Nivetha Karthikeyan

Nivetha Karthikeyan's picture
Research interests: 

History of computing; 20th century US and South Asia; immigration; transnational knowledge and labor exchange; critical race and ethnic studies, STS

Niv studies the history of computing and its influences on race, migration, and state power in the twentieth century. Her work is centered in the United States and its ties to South Asia and the broader global South through transnational exchanges of knowledge and labor. She is widely interested in the ways that “tech” (as industry, imagination, and social and scientific phenomenon) has constructed and stratified categories of the human — from the high-tech sector redefining old notions of skilled and unskilled labor to postwar computer scientists building new models of minds and bodies.
Niv earned a B.S. in Computer Science and History from Caltech in 2020. Her undergraduate thesis traced changing and increasingly racialized categories of “technical skill” in twentieth century US immigration law, and included both Mexican braceros and South Asian tech workers as historical actors. Prior to arriving at Yale, Niv worked in immigrants’ rights at the ACLU and in community memory-work at the South Asian American Digital Archive, with generous support from the Caltech Chang Prize. Her work as an academic remains rooted in her commitments to community.