Dr. Ameera Nimjee is a musician, dancer, scholar, and educator. Her “formal” music education began in the study of classical piano, which she studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and during her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Toronto. Outside of her curricular study, she had an active and diverse musical life growing up in a South Asian Muslim community in Toronto. Ameera became interested in questions of culture, society, and politics in how her many musical lives converged. Shifting her musical focus to Indian classical traditions, she began her study of kathak dance with Toronto-based Joanna de Souza in 2007, and remains a member of Chhandam Dance Company.
Drawing on her experience as an Indian classical dancer, Ameera’s doctoral research at the University of Chicago focused on issues of mobility among practitioners of Indian contemporary dance—on and off the dance floor. Her current research explores how performers of South Asian music and dance traditions navigate creative economies, as they encounter issues of citizenship, religion, race, and gender. Articles-in-progress include studies on the place of song in the migration of South Asian Muslims through East and South Africa, and the creative processes of Bollywood choreographers.
As a scholar-practitioner, Ameera’s work as a musician and dancer are central to her research and teaching. She draws from her experience working in curatorial research and programming at the Royal Ontario Museum and Aga Khan Museum, on which she’s published a journal article in Ethnologies (2015). Her work also appears in the volumes Dance Matters Too: Memories, Markets, Identities (Routledge, 2018) and Music in the American Diasporic Wedding (Indiana University Press, 2019). Ameera looks forward to developing courses at the University of Puget Sound on music and transnational feminism, race, dance, and Islam.