Former ICI Fellow Nimmi Kurian on Dam Politics

We are excited to share a new post from former ICI Fellow Nimmi Kurian on the politics of dam building between India and China published in The Hindu recently. In her post, professor Kurian discusses the upstream impacts of dam building and arguments about environmental concerns and cross-border data relations. Here is an excerpt from her piece:

As China’s largest hydroelectric dam on the Brahmaputra, or Yarlung Tsangpo, became fully operational this month, it has once again evoked concerns in India. The $1.5 billion Zangmu hydroelectric dam has stoked a virtual paranoia over China’s resource choices and their likely downstream impact. But the debate has generated more heat than light. It has also unwittingly ended up being a single-issue debate, fixated on water diversion and its likely impact. But is that all there is to it?

An overwhelming focus on diversion has moved attention away from other critical issues such as water quality that India needs to raise with China. There are growing concerns over worsening environmental degradation facing Tibet’s ‘Three Rivers area’ comprising the Yarlung Tsangpo, Lhasa river and Nyangchu basins in central Tibet. One of the most intensely exploited areas in this region is the Gyama valley, situated south of the Lhasa river, with large polymetallic deposits of copper, molybdenum, gold, silver, lead and zinc. Studies by Chinese scientists are pointing to the possibility of a high content of heavy metals in the stream sediments and tailings that could pose a potential threat to downstream water users. Global warming could further accelerate the movement of these heavy metals besides projected spatial and temporal variations in water availability. By 2050, the annual runoff in the Brahmaputra is projected to decline by 14 per cent. This will have significant implications for food security and social stability, given the impact on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture.

Read the full article on The Hindu here.

Nimmi Kurian is Associate Professor at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in New Delhi, India. More info here.

NYU Shanghai Fellowship Opportunities

Two positions, at either the predoctoral (ABD) or postdoctoral level, for the study of intra-Asian interactions are
available at the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai. These fellowships are for a period of four months,
commencing anytime between February and 1 May 2016.

Candidates working on any aspect or phase of intra-Asian interactions are welcome to apply, but topics related to
China-South Asia and China-Southeast Asia exchanges and Indian Ocean connections are of particular interest to
the Center.

Applicants for the predoctoral position must have completed all course requirements and should demonstrate
strong reasons for research in China. Those applying for the postdoctoral position are expected to hold a PhD,
preferably completed within the past five years (2010 and after).

For more information download fellowship announcement [pdf here].

ICI Secures $722,000 Grant from Ford Foundation


The India China Institute (ICI) was recently awarded a $722,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to support the development of a new, multi-year project called the China-India Scholar-Leaders Initiative. The initiative will support up to 18 promising young scholar-leaders who are using interdisciplinary research methods to grapple with complex questions related to prosperity and inequality in India and China, and want to expand their knowledge and research capacities in this area.

The Scholar-Leaders Initiative breaks new ground with scholars in India, China and the United States,” said ICI Senior Director Ashok Gurung. “We are developing a one-of-a-kind fellowship experience focused on supporting critical, interdisciplinary approaches to studying prosperity and inequality in the world today involving both young and established scholars worldwide.

This project builds on several successful project of the India China Institute, including the India China Fellows program, the India China Knowledge and Capacity Building Initiative, and the Emerging Scholars Initiative. It also seeks to foster the emerging field of India China Studies by supporting a new generation of Scholar-Leaders who are committed to producing critical new research, teaching and course development. The initiative will build strategic partnerships among select universities and research institutes in India and China, such as Peking University and Jawaharlal Nehru University that are well positioned to sustain and advance India China studies. These efforts will be linked through the creation of new courses built around a common research and teaching agenda of Prosperity and Inequality in India and China. ICI will partner with The New School’s Global Studies program to host some of these courses, and a group of former ICI Fellows from India and China will be important partners in helping ICI to develop this new curriculum.

The initiative focuses on supporting scholars from underrepresented backgrounds (e.g., first-generation college graduates, women, ethnic minorities) and aims to ensure they have equal access and opportunities to participate in global academic networks. By focusing on the theme of prosperity and inequality in India and China, ICI aims to further advance its commitment to research, teaching, and policy engagement that advances a focus on social justice and sustainable development. ICI is well positioned to focus on the development of young scholars through the issue of prosperity and inequality. By building on this work, ICI aims to strengthen these new scholarly networks and support interdisciplinary research that can promote better critical scholarship on inequality and prosperity.

