SAYI 2021 Panels

Keynotes

Christina Dhanaraj
Christina Dhanaraj

Christina Dhanaraj is a writer and a consultant for women and minority-led initiatives focusing on social justice, self-determination, and collaborative models of scholarship. She is currently an advisor for Smashboard. She was the co-founder of the Dalit History Month project and a volunteer for Dalit Women Fight. Her interests lie in the politics of identity, diversity & inclusion, mental health, and intersectional discourses between caste, gender, religion, race, and sexuality.

Rinku Sen
Rinku Sen

Rinku is a writer and social justice strategist. She is formerly the Executive Director of Race Forward and was Publisher of their award-winning news site Colorlines. Her books Stir it Up and The Accidental American theorize a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race, gender, class, poverty, sexuality, and other systems. She serves on numerous boards, including the Women’s March, where she is Co-President.

Christina Dhanaraj
Christina Dhanaraj

Christina Dhanaraj is a writer and a consultant for women and minority-led initiatives focusing on social justice, self-determination, and collaborative models of scholarship. She is currently an advisor for Smashboard. She was the co-founder of the Dalit History Month project and a volunteer for Dalit Women Fight. Her interests lie in the politics of identity, diversity & inclusion, mental health, and intersectional discourses between caste, gender, religion, race, and sexuality.

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Politics of Dissent

Ather Zia
Ather Zia

Ather Zia, Ph.D., is a political anthropologist, poet, short fiction writer, and columnist. Ather is the author of Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir (June 2019) which won the 2020 Gloria Anzaldua Honorable Mention award and the 2021 Public Anthropologist Award. She is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit and is the co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies Collective, an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on the Kashmir region.

Ammar Ali Jan
Ammar Ali Jan

Ammar Ali Jan is a historian and activist in Pakistan. His work explores the development of Marxist ideas in the Non-European world. He is a member of Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement, rights-based organisation in Pakistan. He is also a regular columnist whose work has appeared in The Newz International, Al-Jazeera and The Jacobin.

Ajit Sahi
Ajit Sahi

Ajit Sahi is a veteran journalist and civil rights activist from India. He has worked with newspapers and newsmagazines, a news agency, and television news stations. He has done extensive investigative reporting on fake cases of terrorism and other crimes leveled by Indian police against India’s social and religious minorities, mainly Muslims.

Ather Zia
Ather Zia

Ather Zia, Ph.D., is a political anthropologist, poet, short fiction writer, and columnist. Ather is the author of Resisting Disappearances: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir (June 2019) which won the 2020 Gloria Anzaldua Honorable Mention award and the 2021 Public Anthropologist Award. She is the founder-editor of Kashmir Lit and is the co-founder of Critical Kashmir Studies Collective, an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on the Kashmir region.

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South Asian Writers

Jasmin Kaur
Jasmin Kaur

Jasmin Kaur is a writer, illustrator and poet living on unceded Sto:lo First Nations territory. Her writing, which explores themes of feminism, womanhood, social justice and love, acts as a means of healing and reclaiming identity. Her debut poetry and prose collection, When You Ask Me Where I'm Going (2019) was shortlisted for the Goodreads Choice Awards. Her sophomore novel, If I Tell You The Truth (2021), is releasing on January 19th 2021.

Sita Singh
Sita Singh

Sita Singh was born and raised in India, and moved to the United States in 1999. She currently lives in South Florida with her husband, three children, and an immensely cute and curious dog. An architect in the past, Sita now enjoys writing heartwarming picture books with a South Asian backdrop. Her writing is inspired by her experiences of living in the East and West. Birds Of A Feather is Sita’s debut picture book. Find out more about Sita on www.singhsita.com.

Bilal Zahoor
Bilal Zahoor

Bilal Zahoor is the founder and Editorial Director of Folio Books, a Lahore-based independent publishing house. He follows his passion for establishing an independent publishing platform in Pakistan. Zahoor aspires to contribute to a more socially just world by publishing works bucking the neoliberal trends and authoritarian tendencies. He is the co-editor (with Raza Rumi) of Rethinking Pakistan: A 21st Century Perspective.

Jasmin Kaur
Jasmin Kaur

Jasmin Kaur is a writer, illustrator and poet living on unceded Sto:lo First Nations territory. Her writing, which explores themes of feminism, womanhood, social justice and love, acts as a means of healing and reclaiming identity. Her debut poetry and prose collection, When You Ask Me Where I'm Going (2019) was shortlisted for the Goodreads Choice Awards. Her sophomore novel, If I Tell You The Truth (2021), is releasing on January 19th 2021.

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South Asian Sexual and Queer Organizing

Raksha Muthukumar
Raksha Muthukumar

Raksha is a programmer and community organizer. She has been a queer & feminist community organizer since the age of 15, and her work has taken her from sex education in North Carolina, to transgender advocacy in Chennai India, to sex worker mutual aid in NYC. Raksha is passionate about queer storytelling and hosts a podcast & writes about modern queeer dating culture. In the tech realm, Raksha organizes with Tech Workers Coalition, NYC-DSA Tech Action, & with her union at Google.

Gowri Vijaykumar
Gowri Vijaykumar

Gowri Vijayakumar is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis University. Her research uses feminist, queer, and transnational perspectives to illuminate the trajectories of social movements, the everyday life of the state, and the political economy of globalization. Her book At Risk: Indian Sexual Politics and the Global AIDS Crisis, uses over 150 in-depth interviews across India and Kenya to study the politics of the AIDS crisis.

