Meet our 2021-23 South Asia Working Group (SAWG) at Stanford Fellow, Shubhangni Gupta!
What do you want people to know about you?
Hello! By ways of an introduction, I am a third year PhD researcher in the Anthropology Department at Stanford. I work on practices of heritage associated with Marwari havelis in rural Rajasthan in India, and how they produce different notions of ownership and expertise in this landscape. That being said, my research interests are deeply associated with my love for architecture, art forms and encountering novel emotional landscapes. Being a part of a PhD program has definitely been a boon on the last aspect, as we navigate myriad situations that push the boundaries of our social and intellectual comfort zones at the same time as learning to care for ourselves and understanding the priorities of our professional well-being. This also being part of the reason why I was interested in starting the working group with Shantanu.
What made you start SAWG; what were the origins of SAWG?
SAWG started from a feeling of an acute absence of a student-led semi-formal community platform where students and early career scholars working on South Asia could come together and speak on their research, academic ideas and things that mattered to them professionally and academically. Often as scholars that are starting out on their research need to bounce off ideas, listen to others in a similar space and also want a platform to broadcast their voices. We were committed to these ideas as budding scholars ourselves and wanted to build a community of South Asianists across the world in an accessible manner. Therefore, keeping in mind the limitations posed to us during COVID, we decided to shift to a zoom format to enable participation. We were happy to observe, that through a slow but steady growth, we were able to see participation from both the US East and West Coasts, as well as from UK and South Asia as well.
What are you interested in accomplishing with SAWG?
We are interested in building an interdisciplinary and cross-regional network of students and early career scholars across the world. Most of our sessions also involve a consideration of pedagocial efforts to enable research strategies, and therefore we organized sessions on multiple formats. These included movie discussions on relevant South Asian films, skill-building sessions on notetaking and conference participation and scholar presentations and conversations. A generous SPICE grant from the VPGE Office and support from the Center for South Asia allowed us to keep the ball rolling on these fronts. We want to continue with these endeavours and efforts on a larger scale, possibly with more collaborators and expanding to more topics and formats of interest. But at the root of it all, we still want to stay true with the aim that we started from— a by and for nascent scholars platform that provides the space and bandwidth for the support and opportunity they need.
Update 6/27/2022: Shubhangni Gupta will continue as a SAWG Fellow alongside Paras Arora for 2022-23 academic year.
Are you a Stanford student and are interested in becoming a SAWG fellow? Email Lalita du Perron, lalita [at] stanford.edu, to express interest and learn more about the role.