The Trauma of Caste book cover

The Trauma of Caste



a panel with Thenmozhi Soundararajan, and Paula Chakravartty & Ritty Lukose


Dalit American activist Thenmozhi Soundararajan puts forth a call to awaken and act, not just for readers in South Asia, but all around the world. She ties Dalit oppression to fights for liberation among Black, Indigenous, Latinx, femme, and Queer communities, examining caste from a feminist, abolitionist, and Dalit Buddhist perspective–and laying bare the grief, trauma, rage, and stolen futures enacted by Brahminical social structures on the caste-oppressed.

For more information, contact CSGS at

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a Dalit American transmedia artist, technologist, and futurist. She is a Dalit American commentator on religion, race, caste, gender, technology and justice. She is the Executive Director of Equality Labs and the author of The Trauma of Caste. Thenmozhi is a Dalit Civil rights artist, organizer, and theorist who has worked with hundreds of organizations to better understand the urgent issues of racial, caste, and gender equity. Working across disciplines she is an innovative strategist and thinker that has built bridges between many communities around the world. Through her work at Equality Labs, Thenmozhi has mobilized the South Asian American community to confront their historical trauma and to break the silence about caste, and to commit to ending caste apartheid, gender-based violence, white supremacy, and religious intolerance. Thenmozhi previously co-founded Third World Majority, an international media training organization and collective that supported people from disenfranchised. Her intersectional, cross-pollinating work—research, education, art, activism, and digital security—helps to create a more generous, global, expansive, and inclusive definition of South Asian identity, along with safe spaces from which to honor the stories of these communities. Thenmozhi’s work has been recognized by the U.S. Congress, The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, The Producers Guild of America Diversity Program, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Sorbonne, Source Magazine, Utne Reader, The National Center for the Humanities, The National Science Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She is a frequent contributor on issues related to South Asia, caste, gender, and racial Equity, as well interfaith issues and peacebuilding, and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Guardian, ABC, and NBC news. She was also an inaugural fellow of the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist, Atlantic Foundation for Racial Equity, and is a current fellow at Stanford Center for South Asian Studies.

Paula Chakravartty is James Weldon Johnson Associate Professor at the Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. She is currently completing a monograph on Media and Economic Violence. She is also working on two on-going collaborative projects: a co-authored book on Media, Race and the Infrastructures of Empire; and a field-based partnership research project on migrant mobility and debt in Uttar Pradesh, India. She has published widely in numerous journals across disciplines including American Quarterly, Antipode, Economic and Political Weekly, The Journal of Communication, Media Culture and Society, International Journal of Communication, Political Communication, among others. Her books include Race, Empire and the Crisis of the Subprime (Co-edited with Denise Ferreira da Silva with Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), Media Policy and Globalization (Co-Authored by Katharine Sarikakis with Edinburgh University Press, 2006), and Global Communications: Towards a Transcultural Political Economy (Co-Edited with Yuezhi Zhao with Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008). She serves as the Vice President of the NYU Chapter of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors).

Ritty Lukose is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Gender/Sexuality/Feminist Studies and South Asian Studies at the Gallatin School at New York University. She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled “Between Empire and Neoliberalism: The ‘Woman Question’ in the International System of the 1970s”. She is also part of a research team conducting an ethnographic study entitled “Digital Intimacy: Young Women and Social Transformation in Asia” across China, Singapore, Hong Kong and India. Her book, Liberalization’s Children: Gender, Youth and Consumer Citizenship in Globalizing India, was published by Duke University Press in 2009 and co-published in India by Orient Blackswan in 2010. A co-edited book, South Asian Feminisms was published by Duke University Press (2012) and Zubaan, a leading feminist press in India. She has published book chapters and articles in journals such as Cultural Anthropology, Social History, Social Analysis, and Anthropology and Education Quarterly. Recent publications include “Decolonizing Feminism in the #MeToo Era” in The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology, “South Asia” in The Routledge Global History of Feminism and “The Great Indian Kitchen: Taste, Distaste, Feminism and Women’s Emancipation” in Verge: Studies in Global Asias (in press).


Apr 12 2023


12:00 pm - 7:45 pm
Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality at NYU


Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality at NYU
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