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headshot of Ramaesh Joseph Bhagirat

Ramaesh Joseph Bhagirat

Assistant Professor

Department of Asian and Asian American Studies


Ramaesh J. Bhagirat-Rivera is a Caribbean historian and Assistant Professor of Critical Mixed Race Studies in the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies at Binghamton University. His research focuses on the intersection of Asian and African diasporas in the Americas, race and racism, transnationalism, and cultural history. He is completing his book manuscript – Inventing Indigeneity: Performing Race and Nation in the Modern Caribbean, c. 1950-1980 – which analyzes how contested festivals were used to create national cohesion in racially divided Caribbean countries. His manuscript argues that the multiracial societies of Guyana and Trinidad looked to each other to construct shared visions of nationhood by inventing indigeneity through festival culture.

Stemming from this monograph, Bhagirat-Rivera has published an article on Carifesta – “Between Pan-Africanism and a Multiracial Nation: Race, Regionalism, and Guyanese Nation-Building Through the Caribbean Festival of Creative Arts (CARIFESTA), 1972.” Building from this work, he co-organized a symposium called "The Inaugural Caribbean Festival of Arts as Prism: 20th Century Festivals in the Multilingual Caribbean," which was held as part of the Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Inc.’s Annual Guyana Folk Festival. This symposium was envisioned as an opportunity for an intergenerational exploration of the origins, events, experiences, missteps, legacies, and stories of Carifesta ’72. In collaboration with the University of Guyana’s Caribbean Research Library, the symposium also launched the Digital Archive of Guyanese and Caribbean Festivals, Culture and Literature, which will become a repository of cultural documents and oral histories of Carifesta and beyond.


  • PhD, MA, University of Chicago
  • BA, Oberlin College

Research Interests

  • Race, racism, and mixed race studies
  • Asian and African Diasporas in the Americas
  • Latin American and Caribbean history
  • South Asian diasporas
  • Festivals, music, and performative culture
  • Indigeneity


  • Fulbright IIE, Trinidad & Tobago
  • Mellon Mays Fellow
  • Ronald E. McNair Scholar