India China Institute Student Blog

The following blog posts are from our various Student Fellows over the past years, reporting on their travels, research and projects funded or supported by the India China Institute at The New School.

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Mewsic – close to Mumbai

Only two weeks to go before I head to Mumbai. Besides working, I’ve been preparing for the trip, along with some logistical details. I recently got my vaccines and immunization shots updated, and little by little have been buying some useful ‘accessories’ for traveling. Regarding research, I’ve been in contact with the main collaborator in read on

Tourist Prices: Dual Pricing for a Good Cause?

The first time, I encountered the concept of a “tourist price” in India was by coincidence. My wife and I went to buy a leather bag in one of the many leather stores in Mumbai. My wife is from Mumbai, which proved to be significant. After a short look on the tag, the vendor gave read on

Taj Mahal: Global Icon and Local Economies

The Taj Mahal is stunning, beautiful and breathtaking. I chose a trip to this world-famous tomb, as it is India’s most recognizable tourist site, a true global icon and vivid part of the global imaginary. The Taj Majal, situated in the city of Agra, the former Mogul seat of power just three train-hours outside of read on

On the Indian Railway: Into a better future?

Taking the Indian Railway is a fantastic experience! I have to say this, even though the train I took from Delhi to Agra for my 2.5 hour journey was  actually quite a boring business train. Equipped with mostly higher class “chair cars,” it had neither the almost iconic overcrowded commuter cars, nor the luxury cabins. read on

Notes from New Delhi

Since Sunday evening, I am New Delhi. It is hot here. Actually when I looked at the global temperature map, one could think this is the hottest place on earth right now. What I celebrated as the coming of the monsoon in Mumbai, has clearly not reached the north (nor did it actually last in read on

Monsoon has (hopefully) arrived

Today the rains came to Mumbai. A few showers in the night, more rain in the afternoon and a heavy downpour in the evening are signs that the meteorologist’s predictions might be right this time and the wish of over a billion people will comes true: Monsoon is coming. The tension in Mumbai over the read on
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Doing Field Work – Mumbai Style

People say New York is fast, but in terms of interview appointments Mumbai proved to work on light-speed. My research here is taking me into the tourism industry, the government organizations managing the production of the tourist destination India, and last but not least to some iconic sites to track tourists. I decided to start read on
Mumbai International Airbort, Baaggage Claim

First Encounters: Tourist Interfaces of India

A few days ago, I touched ground at Mumbai International Airport. Like most flights from the USA/Europe, I arrived in the night. The hours after midnight here are actually some of the most busy ones: Passengers hustle through security to catch their flights to Amsterdam or Singapore, while on the lower level streams of passengers rush read on
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Update: Research on Garment Workers in Southern China and Cambodia

Creating Self Identity Through Clothing Choices: a study of female garment workers in Southern China and Cambodia Overview We all make choices about what we wear. These decisions may be subconscious but most often the decisions are intentional. Our clothing says something about who we are and where we come from. Clothing also indicates social read on
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Thinking about India Elections

Before I will finally go to India, I have a close eye on the unfolding events around the general elections. Indians are already voting for the Parliament and their new Prime Minister (elections take over a month). When I will enter India in June, the country will have a new parliament and most likely a new read on
Nazdeek Slum Housing

The “Third World” Trope: Avoiding Undertones of Neocolonialism in International Advocacy Media

Advocacy media is an undeniably effective way to start a dialogue around issues of social inequality and discrimination, but has the potential for detrimental misrepresentation when done tactlessly. While effective media campaigns can raise awareness of issues on a global scale, the fear of falling into the “Sally Struthers” trope of dehumanizing your subjects is always read on

India, documentaries, and more.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I’m really looking forward to know about Indian culture and its music. I’m interested in how locals, specifically in Mumbai relate to their portrayed identity, as understood within the concept of Bollywood, media creation, and music. I started to gain ground on viewing documentaries that talk about the intersection read on
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Exciting New Blog explores Non-Western Approaches to the World

