Graduate Fellows 2014-2015

Graduate Fellows

Bhawani Buswala
Anthropology

Project Title: Undignified Names: Language Practices and Caste in North India

In this summer research I examine the use of deformed name address forms for the "low" caste individuals as a normalized caste practice in everyday oral discourse in north India. In my prior experiences in Rajasthan, my interactions with the members of various low castes indicated how their names often undergo deliberate deformation by the higher castes and this process becomes a key language practice for insult and humiliation. I focus on names as instrument of insult and humiliation in their pragmatic-linguistic context and examine how these become important speech acts through which caste order is maintained, contested, and reproduced.

Abhilash MedhiAbhilash Medhi

Abhilash Medhi
History

Project Title: Clio on the Margins: Historical Memory and Regional Identity in Early Twentieth-Century Assam

My research examines the afterlife of Edward Gait's 1906 account, A History of Assam, in historiography on the region. Specifically, through a close reading of the works of three historians from Assam, Suryya Kumar Bhuyan. Kanaklal Barua, and Padmanath Bhat-tacharya, it traces the development of two strands within Assamese historical thought. The first of these emphasized connections between histories of Assam and India. The second asserted Assamese autonomy while citing the region's evasion of Mughal and British domination to portray it as a space especially suited to the recovery of an unin­terrupted, and ancient Indian past.

Rijuta MehtaRijuta Mehta

Rijuta Mehta
Modern Culture and Media

Project Title: The Partition Photography Project

The Partition Photography Project is a digital humanities project that puts together an archive of photographs of everyday life from the mid- to late-1940s in the Indian subcontinent. It collects and digitizes family albums, found/orphan photos, and vernacular images from these formative years before and after the Partition Plan to understand how areas of national conflict were produced. It tracks the character of regional life-making practices under sovereign friend/enemy relations between the new states of India and Pakistan through the medium of photography and its special relation to the every day.

Irene PangIrene Pang

Irene Pang
Sociology

Project Title: Becoming Citizens: Construction Workers in Beijing and Delhi

Capitalist market reforms in China and India have altered socio-political landscapes, triggering the transformation of the citizenship regime in each country. This dissertation addresses two closely related questions. Firstly, it aims to identify what citizenship regimes have been instituted in the law and practiced on a day-to-day basis in contemporary China and India, and to examine how each diverges from Western European citizenship regimes. Secondly, by comparing and contrasting the trajectories of citizenship development in China and India, this project aims to clarify and contribute to the theoretical understanding of the relationship between capitalist development and citizenship development.

Anar ParikhAnar Parikh

Anar Parikh
Anthropology

Project Title: Articulating Anxiety and Aspiration: Heritage Preservation in Urban India

Over the past two decades, policy makers, entrepreneurs, journalists, and citizens in India cities have become increasingly preserved with preserving urban heritage and educating the public of the moral and ethnical importance for heritage preservation and appreciation. Drawing on the Times of India campaign, "Ahmedabad Next: Towards a World Heritage City" my project will examine how heritage is a technology through which various individuals and institutions in Ahmedabad conceptualize and articulate the city's past, present, and future. Drawing a recent body of literature which has explored the various “wording practices" of Asian cities, this project will investigate how "heritage" is used to cultivate Ahmedabad's cosmopolitan identity while simultaneously addressing anxieties about Ahmedabad's troubled history of communal violence.

Rama SrinivasanRama Srinivasan

Rama Srinivasan
Anthropology

Project Title: Decoding ‘Love Marriage’: Negotiating Emotions and Legal Recourses in Contemporary Haryana

Haryana is often referred to in media as the 'land of honor killings' but this description usually overlooks the fact that violence is just one aspect of a society in transition where a substantial number of young people dare to choose their own partners. In the face of familial and kin opposition, they desire to get married - a marriage that does not have credibility or societal legitimacy but can obtain legal sanction. My research seeks understand how young people, who seek to redefine marriage in terms other than those espoused by their kin groups, use laws to justify their choices.