Andrew Parayil Boge

Andrew Parayil Boge, PhD student, communication studies

Chronicles the rhetoric of racism

“Andrew is a stellar graduate student in every way.” -Teresa Mangum, director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies

Johnston, Iowa

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Darrel Wanzer-Serrano, PhD, associate professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, Texas A&M University; and Jiyeon Kang, PhD, associate professor, Department of Communication Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
PhD in communication studies, May 2024

Please describe your research:
I study the history of anti-South Asian racism in the United States. More specifically, I uncover how the language of brownness emerges in the early twentieth century as a way to construct South Asian Americans as racial others. I trace the history of anti-brownness in the U.S. to nuance understanding of how diverse communities, such as Asian Americans, experience racism.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
Asian Americans are often flattened as a homogenous community. My research combats this tendency by uncovering the specific ways particular Asian American communities, such as South Asian Americans, experience racism both historically and in our contemporary moment. I reveal the dynamics of anti-brownness to provide clarity on how racism operates within the U.S. that is often understood mainly through the frameworks of whiteness and blackness.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
I started conducting research right when I entered my first graduate course. Faculty encouraged me to explore research questions I felt compelled by and offered the support necessary to execute on innovative projects. I was also lucky to engage in public humanities research through the Obermann Center for Advanced Study the summer after my first year of graduate school at Iowa. I feel fortunate I have been able to explore my passion for research and racial justice in both academic and community-oriented settings.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
Research has assisted me in honing my skills as a writer, communicator, and problem solver. These core skills will allow me to thrive in pretty much any professional environment. Taking part in research allowed me to meet interesting people across campus engaging the most pressing issues of our time and exploring similar questions pertaining to racial and social justice.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
I hope to become a faculty member at a university. I am passionate about research, teaching, and the public humanities and desire to leverage my expertise to serve communities historically disenfranchised from within and beyond higher education.

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