Ronak Kapadia

Assistant Professor



PhD, American Studies, New York University
MA, American Studies, New York University
BA, with honors and distinction, Comparative Ethnic Studies, Stanford University


Ronak K. Kapadia is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and affiliated faculty in Global Asian Studies and Museum & Exhibition Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A cultural theorist of race, security, sensation, and empire in the late 20th and early 21st century United States, Kapadia is completing a book about the interface between contemporary visual and performance art and US global counterinsurgency warfare in South Asia and the Middle East titled Insurgent Aesthetics of the Forever War: Art and Performance After 9/11 (Duke University Press, forthcoming). The book examines the race radical queer feminist visions, sensations, and freedom dreams of the Muslim International, a constellation of transnational South Asian and Arab visual art and aesthetics that together comprise a rebuttal to the dominant ways we have come to think, feel, sense, and map the world amidst contemporary US security state violence and its forever wars. Kapadia is also co-editor, with Katherine McKittrick and Simone Browne, of the 2017 special issue of Surveillance and Society on race and surveillance. His writing appears or is forthcoming in Asian American Literary ReviewJournal of Popular Music StudiesFeminist Formations, Women & Performance, and edited volumes including: Shifting Borders: America and the Middle East/North Africa (American University of Beirut Press, 2014), Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (Duke University Press, 2016), and With Stones in Our Hands: Writings on Muslims, Racism, and Empire (University of Minnesota Press, 2018). Kapadia has begun research toward his second book project, The Art of Self Care: Reimagining Collective Survival and Healing Justice in Imperial Decline, which develops a critical decolonial feminist theory of healing/justice in the time of manifold global crises. He received his PhD in American Studies in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. He has held leadership positions in the American Studies Association and the Association for Asian American Studies. Outside of academe, he is a former board member of FIERCE, a member-led community organizing working to build the leadership and power of LGBTQ youth of color in New York City and Sage Community Health Collective, a worker-owned health and healing justice collective in Chicago.
profile photo

Contact Information

Office: 1218 UH, MC 360
Phone: 312-996-2715
Fax: 312-996-5799