Nayan Shah is Professor and Chair of the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He previously taught history, gender studies and ethnic studies at the University of California San Diego and the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received his B.A. degree at Swarthmore College in 1988 and the PhD at the University of Chicago in 1995. At Swarthmore, he graduated with a major in History, minors in Economics and Religion and tied it together with a concentration in Asian Studies. At the University of Chicago, he began research and writing on Asian American Studies with the support of a community of graduate students in Chicago and Asian American Studies faculty in California and the Northeast.
Nayan Shah is a historian with expertise in U.S. and Canadian history, gender and sexuality studies, legal and medical history, and Asian American Studies. His research investigates how transnational migration has shaped state institutions and regulation of health, law and immigration. His new research examines social movements, the tactic of hunger strikes and changes in medical ethics and international human rights, drawing on case studies in South Africa, India, and the United States.
Professor Shah is the author of Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown (University of California Press, 2001), which won the Association of Asian American Studies History Book Prize, and Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality and Law in the North American West (University of California Press, 2011), which was awarded the Norris and Carol Hundley Prize by the American Historical Association Pacific Branch for the most distinguished book on any historical subject. He has received research support from the Rockefeller Foundation, UC Humanities Research Institute, New York University’s Center of Advanced Studies, the Mellon Foundation and the Humboldt Foundation. In 2006 he was the Freeman Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor at Wesleyan University as part of their initiative to bridge Asian Studies and Asian American Studies. Since 2011 Shah is editor of GLQ: The Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies.