Salwa is a Fellow at the Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School, working as the Director of ISP's Majority World Initiative. She works at the intersection of law and digitality, specializing in legal pluralism, databases, automation, and women's rights. Her doctoral dissertation from the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University (NYU) examines how the digitizing and automating of law impact subaltern women in the global South. Working across digital media studies and legal anthropology, Salwa conducts a comparative analysis of urban secular state courts and rural Islamic/customary non-state courts (shalish) in Bangladesh to demonstrate how the construction of digital legal databases and use of legal automation (AI Judges) can generate outcomes that are harmful for marginalized communities in the non-West. She also teaches several courses at NYU, including Global Media and International Law; Theory of the Digital; Rise of Internet Media; Media Audience.
Grants and awards for her research include the Mellon-SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF), NYU Digital Humanities Fellowship, NYU Global Research Initiative Fellowship, and American Institute of Bangladesh Studies: Graduate Student Fellowship. She won the Society of the History of Technology's (SHOT) Joan Cahalin Robinson Prize (2022) for her paper-presentation of “Digital Databases: Colonial Legacies Reinscribed in Technologies.” She was awarded first place in the NYU Steinhardt Research and Showcase Competition (2022). Her paper "Law and Digitality: Tracing Modern Epistemologies and Power" won the Asian Journal of Law and Society's Best Paper award in the Graduate Student Paper Competition (2021).
Salwa draws from her interdisciplinary academic background. She holds a Master of Arts in South Asia Studies (concentrations: Political Theory and History) from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and English (Honors) from the University of Washington.
“Neocolonial Digitality: Analyzing Digital Legal Databases Using Legal Pluralism,” Asian Journal of Law and Society (2023), 1-34 https://doi.org/10.1017/als.2023.9