I. Rethinking Citizenship and Belonging in Northeast India

This project seeks to develop an analytical framework on contemporary issues of migration and social exclusion, while also exploring inclusive citizenship practices.Inspired by transnational feminism, I take the position that the reclamation of theory-as-politics is integral to understanding experiences of oppression. In this project, I braid decolonial, intersectional theoretical perspectives with oral histories and testimonials of people who are disenfranchised by particular regimes of citizenship. Collectively and mutually constitutively, these oppositional knowledges/voices can help reframe citizenship practice that focus on relationships and mutual recognition amongst citizens (beyond hierarchical relations between the state and citizen). This project is anchored in the citizenship crisis currently unfolding in Northeast India (Indo-Bangladesh border), where four million people were recently disenfranchised. (Community partner: Mr. Abdul Kalam Azad)

II. Gendered Violence in Northeast India: Centering Women’s Analysis

This project investigates gendered patterns of violence in Garo Hills, India. My previous research in the region has underscored the overarching discourse of masculinity and heteronormativity characterizing public discourses surrounding ethnic conflict. Rather than generalize about “Garo tribal women” based on stereotypes or assumptions, my research explores how Garo women define their own identities at the intersections of gender, race and socioeconomic class. Through intensive fieldwork conducted during periods of escalated armed conflict, my research illuminated multiple forms of violence—domestic violence, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, direct violence, and economic exploitation—that shape Garo women’s daily lives. While most institutions in the region justify or deny the violence experienced by Garo women, the women’s own narratives create a powerful alternative and have important policy implications. Foregrounding Garo women’s critical analysis, my research seeks to unearth the spectrum of violence experienced by Garo women and the processes through which patriarchal power is reproduced in conflict situations. (Collaborator: Ms. Balmuri K. Marak)

III. Action Research in Lowell: A Community-Based Digital Storytelling Project

One area of my research program uses participatory and action research methodologies to understand, document, and strive to address everyday violence (direct, structural, and symbolic) experienced by youth in Lowell, MA. As importantly, this project is also about exploring and creating opportunities for critical youth assertion and youth resistance. This project uses collaborative digital storytelling to elicit, document, and disseminate local youth perspectives on community. Digital storytelling involves the use of multimedia technologies (e.g., text, graphics, photographs, video, music, audio narration) to create and share first-person accounts on a specific topic. As a formal research and community-building practice, digital storytelling emerged in the mid-90s and has been used as a vehicle for expression of marginalized voices. Our project positions youth as knowledge-generators and social change agents who use digital stories to collaboratively create and disseminate narratives highlighting critical issues impacting their communities. (Collaborators: Dr. Jenna Vinson, Lowell Community Health Center’s Teen BLOCK, YWCA Lowell)

IV. The Epistemic Justice Project

Epistemic justice involves disrupting the intellectual hegemony of the Euro-American knowledge enterprise as well as center subjugated knowledges (Maldonado-Torres, 2007; Seedat & Suffla, 2017). Toward that end, I work alongside others to:

  • Decolonize the construct of “community” in community psychology theory, research, practice, and training

  • Rethink citizenship and belonging by centering Southern contexts and feminist theory

  • Scrutinize material and ideological underpinnings of how violence is (de)legitimatized

  • Imagine, embody, and enact solidarity and resistance against oppressive forces including but not limited to hetropatriarchy, coloniality, imperialism, and neoliberalism.