Chandni Desai

Assistant Professor

Academic Programs, Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity


Unit: Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity

Chandni Desai

Assistant Professor

Academic Programs, Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity


Dr. Chandni Desai is an Assistant Professor in the Critical Studies of Equity and Solidarity at the University of Toronto (graduate appointment to Women and Gender Studies). Her areas of research, teaching and supervision include: comparative settler colonialisms, Palestine studies, the politics of the Middle East, state violence (carceral politics, militarism and war), cultures of resistance and revolution, political economy, third world internationalism, solidarity, memory, oral history, anti-racism and feminism. 

Dr. Desai is working on her first book Revolutionary Circuits of Liberation: The Radical Tradition of Palestinian Resistance Culture and Internationalism. In it she excavates the history of the radical tradition of Palestinian resistance culture, specifically the cultural institutions, archives and radical arts practices established by Palestinian revolutionaries in the PLO. She maps the circulation of resistance culture across geographies in the 20th and 21st century; unearths the legacy of anti-colonial and internationalist cultural production, thought, consciousness and praxis against settler colonial dispossession, imperialism, warfare and genocide; and attempts to trace displaced, lost, stolen and captive Palestinian material culture.  

Dr. Desai is the principal investigator on a Social Science and Humanities and Research Council Insight Development Grant (SSHRC IDG) for her project “Transnational Cultural Solidarities: Afro-Asian Pasts, Present and Futures” (2021-2023). In 2020 her research on “Tracing Legacies: Afro-Asian Transnationalism during Third World Decolonization and the Cold War”was selected for the Jackman Humanities Scholars in Residence.   

Dr. Desai hosts the Liberation Pedagogy Podcast, a site to learn about the praxis of political struggle, revolution and internationalism in the quest towards freedom making. Another pedagogical innovation she is currently working on is teaching with anti-colonial archives (with Dr. Rafeef Ziadah). Desai was the receipt of the 2019-2020 June Larkin Pedagogy Award for her work on liberation pedagogies, the 2021 Ragini Ghosh Excellence in Teaching Award and CCGSE Mentorship Award. 

In 2016-2017, Dr. Desai held a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Social Justice Initiative. In 2017 she received the Outstanding Dissertation Award by the American Education Research Association (AERA) Division B, and co-edited a special issue on Decolonization and Palestine for the journal Decolonization (with Dr. Linda Tabar). She was a collaborator on the SSHRC funded Youth, War, Migration Project (2018-2019) and co-taught an ELL course on settler colonialism, displacement and settlement to refugees from the Middle East and Africa for the project.  


Courses Taught:

·Theorizing Settler Colonialism, Capitalism and Race 

·Rethinking Palestine: Colonialism, Revolution and Transnational Solidarity 

· Decolonizing Research Methodologies for New Researchers 

· Art, Cultural Production and Resistance Movements  

· “Abolition in the Global Context: Theorizing Policing, Prisons and Uprisings 

Research and Publications

Selected Referred Journal Articles** and Book Chapters 

**Desai, C. & Ziadah, R. (2022). "Lotus and its afterlives: memory, pedagogy and anticolonial solidarity". Curriculum Inquiry.  

**Desai, C. & Shahwan, R. (Forthcoming). Preserving Palestine: Archival Violence, Erased Curriculum, and Challenges of Counter-Archiving in the Post-Oslo (Neoliberal) Period. Curriculum Inquiry.

 ** Desai, C. (2020). Indigenous Intifadas, Resurgent Solidarity: Disrupting Settler Economies from Turtle Island to Palestine.Journal of Palestine Studies, 50(2), p. 43-66. 

Desai, C. (2020). “The Agreement of Colonial Thieves”: The Infrastructure of Annexation in Occupied Palestine. The Abusable Past, Radical History Review.  

**Desai, C. & Sykes, H. (2019). Rio and an ‘Olympics Without Apartheid’: Brazil-Palestine Solidarity against Israeli Securitization. Journal of Race and Class. 60(4), 27-45. 

**Tabar, L, & Desai, C. (2017). “Decolonization is a Global Project: From Palestine to the Americas”. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society. p.1 – 22. 

Desai, C. (2018). “Besieging the cultural siege”: Mapping Narratives of the Nakba through Orality and Repertories of Resistance. In Eds, Nahla Abdo & Nur Masalha, An Oral History of the Palestinian Nakba. Zed Books. p.294-311 

**Desai, C. (2015). “Shooting Back with Camera’s in the Occupied Territories: An Anti- Colonial Participatory Politics”. Curriculum Inquiry. p. 109-128. 

**Desai, C. (2012). “Do we want something new or just repetition of 1492? Engaging with the “Next” Moment in Curriculum Studies”. Journal of Curriculum and Theorizing, 28(2), p. 153- 167.