The students in ICI Faculty Committee and New School Professor L.H.M. Ling’s course, “Non-Western Approaches to the World”, organized a research initiative that provides deeper engagement in re-imagining international relations today. An Evening on the The Silk Road  serves  as a context to learn about alternative ideas of what comprises international relations. Professor Ling’s class  selected read on

Urbanization and Globalization: The Consumption Reality of China and the Adidas Group

This summer I will stay in Shanghai for about a month to conduct my research. During my stay in Shanghai, I would like to deepen my research on the dynamics of the Asian and Chinese market. Thanks to globalization and the Open Door Policy the Chinese population has been able to reach out to different read on
Union Pacific Tea

Migrants in the Archives

In a little less than two months, I will travel to some of the main commercial centers and transport hubs (of both people and goods) of the late nineteenth-early twentieth century: Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guandong. I intend to access archival materials and museum collections that may contain information on both the commercial activities and read on

Preparing for Mumbai

Summer is slowly approaching, and little by little India is becoming a reality. India, its culture, its music, and its people have been in the back of my mind for quite some time now. I’ve had wonderful conversations with people who express their admiration and broad array of cultural elements in India. This has helped read on

Summer Research Fellow: Storytelling for Social Change

This past week I was fortunate enough to confirm plans for my summer research project with Nazdeek, a Delhi-based NGO focusing on applying human rights frameworks to improve the lives of marginalized communities in India. Originally, I contacted Nazdeek because of their work with women, hoping for an interview regarding the current status of the read on

Research in China and Cambodia

For my research on labor identity of female garment workers I will be heading to Hong Kong, Southern China and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I’ve chosen these locations because of their strong ties to the global garment manufacturing industry. For decades Hong Kong tailors have been revered for their meticulous attention to detail and fine craftsmanship. read on
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2014 Student Research Fellows Blog About Their Summer Research Experiences

The six recipients of the Starr Foundation Student Research Fellowships are preparing to embark on their travels. Each student received a $3,000 study/research grant to support an independent study project or to defray the cost of attending a New School Program in India, China, or the Himalaya region. As of March 25th the students will read on

Preparing for India Summer Research

I just purchased my flight to India for June to August. Getting really excited. Thanks for ICI to support me with the Summer Research Grant for students. I will fly to Mumbai and I planning research stays in New Delhi and a possible trip to the Taj Mahal in Agra. My research is about the read on

Update from Xining, Qinghai

“‘Nomads’, I want to visit nomads.” Xining, the capital of the Qinghai Province in China is considered a pit-stop for backpackers traveling to Lhasa and moving further on to trek at the base of the Himalayas and then going on to visit Tibet, Nepal and India. Approximately, it takes around a week or two depending read on

Kunming Adventures…!

The past two weeks were exciting for the Mobility and Livelihood Group. After interviewing more urban villagers and exploring Kunming, we decided that the most feasible way to narrow our research topic is to focus on the impact of migration for migrant workers in the food industry. In particular, we thought it would be interesting read on

The Roof of The World

Whenever I am visiting a new place, I like to look at the geological statistics of the place which is not limited to the climate conditions, especially in an exciting ecosystem like the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau. Although my area of study revolves around climate change, environmental vulnerabilities and anthropogenic impacts on the environment, much of read on

Preparing for China

I’m excited as my time in China approaches. In preparation, I’ve bought 100 rolls of Kodak Portra 400 (ISO) color film for the two film cameras I plan to bring. I have also been researching used lenses for I am finding that lenses that are more compact (smaller) bring less attention to my camera and read on

An overview of my team’s work- written from the Darjeeling days

The 2012 India China Knowledge and Capacity Building Initiative began on July 21st in Kunming China. The program is an innovative multi-cultural collaboration between emerging scholars of three countries: India, China, and America. There are six teams, comprised of a participant from each country. Each team is given a broad topic that is unpacked and read on

Chengdu and Sichuan

My intuition was correct that I would find a more immersive experience in Chengdu than in Beijing. Ir started with the flight from Beijing to Chengdu.  Instead of flying out of the large capital airport, my travel agent booked me a slightly cheaper ticket to the Nanyuan airport in the south of the city.  This read on
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Habitat for Humanity – Sichuan Province

