Dr Kavyta Raghunandan

Contact details

Dr Kavyta Raghunandan
BA(Hons); PGCE (Greenwich); MA (Leeds); PhD (Leeds)
Position/Fellowship type:
Senior Lecturer in Race and Education
Fellowship term:
03-Feb-2014 to 31-Jan-2025
Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Home institution:
Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Communities, Classes, Races, Culture, Gender studies, Social Sciences
Asia, Caribbean, England, United Kingdom
Summary of research interests and expertise:

Kavyta is a Senior Lecturer in Race and Education. She gained her first degree in Modern Languages, an MA in Gender Studies and received a PhD in Sociology from the University of Leeds. Her doctoral thesis explored the performativity of Indian raced and gendered identities in the postcolonial Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago and was largely influenced by a black feminist ethnographic approach. Her teaching, writing and research interests lie in intersectional ways of thinking through race, gender and sexuality from multiple platforms whether academic, popular culture or social. Her work, so far, has been on the body, the politics of beauty, mixed race and South Asian cultural studies.

Project summary relevant to Fellowship:

Currently, she is working on a deracialisation transnational project funded by the Swedish Research Council to counter the contemporary dynamics of racialisation across Sweden, South Africa, Brazil and the UK. Specifically, she is working on the context of South Africa. She is also Course leader for a MA in Race, Education and Decolonial Thought.

Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
05-Aug-2019 #Olitz: The Erotics of (E)Racing in Scandal


This chapter explores the complex interplay of meanings and the discursive practices of race inherent in the erotics of Olitz - a hashtag that largely promoted or 'shipped' the televisual pairing of Olivia Pope and Fitz Williams in the TV show Scandal. This also explores Olivia’s raced and gendered sexuality working silently and steadily throughout the show, in a way that challenges one-dimensional, stereotypical depictions of Black women on screen and this gradually unravels in the eroticized Olitz relationship.

03-Jun-2018 New Indian Nuttahs: Comedy and Cultural Critique in Millennial India


This book takes a journey into the new and exciting created by a the wave of Indian comedians today, described affectionately here as the New Indian Nuttahs, and looks at what these tell us about identity, “Indianness”, censorship, feminism, diaspora and millennial India. It provides a unique analysis into the growing phenomenon of internet comedy and into a dimension of Indian popular culture which has long been dominated by the traditional film and television industries. Through a mixture of close textual readings of online comedy videos and interviews with content creators and consumers in India, this book provides a fresh perspective on comedy studies in its approach to a global South context from a sociocultural perspective. As a protean form of new media, this has opened up new avenues of articulation, identification and disidentification and as such, this book makes a further contribution to South Asian, communication, media & cultural studies.

06-Sep-2016 Young People in the Digital Age: Metrics of Friendship


This chapter provides a critical overview of the debates on how new developments in the digital age, such as forms of social media, specifically social networking sites, are influencing the social, cultural, and geographical dimensions of young people’s friendships. As a distinctive aspect of young people’s lives, friendships are regarded as sites of companionship, support, and at times intimacy but can also be fraught with anxieties or difficulties. Social networking sites are new technological platforms that exist explicitly to facilitate the practice of friendship. However, there are diverse opinions in both the scholarly and popular literature on the extent to which these sites and other forms of social media are transforming the nature and meaning of contemporary friendship. A range of commentators also debate in sometimes quite polarizing terms whether the net effects of these new social media are positive and negative. This chapter explores how social media practices shape friendship for young people and argues that it is unproductive to take a binaristic view of the effects of social media as young people in the digital age are diverse in the ways they “do” friendship and in the ways they mobilize newer social resources that have opened up to them.

10-Aug-2016 The Body Contours of Carnival: Mas-Playing and Race in Trinidad


By problematising the mixed and multicultural image of Carnival, this chapter makes a contribution to Carnival scholarship in its analysis of Indian Trinidadian women’s voices which do not typically feature in Carnival literature. In its drawing upon these voices as epistemological sources, it makes a contribution to wider discourses of race, gender and the nation in the Trinidadian context.

11-Jan-2016 Gazing Grey and the Shading of Female Sexuality


Since the worldwide theatrical release of one of the most talked about films of 2015 on Valentine’s Day weekend, Fifty Shades of Grey has continued to generate immense interest, much as the novel did when first published in 2012. Some of the main sticky points raised, amidst the soaring box office collections, were the flummoxing popularity of the novels and film, a dull plot, lack of chemistry between the protagonists, and the contested representations of gender and sexuality. This article is premised on the idea that female sexuality and female-focused erotic pleasure, in the context of Hollywood cinema, is a contested terrain which throws more shade and less heat to the latter. In this paper, I show that the film’s inability to convey female sexuality and pleasure as an experience rather than ‘to-be-looked-at’ is indicative of the gender politics of Hollywood which legitimises hetero-sexist tropes as I claim the Fifty Shades film does under the guise of a love story. I demonstrate that this film adaptation, while mainly targeted towards a female audience, invariably reifies and upholds the dominant cinematic framework of Hollywood, and that is the male gaze (Mulvey 2003).

04-Mar-2013 Hyphenated identities: Negotiating ‘Indianness’ and being Indo - Trinidadian

Journal articles

Publications available in Senate House Libraries

Research Projects & Supervisions

Available for doctoral supervision: Yes

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