Cristin McKnight Sethi

Assistant Professor of Art History and Director of Graduate Studies, Art History
Room 106B, Smith Hall

Areas of Expertise

South Asian art

Professor McKnight Sethi’s research and teaching interests include textiles and folk art, the intersection of gender and practices of making, networks of circulation and exchange, the anthropology of art, and postcolonial theory. She has published on contemporary craft in India, the history of natural dyes in Asia, and the production and circulation of folk embroidery during the late nineteenth century. She has also held curatorial and research positions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the UCLA Fowler Museum, the Asian Art Museum San Francisco, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Professor McKnight Sethi’s current book project examines female labor and hand-embroidery in Punjab during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
M.A., University of Texas at Austin


  • “The Many Meanings of Punjabi Phulkaris,” in Phulkari, ed. Darielle Mason. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, forthcoming.
  • “Satin Stitched Stories: Narrativity and Pictorial Strategies in a Rāmāyaṇa Rumāl,” in Pahari Coverlets: Jewel of Embroidery, ed. Anamika Pathak. New Delhi: National Museum New Delhi / B.R. Publishing, forthcoming.
  • “Women’s Work: Phulkari, Flora Annie Steel, and Collecting Textiles in British India” in Women, Gender, and Art in Early Modern Asia, ed. Melia Belli Bose. Ashgate, July 2016.
  • “To Dye For: The Many Reds of Asia” in The Red That Colored The World, eds. Barbara Anderson and Carmella Padilla. New York: Rizzoli, May 2015.
  • “Mapping Craft in Contemporary India: Dilli Haat and Dastkari Haat Samiti’s Crafts Maps” in Journal of Modern Craft Vol. 6, No. 1. Oxford: Berg Publishers. March 2013.

Classes Taught

  • Collecting India (graduate)
  • Historiography (graduate)
  • South Asian Art: Production, Patronage, and Power (c. 2500 BCE to present)
  • Crafting the Nation: The Politics and Practice of the Handmade in India (graduate)
  • Asian Textiles in Context