Kapadia, Ronak

Ronak Kapadia


PhD (in progress), American Studies, New York University

MA, American Studies, New York University

AB with honors and distinction, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University

Part-Time Faculty, Culture and Media

“If you can’t be free, be a mystery.” – Rita Dove’s “Canary” (1989)
Courses Taught:


Queering the Media (Fall 2010); At NYU: New York City in Film; Intersections: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in U.S History and Politics; Concepts in Social and Cultural Analysis

Office Hours:
By appointment.

Research Interests:


I am interested in the organization and disorganization of collective social life under the conditions of securitization, policing and imperial warfare.  My primary research is motivated by the problem of security, both as a political tool employed by the state and its institutions as well as a collective affective state experienced by minoritarian populations moving between and within these sites.  In particular, I focus on various racialized and sexualized immigrant groups deemed “at risk” under domestic and international wars waged by the U.S over the past forty years (wars on terror, crime, culture, drugs, etc). This approach not only calls into question what counts as “security” or “security for whom?” but also demands a more general account of the politics of war, intelligence gathering, punishment and surveillance.  Rather than simply critique these dominant techniques of governance, my work joins a growing chorus of queer and feminist scholars interested in tracking alternatives to these paradigms.  I thus highlight the insurgent practices and coalitions forged by the very populations targeted under these disciplinary regimes.

I try to engage these concepts in my dissertation project, “Queer Cartographies of the Long War: U.S Counterinsurgency and the Crisis of Knowledge,” which investigates American empire in the Middle East and South Asia through an interdisciplinary analysis of South Asian, Muslim and Arab American cultural productions and their critical intersections with modern U.S geopolitics.  I argue that these queer diasporic cultural forms (visual art, music, film, new media and community organizing) allow for a more critical account of the affective and sensorial logics of U.S imperial governance in its domestic and international contexts—thus providing an alternative map for analyzing U.S history in the Middle East and South Asia and imagining its futures.

Professional Affiliations:


Association of Asian American Studies, Board of Directors (2010-2013)

American Studies Association

Cultural Studies Association

Awards and Honors:


  • 2010 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, NYU
  • 2010 Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award Finalist, NYU
  • 2009 Anita Affeldt Graduate Award, Association of Asian American Studies; Henry M. MacCracken Multi-Year           D octoral Fellowship, New York University
  • Tom Ford Fellowship, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
  • Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities, Stanford University

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