Meeta Rani Jha

Office: 612 Barrows Hall (Fall 2018 office hours: Tu 2:30 - 3:45pm)
Research AreasBioPublications
Research Areas
  • Critical Race, Culture, and Feminist Studies
  • South Asian Popular Culture: empirical research on South Asian diasporic women’s cinema practices with Bollywood cinema (Transnational feminine imaginary project)
  • Critical and Comparative Beauty Studies
  • Political and Public Sociology: Racial and domestic violence research. South Asian women’s employment rights and low pay research (Greater Manchester Low Pay Unit and Homeworking group).

Meeta Rani Jha’s research explores interrelated lived experiences of gender, sexuality, race, class, nation, and decoloniality in beauty, cinema, and popular cultural practices. She is a Black, British, Asian scholar, who entered academia after a decade of feminist and antiracist activism in the Greater Manchester area. Her scholarship originates from community activism and centers on race, culture, media, and feminist studies, focusing on transnational cinema cultures and everyday experiences of migration, un-belonging and of occupying liminal spaces. In exploring women of color spectatorship, her research focuses on the contradictory politics of Bollywood cinematic pleasure for British and South Asian American women, negotiating racialized stereotypes, public invisibility, feminine bonding and cultural imperatives. She argues that popular cinema practice has the potential to produce a counterhegemonic feminine public sphere in order to make claims to cultural citizenship.

As a research scholar at the Beatrice Bain Research Scholar (GWS), she authored, The Global Beauty Industry: Racism, Colorism and the National Body (2016, Routledge). The book draws upon insights from Black, transnational, and ‘Third-World’ feminists of color and takes an intersectional approach to the politics of embodied beauty. It examines the global expansion of neoliberal consumer culture and the role beauty plays in redistributing privileges and inequalities by reterritorializing nations, cultures, and bodies.

She has taught extensively as a full and part-time faculty in a number of universities in the San Francisco Bay Area (USF, SFSU) and in University of London universities as well as Cal State Bakersfield and University of Winchester. She received an MA in Feminist Cultural Studies and a PhD in Sociology from Goldsmiths College, University of London. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Working Lives Research Centre (Trade Union Congress affiliate), she collaboratively researched the history of labor activism of Black and Asian workers in London neighborhoods. Her best experience of employment, was as a Black Rights Worker, at a community Law Centre (in Salford), coordinating access to legal advocacy on racial violence and social citizenship rights for black and minority ethnic communities.


  • 2016, The Global Beauty Industry: Colorism, Racism and the National Body. Routledge, Framing 21st Centuries Social Issues.

  • 2007, The Politics of Happiness in British Asian Experiences of Bombay Cinema. Journal of Creative Communications 2 (1-2), 101-121.

  • 1998, Ending Domestic Violence: Report from the Global Frontlines: ‘Chappals (shoes), Sticks and Handbags: Domestic Violence in India. Published by the Family Violence Prevention Fund, San Francisco.