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Nitasha Tamar Sharma

Associate Professor, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Performance Studies

Ph.D., University of California-Santa Barbara, 2004

Nitasha Tamar Sharma's (Department of African American Studies) 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 writing her second book, “Hawai'i is my Haven: Race and Indigeneity in the Black Pacific.” This ethnography is based on interviews with 60 people of African descent in the islands, including Black Hawaiians, Black Japanese, and African American transplants from the continental U.S. This book charts how Hawai‘i’s Black residents including Black hapas negotiate race, indigeneity, and culture. This work speaks to debates in Mixed Race Studies, Comparative Race Studies, and Diaspora Studies to analyze Blackness in the Pacific and offer new theories of belonging that emerge from the intersection of race and indigeneity.

Her first book, Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness (Duke University Press 2010), analyzes how second generation members of an upwardly mobile and middle-class immigrant group use hip hop to develop racial--and not just ethnic--identities. 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.”  Dr. Sharma teaches courses on Hip Hop, Asian/Black Relations in the U.S., The Mixed Race Experience, and Race, Crime, and Punishment: The Border, Prisons, and Post-9/11 Detentions, and Ethnographies of Immigration, Race, and Immigration.

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