For my dissertation project, I hope to trace the stories of Tamil drama artists, as they traveled, performed, and lived between 20th century Madras Presidency, Ceylon, and British Malaya. This winter, I went on a research trip to Madurai and Chennai, Tamil Nadu, to understand the infrastructures that supported these artists’ travels, as well as the kinds of performances they held abroad.
Category : Students
The Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program began in 2017, a joint effort between the Harvard Business School Club of the GCC, HBS Professors Tarun Khanna and Karim Lakhani, and the Mittal Institute. This year, the Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program received 6,093 total applications from 97 countries spanning the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, South Asia, and US students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).
With the support of the Winter Travel Grant, I traveled through Bangladesh for over 30 days during December 2019 and January 2020. I was accompanied by my research partner, John David Wagner, an Irving Innovation Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. During our trip, we carried out extensive field research in Bangladesh to inquire if the very nature of the spatial quality of refugee camps contributes to keeping the inhabitants of these urban dwellings marginalized for many generations.
Each month, the Mittal Institute’s Graduate Student Associates (GSAs) meet to discuss their latest work on South Asia, spanning various disciplines — from politics to religion and the arts — and providing feedback on one another’s dissertations, articles, and more. Led by Head Graduate Student Associates Aiden Milliff (Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, MIT), Blair Read (Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, MIT), and Akshay Dixit (Ph.D., Political Economy, Harvard), the group of about 20 members from schools across Boston provide support and new insights to one another as they work through their studies.
Over the last three weeks of my winter vacation, I traveled to Hindu temples throughout South India, with the goal of understanding the inspirations and motivations that drove musicians to compose about the idols worshipped at these establishments. Starting from the Eastern temple city of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, I snaked along the Eastern coast of the Indian peninsula, ultimately arriving to the country’s southern tip at Kanyakumari, before continuing through the hill stations of Kerala and ending at Guruvayur, Kerala.
Alexis Brown is a doctoral student at Harvard University, who recently traveled to Sri Lanka over the winter break to perform field research for her dissertation, centered on a Buddhist narrative anthology entitled Rasavahini, written in medieval Sri Lanka. As Brown notes, “the Rasavahini is considered one of the most important works among post-canonical Pali literature in Sri Lanka, as well as Thailand, Burma, and Laos. Despite the Rasavahini’s importance in South and Southeast Asia, relatively little scholarship has been published on it.”
Through the Mittal Institute’s South Asia and the Arts Travel Fund, I traveled to Vadodara, Gujarat and Mumbai, Maharashtra in India to conduct research for my qualifying paper, a requirement in the History of Art and Architecture Department at Harvard University. My qualifying paper explores the conception of the mother-child motif in ancient India within Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions, and expands on the function and role of these goddesses and the similarities and differences in their worship.
A seven-member delegation from Harvard College recently visited the Indian state of Manipur to conduct the second iteration of the Program for Scientifically Inspired Leadership (PSIL), a program that would encourage local high school students and college-level teaching assistants in a Western-style education format.
The digital version of the Mittal Institute’s 2018-2019 Student Grant Report has just been released! The report highlights the recipients of the Mittal Institute’s Winter 2018 and Summer 2019 student grants, who traveled all over South Asia to learn about everything from conservation in post-colonial India to the transformation of South Asian foodways.
The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute is seeking a Communications Intern for the Spring 2020 semester! The Institute engages in interdisciplinary research to deepen the understanding of critical issues in South Asia, and the Communications team promotes its events, programs and research through various forms of multimedia content. We’re looking for an intern who can assist with the creation of posters for the various events hosted by the Institute.
The Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program began in 2017, a joint effort between the Harvard Business School Club of the GCC, HBS Professors Tarun Khanna and Karim Lakhani, and the Mittal Institute. This year, the Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program received 6,093 total applications from 97 countries spanning the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, South Asia, and US students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Of the candidates, 4,263 were selected to move onto the next round, which consisted of a fully funded selection of interdisciplinary courses offered online on HarvardX through Crossroads’ partnership with edX.
Each year, the Mittal Institute holds the Seed for Change competition, welcoming student projects that impact societal, economic, and environmental issues in India and Pakistan. Our latest digital report on the program is out now, highlighting the work of the winning teams. Click here to read it!