Devika Chawla, Ph.D.

Devika Chawla
Stocker Professor of Interpersonal Communication
Schoonover Center 431

Professor Chawla’s research focuses on communicative, performative, and narrative approaches to studying family, home, and its relationship to social identity. Specifically, she is interested in understanding how human beings transform themselves in the relationships that surround them, and the resources – social, political, economic – that are available to them. Most of Professor Chawla’s research has taken place in the context of marriage and family life in contemporary urban north India. For her doctoral dissertation, she studied via life history research, urban Indian women’s identities in Hindu arranged marriages. Dr. Chawla’s recent book project focused upon cross-generational refugee identity among families displaced by India’s Partition of 1947. The subsequent book from this oral history fieldwork, Uprooted: Oral Histories of India’s Partition, won the 2015 Outstanding Book Award from the Ethnography Division and the International and Intercultural Division of the National Communication Association.

Dr. Chawla has published three other edited and co-authored books and over 50 essays in peer-reviewed journals and anthologies. She is Senior Editor (for south Asia and southeast Asia) for the Oxford University Press Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Communication. She is the editor-in-chief of Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, a journal published by the University of California Press. She is currently at work on a family memoir on objects, affect, and migration.

Professor Chawla received her Bachelor’s (Honors) degree in English Literature and Literary Criticism from the University of Delhi. She holds two M.A. degrees; the first in English Print Journalism, from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, and the second in Speech Communication and Dramatic Arts from Central Michigan University. She received her Ph.D. in Communication Studies with minor specialization in Family Studies and Social Anthropology from Purdue University.

Chawla CV (PDF)