Email Address
List Hall 242
On Leave/Away

Pavitra Sundar writes and teaches about film, literature, and sound, with a focus on South Asia. Her research interests span cinema and media studies, postcolonial literary and cultural studies, sound studies, and women’s and gender studies. Sundar’s monograph Listening with a Feminist Ear (University of Michigan Press, 2023, open access) is a study of the cultural politics and possibilities of sound in Bombay cinema. Her writing also appears in journals such as Communication, Culture, and Critique; Jump Cut; Meridians; and South Asian Popular Culture; the Sounding Out! blog; and various anthologies.

Deeply committed to collaborative work, Sundar has co-organized an interdisciplinary seminar on sound studies with Celeste Day Moore (Hamilton College), co-organized a film festival and symposium on Indian cinema at the George Eastman Museum with Anaar Desai-Stephens (Eastman School of Music), and co-edited a special issue on “Decolonial Feminisms” with Debashree Mukherjee (Columbia University) and another on “Masculinities” with Praseeda Gopinath (Binghamton University). She is founding member of the Accent Research Collaborative, which co-edited the award-winning volume Thinking with an Accent (University of California Press, 2023, open access).

Prior to Hamilton, Sundar held a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College and taught at Kettering University, Oberlin College, and the University of Michigan and in the AFSC’s prison teaching program. She earned her doctorate in Women’s Studies and English at the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology at Ithaca College.

Recent Courses Taught

Echoes and Encores: Repetition in Literature
Bollywood Film
Listen! Sound Histories and Imaginaries
Indians, Aliens, Others
’earing Accent
Transnational Feminist Frames
English and its Discontents

Research Interests

Film studies; sound studies; postcolonial studies; women’s and gender studies, particularly feminist theory, queer studies, and women-of-color and transnational feminisms; South Asian literary and cultural history.


  • ACLA René Wellek Prize for Best Edited Collection for Thinking with an Accent, 2024
  • Dean’s Scholarly Achievement Award for Early Career Achievement, 2023
  • Gertrude F. Bristol Faculty Fellowship, 2023–2024
  • Steven B. Sands Faculty Innovation Award, Summer 2023
  • Creative Arts and Technology Grant, Summer 2023
  • Yordán Humanities Faculty Research Grant, May 2022
  • CNY Humanities Corridor Signature Event Grant (with Anaar Desai-Stephens), 2019
  • National Humanities Center Summer Residency, 2018
  • Humanities Center Interdisciplinary Collaborations Award (with Celeste Day Moore), 2017
  • Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dartmouth College, 2008-10
  • Center for the Arts in Society Fellowship, Carnegie Mellon University, 2008 (declined)

Select Publications

Books and Edited Collections

  • Listening with a Feminist Ear: Soundwork in Bombay Cinema. University of Michigan Press. 2023. Open Access.
  • Thinking with an Accent: Toward a New Object, Method, and Practice. Co-edited with Pooja Rangan, Akshya Saxena, and Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan. University of California Press. 2023. Open Access. *Winner of the ACLA 2024 René Wellek Prize for Best Edited Collection.
  • Decolonial Feminisms. Co-edited with Debashree Mukherjee. Special Issue of Feminist Media Histories 8.1 (Winter 2022): 1–15.
  • Masculinities. Co-edited with Praseeda Gopinath. Special Issue of South Asian Popular Culture 18.1 (Spring 2020): 1–10.

Essays and Articles

  • “On Listening.” [in]Transition. Forthcoming Fall 2024. Peer-reviewed video essay.
  • “Voice.” Keywords special issue. BioScope 12.1–2 (2021): 193–196.
  • “Usha Uthup and her Husky, Heavy Voice,” Indian Sound Cultures, Indian Sound Citizenship. Eds. Laura Brueck, Jacob Smith, and Neil Verma. University of Michigan Press, 2020. 115–151.
  • “The Queer Sound of the Dandiya Queen, Falguni Pathak.” Gendered Soundscapes of India. Special Forum of Sounding Out! Eds. Praseeda Gopinath and Monika Mehta. October 23, 2017.
  • “The Time of Television: Broadcasting, Daily Life, and the New Indian Middle Class.” Co-authored with Aswin Punathambekar. Communication, Culture, and Critique (November 2016): 401–421.
  • “Of Radio, Remix, and Rang De Basanti: Reimagining History Through Film Sound.” Jump Cut 56 (Fall 2014).

College Service

  • Director, Cinema and Media Studies Program 2024–27, (member 2020–present)
  • Chair, Kirkland Endowment Advisory Committee 2024–26, (member 2019–present)
  • Vice President, Hamilton AAUP chapter (elected) 2021–23
  • Committee on Academic Policy (elected) 2021–22
  • Committee on Evaluating Teaching 2019–23
  • Global Education Advisory Committee 2019–22
  • Faculty Mentoring Program, 2018–20
  • Honor Court (elected), 2018–21
  • Junior Faculty Caucus Organizing Collective,  2016–20

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., University of Michigan
B.A., Ithaca College

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