Theorist & Futurist.
Thenmozhi Soundararajan is a Dalit American commentator on religion, race, caste, gender, technology and justice. She is the Executive Director of Equality Labs and the author of The Trauma of Caste.
Now available in stores!
The Trauma of Caste
The Trauma of Caste is a Dalit feminist meditation on survivorship, healing and abolition.
It ties Dalit oppression to fights for liberation among Black, Indigenous, Latinx, femme, and Queer communities, examining caste from a feminist, abolitionist, and Dalit Buddhist perspective–and laying bare the grief, trauma, rage, and stolen futures enacted by Brahminical social structures of the caste-oppressed. It is a love letter to all who would heal from systems of violence and are committed to a visionary future that frees all of us.
“The Trauma of Caste, a new book by one of North America’s leading Dalit activists, is a powerful combination of moving personal memoir, political philosophy and history, and thoughtful meditation exercises and reflections. Thenmozhi Soundararajan’s work is both a call for justice and a toolbox for transformation.This book will be an invaluable resource for teaching and for activist work. It provides historical, textual, and material insight into how caste oppression has manifest in visible and invisible ways, embedded in social systems, and internalized in all South Asian bodies over generations. This should be a required read for students and scholars of Hinduism.”The Feminist Critical Hindu Studies Collective
“Caste is one of the urgent moral, multifaith issues of our time, and The Trauma of Caste is a critical intervention, helping us to better understand how caste operates, what it feels like, and most importantly, why we must work to abolish it, once and for all.”Simran Jeet Singh, executive director for the Aspen Institute’s Religion & Society Program and author of The Light We Give
“The Trauma of Caste places the experiences of Dalit people firmly at the center of a global story about race and caste they have long been excluded from and uses that experience to teach us all about power, about survival, about changemaking.… Every Black activist should read this book, every immigrant rights activist should read this book, every survivor of violence should read this book—because it holds within it seeds for our collective future.”Malkia Devich Cyril, founding director of MediaJustice and principal at the Radical Loss Project
“The Trauma of Caste deconstructs caste oppression and considers possibilities for healing through a Dalit American feminist lens, in conversation with the writings not only of Dalit thinkers but of those from Black, Indigenous, and other historically exploited communities.… As a Dalit American, I am inspired by Soundararajan’s important efforts to raise awareness about caste and bring about healing.”Vauhini Vara, journalist and author of Immortal King Rao
“Thenmozhi Soundararajan provides a historical context and contemporary framework for difficult yet courageous conversations around caste apartheid and why we must work to disrupt and end it. Her call for action isn’t solely theoretical and political. Hers is a meditation that asks us to be aware of our mind-body-heart connection as we are called to the fire.”Aishah Shahidah Simmons, producer/director of NO! The Rape Documentary and editor of Love WITH Accountability
“Thenmozhi Soundararajan is the most profound and prophetic Dalit American voice of her generation. The Trauma of Caste is a trailblazing and pathbreaking work that rips the veil of Brahmin supremacy in the South Asian diaspora within the United States as well as across the world.… I urge everyone to read this book and pass it forward for these are the genocidal times that try our souls. Let the fire of resistance free all our oppressed peoples.”Professor Cornel West, New York Times best-selling author of Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and Black Prophetic Fire
“… an irresistible cri de coeur, The Trauma of Caste is at once an embodied meditation and simultaneously a literary hand grenade blowing open the torturous prison and agony of caste.… Thenmozhi makes clear that as genocide and ethnonationalism looms in South Asia, the stakes have never been higher. The responsibility for change cannot be on the shoulders of the oppressed. It is up to each and every one of us to rise for Dalit people now.”V (formerly Eve Ensler), author of The Vagina Monologues and The Apology
“This deeply spiritually grounded meditation on the trauma and afterlives of caste apartheid deserves our global intersectional feminist solidarity. Thenmozhi Soundararajan shows us in this book that the work of freedom must happen not only in the head and the heart, but also in the body. She has me convinced that the work of eliminating caste, a dominating system that predates white supremacy, will help to free us all.”Brittney Cooper, author Eloquent Rage and Beyond Respectability
“In Thenmozhi’s stories there is much to learn not only about caste in the United States, but the trauma caste engenders for all of us. As a Shudra sufferer of caste in India, I urge everyone to read this book. It is essential reading for all those committed to dignity, human rights, and a caste-free world.”Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, author of The Shudras, From a Shepherd Boy to an Intellectual, and Why I Am Not a Hindu
Connect with Thenmozhi
Thenmozhi delivers dynamic content on equity, inclusion, empathy, and creativity.
She has spoken at Fortune 500 companies, universities, and interfaith gatherings. Please send her a message if you would like to get in touch about press inquiries, speaking engagements & collaborations.