Nishant Upadhyay
Assistant Professor
Asian American Studies • Gender and Sexuality Studies

Office Location: Ketchum 166

Pronouns: they / them / theirs



PhD, Social and Political Thought, York University, Canada, 2016
MA, Social and Political Thought, York University, Canada, 2010 
BA(H), Economics & Development Studies, Queen’s University, Canada, 2007

Research Interests

Critical Ethnic Studies, Asian (North) American Studies, Queer & Trans of Color Critiques, Intersectional & Transnational Feminisms, Anti-colonial & Decolonial Thinking, Transnational Settler Colonialisms (US, Canada, India, and Israel), South Asian Studies, Anti-Caste Critiques


Women & Gender Studies
LGBTQ Studies 
Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies
Center for Asian Studies

Nishant joined the Department of Ethnic Studies in Fall 2019. They received their PhD at York University, Toronto in the Graduate Program of Social and Political Thought in 2016. Their dissertation received the National Women’s Studies Association/University of Illinois Press First Book Award in 2018. Prior to joining CU Boulder, Nishant taught Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Northern Arizona University.

Their research focuses on intersections of race, indigeneity, caste, gender, and sexuality. Their book manuscript, Indians on Indian Lands: Transnational Intersections of Race, Caste, and Indigeneity, studies the formation of dominant-caste Hindu Indian diasporas in North America and Indian diasporic complicities in processes of settler colonialism, racial capitalism, antiblackness, heteronormativity, brahminical supremacy, and Hindu nationalism. The manuscript is under advance contract with the University of Illinois Press. Their scholarship has been published in Cultural Studies, InterventionsJournal of Critical Ethnic Studies, Feminist StudiesWSQ and other journals, anthologies, and online spaces. They have edited a special issue of Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory (2014) on the Ghadar movement, and co-edited a special issue of Feral Feminisms (2015) on transnational feminist analysis of settler colonialism.

At CU Boulder, they teach within the areas of Queer and Trans of Color Studies, decolonial approaches to gender and sexuality, and Asian American Studies. Their teaching grounds intersectional, transnational, and decolonial frameworks. In recognition of their teaching, in Spring 2021 they received the Best Should Teach Gold Award, and in Spring 2020 the Staff Integrity Award. In Spring 2021, their students in the Queer and Trans of Color Visions class (ETHN 3101) made this collective zine as the final project: Queer and Trans Futurisms: A BIPoC Visions Zine.


Peer-reviewed Journal Articles (Selected)

“Hindu Nation and its Queers: Caste, Islamophobia, and De/coloniality in India.” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies (2020). Article translated and published in Malayalam by Campus Alive

“Making of “Model” South Asians on the Tar Sands: Intersections of Race, Caste, and Indigeneity.” Journal of the Critical Ethnic Studies (2019). 

“Can You Get More American Than Native American?”: (Racialized) Drag Americans, Settler Colonialism, and RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Cultural Studies (2019).

“Feminisms, Collaborations, Friendships: A Conversation,” co-authored with Richa Nagar, Özlem Aslan, Nadia Hasan, Omme Rahemtullah, and Begum Uzun.  Feminist Studies (2016). 

“Pinkwatching Israel, Whitewashing Canada: Queer (Settler) Politics and Indigenous Colonization in Canada”, co-authored with Michael C. Jackman. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly (2014).

“Queering Conceptual Boundaries: Assembling Indigenous, Marxist, Postcolonial and Queer Perspectives”, co-authored with Paulo Ravecca. Jindal Global Law Review (2013). 

Edited Special Journal Issues

“Complicities, Connections, and Struggles: Critical Transnational Feminist Analysis of Settler Colonialism,” special guest co-editor of Feral Feminisms (2015), with Shaista Patel and Ghaida Moussa.

“Ghadar: A Living History,” special guest editor of Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory (2014).

Contributions to Edited Collections (Selected)

“Trans/lating Queer, Annihilating Caste, Decolonizing Praxis,” co-authored with Sandeep Bakshi, in Routledge Handbook on Translation, Gender, and Feminism, eds. Luise von Flotow and Hala Kamal (Routledge Press, London: 2020).

“Brown Bodies, Borders, and Boats: Reading Tamil ‘Irregular Arrivants’ Through the History of the Komagata Maru," co-authored with Nadia Hasan, Sailaja Krishnamurti, Omme Rahemtullah, and Nayani Vathsaladevi-Thiyagarajah, in Charting Imperial Itineraries: Unmooring the Komagata Maru, eds. Rita K. Dhamoon, Davina Bhandar, Renisa Mawani, and Satwinder K. Bains (UBC Press, Vancouver: 2019). *Anthology received honorable mention from The Canadian Studies Network for the Best Edited Collection in 2020

Non-Peer Reviewed Journal Articles (Selected)

“Coloniality Of White Feminism and Its Transphobia: A Comment on Burt.” Feminist Criminology (2021).

“Geographies of Occupation in South Asia”, co-authored with Nosheen Ali, Mona Bhan, Sahana Ghosh, Hafsa Kanjwal, Zunaira Komal, Deepti Misri, Shruti Mukherjee, Sabia Varma, and Ather Zia. Feminist Studies (2019).

“Pernicious Continuities: Un/settling Violence, Race and Colonialism.” Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory (2013).

Non-Academic Publications (Selected)

“COVID Carnage in India: Politics of Hatred, Hindu Right, and Western Imperialism”, Boulder Weekly, (2021).

“On Atlanta and Boulder Shootings: Abolitionist Visions”, Boulder Weekly, (2021).

“Trans Liberation & Colonial Erasures,” Tilt West (2020).

“Queer Rights, Section 377, and Decolonizing Sexualities,” Decolonizing Sexualities Network Blog (2018).