The University of Winnipeg



Dr. Sharanpal Ruprai named 2023 Chancellor’s Research Chair

Head shot of Dr. Sharanpal Ruprai.

Dr. Sharanpal Ruprai will deliver the Chancellor’s Research Chair lecture on October 20.

Dr. Sharanpal Ruprai has been named The University of Winnipeg’s 2023 Chancellor’s Research Chair

I aim to explore how South Asian artists use social media to create new ways of cultural expression, and suggest that these fresh means of cultural communication impact social change.

Dr. Sharanpal Ruprai

Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Dr. Ruprai is an alumna and internationally recognized writer whose poetry collections have been shortlisted for prestigious awards.

“I am excited to receive this honour. We have stellar researchers and scholars and that’s what makes it exciting to work here,” she said. “The Chancellor’s Research Chair will advance my work and demonstrates how the University is valuing and supporting mid-career scholars who are from diverse backgrounds.”

Dr. Ruprai is the second Department of Women’s and Gender Studies faculty member to receive this recognition, following Dr. Angela Failler who was named Chancellor’s Research Chair in 2012.

As an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, her research and teaching interests include Indigenous and critical race feminism, religious and cultural studies, and artistic practice.

She’s working on a new collection of essays titled Who You Calling a Kaur/Princess? By juxtaposing novels, plays, poetry collections, and films, the book explores issues such as religion, gender violence, and identity within the specific context of the Canadian-South Asian women’s experience.

Dr. Ruprai’s debut poetry collection, Seva, was shortlisted for the Stephen G. Stephansson Award for Poetry by the Alberta Literary Awards in 2015. Her most recent collection, Pressure Cooker Love Bomb, was was shortlisted for the prestigious 2020 annual Lambda Literary Awards, the Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry, the Lansdowne Prize for Poetry, and was the Goldie Finalist for Poetry.

In 2022, Dr. Ruprai was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal after being selected by The Writers’ Guild of Alberta in recognition of her service in advancing the art of writing. Later this year, she will be on faculty at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity as part of the Literary Arts Emerging Writers Poetry program.

Upcoming projects

As Chancellor’s Research Chair, Dr. Ruprai is working on a few projects linking diverse communities to the University.

She’s currently examining how South Asian artists use oral, written, visual, and multimedia modes to express issues of gender, sexuality, class, and religion in their creative practices as linked to their identity. 

The project is called Desi +: Representations of South Asians on Social Media.

“My research focuses on the influences of changing demographics and diasporic communities in our society, and the shifting notions of sexualities, nation, and belonging. Some of these South Asian artists formulate new South Asian aesthetics that are based in identities which the second- and third-born generations and/or those raised in the diaspora are crafting,” she explained. “I aim to explore how South Asian artists use social media to create new ways of cultural expression, and suggest that these fresh means of cultural communication impact social change.”

Over the course of her three-year term, Dr. Ruprai hopes to publish refereed journal articles, deliver lectures, host a symposium with the community, and present her initial findings to the Centre for Research in Cultural Studies Research Talk Series.

This fall, she’ll also be teaching South Asian Diasporic Film (WGS 4401-001), which will be cross listed with the Master of Arts in Cultural Studies program. 

Current and former Chancellor’s Research Chairs

Current and former Chancellor’s Research Chairs include: Dr. Craig Willis, Department of Biology; Dr. Angela Failler, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; Dr. Melanie Martin, Department of Physics; Dr. Bruno Silvestre, Department of Business and Administration; Dr. Kevin Walby, Department of Criminal Justice; Dr. Renée Douville, Department of Biology; Dr. Delia Gavrus, Department of History; Dr. Nora Casson, Department of Geography; Dr. Peter Miller, Department of Classics; Dr. Jenny Heijun Wills, Department of English; Dr. Caleb Hasler, Department of Biology; and Dr. Yannick Molgat-Seon, Department of Kinesiology and Applied Health.

All have made, and continue to make, exceptional contributions to research in their field.