Dr. Balbir K. Singh will be joining the Department of Art History on August 1, 2022 as Assistant Professor of Art and Racial Justice. Dr. Singh will also be nominated by the Faculty of Fine Arts for a Tier II Canada Research Chair.
Dr. Singh is an interdisciplinary scholar trained in cultural theory and ethnic studies. She received her PhD in 2016 from the University of Washington, held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign and the University of Texas at Austin, and is currently an assistant professor at Virginia Tech. Broadly, her work centers the racial, gendered, and sexual politics of embodiment, surveillance, and policing. Using anti-colonial methods of reading and sensing, Singh builds on theories of opacity across two book-length projects. The first, her in-progress manuscript “Militant Bodies: Racial/Religious Opacity and Minoritarian Self-Defense,” takes a materialist feminist approach to explore questions that center post-9/11 racial and religious hyper-policing of Muslim and Sikh bodies. Through a politics of religious dress, hair, and adornment, this project interrogates the related racial, gendered, and queer life of turbaned and hijabi bodies to analyze the twinned expansion of contemporary Islamophobia and surveillance culture. The second book project, “Opacity in Black and Brown: Race, Aesthetics, Anonymity,” will further analyze opacity, anonymity, and autonomy as essential to a radical politics beyond representation for minoritarian peoples. Moreover, she teaches courses in Asian and Arab diasporic cultural studies; race, affect, and aesthetics; visual culture and surveillance studies; and the politics of fashion and the body. Currently, she serves as Reviews Editor Designate for the College Art Association’s Art Journal. Singh has been published in journals including Sikh Formations, Critical Ethnic Studies, QED, Surveillance and Society, Rhizomes, and the Journal for Asian American Studies.