SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Parvathi Raman

BA (Anthropology and History) PhD (London)
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Parvathi Raman
Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Senior Teaching Fellow

Centre for Gender Studies


Centre for Global Media and Communications

Associate Member, Centre for Media and Film Studies

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies


SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

SOAS Food Studies Centre

Member, SOAS Food Studies Centre

Centre for English Studies

Academic Staff

Dr Parvathi Raman
Email address:
020 7898 4434
020 7898 4699
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:


I am an anthropologist and historian and I conduct research on the South Asian diaspora, in both historical and contemporary contexts. I am interested in the emergence of diasporic consciousness and forms of political subjectivity amongst diverse South Asian migrant populations, primarily in South Africa and postwar Britain.

I joined the Anthropology department at SOAS in the early 1990s and have taught a range of course covering theoretical and philosophical issues in anthropology and approaches to migration and diaspora studies. I developed our MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies, which we began in 2003, and am the current Director of Studies.

In 2007 I initiated the SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, which coordinates migration related research and teaching across the school, organises seminars and lectures, and builds national and international collaborative networks. I am the current chair of the Centre.

I am also the SOAS coordinator of the Marie Cure Initial Training Network research project, CoHaB, Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging.


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Eva Bentcheva, Cultural Politics of British South Asian Performance Art, 1960-present
  • Matthew John Fish,
  • Portia Owusu, Spectres from the Past: The Politics of 'History', Memory and Slavery in West African and African-American Literature.
  • Rabia Latif Khan, Narrative, memory and belonging: Constructing a ‘Hazara identity’ abroad
  • Sana Goyal, “Awarding Africa” from the Caine to the Commonwealth: First Books, First Prizes, & Women Writers
  • Thomas van der Molen, Affecting the Wheel of Time: Tibetan Migrant Engagements with Time and Documentation


In my original research, I studied the historical background to the construction of ‘Indianness’ in South Africa up until 1952, where the idea of community was evoked through reinscibing cultural traditions brought from India, as well as being shaped by the new ways of life that developed in South Africa. In particular, I looked at why a small but significant group of Indian South Africans joined the South African Communist Party. I considered the ways that sections of the Indian community were radicalised through fighting for democratic rights and citizenship in South Africa, and the complex social, cultural and political influences that were woven into new forms of resistance in their social landscape.

I also traced the emergence of a ‘diasporic’ consciousness at certain points in time in this history. I looked to the role of political figureheads such as Gandhi and Yusuf Dadoo and their part in the overcoming of difference in the diverse South Asian population, bringing to the fore collective identifications and ‘diasporic recognition’.

I continued my research on political figureheads in a study of Che Guevara and the transnational socialist imaginary, where I looked to changing ideas of utopia in political iconography.

I have subsequently worked on ideas of political subjectivity in diasporic communities in Britain, and ideas of home and belonging as expressed through migrant culinary practices.

My current research project is a study of South Asian communities in postwar Britain and their relationship to cricket, where I explore how a love of the game for many South Asians, and attachments to homeland teams, has fuelled continuing bonds to a home ‘elsewhere’ across the generations, as well as shaping the politics of community formation in Britain.


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email

Available for
Regional Expertise
  • Africa
  • South Asia
Country Expertise
  • India
  • South Africa



Raman, Parvathi (2016) 'This Game is Ours: the Pakistani community and cricket in postwar Britain'. MCC Magazine 12, pp 26-31. [Forthcoming]

Raman, Parvathi (2016) 'The anthropologist as an agent of change'. Knowledge Quarter [Online].

Raman, Parvathi (2014) 'It’s because we’re Indian, innit?’ Cricket and the South Asian diaspora in post-war Britain'. Identities, (22) 2, pp 215-229.

Raman, Parvathi (2011) '“Me in Place, and the Place in Me”: A Migrant's Tale of Food, Home and Belonging'. Food, Culture and Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, (14) 2, pp 165-180.

Raman, Parvathi and Harper, Ian (2008) 'Less Than Human? Diaspora, disease, and the question of citizenship'. International Migration, (46) 5, pp 3-26.

Raman, Parvathi (2004) 'Yusuf Dadoo: transnational politics, South African belonging'. South African Historical Journal.

Raman, Parvathi (2003) 'A Resting Place for the Imagination? In Search of the 'Authentic' Diasporic Subject'. Himal South Asian, (16) 9, pp 22-30.

Edited Books or Journals

Raman, Parvathi, (ed.), (2011) Food and Diaspora: special issue of Food, Culture and Society, 14 (2). London: Taylor and Francis.

West, Harry G. and Raman, Parvathi, (eds.), (2008) Enduring Socialism: Explorations of Revolution and Transformation, Restoration and Continuation. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Book Chapters

Raman, Parvathi (2008) 'Signifying Something: Che Guevara and neoliberal alienation in London'. In: Raman, Parvathi and West, Harry G., (eds.), Enduring socialism: explorations of revolution and transformation, restoration and continuation. Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp 250-270.

Raman, Parvathi and West, Harry G. (2008) 'Poetries of the Past in a Socialist World Remade'. In: West, Harry G. and Raman, Parvathi, (eds.), Enduring Socialism: Explorations of Revolution and Transformation, Restoration and Continuation. Oxford: Berghahn, pp 1-28.

Raman, Parvathi (2006) 'Being Indian the South African Way: The Development of Indian Identity in 1940s' Durban'. In: Coombes, A. E., (ed.), Rethinking Settler Colonialism. History and Memory in Australia, Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand and South Africa.. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp 193-208.

Raman, Parvathi (2005) 'Yusuf Dadoo: a son of South Africa'. In: Dubow, S and Jeeves, A, (eds.), South Africa in the 1940s: worlds of possibilities. Cape Town: Double Storey.


This list was last generated on Thursday, 20th September 2018, 23:36 Europe/London.