Photo of Kapadia, Ronak K.

Ronak K. Kapadia, PhD

Assistant Professor

Gender and Women's Studies


Building & Room:

1218 UH


601 S Morgan St.

Office Phone Voice:

(312) 996-2715



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 art and aesthetics 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 (under contract, Duke University Press). With Katherine McKittrick and Simone Browne, he is co-editor of the 2017  Special Issue of Surveillance and Society on race, communities, and informers. His writing also appears or is forthcoming in Asian American Literary Review Journal of Popular Music Studies, Feminist Formations , Women & Performance,  and edited volumes including: Shifting Borders : America and the Middle East/North Africa (AUB Press 2014), Critical Ethnic Studies : A Reader (Duke UP 2016), and With Stones In Our Hands : Reflections on Racism, Muslims and US Empire (U Minnesota Press 2018). Kapadia has begun research toward his second book project, The Downward Redistribution of Breath, which develops a decolonial feminist critical theory of healing justice in the time of imperial decline.

Kapadia’s research has been supported by the NYU Henry MacCracken Fellowship, the Mellon/ACLS Fellowship, the Consortium for Faculty Diversity in the Liberal Arts Colleges, the NYU Dean's Dissertation Award, the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, the UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy Faculty Fellowship, the UIC Great Cities Institute Faculty Scholarship, and the UIC LAS Dean’s Award for Faculty Research in the Humanities. 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 queer and trans youth of color in New York City and Sage Community Health Collective, a worker-owned health and healing justice collective in Chicago. He is the incoming co-coordinator of the Newberry Library’s Seminar on Gender and Sexuality. You can follow his Spring 2018 Queer Theory course’s Instagram page here:


PhD, American Studies, New York University, 2012