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Jisha Menon leads the Stanford Arts Institute

Jisha Menon, associate professor of theater and performance studies in the School of Humanities and Sciences, is the new Denning Faculty Director of the Stanford Arts Institute (SAI). Menon will continue to teach and she remains director of Stanford’s Center for South Asia. She is affiliated with the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Program in Modern Thought and Literature, and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Under Menon’s leadership, SAI will continue to host and foster the university-wide working group on Creative Cities, the Honors in the Arts capstone program, and the Arts Immersion trip and course, and to collaborate with university partners on programs, trips, and workshops designed to support art and arts education at Stanford.

“Arts allow us to imagine worlds that we can aspire toward. Their impact is nothing short of transformational – both to the self and to society. Arts are integral to the shaping of a more just and humane world. I am excited to find ways to think through the arts and foster relationships with schools and departments across campus,” said Menon, who is currently working on a new initiative on Arts and Justice with a special focus this year on race and incarceration.

She teaches courses at the intersection of performance theory and global studies. Her scholarship is animated by larger questions concerning globalization, nationalism, and sexuality, and her work engages with a range of art forms from fiction and film to theater, dance, performance, and visual arts. She is author of The Performance of Nationalism: India, Pakistan, and the Memory of Partition (Cambridge, 2013), which considers the mimetic, affective, and performative dimensions of nation-making. She is also at work on a second project, Brutal Beauty: Aesthetics and Aspiration in the Neoliberal City, which considers new narrations of selfhood that are produced at the intersection of neoliberal state, global market, and consumer fantasy. She is also co-editor of two collected volumes, Violence Performed: Local Roots and Global Routes of Conflict (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Performing the Secular: Religion, Representation, and Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).