Center for South Asian Studies | University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Executive Committee

monica ghosh

  • Interim Director, Center for South Asian Studies and South Asia Studies Librarian
  • PhD (University of Hawaii at Manoa/UHM); MA (UHM); MILS (University of Michigan); and BA (UHM)
  • Email:

imageMonica Ghosh manages the South Asia materials in the Asia Collection where she selects materials in all formats and several languages from and about Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. She has served as the Director of CSAS (2002-2004), Head of the Asia Collection (2012-2013), and Interim Associate University Librarian (Spring 2015). Her research interests include South Asians writing in English; literature of the South Asian diaspora; representations of South Asians in U.S. popular culture; and the Anglo-Indian and Chinese communities of India. She runs regularly and has finished four Honolulu Marathons.

Ned bertz

  • BS & BA Illinois, 1994; MA, PhD Iowa, 1998, 2008
  • Assistant Professor in History (South Asia, Africa, Indian Ocean, World History)
  • Email:

Originally from Chicago, Ned Bertz attended the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), including a year abroad at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), and graduated with degrees in History and Accountancy. Choosing the past over profit, he moved a few cornfields to the west to study for his MA and Ph.D. in History at the University of Iowa. Seeking to bridge area studies approaches and write about transnational historical exchanges between South Asia and East Africa, Professor Bertz has spent five years conducting fieldwork in India and Tanzania in preparation for writing a book considering issues of race, nationalism, and diaspora in the history of the Indian Ocean world. He teaches classes about the history of South Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean world, and historiography, among other offerings. Additionally, he is very interested in social justice and human rights, gender studies, African and South Asian music, Indian popular cinema (and is rumored to have once appeared in a Bollywood blockbuster), and is fully confident that this is the year for the Chicago Cubs.

sai bhatawadekar

  • Ph.D. in Ohio State University, 2007
  • Assistant Professor in Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures
  • Email:
  • On Sabbatical

Dr. Bhatawadekar’s research brings together German and South Asian Studies, Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Cross-Culural and Comparative Studies. Her other research interests include film adaptations of literature, South Asian cinema, and language pedagogy. During and after her Ph.D. she designed, taught, and established a very successful Hindi language and South Asian Studies Program at the Ohio State University, which has consequently brought her here to Hawaii. She is currently working on examining the transition from Hinduism to Buddhism in 19th century German philosophy as well as on a Hindi text-and workbook.

Priyam Das

  •  Ph.D in Urban Planning, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Email:

Monisha Das Gupta

  • Ph.D. in Sociology, Brandeis University, 1999
  •  Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Hawai’i
  • Email:
  • On sabbatical 

Dr. Das Gupta joined UHM in 2002 as a joint appointment in Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. She received her PhD in Sociology at Brandeis University. Her involvement with various types of social justice movements in the United States, and her life as a migrant are central to her academic work. Her first book, Unruly Immigrants: Rights, Activism and Transnational South Asian Politics in the United States (Duke, 2006), examines feminist, queer, and labor organizing in post-1965 South Asian communities in the United States to mark the development of social justice politics that forwards immigrant rights.  She grew up in Kolkata, India, where she did her undergraduate degree in Geography at Loreto College, and worked in the city for a few years as a journalist.

Jesse Knutson

  • Ph.D in South Asian Languages and Civilization, University of Chicago, 2009
  • Assistant Professor of Sanskrit
  • Email:

jesse-KnutsonScholar, teacher, and activist, Jesse Ross Knutson is Assistant Professor of Sanskrit in the department of Indo­Pacific Languages and Literatures at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is the author of Into the Twilight of Sanskrit Poetry: The Sena Salon of Bengal and Beyond (U.C. Press, 2014), as well as numerous articles on Sanskrit literature and premodern South Asian history, culture, religion, and sociopolitical life. His research centers on the question of art as a state apparatus in the in the courtly world of the classical and early medieval periods, a radical non­autonomy of premodern art and thought that may provide perspective on modernity and its birth. His central concern is the broad mutual constitution of sociopolitical and aesthetic life, and the materiality of aesthetic form and rhetoric in general. Rooted in literary studies, his work speaks to broadly history and historiography of early South Asia. He intends to enlarge the comparative scope of his work in coming years, while maintaining his intense focus on Sanskrit poetry, poetics, and the structure of early South Asian thought and language.

miriam sharma

  • PhD University of Hawai‘i
  • Professor of Asian Studies

Dr. Sharma’s scholarship deals with ethnography, class formation and gender relations, feminist theory, international labor migration and social science methodology. She has published on income generations schemes and women in rural India, the political economy of reproductive activities in Rajasthan, and the impact of dairy ‘development’ on the lives and health of women in rural Rajasthan.

Dr. Sharma is currently running the UHM Study Abroad in Delhi as Resident Director.

Anna stirr

  • Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology, Columbia University
  • Assistant Professor of Asian Studies
  • Email:

150430162140-anna-stirr-headshot-large-169Anna’s research focuses on South Asia, particularly on Nepal and the Himalayan region. She is currently working on two projects that deal with love, intimacy, and politics in Nepal. The first looks at improvised dohori question-answer songs as culturally intimate, gendered expressions of ideas of nation, belonging, and heritage, within a cycle of migration and media circulation that spans the globe. The second chronicles the history of Nepal’s politically oppositional “progressive song” from the 1960s to the present, with a focus on ideas of love, development, and communist thought as interrelated ways of imagining a better future. Articles from these projects have appeared in various journals and edited volumes. Anna also maintains active research interests in the relationship between music, religion, politics and public culture in South Asia and the Himalayas.

Akta Kaushal

  • Coordinator, Center for South Asian Studies
  • Email:

54b831da4fce3.imageAkta is a third year PhD student in South Asian Studies. She completed her MA in Postcolonial Politics at Aberystwyth University in 2013. 

CSAS Home Page University of Hawai‘i at Manoa website Facebook Page Twitter Page RSS Feed