To learn more about this new initiative visit the China-India Scholar-Leaders Initiative.


Apply Now for Summer Travel Grants


The India China Institute is currently accepting applications from students at The New School for the 2016 Student Travel and Research grants. Six $3,000 grants are available for undergraduate or graduate students to support an independent study project, or to defray the cost of attending a New School program in India or China. The field visit has to be taken by the end of Summer 2016. The funds could be used towards expenses such as airfare, local transportation, room and board, and interpreters.

All application materials must be submitted online by October 30, 2015. Interviews of finalists will be held during the last week of October.

To apply, click here.

You can read blog posts from former Student Fellows here, and learn more about their research, travel and experiences. These will help give you a sense of what students have done in the past in both China and India.

Tansen Sen on ‘China’s Coming Storm’

We are excited to share the latest “China Man” column by ICI friend and scholar Tansen Sen from the Times of India. In this latest piece, “China’s coming storm: But it will survive the current crisis as it has done many times before,” Professor Sen delves into the current political situation in China, and offers some of his reflections on the future. Here is a brief excerpt from his piece:

Predictions of an impending collapse of Communist China are a common pastime among a handful of foreign scholars and commentators. These soothsayers have made their dire predictions almost every decade since the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. All have been proven wrong despite several disasters and political turmoil.

The Chinese leadership’s aptitude to institute prudent changes after each adversity seems to be a key reason for its endurance. Instead of a collapse, these changes have transformed China into an economic and geopolitical powerhouse.

Will President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang also respond to the current turbulence with prudent adjustments and prolong the rise of China?

You can read the entire piece online at the Times of India here.

Former ICKCBI Fellow on Indian refugee politics | Shreya Sen


We’re always excited to receive new articles and research updates from our network of scholars. This latest update comes from one of our former ICKCBI graduate students, Shreya Sen, who has just published an opinion piece in Refugee Review titled “Understanding India’s refusal to accede to the 1951 Refugee Convention.”

Here is an excerpt from her latest piece:

India is the largest refugee receiving country in South Asia. Refugee groups that have sought asylum in India include Tibetans, the Tamil from Sri Lanka, Partition refugees from erstwhile East and West Pakistan, the Chakmas from Bangladesh, Bhutanese refugees from Nepal, Afghans, Rohinyga and other refugees from Myanmar and refugees from Somalia, DRC and Sudan. In spite of having such a substantive asylum seeking and refugee population, India is a not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or the 1967 Protocol. Neither has any domestic legislation in India been passed to protect refugees. The fate of individual refugees in India is essentially determined by protections that are made available under the Indian Constitution. The question often raised is why India, like several other nations in South Asia, has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention. This article analyzes a number of scholastic arguments that have been made to explain India’s refusal to accede to the Convention, and examines the existing legal set-up for refugees in India in order to arrive at an understanding of the context of non-accession. This opinion paper concludes that India will likely never be party to the Convention despite hosting numerous refugees on its soil, and argues that uniform domestic protection legislation must be enacted.

You can read the whole article online at Refugee Review here.

ICI Welcomes Three Visiting Scholars for Spring 2015

The India China Institute is pleased to welcome three visiting scholars to The New School campus this spring. As in previous semesters, scholars not only use The New School / ICI’s research facilities for their own initiatives, but often teach a course, host a series of public talks and meet with other scholars in the New York area. In addition senior fellows serve as consultants for ICI’s academic programming. Please see below to learn more about our spring scholars.

unnamed-6Partha Mukhopadhyay is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Policy Research. His last assignment was with the Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC), where he was involved in nurturing policy and regulatory frameworks for the flow of private capital into infrastructure projects.  Prior to this, he was with Export-Import Bank of India, as the first Director of their Eximius Learning Centre in Bangalore, and before that, with the World Bank, in the Trade Policy Division in Washington. He is currently a member of the Expert Committee on ICT for Indian Railways, Government of India and of the Working Group on Roads, National Transport Development Policy Committee and of the International Advisory Board of LIRNEasia, Colombo. Recently, he has worked with the Committee on Allocation of Natural Resources and the Committee for Consultations on the Situation in Andhra Pradesh.


