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

Executive Committee

Monisha Das Gupta

  • Ph.D. in Sociology, Brandeis University, 1999
  • Director, Center for South Asian Studies and Associate Professor, Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, University of Hawai’i
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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.


Ned bertz

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

  • South Asian Librarian in the Asia Collection at Hamilton Library University of Hawaii at Manoa
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Monica Ghosh manages South Asia materials in the Asia Collection, which includes maintaining and developing materials received on a cooperative acquistions program administered through the Library of Congress, selecting materials in all formats and in several languages from other sources, and designing, developing and providing access to electronic information about South Asia. Provide professional reference service for the Asia Collection in general, and specialized reference service for South Asia related information. Provide a program of library instruction for Asian Studies courses.


Kerry P. C. San chirico

  • Ph.D in Geography, UC Santa Barbara 2012
  • Assistant Professor of Religion
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 sanchiricoKerry P. C. San Chirico, born and raised in Monterey, California, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Santa Clara University, and Masters degrees from Princeton Seminary, Rutgers University, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and Boston College.  His expertise is in Global Christianities and Indian religions, and his scholarly interests include inter-religious interaction and exchange, minority religions in India, Christian mission history, comparative theology, anthropology of religion, and theory and method in the study of religion. His doctoral dissertation is an ethnographic, historical, and comparative study of a new religious community known as Khrist Bhaktas, or devotees of Christ. Located in the Banaras region of Uttar Pradesh in northern India, they hail mostly from lower caste backgrounds and exist “in-between” the official religious categories of Hindu and Christian. He has lived and travelled extensively in India. As a member of the faculty of Religion, Dr. San Chirico teaches courses in Christianities, Indian religions, and theory and method in the study of religion.


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
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Anna’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: 

Akta ThumbnailAkta is a second year PhD student in South Asian Studies. She completed her MA in Postcolonial Politics at Aberystwyth University in 2013. 

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