Sunil Bhatia

Sunil Bhatia

Lucy Marsh Haskell '19 Professor of Human Development

Joined Connecticut College: 1999

B.A., M.A., University of Pune, India
M.Ed., Ph.D., Clark University


Racial, ethnic and migrant identity in global and transnational cultures

Cultural psychology and narrative theory

Ethnography and qualitative methods

Sunil Bhatia is an internationally known professor in the field of psychology and human development. He specializes in understanding the development of self and identity within the context of racism, migration, globalization and formation of transnational diasporas.


He teaches courses such as, “Globalization and Cultural Identity,” "Media, Self and Society” and “Racial and Ethnic Identity Development.” His book publications include American Karma: Race, culture and identity in the Indian diaspora (2007, New York University Press) and Decolonizing Psychology: Globalization, Social Justice and Indian Youth Identities (2018, Oxford University press). His second book received the 2018 William James Book Award from the American Psychological Association. This highly prestigious award honors a recent book that brings together diverse subfields of psychology and related disciplines. The International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry also awarded Decolonizing Psychology  an "honorable mention" for its Outstanding 2018 Qualitative book award.  He is currently serving as one of the editors for a special issue on Feminism and Decolonizing Psychology for the journal Feminism and Psychology. His Op-Eds have appeared in Psychology Today, OZY, New London Day, Indian Express, Truthout, The Pacific, and U.S. World News and Reports.

Bhatia has published over 45 articles and book chapters on issues related to transnational migration, identity and cultural psychology in journals including American Psychologist, Human Development, Culture and Psychology, Theory and Psychology, and History of Psychology. He is an associate editor for the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology and serves on the editorial board of Qualitative Psychology and History of Psychology. He served as the Program Chair for the Division 24 of American Psychological Association for 2015. In 2014, the American Psychological Association elected Sunil as a “Fellow” for his outstanding local, national and international contributions to the field of psychology. 

In 2006, he started a non-profit organization, Friends of Shelter Associates (FSA), that focuses on providing individual toilets in urban Indian slums and creating awareness about the physical and psychological suffering that families have to endure when they have to defecate in streets, bushes, or open gutters. Using his knowledge of qualitative and ethnographic methods, Sunil Bhatia has formed alliances with over a dozen community partners and NGOs in the U.S. and in his native city of Pune, India, to provide the urban poor with access to clean sanitation and private toilets. He has brought a taboo subject — open defecation— into the spotlight to show how lack of sanitation is connected to psychological constructs of privacy, dignity, humiliation, and safety.  

Bhatia has received numerous awards including Connecticut College's 2018 Nancy Batson Nisbet Rash Faculty Research Award and the 2005 John King Excellence in Teaching Award; the American Psychological Association's 2015 International Humanitarian Award; and 2017 Theodore Sarbin Award for distinguished contributions to psychology. You can read his Nisbet Rash 2018 convocation address titled, Finding Magical Doors: Notes on Borders, Race, and Belonging, here and his 2006 John King Teaching Award address, Achievements and Awards: So What, Now What? here.

In 2011, Campus Compact selected Bhatia as one of the four runners-up for the Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award, which recognizes faculty for leadership in advancing students’ civic learning. In 2007, Bhatia received a Community Service Award from the Connecticut Department of Higher Education. In 2001, the students of Unity House awarded Bhatia the Tyrone Ferdnance Award for excellence in teaching and community service. 



Contact Sunil Bhatia

Mailing Address

Sunil Bhatia
Connecticut College
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320


123 Bolles House