Department of Performance Studies
College of Liberal Arts
A scholar working in the fields of critical race theory, gender, sexuality, and queer theory, media and performance studies, ethnomusicology, dance studies, and popular music studies, Rumya S. Putcha is affiliated with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program as well as the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute. As an Indian classical dancer trained in both the Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi styles, she has conducted many years of ethnographic research on dance and yoga in India as well as the United States.
The Arts & Humanities Fellowship will fund essential research for Putcha’s second book project, Namaste Nation: Commercial Yoga Industries and 21st Century Orientalism in the United States. This project argues that commercial yoga industries in the United States enable and perpetuate Orientalist conceptions of the body. This project will identify the crucial role of this ubiquitous leisure activity in 21st century gender and racial formation, especially the power tourism and social media cultures wield. Her scholarship will break new ground by developing a theory of identity formation in Indian-America that will add nuance to understandings of race and racial identification in the United States. Her research will result in a monograph, a journal article, five conference presentations, and an online resource for yoga, racial literacy, and social justice.