My attempt to write one post dealing with my Chengdu experience and my Habitat experience has failed, so I’m breaking them up into pieces to get it all out there.  And to think I haven’t even started on my current location of Xi’an yet! These are some of my guiding project questions for Habitat for read on
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Pandas

I’ve waited far too long to update here on my academic project and experiences in Sichuan, so while I continue to work on that several page long entry, here is a fun aside from my visit to the Chengdu Panda Research Base today. These photos are from early this morning around 8:30am when they are read on
Kunming market

Colorful Kunming

Since last 13 days I stay in Kunming, it really a colorful experience for me. Life here take a shape like a fair. For my project work daily I meet lots of new people, lots of new thinking, lot  of fresh aspiration. It is a really a huge learning experience for me. Kunming people life read on

Xu Jia’s new hope

When the dream suddenly come ? Last time you climbMeiliSnowMountainwith a lot of strange Tibetan people, you stand at the top of one mountain , a sea level of 3500m. That moment you can seize your own freedom, which seems like all dreams can come true. And this time ,after today’s interview , your heart read on

Xu Jia's new hope

When the dream suddenly come ? Last time you climbMeiliSnowMountainwith a lot of strange Tibetan people, you stand at the top of one mountain , a sea level of 3500m. That moment you can seize your own freedom, which seems like all dreams can come true. And this time ,after today’s interview , your heart read on

Mushrooms in translation

Hi all! I want to share this section of my fieldnotes. Rather than description, it is my analysis. It is very much a thought in progress, so I would love any feedback! A description of mushrooms and mushroom sellers at a Kunming market Analysis: There are two important variables concerning mushroom sellers in Kunming’s farmers read on

You Never Could Wake A Person Who is Pretending to be Asleep

I was working carefully on my final paper when the postman called me to get the parcel. It is a book from my best friend Chen. The cover of the book is very simple and clean, I like the design of this book. There is a sentence at the back of the book: “in some read on

Dian Lake and the Gateway to South East Asia

Apologies for the lateness of this post, I was out of town and didn’t have net access. Friday morning I managed to pull myself out of bed around 7:30.  I stumbled my way to the dining hall, eager for some steamed buns and a heaping bowl of boil-them-yourself noodles and broth.  As I slurped up read on

Talk about why I choose this topic

Time really flies. It have been eight days past, and I want to explain why I chose this topic. I think having a well-defined set of objective will give me a hand to complete this research program. Firstly, many people work hard to earn money for their family’s living, and the house is one of read on

Amigo

Aloha! Welcome to Kunming, friends! How is your stay in the town? It has already been a week since we’ve met with each other. And I’m really looking forward for the following 7 weeks that we can work and talk and have fun all the way together. I’m pretty sure that we will find more commons read on

In search of “US”!

They may not be written, articulated, or learned even, but with kindness, tolerance, and a sincere respect towards the host, one can easily feel at home in Kunming, as I have. Having never been to Asia, I was looking forward to a major culture shock. An environment, a culture, and language so different from the read on

In search of "US"!

They may not be written, articulated, or learned even, but with kindness, tolerance, and a sincere respect towards the host, one can easily feel at home in Kunming, as I have. Having never been to Asia, I was looking forward to a major culture shock. An environment, a culture, and language so different from the read on

Coming to Kunming

Its a candid feeling to reside in Kunming from few days.The weather is very romantic here. Greenery, fog, cold wind everything reminds one thing that, ‘Kunming is really the city of spring’. The night-life of Kunming is very charming here. People from different country, culture, language are roamed everywhere. The ambience of cultural ally is read on

kunming the city of diversity.

As a participant of this ICKCBI programme I feel very fortunate that I have got a life time opportunity to visit Kunming the capital of Yunnan Province. The experience is Unique as there is inter mingling of diversified culture, their dresses their food really attracts me. In fact we are learning a lot from the read on

kolkata to kunming

it has been one of the finest experiences and i really feel priviledged to be a part of this fellowship program. working with some of the other fellows from china and the states is really a knowledgeable one. i am looking forward to do some good work. read on

Grey Kunming!

