Anupama Rao is TOW Associate Professor, History (Barnard College), and Associate Director, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (Columbia University). She is also Senior Editor, Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
She has research and teaching interests in gender and sexuality studies; caste and race; historical anthropology; social theory; comparative urbanism; and colonial genealogies of human rights and humanitarianism.
She has written widely on the themes of colonialism and humanitarianism, and on non-Western histories of gender and sexuality. In addition to Gender and Caste: Issues in Indian Feminism (Kali for Women, 2003) Rao is the contributing co-editor of Discipline and the Other Body (Duke University Press, 2006), and author of The Caste Question: Dalits and the Politics of Modern India (University of California Press, 2009). The Caste Question theorizes caste subalternity, with specific focus on the role of anti-caste thought (and its thinkers) in producing alternative genealogies of political subject-formation.
Rao is currently working on a book on the political thought of B. R. Ambedkar; and a project titled Dalit Bombay, which explores the relationship between caste, political culture, and everyday life in colonial and postcolonial Bombay.
Her work has been supported by grants from the ACLS; the American Institute for Indian Studies; the Mellon Foundation; the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the SSRC. She was a Fellow-in-Residence at the National Humanities Center from 2008-09; a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford during 2010-11; and a Fellow at REWORK (Humboldt University, Berlin) in 2014-2015.