Gender and Women's Studies

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Sheena Malhotra

Side shot of Sheena Malhotra smiling
(818) 677-7217
Office location:
SH 461


Sheena Malhotra is a Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies as well as Director for the MA in Humanities Program at California State University, Northridge. 

She received her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico (1999) in Communication Studies with an emphasis on gender, media, and intercultural communication. Her academic research and articles focus on the intersections of gender, media, technology and global culture, with a postcolonial analysis of media in India and the diaspora. Her research interests range from Hindi films and call centers in India to racialized implications of silences and bridgework.

Dr. Malhotra has experience in the Indian film and television industries. Prior to earning her Ph.D. degree, she worked as an Executive Producer and Commissioning Editor of Programs for BiTV (Business India Television), one of the alternative, private television networks in India. She has also worked in the Indian film industry as an Assistant Director to Shekhar Kapur (director of Bandit Queen and Elizabeth). Dr. Malhotra began teaching as an Assistant Professor in the Women's Studies department at CSUN in Fall, 2000. She teaches courses on women and popular culture as well as general GWS classes. Dr. Malhotra often teaches complete or partial online courses for the department.

Dr. Malhotra directed the Women's Resource and Research Center in the 2003-04 academic year and served as the advisor to the Women's Studies Student Association (WSSA) and Violent Acts Grounded (VAG) from 2000-2006. She served as the coordinator for the Queer Studies Program from 2008-2012, and as Chair of Gender and Women's Studies from 2009-2013.

In 2004, she produced and co-directed the video project, CSUN Struggles for Peace & Justice about activism at CSUN. She worked as an Associate Producer on 2006 documentary, The Shape of Water. Directed by Kum-Kum Bhavnani and narrated by Susan Sarandon, The Shape of Water offers a close look at the far-reaching and vibrant alternatives crafted by women in response to environmental degradation, archaic traditions, lack of economic independence and war.


Dr. Malhotra has co-edited an anthology on feminism and silence with Dr. Carrillo Rowe, Silence and Power: Feminist Reflections at the Edges of Sound (2013) (Palgrave MacMillan).

Silences, Feminism, Power book coverSilence, Feminism, Power: Reflections at the Edges of Sound interrogates the often-unexamined assumption that silence is oppressive, to consider the multiple possibilities silence enables. The equation between voice and power informs feminist theory and activism, creating an imperative that the oppressed must 'come to voice.' Alternately, this volume explores the diverse and complex ways that differently situated groups and individuals deploy power through silence. Authors engage questions like: What forms of resistance and healing do silence make possible? What alliances might be enabled by learning to read silences? Under what conditions is it productive to move between voice and silence? The book is thematically organized to explore: Intersectionality, Privilege, and Alliances; Academia and Knowledge Production; Community, Family, and Intimacy; Memory, Healing, and Power. Essays feature diverse feminist reflections on the nuanced relationship between silence and voice to foreground the creative, healing, meditative, generative and resistive power our silences engender.

She has also co-authored a book with Aimee Carrillo Rowe and Kimberlee Perez entitled Answer The Call: Virtual Migrations in Indian Call Centers (2013, University of Minnesota Press).

Answer the Call book coverAnswer The Call asks what the personal and political consequences of being a "virtual American" in India are.

Drawing from interviews with agents, trainers, managers, and CEOs at call centers in Bangalore and Mumbai, Answer the Call shows that workers in call centers are not quite in India or America but rather in a state of “virtual migration.” Encouraged to steep themselves in American culture, the agents come to internalize and perform Americanness for Americans—and each other.

Answer the Call takes on the investigation of call centers in India and uses that case study to help us to theorize, in more supple and nuanced ways, the multiple shifts in consciousness and social imaginaries that contemporary globalizing forces enable.

—Jane Desmond, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Sheena Malhotra's Publications (.pdf)