Carnegie Mellon University

Nisha Shanmugaraj

Nisha Shanmugaraj

Ph.D. Student

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Area of Study

PhD in Rhetoric


My research investigates rhetorics of race, gender and national identity in the context of Indian American women. Second generation immigrants must make strategic choices when constructing their position in a national imaginary. I study how Indian American women construct their social identity through everyday communicative encounters and rhetorical tactics, with a particular focus on how these women negotiate the model minority stereotype. Broadly, my research probes how intersectional difference shapes the self through everyday rhetorical processes.


Graduate: M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University

Undergraduate: B.A. in English from the University of Vermont


Shanmugaraj, Nisha, Joanna Wolfe, and Sophie Wodzak. “Rhetorically-grounded paraphrasing instruction: Knowledge telling versus transforming.Composition Forum, vol. 43, 2020.

Wolfe, Joanna, Nisha Shanmugaraj, and Jaclyn Sipe. “Grammatical Versus Pragmatic Error: Employer Perceptions of Nonnative and Native English Speakers.” Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, vol. 79, no. 4, 2016, pp. 397-415.