This international team of social scientists, community researchers and social activists will study and compare how the COVID-19 pandemic interacts with underlying structures of marginalization in different political-national contexts, namely, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, India, UK and US. The speed and force with which COVID-19 spread across the globe caught governments and health experts unprepared. Initial measures implemented by governments of all political stripes were based on the premise that the pandemic would be ‘an equalizer’ with similar impact across the population. However, this assumption fell apart as infection and death rates revealed the disproportionate impact on communities marginalized by race, class, age, gender, religion, sexuality, etc. In the US, it was elderly, Black, Latino and Indigenous communities that were hardest hit and hate crimes escalated against Asians; meanwhile in India, Dalits, Muslims and migrant workers from rural communities were devastated. These examples underscore the need to understand exactly why, where and how the pandemic intersects with underlying socio-economic structures in the research sites, and the global linkages between them. This project builds a conceptual framework to study the social effects of COVID-19 and map out its intersections with national and global structures of power. The team will also develop policy recommendations to counter the pandemic’s deepening of social divides.
I am a Professor in the Department of Asian Studies and the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. My scholarship is located at the intersection of the Social Sciences and Humanities. I study and work on critical race, postcolonial, transnational and feminist theory; intersectionality, social movements and critical social theory; colonialism, indigeneity and racial violence; globalization, citizenship and migration; South Asian women’s, gender and sexuality studies; representations of Islam and Muslims in South Asian and Western media; and Muslim Women, Islamophobia and the war on terror.
The geographical areas of my research include Canada, the US, South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.