Professor Yasmin Saikia is the Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and a Professor of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. Her research and teaching interests invoke a dynamic transnational and interdisciplinary dialogue situated at the intersection of history, culture and religion. With a specific focus on contestations and accommodations in South Asia between local, national and religious identities, she examines the Muslim experience in India, Pakistan, and Bangaldesh, and the discourse of nonviolence alongside the practice of violence against women and vulnerable groups.
In her first two books, In the Meadows of Gold: Telling Tales of the Swargadeos at the Crossroads of Assam (1997) and Fragmented Memories: Struggling to Become Tai-Ahom in India (2004), Prof. Saikia examines the connections between Assam and India as well as Assam’s outheast Asian neighbors, particularly Thailand, through a study of buranjis (pre-modern local chronicles of the Ahom kingdom) and colonial and post-colonial records, including scholarly and militant networks. In these two books, she shows how revived memories of the thirteenth century serve as a site in present-day Assam for crafting a new Tai-Ahom cultural and political identity that questions Indian national identity and, in turn, generates linkages with pan-Tai identity movements.