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kehal's research focuses on racism, colonialism, and knowledge institutions. Broad themes in kehal's writings include investigating the uses of status in professional workplaces, historicizing U.S. racism and colonialism in education, and exploring legacies of colonialism, gender, and sexuality in diasporic faith communities. kehal serves as a Board Member for Kaur Life where they use their academic training to foster transnational conversations on gender, sexuality, and casteism, and the intersections therein. They have also worked with advocacy organizations, such as Sikh Coalition, SALDEF, and AMOR, for civic and public sociology projects.
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Investigates the origins of the professoriate's racialized hierarchy by considering merit as a discursive practice in the modern research university. Argues that faculty members use academia's status hierarchy to resolve the contradictions between faculty merit having been defined in relation to racist segregation while faculty merit is being evaluated in relation to a multiracial democracy.
Analyzes first-year undergraduate enrollment trends at colleges that changed their affirmative action admissions policies absent a legal mandate. Finds that higher-status colleges state policy usage without achieving the policy's stated outcome, whereas lower-status colleges do the reverse. Theorizes how this represents US higher education racialized status order.
Offers a critical intervention based in a Gurmat praxis of liberation politics for US-Sikhs to engage with the Movement for Black Lives. We invite Sikhs to shift their investments of social and political capital by discussing Sikhs’ migrant incorporation within a structural history of U.S. racism and colonialism.
Explores individual students’ depth and breadth of engagement, and argue that institutional type and organizational pathways operate jointly to increase the presence of marginalized students in engagement structures. Discusses while both mechanisms increase student engagement, participating-students are majority white and middle class.
Explores the burgeoning social entrepreneurship and social innovation initiatives on campuses. Finds that organizations replicated exploitative dynamics from social entrepreneurship initiatives into social innovation efforts due to how the organizations incentivized student and faculty engagement. Offers democratic social innovation as an intervention and corrective to this exploitation.