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Congratulations to our 2015 South Asia Graduates!

June 12, 2015

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