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Graduate students


Farhana Ahmad

Farhana is a third year Phd Student in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell. Her research intersects the fields of adaptation planning, water and institutional reform in Bangladesh. Her work examines how and why processes of adaptation planning by institutions differentially affect cities, regions and communities, and the implications of these processes for questions of vulnerability, equity and sustainability.  Farhana's interest in issues of equity in cities comes comes from her 10 plus years of experience working in the international development field.


Manasicha Akepiyapornchai

Manasicha Akepiyapornchai is pursuing a doctoral degree in Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture from the Department of Asian Studies, Cornell University. Her project, under the supervision of Lawrence J. McCrea, focuses on the development of the Śrīvaiṣṇavas’ soteriological doctrine of prapatti, especially in the time of Vedāntadeśika. She explores the relationship between Vedāntadeśika’s systematization of prapatti and the production of his multilingual corpus, written in Sanskrit, Maṇipravāḷa, and Tamil. She is expecting to graduate in May 2022.


Isha Bhatnagar

Isha is a MS/Phd student in the Department of Development Sociology. Her research interests include the study of gender, as a system of knowledge and as practice, specifically in relation to patterns of fertility and the family, with a regional focus on India. In her current work, she is examining the expectations and roles of daughters and parents of daughters, in the context of cultural norms and fertility decline within the political economy of development.


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.


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).


Kaitlin Emmanuel

Kaitlin Emmanuel holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley (2011) and a M.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University (2017). Her work draws on postcolonial theory, cosmopolitanism, and comparative modernities to examine how socio-political legacies condition art making, particularly in studies of global modernism, nationalism and the subaltern. Under the PhD program in Art History at Cornell, she extends this analysis to her experience working with and researching the Sri Lanka avant-garde.


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.


Charvi Gupta

Charvi Gupta is a graduate student in the City and Regional Planning department at Cornell University. Having a professional background in Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi, India, she is currently focussed working towards the inclusion of human factor, within the development and planning framework, to restore the genius loci and facilitate economic growth. 


Labib Hossain

Labib Hossain is a first year Ph.D. student in the History of Architecture and Urban Development program. His studies focus on the traditional practices (ex. muslin weaving) in monsoon landscape that can offer an alternative reading of human habitation, one that challenges the dry/permanent ground and serves to open a new imagination that shifts us from a divided landscape of contained waters to a ground of wetness. The idea of dwelling derived from weaving questions the rigid dichotomy of land and water and the way they are conventionally categorized as separate entities.


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. 


Barkha Kagliwal

Barkha is a second year PhD student at the Department of Science and Technology Studies. In her current work Barkha examines the role of technology in changing the food system in India. She focuses on the packaged foods market to bring out the interaction between science, technology and social order.



Aparajita Majumdar

Aparajita is a first year PhD candidate in the History Department. Her research brings together ideas concerning matter, space and ecology in the histories of resource extraction. She works primarily on the accumulation of 'wild' rubber in the north eastern tracts of British India, with specific interests in scientific forestry, borders and contraband economies.


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.


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.


Osama Siddiqui

Osama is a PhD student in the Department of History. He studies Modern South Asia and the British Empire, with a focus on intellectual history, including histories of economic thought, language, and translation. Bringing these interests together, his dissertation explores how Indian scholars translated European economic ideas into Indian languages in the nineteenth century. His dissertation research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


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.


Naveen Sunder

Naveen is a fifth year Ph.D. candidate in the Economics Department at Cornell University. His primary research interests are in the fields development economics and labor economics. His research uses cutting edge tools in applied econometrics to answer questions related to health, education, nutrition and gender issues in developing countries. In his dissertation he looks at the intergenerational impact of maternal socioeconomic conditions on health and education of their children in contexts as varied as India and Uganda.


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.