Priya Swamy

Priya Swamy

Dr. Priya Swamy is the curator of Globalisation and South Asia at the National Museum of World Cultures.

Priya holds a BA in World Religions from McGill University (Canada) and an MPhil and PhD in Area Studies from Leiden University. Her research explores the ways in which people in and from Indian diasporas innovate and rearticulate their religious and political beliefs across historical moments and social contexts. Her work has focused particularly on the movement of Indian labour diasporas into Suriname from India, but also from Suriname into the Netherlands. Focusing on the everyday narratives of community stakeholders, Priya is committed to a critical, multidisciplinary, and globally-focused approach to studies of Hindu identity, Indian material culture, and migration. At the museum, she looks to the multivocality of objects to demonstrate to a wide audience that material culture belongs to many places at many different times.

Before joining the museum, Priya has lectured on questions of South Asian cultures, histories, and literature at Leiden Institute for Area Studies. She has held postdoctoral positions at Royal Netherlands Institute for Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV),  Tilburg University, and Leiden University. Her research has been published in journals such as Citizenship Studies, International Journal of Hindu Studies, and Contemporary South Asia. Her book on the decades-long struggle of a Hindu community to build a temple in the Bijlmer (Amsterdam) is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press.

Selected Publications

2020. P. Swamy and  Nugteren, A. Mobility, Adaptability, and Accessibility: “Cute” Hanumān Figures Among Surinamese Hindu Children in The Netherlands. International Journal od Hindu Studies 241–32.

2018. P. Swamy.  ‘Of Course its beautiful, But I Can’t Wear it!’: Constructions of Hindu Style among Young Hindustani Women in Amsterdam. In Styling South Asian Youth Cultures. Fashion, Media & Society. Lipi Begum, Rohit K. Dasgupta, and Reina Lewis (eds)., 183-202.

2018. P. Swamy.  Neo-Hindutva Affective Economies: Feelings of Pride and Offense among Surinamese Hindus in the Netherlands, Contemporary South Asia, 26:4, 439-452.

2017. P. Swamy Valuing Flexible Citizenship: Producing Surinamese Hindu Citizens at a Primary School in The Hague, Citizenship Studies, 21:8, 1052-1066.