Prabhdeep Singh Kehal

Graduate Fellow at the Swearer Center, Brown University
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About Prabhdeep

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.


Why Community Engaged Scholarship Needs a Clear Definition

  • John Saltmarsh
  • Gene Corbin

Why Faculty Reward Policies Should Incentivize Community Engaged Scholarship

  • John Saltmarsh
  • Gene Corbin

Why the Evaluation of Faculty Community Engaged Scholarship Needs Clear Criteria

  • John Saltmarsh
  • Gene Corbin

How Community Engaged Scholarship Improves Teaching and Learning

  • John Saltmarsh
  • Gene Corbin

In the News

Opinion: "Sikhs Respond to Anti-Transgender Legislation Sweeping the Nation," Prabhdeep Singh Kehal, Kaur Life, June 15, 2021.
Opinion: "Policing the Bodies of Transgender & Queer Sikhs," Prabhdeep Singh Kehal, Kaur Life, September 27, 2020.
Guest on The Sikh Coalition / YouTube, July 29, 2020.
Opinion: "Sex Workers Enter the National Landscape As Presidential Candidates Consider Sex Work-Study," Prabhdeep Singh Kehal (with Bella Robinson), Civil Rights, March 2, 2020.
Guest on Logo TV / YouTube, June 27, 2019.


"Racializing Meritocracy: Ideas of Excellence and Exclusion in Faculty Diversity"," forthcoming.

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.

"Sikhs as Implicated Subjects in the United States: A Reflective Essay on Gurmat-Based Interventions in the Movement for Black Lives by Harleen Kaur & prabhdeep singh kehal" (with Harleen Kaur). Sikh Research Journal (2020).

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.

"Institutional Type, Organizational Pathways, and Student Engagement: Deepening Student Engagement and the Benefit-Use Paradox in Formal Engagement Spaces" (with Cadence Willse). The Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education 12, no. 1 (2020).

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.

Connecting Civic Engagement and Social Innovation (Stylus Publishing, Forthcoming).

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.

"When Affirmative Action Disappears: Unexpected Patterns in Student Enrollments at Selective U.S. Institutions, 1990–2016" (with Daniel Hirschman and Ellen Berrey). Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 7, no. 4 (2021).

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.