Plenary - Con IH 2021 - Gender and Empire

This event has passed. To see the video recording, click this link:


Durba Ghosh, Professor of History at Cornell University

Durba Ghosh is an associate professor of history at Cornell University where she teaches courses on modern South Asia, gender, and colonialism. She is the author of Sex and the Family in Colonial India: the Making of Empire(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) and with Dane Kennedy, co-editor of Decentering Empire: Britain, India and the Transcolonial World, (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2006).

Her teaching and research interests focus on understanding the history of colonialism on the Indian subcontinent. She has written extensively on gender, culture, law, archives, and colonial governance in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century India, and is interested in the importance of history in legitimizing anti-colonial struggles. Her current research focuses on popular regional political movements in early and mid-twentieth century India and the ways in which violence against the British colonial state became an important, but underemphasized, form of protest.  She is the general book review editor of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History and an elected member of the South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies.

Genevieve Clutario, Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College

Genevieve Clutario is the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College. She specializes in interdisciplinary and transnational feminist approaches to Filipinx and Asian American histories. Her work is especially interested racial and gendered formations and U.S. empire building in the global south. She is currently completing her first book, Beauty Regimes (Duke University Press, forthcoming), a book that examines the cultural, political, and economic dimensions of fashion and beauty systems that lay at the heart of modern empire and Philippine nation-building projects. She published, “Pageant Politics: Tensions of Power, Empire, and Nationalism in Manila Carnival Queen Contests,” in the anthology, Gendering the Trans-Pacific World (Brill Press, 2017) and “World War II and the Promise of Normalcy: Filipina Lives Under Two Empires” in Beyond the Edge of the Nation: Transimperial Histories with a U.S. Angle (Duke University Press 2020). Before arriving at Wellesley, Clutario was an assistant professor in History and History and Literature at Harvard University. She continues to pursue research and teaching interests focused on Asian American narratives in global perspectives; Filipinx studies; comparative histories of culture and modern empire; transnational feminisms; and gender, race, and the politics of fashion and beauty.

Maile Arvin, Assistant Professor of History and Gender Studies at the University of Utah

Dr. Maile Arvin is an assistant professor of History and Gender Studies at the University of Utah. She is a Native Hawaiian feminist scholar who works on issues of race, gender, science and colonialism in Hawai‘i and the broader Pacific. At the University of Utah, she is part of the leadership of the Pacific Islands Studies Initiative, which was awarded a Mellon Foundation grant to support ongoing efforts to develop Pacific Islands Studies curriculum, programming and student recruitment and support.

Arvin’s first book, Possessing Polynesians: The Science of Settler Colonial Whiteness in Hawaiʻi and Oceania, was published with Duke University Press in 2019. In that book, she analyzes the nineteenth and early twentieth century history of social scientists declaring Polynesians “almost white.” The book argues that such scientific studies contributed to a settler colonial logic of possession through whiteness. In this logic, Indigenous Polynesians (the people) and Polynesia (the place) became the natural possessions of white settlers, since they reasoned that Europeans and Polynesians shared an ancient ancestry. The book also examines how Polynesians have long challenged this logic in ways that regenerate Indigenous ways of relating to each other. Her work has also been published in the journals Meridians, American QuarterlyNative American and Indigenous StudiesCritical Ethnic StudiesThe Scholar & Feminist, and Feminist Formations, as well as on the nonprofit independent news site Truthout.