Informed by critical caste and race, and gender and sexuality approaches, Pinky Hota’s research examines right wing politics in conversation with contemporary capitalism. Her first book entitled The Violence of Recognition: Adivasi Indigeneity and Anti-Dalitness in India (forthcoming in 2023 with University of Pennsylvania Press) speaks to the global rise of right-wing ethnonationalist politics in response to gains made by minorities amidst widespread economic uncertainty. The book locates violence between two minority groups—one classified as indigenous (adivasi) and the other as a marginalized caste category, Dalit—in the long durée of caste capitalism by showing how adivasi indigeneity operates as a fulcrum of caste capitalism that facilitates the legal, political and ultimately, economic exclusion, of Dalits in India. Doing so, it shows how emergent forms of right wing politics must be understood with recourse to long standing relationships between religion and political economy, caste and race, and hierarchies of racial capitalism. This research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren and Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundations.
Her current project, entitled Dark Empathy, is an examination of the operationalization and deployment of commodified empathy in Silicon Valley. Building on her interest in caste and race, and its reconstruction within contemporary capitalism, this project historically traces the emergence of a racialized empathy in the anthropological sciences, and its evolution and uptake in technology capitalism.
Hota serves as a faculty member for South Asia Studies, participates in Smith’s Program for the Study of Women and Gender and is a member of the Smith-Duke Editorial Advisory Board for the journal Meridians.