Sitara Thobani

Assistant Professor

C320C Snyder Hall


Image shoes Sitara Thobani



PhD, University of Oxford, St Antony’s College
MA, Sociology and Equity Studies, OISE, University of Toronto
BA, University of British Columbia



Sitara Thobani’s research focuses on the performance arts in colonial and postcolonial South Asia and its diasporas. More specifically she is interested in how artistic practices, as well as representations of these practices, help construct particular formations of gender, sexuality, religion and nation. Sitara draws on postcolonial feminist and critical race studies in her scholarship, as well as her experiences as a trained Indian classical dance performer. In both her academic work and artistic practice, she questions essentialisng discourses by unpacking the complex histories and underlying relations of power that produce them.

Based on her ethnographic fieldwork in the UK and India, Sitara’s research has demonstrated how performances of Indian classical dance serve as a critical site for the mutual constitution of deeply entangled Indian, diasporic and British national identities. This research is presented in her book, Indian Classical Dance and the Making of Postcolonial National Identities: Dancing on Empire’s Stage (Routledge 2017). Sitara has also published journal articles in MUSICultures and Anthropology in Action, as well as a book chapter in Religion and Migration in Europe: Comparative Perspectives on South Asian Experiences (edited by E. Gallo).

Sitara has a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford, an MA in Sociology and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto, and a BA in Anthropology and Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia. An Assistant Professor in RCAH, she is also affiliated with the Asian Studies Program and the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University.