Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Ph.D. Students Awarded Fellowships by the Office of Graduate Studies

Wed, May 14, 2008

Urmila Patil, Ph.D. candidate in Asian Cultures and Languages, was awarded an Endowed Graduate Fellowship. Urmila's dissertation research focuses on the identity of Saraswat and non-Saraswat Brahmins of Goa from the 16th through the 20th centuries. She is comparing different ways in which various Brahmin communities such as Chitpavans, Karhades, Deshashthas, and of course, Saraswats defined themselves in pre-modern Coastal Maharashtra/Goa. She is considering the identity of these communities in terms of linguistic, religious, caste, and occupational affiliations, and how these factors played a key role in conflicts/debates that occurred among these communities.

Shaohua Guo, Ph.D. student in Asian Cultures and Languages, was awarded a University Continuing Fellowship. Shaohua's dissertation focuses on China’s middlebrow culture from the perspective of women’s self-reflective writing. It will have three interconnected parts: 1) construction of a genealogy of middlebrow culture in modern China; 2) examination of the acceptance of middlebrow culture in contemporary China; and 3) exploration of Chinese women’s “self-reflective writing” in print media, in film, and on the Internet. By embedding her analysis in these three areas, her project aims to contextualize the analysis of middlebrow culture, and to examine the social, economic, and ideological factors underlying the continued obsession with the middle class in contemporary China.

David Brick, Ph.D. candidate in Asian Cultures and Languages, was awarded a Graduate School Fellowship. David's dissertation focuses on a theoretical study of premodern Indian theories of gifting, as reflected in the vast corpus of Sanskrit literature written on the topic. An additional, important outcome of his dissertation will be the first critical edition and English translation of the Daanakaan.d.a, the fifth section of an work called the Kr.tyakalpataru (c. 1110- 1150 CE) and the earliest Indian work devoted exclusively to gift-giving.

Maeri Megumi, Ph.D. student in Asian Cultures and Languages, was awarded a Bruton fellowship for her dissertation research on the way and the extent to which modern Japanese intellectuals, and authors, in particular, were influenced by the West, through the conduit of Christianity. She plans to explore how Japanese Christian authors reconciled their seemingly incompatible national and religious identities in both their fictional and non- fictional works, and hopes to uncover how one’s indigenous culture interacts with non-indigenous religious tradition. One of these authors is Endô Shûsaku (1923- 1996), one of Japan’s most prominent post-war writers whose work has been widely translated abroad, and as a part of this project, she will make a short research trip to the Endô Shûsaku Commemorative Museum in Nagasaki, Japan, this summer.

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