unnamed-7Mukta Singh Lama Tamang is an anthropologist and teaches at the Central Department of Sociology/Anthropology at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu. He also serves as Research Director for a research project on Social Inclusion Atlas and Ethnographic Profile. His research interest includes indigeneity, history, memory, identity, social inclusion, equality and human rights in Nepal and South Asia. He received his PhD from Cornell University. He was a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London and Jawaharlal Nehru University in conjunction with a joint research project on “Social Inequality and Affirmative Action in South Asia.” He is currently working with ICI on the Sacred Himalaya Initiative.


unnamed-8Fulong Wu
is Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London. His research includes China’s urban development and planning and its social and sustainable challenges. He has recently completed a book Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China (Routledge 2015). He is co-editor of Restructuring the Chinese City (Routledge, 2005), Marginalization in China (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), International Perspectives on Suburbanization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and Rural Migrants in Urban China (Routledge, 2013), editor of Globalization and the Chinese City (Routledge, 2006), China’s Emerging Cities (Routledge, 2007), and co-author of Urban Development in Post-Reform China: State, Market, and Space (Routledge, 2007), and China’s Urban Poverty (Edward Elgar, 2010).


Apply for The American Institute of Indian Studies 2015 Fellowship

The American Institute of Indian Studies recently announced its 2015 fellowship competition for both junior and senior fellows.

Junior fellowships: for Ph.D. candidates to conduct research for their dissertations in India for up to eleven months.

Senior fellowships: for scholars who hold the Ph.D. degree for up to nine months of research in India.

AIIS welcomes applicants from a wide variety of disciplines. It especially encourages applicants in fields such as Development Studies, Natural Resources Management, Public Health, and Regional Planning. The application deadline is July 1, 2015. Applications can be downloaded from the web site Inquiries should be directed to 773-702-8638 or

2015 Student Research Fellows Prepare to Travel to India and China

ICI is pleased to introduce the six recipients of the 2015 Starr Foundation Student Research Fellowship Grant. We selected undergraduate, graduate and PhD students from a number of academic disciplines to receive a $3,000 study/research grant to support an independent study project in India or China.

As in previous years, our fellows will be blogging about their travels. Please visit the Student Blog for regular updates and to check out  previous posts from student fellows.

Janson Cheng is a MFA graduate student in Transdisciplinary Design in Parsons The New School. Prior to Parsons, he graduated from China Academy of Art, majoring in environmental art design. He will be researching food systems in India.

Ricardo Goncalves is an MFA graduate student in Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons The New School. He  previously worked in capacity building initiatives for youth development, social entrepreneurs and corporate social responsibility. His main interests include informal learning, social entrepreneurship and well being. Ricardo will be researching Chinese value chains and emerging livelihoods.

Karolina Kopek is an undergraduate student in the Psychology department at Eugene Lang College The New School. She is interested in feminism and gender studies, which will be the focus of her independent study project in Shanghai.

Andrew Kuech is a PhD Candidate pursuing a dual degree in Politics and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research. His doctoral research examines comparatively the production and development of Chinese and Taiwanese political imagery of the United States during the 1950s and 60s. He will be looking at Rival Chinese Nationalisms and Images of “America” in the PRC and Taiwan, 1949-1965.

Atiba Rougier is a graduate student in the Anthropology department at the New School for Social Research. He will be looking at the intersections of Biomedicine, Biomedical Ethics, Philosophy, and Anthropology in India.

Kate Wallace is an undergraduate student in the Design and Technology department at Parsons The New School for Design, . She started her fellowship  in December of 2014 to travel to India,using her winter break to begin her independent study in India. As a volunteer with tripMD, she researched how design and technology can be used to make high quality healthcare accessible worldwide.



Spices and Democracy? L.H.M. Ling’s Latest Article on The Silk Road for HuffPo

The New School and former ICI fellow Professor L.H.M Ling published “Learning From the Silk Roads: Spices and the Demos,” a continuation of articles centering onThe Silk Road, for The Huffington Post. In this latest piece she continues her discussion on the comparison between spices and democracy with her colleague, Professor Rao. Here is an excerpt:

A focus on spices – or food, more generally – changes our perspective on politics, generally, and world politics, especially. Rather than centering all attention on the palace, we shift to the kitchen. After all, isn’t that where the spices turn into objects of desire? Without the artistry of cooks and their co-workers fashioning nutmeg into an exquisite flavor, for example, how would we know the value, not just the cost, of nutmeg? It would remain an ingredient only.

You can read the rest of the article on the The World Post / Huffington Post website.

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