Professor of Journalism and Media Studies



Deepa Kumar is an award-winning scholar and activist. She is the recipient of the Dallas Smythe award for her engaged scholarship, the Georgina Smith award for her work on gender and race equity, and the Marilyn Sternberg award for her leadership of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT faculty union. She is the author of more than 75 publications including books, journal articles, book chapters, and articles in independent and mainstream media. She is recognized as a leading scholar on Islamophobia both nationally and internationally. Her book on Islamophobia has been translated into five languages; a second and completely revised edition will be published in Sept 2021. She is also part of the Media Education Foundation‘s series on media, culture, and the Middle East along with Edward Said and Jack Shaheen. She is affiliated faculty in the Depts of Women and Gender Studies and Sociology and with the Centers for Middle Eastern Studies and Race and Ethnicity.


University of Pittsburgh
Ph.D., Communication

Bowling Green State University
M.A., Mass Communication

Bangalore University
M.S., Mass Communication

St. Josephs College
B.S., Physics and Mathematics


Deepa Kumar's research centers on Islamophobia, empire, gender, race, neoliberalism, labor, social class, culture and media. Her first book, "Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike" (University of Illinois Press, 2007), is about the power of collective struggle in effectively challenging the priorities of neoliberalism.

Kumar holds that if neoliberal globalization characterizes the economic logic of our age, the “war on terror” has come to define its political logic. She began her research into the politics of empire shortly after the tumultuous events of 9/11. Her second book, "Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire" (Haymarket Books, 2012), looks at how the “Muslim enemy” has historically been mobilized to suit the goals of empire. The book has been translated into five languages. Verso is publishing a second and completely revised edition of this book in 2021. Her third book project titled "Terrorcraft: Empire, Security and Race" and explores how political violence, racism and security practices come together. 

Kumar is a much sought out public intellectual who has shared her expertise in numerous media outlets such as the BBC, The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, Telesur, the Danish Broadcast Corporation, and other national and international media outlets. She has given over 200+ media interviews. 

Funded Projects

Fertile Crescent Project Grant on women and art in the Middle East, Institute for Women and Arts, Rutgers University, 2012-2013 (included in the NJCH grant proposal as an expert, $9000) 

SCILS Grant, Rutgers University, 2008 

Research Council Grant, Rutgers University, 2005, 2007, 2008

William C. Archie Grant for Faculty Excellence, Wake Forest University, 2003 

Research and Publication Fund Award, Wake Forest University, 2003

William C. Archie Grant for Faculty Excellence, Wake Forest University, 2002 

Selected Publications

Kumar, Deepa. Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization, and the UPS Strike (University of Illinois Press, 2007, paperback 2008)

Kumar, Deepa. Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire (Haymarket Books, 2012). Being translated into Arabic, Turkish, and Malayalam.

Kumar, Deepa. “Framing Islam: The Resurgence of Orientalism During the Bush II Era.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 34.3 (2010): 254–277. Print.

Kumar, Deepa. "Media, War, and Propaganda: Strategies of Information Management During the 2003 Iraq War." Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 3.1 (2006): 48-69. Print.

 Kumar, Deepa, and Carol A. Stabile. “‘Unveiling Imperialism: Media, Gender, and the War on Afghanistan.’” Media, Culture and Society 27.5 (2005): 765–782. Print.

Awards & Recognitions

Marilyn Sternberg Award, American Association of University Professors (AAUP), for her "bold vision" and "courage" in leading the Rutgers AAUP-AFT as its president. 

Dallas Smythe Award, Union for Democratic Communication (UDC), for engaged scholarship, 2016

Georgina M. Smith Award, American Association of University Professors (AAUP), for work on “making gender and race issues central" to union work, 2016

Journalism and Media Studies Service Award, 2014

Challenging Islamophobia Award, Council on American Islamic Relations, Cleveland, 2013

Research Council Grant, Rutgers University, 2010

Additional Resources

Research Keywords