Monisha Das Gupta, Faculty, Department of Ethnic Studies, UH Mānoa

Monisha Das Gupta

Department Chair, Professor
Office: George Hall 306
1 (808) 956-2914


I grew up in Kolkata, India, and came to the United States for graduate studies after working for a local newspaper for a few years on graduating with my bachelor’s degree in Geography. My trajectory in the academy has taken me through different disciplines, sensitizing me to the distinct discipline-based questions as well as the overlaps in issues and methods. My focus on migration steered me toward interdisciplinarity. Drawing on my own positive experiences in school with seminar-style teaching and caring teachers who believed in me, I strive to create a similar college experience for my UHM students so that they can thrive intellectually and interpersonally.


  • PhD, Sociology, Brandeis University, 1999
  • MA, Sociology, Brandeis University, 1994
  • Diploma in American Studies, Smith College, 1990
  • BSc, Geography, Loreto College, Kolkata, India, 1984


I study migrant-led movements for social justice. I approach this subject from a feminist and critical ethnic studies framework. My research methods are qualitative. It has contributed to developing transnational feminist approaches to migration. I specialize in the South Asian diaspora in the United States, and, over time, my research interests in movements for labor, racial and gender justice have expanded to my working with many other ethnic groups. All my research is closely tied to community-based organizing. I involve graduate and advanced undergraduate students in my research. My current research project focuses on anti-deportation organizing in the United States.

Community Engagement

I am deeply committed to labor and migrant rights. I am involved with UNITE HERE! Local 5, the labor union which organizes the immigrant-majority workers in the hotel industry. Since 2010, I have worked closely with the Hawaiʻi Coalition for Immigrant Rights to educate our communities on the issues our migrant communities face and their needs. I have strong ties with several immigrant rights organizations in the Los Angeles area, and maintain connections with the organizations on the continent about which I write. It has been very rewarding to build these crucial bridges between the academy, and our communities.