Anjali Arondekar
Anjali Arondekar

Anjali Arondekar is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, and founding Co-Director, Center for South Asian Studies, UC Santa Cruz. Her research engages the poetics and politics of sexuality, caste, and historiography, with a focus on Indian Ocean Studies and South Asia. She is the author of For the Record: On Sexuality and the Colonial Archive in India, winner of the Alan Bray Memorial Book Award for best book in lesbian, gay, or queer studies in literature and cultural studies.

Raksha Muthukumar
Raksha Muthukumar

Raksha is a programmer and community organizer. She has been a queer & feminist community organizer since the age of 15, and her work has taken her from sex education in North Carolina, to transgender advocacy in Chennai India, to sex worker mutual aid in NYC. Raksha is passionate about queer storytelling and hosts a podcast & writes about modern queeer dating culture. In the tech realm, Raksha organizes with Tech Workers Coalition, NYC-DSA Tech Action, & with her union at Google.

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South Asian

Me Too Movements

Roja Singh
Roja Singh

Roja Singh is currently Visiting Assistant Professor at St. John Fisher College. Her activism and research primarily focuses on the intersections of race, class, caste and gender using post-colonial and transnational feminist lens. Roja is President of Dalit Solidarity Forum, and recently published Spotted Goddesses: Dalit Women’s Agency Narratives on Caste and Gender Violence.

Shmyla Khan
Shmyla Khan

Shmyla Khan is the Research and Policy Director at Digital Rights Foundation. She has a BA-LLB from LUMS and an LLM from the University of Michigan. Shmyla has previously worked as a lecturer teaching law, technology and gender. She has previously done research on international law and human rights.

Vikash Ravi
Vikash Ravi

Vikash Ravi is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the state of Texas. He is currently employed as a Counselor at Daya, where he specializes in providing culturally specific, trauma-informed therapy and case management services to South Asian survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Additionally, Vikash has extensive clinical experience from working with LGBTQIA+ systems at the Montrose Center and hospital experience from working at Texas Children’s Hospital -West Campus in Katy.

Roja Singh
Roja Singh

Roja Singh is currently Visiting Assistant Professor at St. John Fisher College. Her activism and research primarily focuses on the intersections of race, class, caste and gender using post-colonial and transnational feminist lens. Roja is President of Dalit Solidarity Forum, and recently published Spotted Goddesses: Dalit Women’s Agency Narratives on Caste and Gender Violence.

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South Asian American Studies

Sunaina Maira
Sunaina Maira

Sunaina Maira is Professor of Asian American Studies, and affiliated with the Middle East/South Asia Studies program and the Cultural Studies Graduate Group. Her research and teaching focus on Asian, Arab, and Muslim American youth culture, migrant rights and refugee organizing, and transnational movements challenging militarization, imperialism, and settler colonialism.

Sasha Sabherwal
Sasha Sabherwal

Sasha Sabherwal is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Yale and holds a certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is a scholar of the South Asian diaspora, with strong interests in critical ethnic studies, religious studies, and feminist studies. Her research interrogates caste and gender hierarchies in the Sikh diaspora of the Pacific Northwest.

Stanley Thangaraj
Stanley Thangaraj

Stanley Thangaraj is an Associate Professor of Anthropology, Gender Studies, and International Studies at the City College of New York (CUNY). His interests are at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and citizenship. He studies immigrant and refugee communities in the U.S. South to understand how they manage the black-white racial logic through gender and the kinds of horizontal processes of race-making.

Sunaina Maira
Sunaina Maira

Sunaina Maira is Professor of Asian American Studies, and affiliated with the Middle East/South Asia Studies program and the Cultural Studies Graduate Group. Her research and teaching focus on Asian, Arab, and Muslim American youth culture, migrant rights and refugee organizing, and transnational movements challenging militarization, imperialism, and settler colonialism.

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Tech Discrimination

Jaspreet Mahal
Jaspreet Mahal

Jaspreet Mahal is a Fulbright scholar passionate about the subaltern perspective of development and gender programming. Jaspreet is a proud member of Boston Study Group and partakes in various activities to advance Ambedkarite ideology and anti-caste movement in the diaspora in academic as well as non-academic space.

Milind Awasarmol
Milind Awasarmol

Milind Awasarmol is a B Tech from IIT Mumbai, he is currently working as a Director at Etrade financial corporation in New York. As a staunch Ambedkarite, he is committed to the struggle against caste discrimination and spreading Babasaheb’s teachings internationally. He is on the Board of Directors of Ambedkar International Mission and has been a facilitator for many atrocities related protests in tri-state area.

S. Karthikeyan
S. Karthikeyan

S. Karthikeyan is convenor of Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC). He's a full time IT worker and volunteer for AKSC. AKSC is a membership based organization which started in 2016 and works among the Indians in the USA in general and IT workers. AKSC spearheaded the Cisco caste discrimination case supporting the affected employee and the DEFH by mobilzing anti-caste people.

Jaspreet Mahal
Jaspreet Mahal

Jaspreet Mahal is a Fulbright scholar passionate about the subaltern perspective of development and gender programming. Jaspreet is a proud member of Boston Study Group and partakes in various activities to advance Ambedkarite ideology and anti-caste movement in the diaspora in academic as well as non-academic space.

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