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Isabelle Clark-Deces
Isabelle Clark-Decès is a professor in the Department of Anthropology who teaches courses on India, religion, magic, and ethnography. She has conducted fieldwork in South India since 1990. Her first line of research focused on Tamil ritual and its transformative consequences for the participants' social relations, identities and experiences. Her books in that area include Religion Against the Self: An Ethnography of Tamil Rituals (as Isabelle Nabokov); No One Cries for the Dead: Tamil Dirges, Rowdy Songs and Graveyard Petitions; and The Encounter Never Ends: a Return to the Field of Tamil Rituals. She is the editor of A Companion to the Anthropology of India (2011), which explores how ongoing discussion about the nature and effects of modernity and globalization is shaping debate around new thematic foci, emerging empirical problems, and changing ethnographic methods in the anthropological study of India. Her current project is a book-length ethnography of marriages with close-kin in Tamilnadu (South India), both as they were arranged and experienced in the recent past, and as they are increasingly discontinued in the present. This study,The Right to Marry One's Own: Tamil Kinship in a Field of Relations, seeks to make a contribution to the ways in which anthropologists interpret kinship and social change in a global world and transnational liberal economy.  Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley.

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Program Manager

Jayne Bialkowski
Jayne Bialkowski
Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies
319 Aaron Burr Hall
Tel. 609.258.2635
Fax 609.258.3988

Global Scholar



Christophe Jaffrelot is research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and a professor at Sciences Po, Paris. His research interests focus on the politics of India and Pakistan, and include theories of nationalism and democracy, mobilization of the lower castes and untouchables in India, the Hindu nationalist movement, and ethnic conflicts in Pakistan. His books include Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste (2005), India’s Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India (2003), and The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s (1999). Ph.D. Sciences Po, Paris.


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Frederick Smith (Stewart Fellow in South Asian Studies/Visiting Professor of the Council of the Humanities). Smith,a scholar of Sanskrit and Indian religions at the University of Iowa, is the author of The Self Possessed: Deity and Spirit Possession in South Asian Literature and Civilization. His work includes studies of texts and performances of Vedic sacrificial ritual from antiquity to the present, studies of religious experience in India, the writings of Vallabhacarya, and the epic Mahabharata. As a Stewart Fellow in South Asian Studies this fall, he is teaching a course on the world’s longest epic poem, Mahabharata, as literature, performance and ideology. 


Executive Committee

Ben Conisbee Baer

Ben Conisbee Baer is an associate professor in the Department of Comparative Literature. He works on South Asian literatures with a particular focus on Bengali literature. Other fields include postcolonial, Marxist, and literary theories, as well as modernism in an international frame. Ph.D. Columbia University.

Zahid R. Chaudhary

Zahid R. Chaudhary is an associate professor in the Department of English. He specializes in postcolonial studies and critical theory. He has published articles on photography, film, travel literature, and contemporary theory.  He is particularly interested in Frankfurt school Marxism, visual culture, literary theory, and contemporary postcolonial literature and film. Ph.D. Cornell University.

Jonathan C. Gold

Jonathan C. Gold is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion.  His research focuses on Indian and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions, especially theories of language, translation, and learning. Ph.D. University of Chicago Divinity School.

Atul Kohli

Atul Kohli is David K. E. Bruce Professor of International Affairs and Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His principal research interests are in the areas of comparative political economy with a focus on the developing countries. Ph.D. University of California-Berkeley.

Gyan Prakash is Dayton-Stockton Professor of History. He specializes in the history of modern India. His general field of research and teaching interests concerns urban modernity, the colonial genealogies of modernity, and problems of postcolonial thought and politics. His latest book, Mumbai Fables, was published in 2010. Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania.

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Muhammad Qasim Zaman is the Robert H. Niehaus ’77 Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Religion. For much of the past decade, his research and writing have focused on modern and contemporary Islam, with particular attention to Islamic juridical and political thought, Muslim religious and political movements, and issues of religious authority. He has sought to examine these issues in both Middle Eastern and South Asian contexts as well as with reference to facets of pre-modern Islamic intellectual and cultural history. Ph.D. McGill University.

Sits with Committee

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Fauzia Farooqui is a lecturer with the Program in South Asian Studies/PIIRS.  Her primary interests are Urdu-Hindi language and literature, literary criticism, and women’s studies.  Farooqui’s publications include introductory Hindi and Urdu textbooks, as well as a monograph on Urdu prose poetry and various pieces of original Urdu poetry, fiction, and literary criticism.  Ph.D. Lucknow University.

David Magier

David Magier is an associate university librarian for collection development in charge of all collections at Princeton University. He continues serve as chair of Columbia's University Seminar on South Asia and is fluent in Hindi and Urdu. Ph.D. University of California–Berkeley.

Karen McGuinness

Karen L. McGuinness is the assistant dean for graduate education at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. MPA Princeton University.

Zia Mian

Zia Mian directs the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia of the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His research interests include nuclear weapons and nuclear energy policy in Pakistan and India, and issues of global nuclear disarmament and peace. In addition to his scholarly work, he has helped make two documentary films on peace and security in South Asia. Ph.D. University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

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Robert Phillips is a lecturer with the Program in South Asian Studies/PIIRS.  He will be teaching Hindi-Urdu at various levels. Phillips comes to Princeton from Emory University where he was program coordinator and a lecturer in Hindi-Urdu language and literature. Before joining the faculty at Emory, Phillips was a lecturer in Hindi-Urdu at North Carolina State. His teaching and research interests include South Asian literary culture, translation studies, and Hindi-Urdu language pedagogy. Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison





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