jessicaJessica Bachman, MA South Asia Studies (Jackson School)

Future plans: Entering the University of Washington’s History PhD Program

Awards and honors: FLAS Academic Year Fellowship 2013-14; 2014-15; U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship (Hindi), summer of 2014

Interests: South Asian urban and environmental history, Indo-Soviet relations, material culture

MA paper title(s): (1) “Nibbling at the Forest: Environmental Conservation in India, 1969-1988”; (2) “Representing Vijayanagara: the Photographs of Alexander Greenlaw, 1855-1856”

Favorite JSIS class: JSIS 510 South Asian Studies Research Design Seminar

Advice for future JSIS students: Consider studying Bangla!

keith cKeith Cantú, MA South Asia Studies (Jackson School)

Future plans: Will begin a PhD program in Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara after traveling again to Bangladesh and India this summer.

Awards and honors: UCSB’s ‘Chancellor’s Fellowship’ multi-year funding package

Interests: Bengali esoteric traditions, Sanskrit, Thelema

MA Thesis title: “Theurgy and the Snake: The Yoga Kalandar and Bengali Sufism”

Favorite JSIS class: JSIS C 502 with Michael Williams: Religion in Comparative Perspective (“Race and Religion”)

Advice for future JSIS students: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Pursue your academic interests and classes as you will, regardless of external pressures or anxieties (e.g. social or financial insecurity). The professors and staff at UW really are some of the most brilliant and dynamic people you will ever meet, and will help you wherever your path leads. Love is the law, love under will.

S. Church2Suzanne Church, MA South Asia Studies (Jackson School)

Future plans: Travel, travel, travel…and explore transnational belonging. Maybe some work and a PhD too!

Awards and honors: I was very graciously awarded a Fellowship by the UW and some support for language study by AIIS.

Interests: socio-spatial theory, narratives of the discarded, post-conflict resolution, graphic/visual medium, transnational belonging, and Bengali.

MA paper titles:  (1) “Designing the Postdomestic Devi: A Graphic Adaption of Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay’s Devi Chaudhurani,” (2) “Who Will Take out the Trash?: Processes of Social Waste Making in Post-conflict Bangladesh”

Favorite JSIS class: JSIS 490: Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting: World Cultures through the Asian Martial Arts (Winter 2011) with Christian Novetzke…impossible to beat!

Advice for future JSIS students: Keep pushing-especially when you are told “NO”. You are actively defining the future, so do it.

QuinnQuinn Clark, MA South Asia Studies (Jackson School)

Future plans: Department of Religion (South Asian Religions Sub-field), PhD; Columbia University

Awards and honors: FLAS Fellowship (Summer; Advanced Hindi; 2014); FLAS Fellowship (Academic Year; Intermediate Urdu; 2014-2015); AIIS Language Scholarship (Summer; Advanced Urdu; 2015)

Interests: Religion in India; Sufism and shrine visitation; blessing and healing practices; tradition/modernity discourse and memory

MA paper title(s): (1) The Act of Listening: Mannats of Memory and Stories of Miracles, (2) The State of Pluralism: Representing the Muslim Subject in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar Riots.

Favorite JSIS class: “Yoga: History and Politics” (Fall 2014; Dr. Christian Novetzke)

Advice for future JSIS students: Write early; write often. Don’t be afraid to regularly start sentences with, “This may be a silly question, but…” “In academics, strike a healthy balance between the doing the responsible, career-oriented thing and the thing you love.

Nick GottschallNick Gottschall, MA South Asia Studies (Jackson School)

Future plans: This summer my wife and I will be working with the American Institute of Indian Studies to produce videos about their programs and activities around India.

Awards and honors: FLAS (Advanced Hindi 2013-2014, Intermediate Urdu 2014-2015)

Interests: Popular politics and democracy, politics of development and poverty, social movements, and globalization in India.

MA paper titles: (1) World Bank Versus Vote Bank: Governance, Development, and the Bahujan State in Mayawati’s Uttar Pradesh. (2) Capturing Power, Capturing Development: The Dalit Pursuit of Empowerment and Justice in Uttar Pradesh.

Favorite JSIS class: JSIS 510: South Asian Studies Research Design Seminar, with Prof. Cabeiri Robinson.

Advice for future JSIS students: Think hard and early about your study interests, even if they’re broad or vaguely defined at first, find professors who are interested in the same things, go to their office and see what you can learn. Talk lots of intelligent nonsense to your peers to generate creative ideas. Also, do lots of things completely unrelated to school; enjoy Seattle.

HannahHannah E. Haegeland, MA South Asia Studies (Jackson School)

Future plans: Following graduation, I will be working as a Herbert Scoville Peace Fellow at the Stimson Center’s South Asia Program in  Washington, D.C.

