore exploring spaces of dialogue between decolonial and anti-racist movement thinkers. My work has been supported by several fellowships: W. E. B. Du Bois Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Studies Institute (UMass Amherst) Fellowship, Max Planck Institute - Tata Institute of Social Sciences Fellowship, and UMass Graduate School. 

In addition, I have a strong interest and work history as a feminist health activist. I have a Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst and a Masters in Public Health. Some of my work can be found at https://blogs.umass.edu/sbirla/   

Teaching areas: Global Histories of Empires and Their Afterlives; Dalit and Black studies; Lawful Violence: Police, Militarism, Security; Political Economy of Health; Social Theory