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Graduate students


Kamalika Bose

Kamalika is an interior architect with a professional background that straddles  design education, research, heritage activism and conservation – and is currently supported by the Fulbright-Nehru Master's Fellowship in Leadership Development at the Cornell HPP program. Graduating in interior design from CEPT University, Ahmedabad, she has spent the last three years as Assistant Professor at her alma mater while actively pursuing research and writing on India's built environment – historic and contemporary.


Vincent Burgess

Vincent is a PhD candidate in the Asian Religions doctoral program of the Department of Asian Studies. He has received a 2016-17 Fulbright Student Fellowship to conduct his research over the next year in India.  His research is currently focused on discourses of renunciation and environmentalism against contemporary, north Indian religious traditions, particularly how such discourses have intersected with various conceptions and articulations of modernity.


Dambar Chemjong

Dambar is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology. His ethnographic research examines how the Limbu Adivasi  of  Nepal organize  politics of difference mainly  focusing on collective identity in relation to the territorial history. How and why the Limbu claim to and struggle for cultural and political autonomy of Limbuwan in juxtaposition to the dominant and culturally invasive State of Nepal. A few of his research questions are: how and why naming and re-naming the adivasi place names by the state impacts upon the adivasi Limbu’s culture and collective identity?


Patrick Cummins

Patrick Cummins is a Ph.D. student in Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture, who works as an intellectual historian of Sanskrit knowledge systems.  His primary areas of interest are Epistemology (Nyāya), Scriptural Hermeneutics of the Vedas (Mīmāṃsā), Sanskrit's Indigenous Grammatical Tradition (Vyākaraṇa), and Sanskrit Poetics (Alaṅkāraśāstra). He is currently working on the Śabdakhaṇḍa (“The Discourse on Language”) of Gaṅgeśa’s Tattvacintāmaṇi (c.


Anaar Desai-Stephens

Anaar is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate. Her research focuses on gender, pedagogy, and embodiment in Hindustani music through both historical and ethnographic lenses. Anaar first began learning Hindustani music while living and teaching in Mumbai in 2005; she has subsequently continued her studies with violinist Kala Ramnath and vocalist Warren Senders. Anaar received her master's degree in ethnomusicology from Boston University (2009) and her bachelor's degree in violin performance from the Manhattan School of Music (2004).


Natalia Di Pietrantonio

Natalia earned her B.A. in art history at the University California, Davis with an emphasis on Islamic South Asia. In 2011, she received her M.A. from Columbia University in South Asian Studies. Research interests include Islamic art, cross-cultural dimensions of Southeast and South Asian art, architectural marginalia, Indo-Persianate history, Urdu poetry and literature, erotica, gender & sexuality studies.


Aimée Douglas Caffrey

Aimée is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology. She is currently writing a dissertation based on eighteen months of ethnographic research among Sinhalese artisans in two so-called traditional craft villages in Sri Lanka's central province. Her research examines the ideological and practical nexus between caste-based identification and activities regarded as elemental to Sri Lanka's national heritage.


Karlie Fox-Knudtsen

Karlie is a PhD. student in the Department of Socio-cultural Anthropology. There she focuses on India religions, sovereignty, reform movements, temporality, and psycho-analysis. She has completed her Masters of Theological Studies (MTS) Degree at Harvard University Divinity School in the anthropology of South Asian Religions and Sanskrit Literature. Most recently she looked at futurity and sustainability discourses in Western Odisha, mining development and slumification in northwestern Odisha State, and religion and regional sovereignties.


Triveni Gandhi

Triveni is a Ph.D candidate in the Government Department. Her dissertation work is focused on the effect of affirmative action for subordinate groups in India, particularly women and caste minorities. In 2013-2014 she completed 10 months of fieldwork in various districts of Rajasthan, which resulted in both rich interview and large-n survey data.


Samantha Huey

Samantha is a PhD student in International Nutrition, in the division of Nutritional Sciences. Her research focuses on nutritional, immunologic, and microbiological outcomes in children in Mumbai, India. She is particularly interested in how vitamin D status may predict immune function and the gut microbiome composition. Currently, she is in Mumbai, India and is conducting preliminary work for a large randomized biofortification trial among children living in urban slums. 


Thibaud Marcesse

Thibaud is a PhD candidate in the Government Department at Cornell University. His dissertation investigates the impact of institutional change in the field of poverty alleviation on the strategies pursued by political parties in rural India. He focuses specifically on the ways brokers interact with citizens and party elites. His broader research interests include the political economy of development, institutions, political parties, ethnicity and the politics of foreign aid.


Kasia Paprocki

Kasia is a Ph.D. candidate in Development Sociology. She is currently writing her dissertation, which examines the politics of climate change adaptation in Bangladesh, and the political ecology of development and agrarian change in the coastal region.


Maryam Rabi

Maryam is a graduate student in the field of Historic Preservation Planning at Cornell University and has a professional background in Architecture from Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Pakistan. She is currently supported by the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme. After completing her undergraduate degree in 2010, Maryam has worked in the area of preservation with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Historic Cities Programme in Lahore.


Rumela Sen

Rumela is a PhD candidate in the department of Government. Her dissertation is titled “From Bullets to Ballots: Maoists and the Lure of Democracy in India”. Her research employs a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate how, when and why insurgents bid farewell to arms and embrace the same political system they had once vehemently rejected. This fits into her broader research interests in political violence, social movements, revolution, agrarian studies, democratic decentralization and insurgency/counterinsurgency (COIN).


Divya Sharma

Divya is a PhD candidate in the Department of Development Sociology. Her research interests include the historical sociology of development, agrarian political ecology, resistance and social movements, with a regional focus on India.


Scott Sorrell

Scott is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology with interests in queer theory, embodiment, urban space, and the relationship between the global and the local. His dissertation research focuses on the ongoing urban transformation of Bangalore, India from the perspective of its queer communities. Prior to undertaking graduate study at Cornell, Scott lived in Nepal, working with the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University on a project about Bhutanese refugee resettlement and with The Carter Center as a political observer. 


Nidhi Subramanyam

Nidhi is a Ph.D. student in City and Regional Planning, with a concentration in International Studies in Planning. Her research examines how small cities in the global South manage urbanization in the face of demographic and climate change. She studies the provision and management of basic services such as water and sanitation (and the infrastructure that undergirds them) in small cities in India.


Kelsey Utne

Kelsey is a PhD student in the Department of History. Her research focuses on commemoration and public history in late colonial and early postcolonial South Asia, with a particular interest in war memorials and military cemeteries. After she earned a dual BA/BS in history and political science at Salem State University, she was 2012-2013 Fulbright-Nehru student research grant. She went on to complete MA in South Asian Studies at the University of Washington (2015).   In a past life she worked for three years as a park ranger at Salem Maritime National Historic Site


Elaine Yu

Elaine focuses on the effects of vitamin D supplementation among adult patients with tuberculosis (as well as a subset living with human immunodeficiency virus co-infection) in southern India. In a double-blinded randomized control trial, study participants will be randomly assigned to receive different dosages of vitamin D or placebo; biological, immunological, and health indicators will be assessed during the one year follow up period.