Awards and honors: Frank F. Conlon Fellowship 2014-15; Slade Gorton International Policy Center Global Leadership Program Fellowship 2014-15; Boren Fellowship – India 2013-14; FLAS, Intermediate Hindi, Summer 2014; FLAS, Advanced Urdu, Summer 2013; FLAS, Intermediate Urdu 2012-13, FLAS, Elementary Urdu, Summer 2012

Interests: Nuclear Learning in Pakistan and India; Regional Politics & Religious Ideologies; Sex Labour & Rights

MA paper title(s): (1) “Pakistan’s Islamisized Rhetoric in the Second Nuclear Age: Postcolonial, Modern, Democratic, and Undefined,” (2) “Imaging Activists in South Asia & Politics of Rights: Representations of Sex Labour & Migration/Trafficking in Nepal and Pakistan”

Favorite JSIS class: This question is almost impossible to answer mostly because what makes the South Asia Program at JSIS so stellar is our faculty. Every JSIS or JSIS-faculty taught course that I took was instrumental in shaping my thinking and research and all of them equipped me with exposure, information, theory, and analytical practice that I will be directly applying in my work after graduation. The seminars I enjoyed most, however, were the required series of 508, 509, and 510 with South Asia professors and other students of South Asia. They constituted small, tight-knit learning communities that enabled faculty and students to get to know and work with one another while immersed in questions revolving around the study of South Asia.

Advice for future JSIS students: Listen when they tell you at orientation to do things like start using a citation management tool immediately, invest in language study, figure out your research interests and the best faculty to work with on them early, start your writing early. Apply for grants like its your job. Also, keep in mind that everyone’s first quarter is hard in ways that you just cannot understand or prepare for until you’ve already gone through it. Fight Imposture Syndrome! Finally, our professors are brilliant scholars, gifted and committed teachers, and pretty cool people; get to know them.

ThiliniThilini Kahandawaarachchi, MA South Asia Studies (Jackson School)

Awards and honors: Fulbright Scholarship (2013- 2015); AIPS Summer Research Grant 2014; GPSS Travel Grant 2015

Interests: Geopolitics, history and the strategic significance of the Indian Ocean Region, China in South Asia

MA thesis title: “Politics of Ports: China’s investments in Pakistan, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh”

Favorite JSIS class: Modern China – IR

MansiMansi Majithia, MA South Asian Studies (Jackson School)

Interests: History of Religion and its politics and South Asian Diaspora

MA paper titles: (1) “The Emergence of a Global South-Asian Identity”; (2) “Brahmachari as a Performance of Tradition and its Political Representation”

Favorite JSIS class:  I really liked Sanskrit 413 with Professor Salomon. It was great learning Panini and learning from Professor Salomon who was very knowledgeable and humble. My favorite JSIS class was JSISA 509 (Interdisciplinary Studies in South Asia II) because I enjoyed all the books we read, I learned how to read, analyze, and think critically. I also grew familiar the different issues around South Asia.

Advice for future JSIS students:  UW became more memorable for my second year when I stepped out and got involved and with other groups and events. I learned a lot about myself and really appreciated not just my program but the University as well.

laura randallLaura Randall, MA Comparative Religion (Jackson School)

Future plans: Fall 2015 BULPIP-AIPS fellow in Lahore, Pakistan

Awards and honors: Ivy Hovey Fitch Endowed Scholarship in International Studies (2014-2015); AIIS Urdu Fellow (2013-2014); FLAS – Urdu (2013); Graduate Award – Common Grounds Publishing (2013)

Interests: Islam in South Asia, women’s resistance movements, embodied knowledge

MA paper titles: (1) Pursuing Em(power)ment: A comparative analysis of women’s affiliation with the Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan and Bangladesh; (2) Interpreting rape in Jammu & Kashmir: Gender, religion, and nation from Kunan-Poshpora to Shopian

Favorite JSIS class: JSIS B 526 Political Islam with Prof. Cabeiri Robinson

Advice for future JSIS students: Grad school will present many new and challenging opportunities that you did not anticipate. Say yes to as many as you can.


Kelsey UtneKelsey Utne, MA South Asia Studies (Jackson School)

Future plans: During the summer I’ll be staying in Seattle taking intensive elementary Arabic. In late August I will begin working towards my PhD in history at Cornell University.

Awards and honors: Academic Year FLAS (Intermediate Hindi) 2013-2014; Summer FLAS (Elementary Persian) 2014; BULPIP-AIPS Fellowship (Advanced Urdu) 2014; Hooshang Afrassiabi Student Prize in Persian Studies 2015.

Interests: Memorialization, museums, and archive production in Modern South Asia; gender violence and religious nationalism

MA paper titles: (1) Remembering, Historiographical Self Awareness, and Archive Production in Modern South Asia, (2) Sati in the News: The Pioneer‘s Coverage of the Sati of Mussumat Rahusia.

Favorite JSIS class: JSIS A 510 South Asian Studies Research Design Seminar with Professor Cabeiri Robinson. This required class pushed me to think a lot about how I approach my own research and writing, as well as what sort of scholarship I want to pursue.

Advice for future JSIS students: Treat every class as an opportunity to develop your skill set. And look into citation management options early- your future self will be grateful. Write early, write often. Take the time to develop friendships with your cohort early on- they will be your proofreaders, happy hour companions, and best friends.


Learn about 2014 graduates here