Nitasha Tamar Sharma

Core Faculty

Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and the Department of African American Studies

Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence









Ph.D in Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2004


Research and Teaching Interests:

Comparative Race, Asian and Black Relations, South Asian American Studies, Mixed Race Studies, Hip Hop Studies, Multi-sited Ethnography


Nitasha Tamar Sharma's academic activities are based on an interdisciplinary, comparative, and ethnographic approach to the study of difference, inequality, and racism. The central goal of her teaching, research, and writing is to develop models for multiracial alliance building by zeroing in on cultural phenomena that unearth and challenge the factors that structure contentious race relations. Dr. Sharma is writing her second book, Hidden Hapas: Multiracial Blacks and Blackness in Hawai'i. This ethnography is based on interviews with 60 non-White mixed race Blacks in Hawai'i, including Black Hawaiians, Black Samoans, and Black Okinawans to analyze how mixed race people negotiate, express, and repress race as they identify across constructed racial categories. This work speaks to debates in Mixed Race Studies, Comparative Race Studies, and Diaspora Studies to analyze Blackness in the Pacific and offer new theories of belonging that emerge from the intersection of race and indigeneity. Her first book, Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness (Duke University Press 2010), analyzes how second generation members of an upwardly mobile and middle-class immigrant group use hip hop to develop racial--and not just ethnic--identities. The racial consciousness expressed by these hip hop artists as “people of color” facilitates the development of multiracial coalitions that cross boundaries while explicitly acknowledging “difference.” Dr. Sharma teaches courses on Hip Hop, Asian/Black Relations in the U.S., The Mixed Race Experience, and Race, Crime, and Punishment: The Border, Prisons, and Post-9/11 Detentions, and Ethnographies of Immigration, Race, and Immigration.



(upcoming) Hidden Hapas: Multiracial Blacks and Blackness in Hawai'i


Hip Hop Desis: South Asian Americans, Blackness, and a Global Race Consciousness

(Duke University Press, 2010)



"Marketing MCs: South Asian American Rappers Negotiate Image, Audience, Artistic Control and Capital" Popular Music and Society (2014)

"Pacific Revisions of Blackness: Blacks Address Race and Belonging in Hawai'." Amerasia Journal (37:3): 43-60.

"The Sounds of Social Consciousness: South Asian Rappers on Capitalism, Sexism, and Racism." In Essays in Inequality and Injustice, Kira Hall, ed. Meerut, India: Archana Publishers 2009.

"Polyvalent Voices: Ethnic and Racialized Desi Hip Hop," In Desi Rap: South Asian Americans in Hip Hop, Ajay Nair and Murali Balaji, eds. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers/Lexington Books 2008:17-32

"Musical Manifestos: Desi Hip Hop Artists Sound Off on Capitalism and Sexism." In The Subcontinental: The Journal of South Asian American Public Affairs. Spring 2007:25-38

"Rotten Coconuts and Other Strange Fruit: A Slice of Hip Hop from the West Coast." In the South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection. (2001)

"Down by Law: The Effects and Responses of Copyright Restrictions on Sampling in Rap." In the Journal of Political and Legal Anthropology. (1999)

Upcoming Event

Hidden Histories: Short films on Japanese American Incarceration During WWII
May 30, 20176:30 PM - 8:30 PM