Brandeis-India Fellows 2021-22

The Brandeis-India Fellows Program offers limited funding for the development of creative projects aimed at building ties between Brandeis University and Indian alumni, partners, and organizations.
In May 2021, the Brandeis-India Fellows Program selected three fellows to represent Brandeis in India during summer 2022 and academic year 2021-2022. Below you will find a list of the Fellows and a description of each of their projects.

Medha Asthana
PhD student in Anthropologyimage of medha

Medha will be conducting their preliminary doctoral research, “Daughter Dearest: North Indian Domesticities, Intergenerational Care, and Queer Worldmaking,” on North Indian LGBTQ+ people socialized as daughters and their relationships with their mothers and biological kin in and beyond the domestic space. Medha will be based in New Delhi and Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, using methods of ethnographic fieldwork (participant observation and interviews), to answer how queer North Indian women and those socialized as women negotiate their nonnormative identities in daily interactions with natal kin while situated within gendered, sexualized, and cultural norms that expect compulsory heterosexuality, marriage, and reproduction. Medha will also attend various LGBTQ+ events including Pride events in both the capital and Tier-2 cities.

Nayonika Chatterjee
MA student in Anthropologyimage of nayonika chatterjee

Nayonika will be conducting research that explores illness journey and discourse surrounding cancer in Delhi, India. She will work with cancer survivors, specifically those with a middle class background, who are willing to share their story. She will look into what it means for someone to have cancer in an India cultural context and how and/or whom they choose to talk about it. She will also note what the transition to life post-cancer looks like for individuals as they return back to their assigned roles within their families, social circle, and work place. Nayonika hopes that this project will inform further research and increase South Asian representation within cancer studies. 

Gowthaman Ranganathan
PhD student in Anthropologypicture of gowthaman

Gowthaman Ranganathan’s doctoral work is a comparative project on queer Tamils in Chennai, India and Jaffna, Sri LankaThe queer ways of being Tamil (Queer Tamilness) and the Tamil ways of being queer (Tamil Queerness) is the focus of his project. In his research, he asks, how is Tamil Queerness experienced affectively along with its inflections of caste, gender, region, class, and religion? Gowthaman will conduct ethnographic fieldwork in Chennai with individuals and organizations working on LGBT issues.