Emily Esther Rook-Koepsel Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Emily Esther Rook-Koepsel

Assistant Director of Academic Affairs, Asian Studies
University of Pittsburgh

I am a historian of 20th century South Asia, with foci on minority and gendered citizenship and public engagement. As the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs for Asian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, I advise students about pursuing an interest in Asian Studies and administer Asian Studies academic issues and programs across the university. I am currently working on a project about social work and gendered citizenship in the 20th century in India.


Dr. Emily Rook-Koepsel earned her Ph.D. in South Asian History from the University of Minnesota in 2010. Since then she has taught, presented, and published on issues of gendered citizenship, caste violence, literary history, All India Radio, and censorship in India. In addition to her recent book, Emily has published several articles, most recently in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies and the Journal of Women's History. Her most recent articles consider the link between state violence, public order, and dissent in India. Emily is currently working on a number of projects including a group of articles on gender, citizenship, and social work, and a book length project on support for women’s writing.

In her role as the Assistant Director for Academic Affairs at the Asian Studies Center, Emily is excited to share her interest in Asia, and particularly South Asia, with students across the University of Pittsburgh. She is also pleased to help build up South Asia partnerships, programming, and academic offerings at the University of Pittsburgh. Emily has used her position at the Asian Studies center to build and maintain a new digital portfolio system for students at the University of Pittsburgh earning credentials in International Studies across the University. She hopes to publish on the success of the digital portfolio project in the near future.

Emily has two grade school age children who keep her busy outside of work. She also enjoys running, hiking, swimming, and reading while at home. Emily can often be found in the woods around her home with her family.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Modern South Asian History, Gender and Intersectional history, Castes History, Media Studies, Democracy studies, Political activism, Social work, Student outcomes in higher education.

Personal Interests

    Running, Hiking, Reading, Family time


Featured Title
 Featured Title - Democracy and Unity in India - Rook-Koepsel - 1st Edition book cover


South Asia: The Journal of South Asian Studies

Dissenting against the Defence of India Rules: Emergency Regulations and the Space of Extreme Government Action

Published: Aug 02, 2018 by South Asia: The Journal of South Asian Studies
Authors: Emily Rook-Koepsel

Indian democracy has been plagued by a long history of ‘rules’ and ‘acts’, which assign the state the power to impose order, but without clear guidelines as to their use. Agitations by the All India Newspaper Editors’ Conference (AINEC) against the Defence of India Rules, AINEC made visible the effect of unpredictable government actions. The enforcement of the Defence of India Rules highlighted how concepts could shift from being regarded as ‘responsible’ to ‘irresponsible’.

Kairos: A Journal of Critical Symposium

Ghosts of Indian Unity: Difference, Diversity, and Violence

Published: Jan 01, 2017 by Kairos: A Journal of Critical Symposium
Authors: Emily Rook-Koepsel

Circumscribing appropriate dissent against the Centre’s politics through emergency legislation, politics of shaming, and violence is an integral part of the Indian state’s definition of Indian unity, and is directly related to the way that unity and diversity were defined during the anti-colonial campaigns of the 1940s. This paper traces the link between outbursts of violence against marginalised citizens in the contemporary period.

Journal of Women's History

Constructing Women’s Citizenship: The Local, National, and Global Civics Lessons of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur

Published: Sep 01, 2015 by Journal of Women's History
Authors: Emily Rook-Koepsel

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was a leader of several women’s organizations in India, including the All India Women’s Conference and the Young Women’s Christian Association-India. This article expands on Kaur’s concept of social service and constructive citizenship especially in the context of national claims for women’s participation in the Indian state, constructive citizenship in defining translocal social service, and how constructive citizenship helped Kaur to imagine a global citizenship.