Aloha, I am an Associate Professor of International Studies and chair of the Dept of History, Humanities, and International Studies at Hawaiʻi Pacific University in Honolulu. I joined the faculty at HPU in 2017 and teach courses in Political Science, International Studies, and the MA program in Diplomacy and Military Studies where I serve as thesis advisor to numerous wonderful MA students. In 2021, I created the new interdisciplinary minor in Human Rights.
Research, teaching, and community engagement are my passions. In 2021, I was named a Fulbright Nehru scholar to carry out research on inter-religious peace-building in the southern Indian state of Kerala. In 2021, I was also selected as HPU's Teacher of the Year which was very exciting considering the challenges related to Covid and the necessary adaptation to online, hybrid, and socially distanced/masked in-person classes. In 2022, I received the golden apple honor of Scholar of the year for HPU.
My research focuses on religious nationalism/populism, right wing movements, peace, and security with a regional specialization in South Asia. I have a broad interest in human security, particularly as it relates to climate, development, and gender. My research has been published with Cambridge University Press, Routledge, Terrorism and Political Violence, Progress in Development Studies, and Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism among others.
My research and teaching background have helped me secure external funding from CAIS (Germany), CAORC-Inya Institute (Bangladesh/Myanmar), the NEH (Sri Lanka) and the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. In 2019 I was selected as an ICNC teaching fellow and developed a new graduate and undergraduate course on civil resistance.
In addition to my research and teaching I serve as the Model UN co-advisor for HPU as well as the Fulbright, Marshall, and CLS advisor for the university. I am currently serving as faculty senator for the College of Liberal Arts.
I love learning languages and am actively studying Malayalam (നമസ്കാരം), Chinese (你好), and Hindi (नमस्ते). I believe learning the language is an important part of being a regional specialist. I also speak Spanish. Because I am a resident of Hawaiʻi I have also taken two years of ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i.
On a personal level, I enjoy arts and nature. I am a lifelong dancer and my first job was teaching dance. For the past two years I have also been learning Odissi classical dance from Akari Ueoka (www.akaridance.com), which has given me a deeper appreciation for the Indian classical arts. I also continue to practice ballet and contemporary dance. I also am an avid birder and rescue and rehabilitate injured birds.