Sana Aiyar is a historian of modern South Asia. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 2009 and held an Andrew Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in 2009-10. From 2010 to 2013 she was Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Her broad research and teaching interests lie in the regional and transnational history of South Asia and South Asian diasporas, with a particular focus on colonial and postcolonial politics and society in the Indian Ocean.
Her first book, Indians in Kenya: The Politics of Diaspora (Harvard University Press, 2015), explores the interracial and extraterritorial diasporic political consciousness of South Asians in Kenya from c. 1895 to 1968 who mediated constructions of racial and national identity across the Indian Ocean. Her research has appeared in several journals including the American Historical Review, AFRICA: Journal of the International African Institute, and Modern Asian Studies. Professor Aiyar is currently working on two projects. One is a study of the everyday encounters of African soldiers and South Asian civilians during the Second World War when over a hundred thousand military recruits from East and West Africa were stationed in India and Burma. The second, "India's First Partition", is an examination of migration, religious and ethnic politics, nationalism, and anticolonial activism across India and Burma in the 1930s.