I am a Professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. My scholarship is located at the intersection of the Social Sciences and Humanities. I study and work on critical race, postcolonial, transnational and feminist theory; South Asian women’s, gender and sexuality studies; representations of Islam and Muslims in South Asian and Western media; South Asian Diasporic Films; Muslim Women, Islamophobia and the war on terror; intersectionality, social movements and critical social theory; colonialism, indigeneity and racial violence; and globalization, citizenship and migration.
The geographical areas of my research include Canada, the US, South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.
My academic work follows in the tradition of the scholarship of engagement, it is informed by my activism in the anti-racist, feminist and anti-war movements. In this capacity, I have served as:
* Director of the Race, Autobiography, Gender and Age (RAGA) Center, which laid the groundwork for a Critical Race Studies Program at UBC (2008-2012);
* Founding Member, Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equity (RACE) Canada (2001-Present);
* Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University (1996-2000);
* President, National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Canada (1993-1996).
My research and teaching address emergent issues of concern to disenfranchised and dispossessed communities, including within the University. I have spoken at, and helped organize numerous international women’s conferences, including the NGO Forum at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China; the First International Women’s Conference on APEC in Manila, Philippines; the first Asian-Pacific Women’s Conference in the US; the National Association of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Councilors; and the Black Feminism conference in the UK.
* ASIA 333: Issues in Contemporary South Asian Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
* ASIA 433: The Cinematic Lives of Muslims and Minorities in South Asia
* ASIA 389: South Asian Women’s Life Writing
* ASIA 399: Films of the South Asian Diaspora
* ASIA 580: Gender and Human Rights in South Asia
CURRENT RESEARCH INTERESTS:
* Intersections of COVID-19
* Racial Violence, Islamophobia, War on Terror
* Islam, the West, Modernity and Gender
* The Cinematic Lives of Muslims in South Asian and Western Cinema
* Citizenship, Migration, Race and the South Asian Diaspora
* Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism and Canadian Nation-State Formation
* Race and Coloniality in the Canadian University
* Contesting Islam, Constructing Race and Sexuality: The Inordinate Desire of the West. London: Bloomsbury Academic (2020)
Author: Sunera Thobani
* Exalted Subjects: Studies in the Making of Race and Nation in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (2007)
Author: Sunera Thobani
* The Deadly Intersections of COVID-19: Race, States, Inequalities and Global Society. Bristol University Press. (2022)
Sunera Thobani (Editor)
*Coloniality and Racial (In)Justice in the University: Counting for Nothing? Toronto: University of Toronto Press (2021).
Sunera Thobani (Editor)
*States of Race: Critical Race Feminism for the 21st Century. (co-edited with S. Razack and M. Smith) Toronto: Between the Lines (2010)
Authors: Sherene Razack, Malinda Smith and Sunera Thobani (Editors)
* Asian Women: InterConnections. Canadian Scholars’ Press/Women’s Press (2005)
Authors: Tineke Hellwig and Sunera Thobani (Editors)
Select Journal Articles:
* ‘From Neo-Liberal Multiculturalism to Civilizational Exaltation: The Cultural Politics of the West’, Fudan Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. (June, 2018) 11: 161-174.
* ‘The Secularity of Empire, the Violence of Critique: Islam, Race and Sexuality in the Politics of Knowledge Production’, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. Vol. 32, No. 3. (Summer, 2017) 715-730.
*Sovereignty, Culture, Rights: The Racial Politics of Gendered Violence in Canada’, Borderlands. Vol. 14, No. 1. (2015) 1-27.
* ‘Performing Terror, Mediating Religion: Indian Cinema and the Politics of National Belonging’, International Journal of Communication. 7 (2013) 483-505.
* ‘Slumdogs and Superstars: Negotiating the Culture of Terror’, Studies in South Asian Film and Media, Vol. 1 Issue 2 (December 2009). 227-248.
* ‘Reading TWAIL in the Canadian Context: Race, Gender and National Formation’, International Community Law Review. Vol. 10. No. 4. (2008) 421-430.
Select Book Chapters:
* ‘Citizenship’, Coloma, R. S. & G. Pon (eds.) Asian-Canadian Studies Reader. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (2017). 29-48.
* ‘Race, Sovereignty and Empire: Theorizing the Camp, Theorizing Postmodernity’, Bakan, A. and E. Dua (eds.) Theorizing Anti-Racism: Linkages in Marxism and Critical Race Theories. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (2014). 280-310.
