Anurima Banerji

A photo of Anurima Banerji
E-mail: Phone: 310-206-9178 Office: Kaufman Hall 140-B

Anurima Banerji is Associate Professor and current Graduate Vice Chair in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. She is the author of the monograph Dancing Odissi: Paratopic Performances of Gender and State (Seagull Books/University of Chicago Press, 2019), recipient of the 2020 de la Torre Bueno Prize awarded by the Dance Studies Association. With Dr. Violaine Roussel, she co-edited How to Do Politics with Art (Routledge, 2017). Currently she is working on a new book project, The Impossibility of Indian Classical Dance, as well as co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Indian Dance with Dr. Prarthana Purkayastha and Dance Studies: Critical Glossaries with Dr. Royona Mitra and Dr. Jasmine Johnson (University of Pennsylvania). As a poet and trained Odissi dancer, Banerji shares the faculty’s important goal of bridging the worlds of academia and art. Her research principally concerns critical historicizations of Indian dance and its relationship to the state. Banerji’s work is informed by an intersectional and interdisciplinary approach based on the insights of postcolonialism, critical race theory, performance studies, feminist and queer philosophy, and discourses of class, regionalism, and religion in India. She has received fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Hellman Foundation, the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study, and the International Research Center at Freie Universität to support her research. In 2013, her essay “Dance and the Distributed Body,” published in About Performance, received the Gertrude Lippincott Award from the Society of Dance History Scholars. She also won the 2007 Outstanding Graduate Research Award from the Congress on Research in Dance for her essay “Paratopias of Performance: The Choreographic Practices of Chandralekha,” later included in Planes of Composition: Dance, Theory, and the Global, edited by André Lepecki and Jenn Joy (Seagull Books, 2009). Additional writings appear in the journals Contemporary Theatre Review, Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies, Economic and Political Weekly, South Asian History and Culture, and Women and Performance, as well as edited volumes like The Moving Space: Women in Dance and the Oxford Handbook of Dance Reenactment. Banerji is affiliated with the UCLA Center for India and South Asia, Center for Performance Studies, the Center for the Study of Women, and the LGBTQ Studies Program, and serves on the Nominations Committee at the Dance Studies Association. She participated as guest faculty at the 2019 DSA/Mellon Seminar for Emerging Scholars and has served as guest lecturer at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of Art and Aesthetics in New Delhi, India and the Center for Contemporary Dance at the University of Music and Dance in Cologne, Germany.


  • BA English Literature with Minor in Women’s Studies, McGill University (1996)
  • MA Communications (focus on Cultural Studies), McGill University (1999)
  • MA Performance Studies (focus on Dance Studies), New York University (2004)
  • PhD Performance Studies (focus on Dance History), New York University (2010)


  • Recent courses include: Theories of Performance, Introduction to Dance Studies, World Dance Histories, and Odissi Dance.
  • At UCLA, Banerji is affiliated with the Center for India and South Asia, Center for Performance Studies, Center for the Study of Women, and the LGBTQ Studies FAC.
  • Publications include: Dancing Odissi: Paratopic Performances of Gender and State (2019) and the edited volume How to Do Politics with Art (2017).
  • Banerji is the recipient of UCLA grants, Hellman Fellowship, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study Fellowship (New Delhi, India), and International Research Centre fellowship, Freie Universitat (Berlin, Germany).
  • Current research involves a book-in-progress titled The Impossibility of Indian Classical Dance.

Selected Publications

  • “Dancing Odissi: Paratopic Performances of Gender and State” Seagull Books (2019)
  • “Paratopias of Performance: The Choreographic Practices of Chandralekha.” In Planes of Composition: Dance and the Global, edited by Andre Lepecki and Jenn Joy. Kolkata: Seagull Press (2010)
  • “An Intimate Ethnography,” Women and Performance, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2009)
  • “Outlaws and Intimates,” e-misferica, Issue 2.2, Fall 2005
  • “Notes on the Birth of Asian American Identity,” Special Article, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 37, No. 40 (October 5-11, 2002): 4143-4163
  • Night Artillery. Toronto: TSAR Books, November 2000