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Rumya S. Putcha

Associate Professor of Music and Women's Studies

Rumya S. Putcha is an associate professor in the Institute for Women's Studies as well as in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. Her research interests center on colonial and anti-colonial thought, particularly around constructs of citizenship, the body, and the law. Her first book, The Dancer’s Voice: Performance and Womanhood in Transnational India (Duke University Press, 2023), develops a transnational feminist approach to Indian performance cultures. Her second book project, “Namaste Nation: Orientalism and Wellness Cultures in the United States” extends her work on transnational performance cultures to critical analyses of capitalist fitness industries. 


A.B., The University of Chicago

M.A., The University of Chicago

Ph.D., The University of Chicago


Selected recent publications:

“from elsewhere,” Feminist Review (2023) 133: 1-10.

“#yeeyeenation: Country boys and the Mythopoetics of White Public Culture,” DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race (2022), 1-16

“The Mythical Courtesan: Womanhood and Dance in Transnational India,” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism (2021) 20(1): 127-150.

“Yoga and White Public Space” Religions (2020) 11: 1-14.

“The Modern Courtesan: Gender, Religion, and Dance in Transnational India,” Feminist Review (2020) 126: 54-73.

"After Eat, Pray, Love: Tourism, Orientalism, and Cartographies of Salvation,” Tourist Studies (2020) 20(4): 1-17    

“Gender, Caste, and Feminist Praxis in Transnational South India” The Journal of South Asian Popular Culture (2019) 17(1): 61-79

“Dancing in Place: Mythopoetics and the Production of History in Kuchipudi” Yearbook for Traditional Music (2015) 47: 1-26

“Between History and Historiography: The Origins of Classical Kuchipudi Dance.” Dance Research Journal (2013) 45(3): 1-20


Other Musical Interests:

Her research interests center on post-Enlightenment, colonial, and postcolonial thought, particularly around constructs of citizenship, race, gender, sexuality, the body, and the law. Professor Putcha received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2011 and her first book, Mythical Courtesan | Modern Wife: Feminist Praxis in Transnational South Asia, develops a decolonial feminist approach to South Asian performance cultures. She is currently working on a project titled, “Refrains of a Hillbilly Elegy: Country Boys, Social Media, and the Affective Politics of 21st Century White Supremacy,” which examines expressions of race, citizenship, and post-9/11 American cultural politics within country music publics. Her second book project, “Namaste Nation: Commercial Yoga Industries and U.S. Imperialism” extends her work on South Asian performance cultures to critical analyses of capitalist yoga practices within legal and affective discourses of body, race, wellness, and citizenship.

Articles Featuring Rumya S. Putcha

Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Women’s Studies

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