HIMANEE GUPTA-CARLSON was born in November, in the midst of a blizzard, in Iowa City, Iowa, to parents recently arrived from India to the United States. Hence, her name Himanee: born of snow, the princess of snows, a derivation of Himalaya, and of the name ascribed to Parvati in her guise as snowy consort to Shiva.
After studying journalism at Northwestern University, Himanee worked as a reporter at newspapers throughout the U.S., including The Idaho Statesman, The Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat, The Fort Worth Star Telegram, The Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times Leader, The Kansas City Star, and The Seattle Times.
A mid-career fellowship for journalists interested in Asia brought her to Hawai’i in 1995, where she began studying the history, religions, politics, and society of India and other nations of South Asia, along with Hindi (the language her parents spoke but never passed on to her) and Hawaiian (the language of those indigenous to Hawai’i). Being in Hawai’i and experiencing the stories of oppression that Hawaiians shared caused Himanee to start looking more deeply at the legacy of British colonialism on her ancestral country of origin and the community of immigrants she was born into. Her probings led to a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Hawai’i as well as many scholarly and creative writings on the immigrant experience.
Himanee is completing a book manuscript, Muncie, India(na), and teaches a workshop on “Writing Immigrant Narratives.” She also is researching the teaching the roots and evolution of hip-hop as an American and global phenomenon, and probing what it means to be a Christian in a poly-cultural America. A 2011-2012 fellowship through the Wabash Center in Crawfordsville, Indiana, is supporting the latter project. Himanee also speaks extensively on hip-hop and is developing curricula for two future courses centered on the history and contemporary politics of hip-hop.