HARTFORD, CT–Sunil Bhatia is the recipient of the 2018 Nancy Batson Nisbet Rash Faculty Research Award, presented annually to a faculty member selected on the basis of outstanding scholarly or artistic accomplishments.
The award was established in 1995 in memory of Nancy Rash, the Lucy C. McDannel ’22 Professor of Art History at Connecticut College from 1972 to 1995.
A professor at the College since 1999, Bhatia specializes in the development of self and identity within the context of postcolonial migration, globalization and formation of transnational diasporas. In particular, his research attempts to reformulate the concept of culture and identity in cultural psychology and human development by showing how critical concepts, such as diaspora and transnational migration, force us to redefine theories of culture, identity, cultural difference and development.
Bhatia is the author of Decolonizing Psychology: Globalization, Social Justice, and Indian Youth Identities, and American Karma: Race, Culture, and Identity and the Indian Diaspora, based on an extensive, two-year ethnography of the middle-class Indian diaspora in Southern Connecticut.
Decolonizing Psychology, published in 2017 by Oxford University Press, integrates insights from postcolonial, narrative, and cultural psychology to ask how Euro-American scientific psychology becomes the standard-bearer of psychology throughout the world; whose stories get told; what knowledge is considered as legitimate; and whose lives are considered central to the future of psychology. The book examines how particular class identities shape youth narratives about globalization and “Indianness” and articulates an alternative vision of psychology in which questions of social justice and equality are seen as central to its mission.
Bhatia has also published more than 40 articles and book chapters on issues related to transnational migration, identity and cultural psychology. His articles have appeared in journals including American Psychologist, Human Development, Theory and Psychology, History of Psychology, and Culture and Psychology, and Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. He was recently appointed as one of the Associate editors of Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology and he also serves on the editorial board of the journals Qualitative Psychology and History of Psychology.
In addition to his research, Bhatia is the founder of Friends of Shelter Associates, a local chapter of the Indian nonprofit organization, Shelter Associates. The nonprofit raises funds for the construction of community and individual toilets in one of the poorest slum settlements in Maharashtra, and raises awareness of global poverty and poor sanitation conditions in Indian slums. In 2015, Bhatia was honored by the American Psychological Association as the International Humanitarian of the Year.