In her research, Roy focuses on sociopolitical themes such as nationalism, state-formation, decolonization, and the relationship between economic and democratic change in InterAsian contexts. Currently, she is interested in the rise and attraction of ‘political outsiders’ that function as counter-electoral forces in electoral democracies. As Chair of the Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS), she researches the history and the contemporary dynamics of democratic politics in Modern India. Lines of research include the capitalist development and democratic change in India, inequality, media and politics.
Roy has (co-)authored and co-edited multiple books on political themes in an InterAsian context, such as Violence and Democracy in India (2006) in which the complex interplay between democracy and the enabling of violence is discussed. In 2007 Roy wrote Beyond Belief: India and the Politics of Postcolonial Nationalism, in which she analyzes the formation of the sovereign nation-state of India in 1947 and the decades that followed it, to rethink political ideologies, such as nationalism and citizenship, that accompanied this transformation.
Before she joined the University of Göttingen in 2011, Roy was Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amhers for six years.