I am a sociolinguist and I work on language, sexuality, power, and meaning. My current project examines how citizenship in modern democracies relies on defining parts of the population in ways that undervalue their place in society. The case in point is Muslims, women, and LGBTQ+ communities in modern day India. Through an analysis of legal documents and media reports, I show that language plays a critical, albeit overlooked, role in further marginalizing communities that are historically underprivileged. Matters of representation and social hierarchies have become increasingly important as the prosperity of the Indian middle class cloaks the economic and educational stratification more broadly, and as political and popular discourses champion social equality while their language use and portrayals of marginal groups actually reinforce such groups’ marginalization.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Sociolinguistics, India Studies, Sexuality Studies, Gender Studies