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Arafaat Valiani

Arafaat Valiani profile picture
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Additional Title: Associate Department Head/Chair, Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Phone: 541-346-5763
  • Office: 301 McKenzie Hall
  • Office Hours: Winter 2020, Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 am to 1:00pm and by appointment
  • Affiliated Departments: Asian Studies, Sociology


My current intellectual interests focus on questions surrounding the politics of biomedicine and casted-racialized bodies, technology and their attendant institutional contexts in South Asia and among Asian diasporas. Employing methods from medical sociology, indigenous science and technology studies and South Asian Studies, I study how discourses about ethics and innovation mediate the production of biomedecine in India, and among Asian diasporas in North America. Genomic science in India, electronic voting machines in India, human milk markets in the United States, and Chinese birth tourism in the United States are sites that are currently being explored. This body of research contributes to debates in sociology of health and medicine, history of science, gender, race/ethnicity and South Asian Studies. 

Dr. Valiani's first book, entitled Militant Publics in India: Physical Culture and Violence in the Making of a Modern Polity (Palgrave 2011), combined historical and ethnographic research methods to examine the effects of ethno-religious, medical and masculine conceptions of the body on the formation of political community in modern India. As extensions of this project, I have published work on physical culture in the contemporary Hindu nationalist movement and on Mohandas Gandhi's conceptions of the body and masculinity in relation to war and the Indian diaspora in South Africa. This body of research contributes to debates in sociology of the body, ethnicity and gender, political histories of South Asia, and broader discussions about the rise of populism which we are currently witnessing in North America, Europe and South Asia.

Before taking up his appointment in the Department of History at the University of Oregon, Arafaat Valiani was Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at Williams College.

Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Oregon, Dr. Valiani worked as a consultant in the private, non-profit and government sectors in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Organizations to whom he provided his expertise included Columbia University, Population Concern, Statistics Canada and CN (Canadian National Railway Company).


Ph.D. Columbia University
MA London School of Economics/School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)

Distinctions, Awards and Fellowships

National Science Foundation

Ford Foundation

National Endowment for the Humanities

Kluge Fellowship, Library of Congress

Wenner-Gren Foundation

American Institute of Indian Studies

Oregon Humanities Fellowship

Tom and Carol Williams Grant

Fellowship for Exceptional Research in Environmental StudiesConcordia University (Montreal, Canada) (awarded twice)

Selected Publications

Manuscripts Under Review or in Preparation:

Recoding Caste: Community, Genetic Mapping and Risk in Postgenomic India and Its Diasporas

Undone Science and Technological Innovation: The Case of Electronic Voting Machines in Postcolonial India (Co-authored with Patrick Jones).

Processions as Publics: Relgious Ceremonials, the City and Modes of Public Sphere Intervention in Colonial and Postcolonial Western India.

Media and Mobilization: Political Resistance and Its Media Forms in Western India.

Militant Publics in India: Physical Culture and Violence in the Making of a Modern Polity (Palgrave Macmillan 2011).

"Recuperating Indian Masculinity: Mohandas Gandhi, War and the Indian Diaspora in South Africa (1899-1914)", 2014, South Asia History and Culture, Volume 5, Issue 4.

"Physical Training: Ethical Discipline and Creative Violence: Zones of Self-Mastery in the Hindu Nationalist Movement (Gujarat, India)", Culture Anthropology, Volume 25, Issue 1.