Jiya Pandya

they/them, she/her
Graduate Student

Jiya is a historian of disability, the body, gender, sexuality, and caste, colonial and post-colonial South Asia, and transnational welfare.

Her dissertation focuses on the centrality of disability welfare to imperialism and nationalism in India between the 1930s and 1990s. Rather than taking "disability" as a bounded, defined term, she instead deploys the tools of "conceptual" history and feminist, queer, and crip theory to read "disability" as contextual and historical, changing depending on who is deploying it and why. In so doing, the project rejects binaries of Western "disability" and "authentic" Indian bodily alterity, instead focusing on the provincialized and hybridized definitions of "disability" in transnational welfare networks emanating to and from India. Firmly rooted in oral and social history practices, her dissertation also examines how "disability" as a concept is constructed alongside caste, class, and gender.

Jiya strongly believes in non-Eurocentric and praxis-driven scholarship, and her teaching and academic service reflect this commitment. She has taught courses in global history, oral history, US history, and gender and sexuality studies to students in Princeton, incarcerated students in New Jersey, and to undergraduate and masters students at Al-Quds University in Palestine, the European Humanities University in Belarus, and the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. She serves on the boards of the Disability History Association, the Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative, and on Princeton's Ad-Hoc Committee on Sexual Climate, Culture and Conduct. On campus she has also run the Gender and Sexuality Studies Working Group, the Social Theory and Social Thought reading group, the Disability Studies Working Group, and the South Asia Graduate Workshop. She previously served as the UMatter Graduate Fellow, developing programs and resources to help graduate students prevent and navigate power-based violence, substance abuse, and mental health concerns. Jiya also works as a Social Impact GradFutures fellow with the Remote Access Archive Project at the Critical Design Lab at Vanderbilt University.

She has recent and upcoming publications in Disability Studies Quarterly, Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking and History of Anthropology Review. She has also been featured in the podcasts Disability Crosses Borders and En-Gender Conversations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she developed a #CripCOVID19Syllabus which was featured on the Visualizing the Virus digital humanities project.

Year of Study
Sixth Year
Area of Interest
Asian American
Colonialism & Post Colonialism
Disability History
Foreign Relations
Gender & Sexuality
History & Public Policy
History of Education
History of Science and the Emotions
International Development
Labor History
Medicine & Health
Oral History
Science and Technology Studies
Social History
Home Department & Other Affiliations
20th Century
21st Century
United States