For samples of my written work, go to
South Asians on the U.S. Screen: Just Like Everyone Else? (Lexington Books, 2016)
In this book, I examine audience perceptions of South Asian/Indian characters and actors in U.S. television and film. Using data from open-ended online questionnaires and in-depth interviews, I argue that South Asian media representations today no longer embody the overt stereotypes associated with this group: savage foreigner, heavily accented new immigrant, and cheap small business owner. Rather, respondents describe and discuss contemporary representations to indicate that they are portrayed as assimilated and even “Americanized.” However, from a critical race perspective, I argue that these representations have improved to some degree, but continue to perpetuate racialized ideologies that maintain a White/Non-White racial binary. While media representations of this group are described as conforming to American norms, these characters actually do little to challenge the racial status quo in U.S. society, particularly through the perpetuation of these representations as overtly ethnic and not entirely assimilated. These casting decisions not only re-present a particular social world for mainstream audiences in which racial hierarchies are not challenged, but exemplify the maintenance of this status quo within the U.S. media structure.
Race and Contention in Twenty-First Century U.S. Media (Routledge, 2016)
In this edited volume, Jason A. Smith and I explore and clarify the complex intersection of race and media in the contemporary United States. Due to the changing dynamics of how racial politics are played out in the contemporary U.S. (as seen with debates of the “post-racial” society), as well as the changing dynamics of the media itself (“new vs. old” media debates), an interrogation of the role of the media and its various institutions within this area of social inquiry is necessary. Contributors contend that race in the U.S. is dynamic, connected to social, economic, and political structures which are continually altering themselves. The book seeks to highlight the contested space that the media provides for changing dimensions of race, examining the ways that various representations can both hinder or promote positive racial views, considering media in relation to other institutions, and moving beyond thinking of media as a passive and singular institution.
Since 2012, I have worked with the Scientific Careers Research and Development Group at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. We are studying the long-term effects of a novel coaching intervention designed to promote persistence toward academic careers, and impact the ongoing lack of diversity among life science faculty. This study, The Academy for Future Science Faculty, began with 16 career mentors (“Coaches”), 160 experimental students, and 160 control students, and is the first ever mixed methods longitudinal randomized-controlled trial study of this size and type funded by the NIH. To date, my team and I have multiple papers and presentations emphasizing the importance of cultural capital and social identity contingencies for career mentoring at the pre-PhD level. We are contributing what we have learned to help design and inform the NIH-funded National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), a new nationwide consortium that provides enhanced mentoring and networking opportunities for under-represented groups in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences.