BULPIP-Awardees

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Awardees for 2017 

Ali Imam

B.A. in Economics and in International Studies

University of Michigan

Ali Imam is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he received his BA in Economics and International Studies, with a focus on Political Economy. He also completed studies in Asian languages and culture as well as Musicology. While at the University of Michigan, he conducted initial research on conservative Islamist political parties within the South Asian subcontinent. Ali looks to further his grasp on the Urdu language through the BULPIP Fellowship. He also hopes to research and understand the design and implications of historical Pakistani architecture and examining the intersection of art, music, and politics within Pakistan.

Gabriel Saheb

M.A. Candidate, South Asian Studies

SOAS University, London

Gabriel is a Masters student currently studying at SOAS University in London.  He has been studying Urdu for the past year at SOAS.  For his M.A. thesis, he is researching South Asian media potrayals of the Hazara community in Balochistan.  He also has interests in Urdu writings related to Saadat Hasan Manto, water rights issues within Pakistan, as well as general geopolitical issues within South Asia.

Shelby House

B.A. in Middle Eastern & South Asian Studies and in Comparative Politics

Vanderbilt University

Shelby House recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern & South Asian Studies and Comparative Politics. Her research interests include Pakistani domestic politics, counterterrorism, and American foreign policy in South Asia. After the BULPIP program, she intends to return to the States to pursue work in journalism and law with a focus on South Asian diaspora communities. Last spring, she was an Urdu language fellow at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Lucknow. She was also a participant of STARTALK at the University of Pennsylvania and the South Asia Summer Language Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Areej Jahangir

Ph.D. Candidate in Science and Technology Studies

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Areej is a graduate student in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She received a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Policy from Smith College in 2016. The focus of her graduate studies is on the issue of water security in Pakistan as a function of its history, geographic location, political divisions, economics, and sociology. Areej has grown up with Urdu around her and looks to improve her language proficiency, especially in reading and writing, to work with Pakistani and South Asian communities on environmentally, economically, and socially viable water solutions. After graduate school, she hopes to pursue a career in international environmental development.

Veronica Canas

M.T.S. in Islamic Studies

Harvard Divinity School

Veronica is a recent graduate of Harvard Divinity School where she completed her MTS in Islamic Studies and is also a graduate of Florida International University with a BA in Religious Studies. Her research interests are shared devotional practices and devotional literature in Pakistan and Northern India and the construction of gender and identity. She began studying Urdu in 2015 at the South Asia Summer Language Institute in Madison, Wisconsin and has participated twice in the CLS Urdu language program in Lucknow.

Mariam Yousuf

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics

University of California, Davis

Mariam is currently a third-year economics graduate student at the University of California, Davis. She is interested in Macroeconomic History. Eventually, she would like to research the macro-economy of British India in the late-nineteenth to early-twentieth century. Her interest in Urdu developed during her summer visits to Pakistan. Although she could speak and understand Urdu, she did not know how to read or write Urdu. She studied Urdu at the University of California, Berkeley to formally study the language. She would like to continue her formal education in Urdu in order to feel more comfortable and knowledgeable while conducting economic research about South Asia.

Azzah Ahmad 
Awardees for 2016 

Sohaib Baig

Ph.D. Candidate, History

University of California, Los Angeles

Sohaib is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at UCLA, studying the Muslim intellectual history of South Asia and the Indian Ocean. His dissertation explores intellectual exchange across South Asia and the Hijaz in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with particular focus on the debates among Muslim scholars on bid'a or religious innovation. His research languages include Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish, which he continues to learn at Los Angeles. He has not yet studied Urdu formally, but he conducted research in Urdu for his senior undergraduate thesis at UCLA on madrasa reform under the British Raj, as well as for subsequent graduate projects

Lusia Zaitseva

Ph.D. Candidate, Comparative Literature

Harvard University

Lusia Zaitseva received her BA in French literature and creative writing at Columbia University in 2010 and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in comparative literature at Harvard University, where she is writing a dissertation on childishness and vulnerability in Soviet-era poetry and prose. Her research interests include poetry, the short story, gender, trauma, and memory studies. She has studied Urdu since 2011 and has participated in the AIIS-Lucknow summer program twice. She is interested in the literary ties and cross-influences between Pakistan and the former Soviet Union.

 

 

Nicole Hemenway

B.A. in South Asian Languages and Literatures

University of California at Berkeley

Nicole graduated from U.C. Berkeley in May 2015 with a bachelor's in South Asian Languages and Literatures and a minor in History. Upon graduation, her collegiate honors thesis on the history of Hindu-Muslim relations in central India, entitled “A Confluence of Religions: Golconda, 1512-1713,” received awards both from the South and Southeast Asia Studies department and from U.C. Berkeley's Institute of International Studies. Since then, Nicole has spent a year in Lucknow, India studying Urdu and volunteering with a women's legal advocacy organization, followed by a summer in D.C. conducting research with the National Immigration Forum on skills and workforce development policies as they affect the immigrant community.

Tavleen Kaur

Ph.D. Candidate, Visual Studies

University of California, Irvine

Tavleen Kaur is a third year PhD student in Visual Studies at U.C. Irvine. She is researching the role of architectural design and urban planning in the built environment of the South Asian American diaspora. In particular she is looking at how the formation of faith-based architectural identity in the public sphere is a process that happens in tandem with that of the racialization and marginalization of religio-ethnic communities. She is working at the intersections of design, planning, race, and ethnicity. Tavleen has previously trained in Urdu via summer and academic year AIIS fellowships at the University of Washington, Seattle and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Madiha Haque

MA Candidate, Asian Studies

University of Texas at Austin 

Madiha completed her Master's in Asian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, and her MA thesis was on Urdu drama serials in Pakistan. She is interested in Urdu poetry, the transnational popularity of Pakistani media, and South Asian music. She has taken a total of five years of Urdu coursework at a combination of UT Austin, where she also got her undergraduate degree, and AIIS.

Alexis Saba

Ph.D. Candidate, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Indiana University

Alexis Saba is a Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy Studies within Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at Indiana University's School of Education. In 2010 she received her M.S. in International and Comparative Education from Indiana University and in 2005 she received her B.A. from Hanover College in Cultural Anthropology. Her research interests include the right to education in Pakistan and the relationships between development sector workers and intended beneficiaries within education programs targeted towards marginal populations including out of school children and their families. She has studied Urdu and Hindi at Indiana University for two years and Hindi at Northwestern University for one year. Her dissertation research will rely on qualitative fieldwork in Urdu with development workers and community members in Lahore.

 

James Batchelder

MA Candidate, Conflict Resolution

Georgetown University

James is a master’s student in Conflict Resolution at Georgetown University, focused specifically on conflict in South Asia. He began learning Hindi in high school and discovered an interest in Urdu as an undergraduate at Boston University. He has since spent two academic years studying Urdu in Lucknow, most recently on a Boren Fellowship.

Matthew Marcus

BA in Political Science

City University of New York (CUNY), Hunter College.

Matthew recently graduated from City University of New York, Hunter College, with a B.A. in Political Science.  At Hunter, he focused primarily on International Relations and Global Governance. For the past year, he has committed himself to studying Urdu, consisting of two terms at AIIS—Lucknow and one term with the South Asian Summer Language Institute at University of Wisconsin, Madison. His research interests are in Peace and Conflict Studies and the nuanced intersections of politics, religion, and class in South Asia. Specifically, Matthew enjoys examining the myriad of ways in which South Asians understand and respond to conflict and social change—whether through political violence, direct action, or even art. 

Awardees for 2015 

Anum Chaudhry

MA Candidate
Public Health

University of Michigan

I received my Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from University of Michigan. I am currently pursuing my Masters of Public health in Health Behavior and Health Education with focus on global health at University of Michigan. My focus area of study is South Asia. My research focuses on the use of humanities to promote health and wellbeing. I am interested in the use of arts as way of self expression and a form of healing in post traumatic stress disorder patients. I also focus on the role of religion and how it impacts one's health and outlook on life. I have taken 2 years of Urdu with professor Syed Ali and was fascinated by the power words can hold in Urdu poetry; and I hope to incorporate that in my line of research.

Sneha Desai

Ph.D. Candidate
English and Comparative Literature

Columbia University

Sneha is a graduate student at the Columbia University, Dept. of English & Comparative Literature and Institute for Comparative Literature & Society (ICLS).

"My path towards Urdu flowed from an interest in poetry and translation. Having heard Urdu poetry was great, I took the best option available to a San Franscico resident: UC Berkeley's summer Intensive Course in Beginning Hindi-Urdu while in a career transition that afforded flex-time. Unbelievably, some years later, I was teaching that same course, having earned an MA in South & Southeast Asian Studies from UC Berkeley. During the intervening time, I had taken advanced Urdu under Dr. Aftab Ahmad concurrently with advanced Hindi literature seminars, as well as attending the AIIS Language Program in Lucknow. (Sadly, I matriculated years before the BULPIP Program resumed.) For the next several years, I taught Hindi as a lecturer at Stanford University during the academic year, and occasionally, in the UC Berkeley summer program, as well. In 2011 I embarked on a Fulbright IIE Fellowship in New Delhi and during the course of a year, I undertook intensive advanced Urdu studies with Dr. Irshad Ahmad, focusing on 20th century Urdu literature and Ghalib. Since joining Columbia University as a PhD student, I have also enjoyed the opportunity to study with Professor Francis Pritchett in her penultimate class on Ghalib."

Sarah Fasano 

MA Candidate
Conflict Resolution Program
Georgetown University

Sarah Fasano is a Master's Candidate in the Conflict Resolution Program at Georgetown University. She is specializing in South Asian Studies and Radicalization processes. In the future, she hopes to work specifically with conflict between Pakistan and India. She first began studying Urdu on her own with the Rosetta Stone Program, and spent seven months in India studying with AIIS in Lucknow.

Natalia Di Pietrantonio

PhD candidate
Art History
Cornell University

Natalia is a PhD candidate in the History of Art department at Cornell University. 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. Her doctoral dissertation, "Erotic Visions: Poetry, Literature, and Book Arts from Avadh, 1754-1857," focuses on erotic miniatures such as representations of female nudes and amorous couples produced in and around the Indo-Islamic court of Avadh, India. In her research, she also looks at Avadhi manuscripts as a whole, emphasizing the relationship between Persian and Urdu poetics and visuals. She has previously studied Urdu at UC-Davis, Cornell University, SASLI, and Lucknow-AIIS.

Laura Randall

MA Candidate
International Studies
University of Washington

Laura holds a MA in International Studies, in the Department of Comparative Religion, from the University of Washington, as well as a graduate certificate in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Her research interests focus on contemporary South Asian women's activisms and movements as they relate to digital spaces, temporality, and collective memory. She is particularly interested in how women use religion in political action. She began studying Urdu at UW in 2011 and since then has participated in both the summer intensive and year-long AIIS Urdu programs in Lucknow, India. She received her BA in Religious Studies from Elon University.

David W. Weil

Ph.D. Candidate
Near Eastern Studies
Princeton

David is a Doctoral Candidate in the Princeton University Department of Near Eastern Studies. He is returning to BULPIP to perfect his Urdu and continue dissertation research. His major research topics center on the comparative history of nationalism, conceptions of imperial and national citizenship, political transition and state consolidation, and military ideology in Turkey and Pakistan. His research languages are Modern and Ottoman Turkish, and Urdu, which he has studied in Washington, D.C., Princeton, and Lucknow before coming to Lahore.

Awardees for 2014 

Madihah F. Akhter

Ph.D. Candidate
History
Stanford

Madihah is a first year PhD candidate in the history department at Stanford University. She received a Bachelor's degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master's degree in history from Tufts University. Madihah's research interests include modern South Asian history, Islam in colonial India, intellectual history, gender, postcolonial theory and historiography. Madihah conducted research in Urdu for her Master's thesis and looks forward to improving her skills to read Urdu autobiographies, etiquette manuals and travelogues.

Elizabeth A. Bolton

Ph.D. Candidate
Radio-Television-Film
UT Austin

Elizabeth is a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin, in the Department of Radio-Television-Film. Her research interests include: anthropology of media, affective exchange and new media, lived religion in urban Pakistan, religion and new media, urban anthropology, globalization and popular culture. Elizabeth has completed four years of formal study of Urdu under Dr. Syed Akbar Hyder and Shahnaz Hassan at the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation explores Pakistan’s local cable Islamic advice television and the changing ways in which Islam is practiced and experienced in urban Pakistan. 

Aparna M. Kumar

Ph.D. Candidate
Art History
UCLA

Aparna is a fourth year PhD student in the Department of Art History at UCLA, studying modern and contemporary South Asian art. Her dissertation project explores the impact of Partition on the development of visual culture in India and Pakistan in the twentieth century to which Urdu has been a vital component. She began studying Urdu in 2008 while an undergraduate student at Brown University. Her interest in the Urdu language was reinvigorated in her second year of graduate school when writing her Master’s thesis on the contemporary artist, Zarina Hashmi who regularly employs Urdu in the body of her works. For the past two summers, she was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship by the US Department of State to study Urdu in Lucknow, India where she completed two research projects in Urdu on varying subjects including contemporary Indian cinema and contemporary Indian art.

Saleha Parvaiz

MA Candidate
Asian Studies
UT Austin

Saleha Parvaiz is a MA student in the Department of Asian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research centers on popular Sufism in South Asia and the impact of globalization on spiritual expression. Specifically, she seeks to situate the genre of qawwali within broader South Asian devotional discourses by examining it as a performative ritual and a dialogic text that draws tropes and idioms from Arabo-Persian and Bhakti literary traditions. In doing so, she will explore the manners in which particular registers of Urdu used to convey such tropes and idioms become laced with gender identities. By looking at how local aesthetics negotiate with the process of globalization, she aims to add depth to the discourse of qawwali’s place and function in literature, religion, and society. Saleha has studied Urdu for a year with Dr. Syed Akbar Hyder at UT Austin while taking classes on qawwali aesthetics and the philosophy and poetry of Muhammad Iqbal.

Kelsey J. Utne

MA Candidate
International Studies
Univ. of Washington

Kelsey Utne is a graduate student at the University of Washington’s International Studies department focusing on South Asia Studies program in Seattle, WA. Her research interests include public history and memory in diaspora communities, the memorialization of gender violence, and religious identity. Previously she studied Hindi in Jaipur, India through the Critical Language Scholarship, and is presently studying both Hindi and Urdu at University of Washington.

David W. Weil

Ph.D. Candidate
Near Eastern Studies
Princeton

David is enrolled at Princeton University in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. His research interest is in the comparative history of nationalism, political transformation, and military ideology in twentieth-century Turkey and Pakistan. He is learning Urdu as well as modern and Ottoman Turkish in order to pursue this study from the late 19th century to the current day. Having studied elementary Persian, he was able to begin his formal studies in Urdu last year, with summer language study at the AIIS in Lucknow following a year of course room instruction at Princeton.