Devika Chawla, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

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"There's really no such thing as the 'voiceless.'There are only the deliberately silenced and the preferably unheard." 

Arundati Roy

"Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it." 

Hannah Arendt


Doctor of Philosophy (Communication Studies) Purdue University, 2004;  Master of Arts (Communication) Central Michigan University, 2000; Master’s Diploma (Print Journalism) Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, India, 1995; B. A. (Honors) (Literary Criticism), Delhi University, New Delhi, India, 1994

Academic Appointments

Associate Professor: School of Communication Studies (2010-present); Assistant Professor: School of Communication Studies, Ohio University (2004-2010); Affiliate Faculty: Interdisciplinary Arts; Women's Studies; International Development Studies; Southeast Asian Studies (Ohio University); Visiting Graduate Faculty, Bangkok University, Thailand (Spring 2008, 2011)

Research and Teaching Interests

How do human beings make, re-make, un-make themselves in and through the relationships that surround them and the resources—social, political, economic—that are available to them? This broad question is at the heart of my intellectual process. I attend to it by addressing identity as a narrative and performative process that human beings construct relationally over time. I employ complementary and appropriate research practices–ethnographic methods and oral and life history interviewing—to understand the rich texture of marital and family identity in a variety of contexts. Broadly, my areas of interest are--Narrative and Performance Theory; Identity; Postcolonial and Transnational Studies; Oral History; Ethnography.

Present research: Home, Uprooted: Oral Histories of India's Partition  (Book forthcoming with Fordham University Press)

Books: Chawla, D., & Rodriguez, A. (2011).  Liminal Traces: Performing, Storying, and Embodying Postcoloniality. (Sense Publishers, Boston, MA) & Rodriguez, A. & Chawla, D. (2010). Intercultural Communication: An Ecological Approach. Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Essays: Published in peer-reviewed communication and interdisciplinary journals such as Qualitative Inquiry; Review of Communication, International and Intercultural Communication Annual, Women & Language; Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies; Storytelling, Self, Society; Teaching in Higher Education, Radical Pedagogy, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, International Journal of Progressive Education, Semiotics, and contributed invited chapters and entries in edited volumes and anthologies (see vita).


  • Article of the Year Award, African American Communication and Culture Division, NCA 2011
  • Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, 2010, School of Communication Studies 
  • Ohio University Research Council Grant, Ohio University, 2009
  • Provost's Award for Research and Creativity, Ohio University, Summer 2008 
  • Top Paper, Ethnography Division, National Communication Association, 2007, 2009 
  • OSCLG Kramarae Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2005 
  • Top Paper Performance Studies Division, National Communication Association, 2005
  • Alan H. Munroe Scholar, Department of Communication, Purdue University, 2003

Other Interests

I moderate a social media page called Dented and Painted, which has about 1300 members worldwide.  It serves as a forum for disseminating and discussing issues of gender-based violence and gender inequity on a global scale.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/394875807266968/.  Email me if you would like to join it.  

I have a poorly publicized blog called, Rhymes, Reasons, and Ramblings, on which I try to post off and on. If you have ideas about how to publicize it, please do come talk to me (smile).  http://devikachawla.wordpress.com/author/devikachawla/

When I do have spare time, I spend it traveling with my spouse, reading fiction, writing creative non-fiction,  entertaining our devilish English yellow lab called Milo, and obsessing over Roger Federer's tennis legacy.  Amidst all this, I walk--compulsively.