I don’t really know where to begin and how to start to tell the adventure that I started on June 21st. After a tiring,long flight and several long layovers in boring airports, I arrived at Kunming. The first thing that I confirmed in my head was that “ yes, there were a lot of people read on

india to yunnan journey so far…………….suman chakraborty

india to yunnan journey so far has been a tremendous experience specially so far for a person like me who is travelling abroad … i love the culture and environment of the city just love it had some problem to adapt with the food of here but now got completely used to it …………..its just read on

Some Thoughts on Mao & Bicycles

Some Thoughts on Mao & Bicycles Yes, thoughts of Mao and bicycles kicked-off my China experience. And they have come up continually ever since. Thanks to the airport ATM, it was only a few footsteps into China before Mao was looking me in the eyes. I had many copies of Mao’s portrait, with beautiful natural read on

I Could Live Here

It has been 10 wonderful days in Beijing and am taking in a nice sunny afternoon in the garden cafe before I leave for Chengdu tomorrow.  My time has been a mix of researching Chinese housing policy for the urban/rural poor and seeing all the great historical sites in the city.  My Mandarin vocabulary has read on

Dynamic Yunnan

After dinner we went to see a dance performance called Dynamic Yunnan that is all composed of dances and songs of the various ethnic minorities in the Yunnan province.  Apparently there are around forty of them in the province and Yunnan is known for that.  By ethnic minorities, I gathered that they also meant indigenous read on

Getting There

I guess I never thought that getting to Kunming would be particularly easy, but having travelled to some of the least developed countries in Africa, the prospect reaching a vibrant Chinese metropolis didn’t seem like it would stand much of a challenge. But then again I’ve always been a bit of a penny pincher, so read on

Friendship

Things have continued to go very well in the early days of my travel.  I’ve become closer with a lot of the staff at the hostel and some of the patrons.  One thing I’ve learned is that the Chinese have a different concept of friendship than people do in the United States.  A friend bought read on

Traveling to Beijing

I’ve always considered myself to be a well traveled person from all my visits to North American major cities and a global person because I follow global news and politics.  The last 48 hours have soundly rid me of those notions! On Tuesday, I flew out of JFK using Aeroflot, the Russian national airline.  Although read on

Yunnan Resources

Hello everyone, I hope you are all getting ready for and excited about our upcoming program in Yunnan! To get the ball rolling with the blog, I’m sharing some recommended resources – websites, readings, films – about Yunnan. If others, particularly our China fellows, have other Yunnan resources to recommend please share them here via read on

AVANI

We finally got internet at the AVANI center here in Berinag Uttarakhand, India! The center here is great, I quickly got acquainted.  After an hour of physical labor at 7am, I go to work in the solar room. Over the last few days I have been putting together solar chargers for solar lamps. Villagers come read on

Delhi

I am here in Delhi staying at a hotel Gina, my advisor, recommended. I arrived early the morning of May 29th and it has been great so far. Thanks to Gina I met up with her Indian brother Piyush who is working at a near by yoga center just a few km from hotel, what read on

Almost ready

In addition to the India ticket which I have had for a while, I bought the ticket to Nepal from Delhi yesterday. Got the visa, all the vaccines including Japanese encephalitus, which I had never heard of. Just bought a DSLR Nikon D7000 camera to take many photos of the landscape and people along the read on

My Project

My goal of my blog posts for the India China Institute’s website is to give some insight into the organizations that I came across during my research in Hong Kong.  I was fortunate enough meet with some very generous people who are doing really great work to promote social entrepreneurship in Hong Kong. To give read on

Solidarity and Expertise

A few weeks into fieldwork this summer, I was contracted by my host organization and its New York-based partner organization to edit drafts of a research report they were working on. I have done project-based consulting and volunteer work for the New York partner group since 2008, and worked full-time at a different China-focused rights read on

Everyday Rights

Although bottom-up political action has a long history within China, only recently has a grassroots movement—one driven by local and often marginalized interests rather than by or within traditional structures of power—cohered around the concept of legal rights. Just as the masses learned to “reinterpret their suffering in terms of class rather than of fate” read on

Since Shanghai… and the plan for the next and final three weeks!