* ‘Fighting Terror: Race, Sex and the Monstrosity of Islam’, Razack, S. and S. Perera (eds.) At the Limits of Justice: Women of Colour on Terror. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (2014). 472-496.
* ‘Vigilante Masculinity and the War on Terror’, Tareq Y. Ismael and Andre Rippon (eds.) Islam in the Eyes of the West. London: Routledge (2010) 54-75.
* ‘Gender and Empire: Veilomentaries and the War on Terror’, Chakravortty, P. and Zhao, Y. (eds.) Global Communications: Towards a Transcultural Political Economy. Boulder, CO: Rowan & Littlefield. (2008) 219-242.
Other Select Publications
* ‘War Frenzy’, Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism. 20th Anniversary Reader. Vol. 19, No. 3. 2021.
* The Deadly Intersections of COVID-19: Research Report (Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies). 2021. Principal Investigator and Editor.
* ‘Prologue’, Haritaworn Jin, A. Kunstman and S. Posocco (eds.) Queer Necropolitics. London: Routledge. (2014) Xv-Xviii.
* ‘Interview – Sunera Thobani: A Very Public Intellectual’ (Interview by William K. Carroll), Socialist Studies. (Autumn, 2012). 8 (2). 12-30.
* ‘Breaking Consensus: The War on Terror, Islamophobia and Social Justice Movements’, Upping the Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action. Toronto: UTA Press (2011) Vol. 13.
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2022)
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation for the Advancement of South Asians (2022)
- The Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence, UBC (2021)
- The Sarah Shorten Award,Canadian Association of University Teachers (2017)
- Hands Against Racism Community Award, Spice Radio (2017)
‘Colonizing Critical Race Studies: Social (In)Justice in the Neo-Liberal Academy’, British Association of Canadian Studies, Senate House, University of London, UK (April 20, 2018).
Transnational Feminist Solidarities? Race, Gender and Politics of Empire, Keynote Address, Doha Institute of Graduate Studies, Qatar (December 12, 2017).
‘Race, Gender and Settler Colonialism in the University’, Dalhousie and St. Mary’s Universities (November 17, 2017).
‘Feminist Ethics in an Age of Global Terror’, Association for Feminist Ethics and Social Theory Conference (FEAST), ‘Contested Terrains: Women of Colour, Feminisms, and Geopolitics’, Clearwater Beach, FL. US. (Oct 1-4, 2016).
‘The Contemporary Crisis in Critical Theory’, Bangladesh Sociological Association, Sociology Department, Dhaka University ((January 11, 2016).
‘Gender, Media and Empire’, The Fifth Sino-Nordic Women and Gender Studies Conference, Social Science Forum of the Chinese Academy of Social Science, Beijing, China (22 September, 2014)
‘Feminism and Islamophobia: Making Sense of Race, Religion and Gendered Violence’, New Approaches to World Islamic and Middle East Studies, Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (March 15, 2014).
Symposia, Workshops and Community Events (Select)
Coloniality and Racial (in)Justice in the University, Racialized Students Academic Network, Book Launch (April 22, 2022). Panelist. Watch the full event via YouTube here.
The Deadly Intersections of COVID-19, PWIAS & RACE, Webinar (March 24, 2021). Organizer and Chair.
Racial (Injustice) In the Canadian University: The Politics of Race, Diversity and Settler Colonialism, UBC, Vancouver. March 16, 2017. Co-Convener with UBC Faculty Association.
Race, Sex and Empire, Critical Race & Postcolonial Feminist Theory Group, Liu Institute, UBC (March 18, 2013). Workshop Convener.
Terror, Occupation, Partition: Making Meaning of Post/Colonial Violence: A Film Series, Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC (March 21-24, 2012). Organizer.
Women for Peace: Multifaith Perspectives, UBC & SFU (February 2-4, 2012). Co-organizer.
Film Series (Fall, 2010 at UBC)
Community Film Series (Winter 2011, Langara College)
Dance and Women’s Empowerment, Fundraiser for Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (February, 2011). Organizer.
Social Justice Praxis: Theory, Research and Activism on Campus and in the Community (March, 2011). Co-organizer.
Islamophobia: Implications for Global Health, Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC, (January 20-21, 2011). Co-organizer.
Commemorating 100 Years of South Asian Presence in Canada (Nov. 17-23, 2008). Events organized in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster and Abbotsford, BC.