Shailaja Paik (NHC Fellow, 2022–23)

Project Title

Becoming “Vulgar”: Caste Domination and Normative Sexuality in Modern India

ACLS Burkhardt Fellowship, 2022–23

Associate Professor of History and ACLS Fellow, University of Cincinnati

Shailaja Paik is associate professor of history and affiliate in women, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Cincinnati. Her scholarship and research interests focus on the politics of caste, gender, and sexuality, and she is committed to advancing the dialogue in anti-caste and anti-colonial struggles, human rights, transnational women’s history, women-of-color feminisms, and particularly on gendering caste and subaltern history.

Her first book, Dalit Women's Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination (London and New York: Routledge, 2014), examines the nexus between caste, class, gender, and state pedagogical practices among Dalit (“Untouchable”) women in urban India. Her second book, The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity (Stanford University Press, forthcoming), focuses on the politics of caste, class, gender, sexuality, and popular culture in modern Maharashtra. She is working on her third monograph, Becoming ‘Vulgar’: Caste Domination and Normative Sexuality in Modern India, and coediting a book on Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

Paik’s research is funded by the American Council of Learned Societies, Stanford Humanities Center, National Endowment for the Humanities, American Institute of Indian Studies, Yale University, Emory University, the Ford Foundation, and the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center, among others. She has published several articles on a variety of themes, including the politics of naming, Dalit and African American women, Dalit women’s education, and new Dalit womanhood in colonial India in prestigious international journals. Paik is organizing the “Ambedkar King Justice Initiative” at the University of Cincinnati and she also co-organized the "Fifth International Conference on the Unfinished Legacy of Dr. Ambedkar" at the New School of Social Research in October 2019.

Selected Publications

The Vulgarity of Caste

  • Paik, Shailaja, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Forthcoming.
  • Paik, Shailaja. The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India. South Asia in Motion. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2022.
  • Paik, Shailaja. “Dalit Feminist Thought.” In Routledge Handbook of Gender in South Asia, edited by Leela Fernandes, 55–69. New York: Routledge, 2022.
  • Paik, Shailaja. “Dr Ambedkar and the ‘Prostitute’: Caste, Sexuality and Humanity in Modern India.” Gender and History 34, no. 2 (July 2022): 437–57.
  • Paik, Shailaja. Dalit Women’s Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination. New York: Routledge, 2014.
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