Current Research Areas: modern Europe, race, post-colonialism, subaltern archives, sonic media, street and club dance, STS, built environments, racial capitalism, transnational history
Rustam Khan’s Ph.D. project at HASTS is titled “Dancing after Decolonization: Race and Technology in Street and Club Dance Cultures in Black and Muslim Brussels, 1960-present.” Dancing after Decolonization investigates the history of race in surveillance and the subaltern, creative resistance thereof in post-colonial Europe through the lens of media technologies and dance. He specifically examines how Black and Muslim youth in Belgium have mobilized emergent media technologies to counter racializing forms of surveillance in the aftermath of formal decolonization. He looks at the popularization of hip hop and house dance, born in the US politics of Black and Brown liberation movements, through portable media such as color tv, vinyl records and cassette tapes, pirate radios, early internet and dance performance in public spaces. Drawing upon a decade-long research and writing in urban-environmental studies, as well as dance practice and participation in street and club dance cyphers across three continents, he uses archival sources (e.g. print, sonic, somatic, and digital), media analysis, urban place-making, and (auto-)ethnographic methods to recover and explain the earlier roots of the heightened forms of racialization and surveillance of Muslim and Black communities, especially since the global wars on terror.
Trained in modern European/Soviet history, Rustam Khan received a B.A. and M.A. degree in history from KU Leuven in Belgium, an M.Phil. degree in history from the University of Hong Kong, and an M.S. from HASTS. Outside his academic work, he’s part of MIT’s Graduate Student Union and engages and performs as a dance artist and DJ in local communities in the Boston area and Belgium.
He welcomes correspondence and interests in multidisciplinary collaborative projects via email.