The CAMS fellowship will support his dissertation writing.
Research Interests: His dissertation fieldwork examined the spread of sati commemoration in the state of Rajasthan, India. He is more generally interested in the philosophical and anthropological takes on questions of sacrificial exchange, religious mediation, and the different ways in which mythological figures and fantasies are animated in popular, literary, and legal imaginations. Other interests include the aesthetics of heroism in Indian literary traditions and the various possible uptakes of the anthropological canon for contemporary social theory.
The CAMS Fellowship will support her dissertation writing.
Research Interests: Her dissertation, “Between War and the World: Afghan Kinship in Times of Crisis,” is based on nearly 30 months of fieldwork in Hamburg, Germany and Kabul, Afghanistan between 2012 and 2017. In it, she examines how Afghan asylum-seekers in Germany are ensnared by decades of conflict, even as they face more immediate forms of crisis and pervasive structural violence (such as xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia). Whereas much attention is given to spectacular forms of violence, the pervasiveness of Islamophobic, racialized forms of speech and prejudice have been largely ignored, which reinforces the surveillance and security apparatuses of the state. In her work, Mariam also considers the ways in which sex and sexuality—especially as gendered and as violent—are imagined as fraught sites of difference and as a source of inevitable crisis and threat to be managed. More broadly, Mariam is interested in exploring the media spectacle of the European Border Crisis and how particular mediatized bodies come to stand for imaginings of innocence and suffering.
The CAMS fellowship will allow her to focus on writing her dissertation.
Research Interests: Her current project investigates the epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic implications of the motif of light in al-Ghazali's corpus through the metaphor of the dilation of the heart. More generally, she is interested in the poetical power of the equivalence made in the Qur'an between God and light such as in the verse of light. In parallel, she is making a documentary, Striving in the Path of God, for which she has been a Saul Zaentz fellow. This documentary investigates how sufi poetry then and and spoken-word poetry now inform the noble struggle in the Muslim community of Baltimore.
Megha Sharma Sehdev
The CAMS Fellowship will support her dissertation writing, as well as an upcoming photographic exhibition on Indian crochet handicrafts.
Research Interests: Based on three years of fieldwork, her dissertation, “Interim Artifacts of Law: Interruption and Absorption in Indian Domestic Violence Cases," is an ethnography of domestic violence law in New Delhi, India. In her research, Megha looked at the formal adjudication of domestic violence cases in the lower courts and worked with women and families involved in cases. Based on ethnographic observations, she argues that women sustain a relationship to the law through a range of aesthetic media, such as gestural performances, family photographs, and even CCTV video footage. Her research shows how media artifacts bring women, often poor and lacking in legal literacy, into intimate engagements with the law.