Okay! So after the first couple weeks of traveling around and trying to find connections and then making the connection in Shanghai and volunteering and coordinating for five weeks in the schools and community centers, I finally got to leave Shanghai again! I had been working on making connections in more rural areas as I read on

Development and Migration and the initial “route” plan and what I have been doing!

Development and migration are often closely linked phenomena for obvious reasons- mainly people go where there is work. Global migration of which I had studied a bit about before coming to China is often and almost always, if it is labor migration, marked by the trend that ” developing countries” migrate to the ” developed countries” read on

Development and Migration and the initial "route" plan and what I have been doing!

Development and migration are often closely linked phenomena for obvious reasons- mainly people go where there is work. Global migration of which I had studied a bit about before coming to China is often and almost always, if it is labor migration, marked by the trend that ” developing countries” migrate to the ” developed countries” read on

Shanghai : “Not real China” ( thoughts and initial arrival reflections)

A few days ago while I was in Beijing, I was exploring the book swap shelf at the hostel I was staying in and I stumbled upon a book which at first glance I thought was a memoir or novel. It was named ” Growing up in Samoa” written by Margaret Mead. The name sounded read on

Shanghai : "Not real China" ( thoughts and initial arrival reflections)

A few days ago while I was in Beijing, I was exploring the book swap shelf at the hostel I was staying in and I stumbled upon a book which at first glance I thought was a memoir or novel. It was named ” Growing up in Samoa” written by Margaret Mead. The name sounded read on

Getting Around

It is really easy to get around Beijing. You wouldn’t think so, given what everyone says about its immense size, the headache-inducing traffic, and the sheer number of people on the streets. Sure, it might take you ten minutes to cross the street, a six-lane monster (four car lanes, two bike/pedicab lanes) with a median read on

Namaste for Now!

It’s my last day in India! Wow, it has been quite the trip. I’ve had so many incredible conversations with people about for my research topic and generally about how one should live their life and view their responsibility to other living beings. My mind is so full of ideas, which will hopefully soon arrange read on

Bir to Bhagsu

I’ve had quite the experience since the last time I wrote! In Bir, I started spending a lot of time at Deer Park, a center for classical Indian wisdom that specializes in Buddhist philosophy. They also have an ecology program and are very serious about being a zero-waste campus, so they’ve been very interesting for read on

Bir: Part Ek (1)

After 3 plans, 2 trains, a bus, and countless taxis and rickshaws, I finally got to Bir, home to the Dharmalaya Institute. Tibetan food with a friend of the director of Dharmalaya, I found out that the project is at a significantly earlier stage of development than I thought from my correspondence with the director. read on

Planes, Trains & Busses

This is my 16th day in India…forgive me for not writing before, but between blog issues and the unpredictability of internet in rural India, here’s the best I can do! I’ll break my story so far into a few more manageable chunks. First, some background: I received a fellowship from the India China Institute to read on

Planes, Trains & Busses

This is my 16th day in India…forgive me for not writing before, but between blog issues and the unpredictability of internet in rural India, here’s the best I can do! I’ll break my story so far into a few more manageable chunks. First, some background: I received a fellowship from the India China Institute to read on

Chinese Medicine

This post is about my experience going to the hospital for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Kunming. I have been going to the doctor two or three times a week to receive treatment for a shoulder injury I sustained while skiing in New Hampshire in 2009. The first time, I went with my good friend read on

Kunming Traffic

Hello everyone, Today I am going to write about traffic in Kunming. I find the act of crossing the street endlessly fascinating here. The relationship between vehicles and pedestrians is subtly different from what I am used to. In the USA we have a very clearly defined set of rules about who belongs where: cars read on