Preparations #1

My research proposal is based on the theory that the perceptions and definitions of gender in society have repercussions in health care policy and development. That is why, I want to comprehend how different groups of people understand gender in New Delhi, India, with the help of students and activists of organizations that work with gender equality related issues. Through field studies I will collect women’s experiences, journeys, and stories around this topic.

Using qualitative research I will be able to collect this information in a flexible and empathetic way. To strengthen my knowledge and practice in data collection I took a Participatory Research course this spring semester. In this class, we are learning different research methods, how to analyse outcomes and handle ethical issues such as informed consent and confidentiality.

One of the objectives of the course is to design and conduct a pilot research project. I am taking advantage of the classes’ space to test out some methods and approaches that I want to apply in my research in New Delhi. During the project’s initial design phase these tools have proven to be very helpful to understand how to start tackling an issue as sensitive as gender inequality and its impact in women’s health care.

I have realized that how you conduct the specific methods as well as how you interact and engage with participants is just as important as choosing the right research methods to conduct a study. It’s about knowing where to define boundaries, but as a researcher, being flexible enough to embrace the unexpected.

The topic I chose is filled with strong and conflicting emotions; nevertheless courageous and optimistic organizations all around the world are trying to bring down the walls of gender inequality. Every day women’s rights and gender issues get more attention; my wish is to expose them as a problem that is imperative to address not only because of the social discrimination, but for the sake of women’s health care. Gender discrimination should be visible to everyone and the information to stop it available to all.

I am confident that conducting my research in New Delhi will bring a new, fresh and hands on perspective to gender studies and its relation to health care.

Student Fellows Making Headlines in India


Kate from BeyondAMC Games with students in India

Kate from BeyondAMC Games working with students in India.

Three of the India China Institute’s Student Fellows are currently working in Belagavi, India to bring new gaming approaches to social problems. Their company, BeyondABC Games, is working to engage young people around pressing social issues through a variety of interactive media. Recently they were in Herwadkar at a local school using their game, TOUCH, to raise awareness about issues of personal safety and improper sexual contact.

Danny, Kate, Ker, and Jack from US and Canada are currently in Belagavi promoting their BeyondABC gaming company which is on a mission to to create social change through play (Education through games).

Through games, kids can freely explore without worrying about consequences, allowing them to understand the relationship between cause and effect. In a virtual world they can be whoever they want, and figure out life in a safe environment. In games it’s ok to make mistakes, because you can just restart the level. You can push boundaries, break things and build them back up again. We believe games have the potential to create a more socially aware generation.

You can read the full article online here.

Meet Our 2017 Student Fellows

We are excited to announce the recipients of the Starr Foundation Student Fellows grant for 2017.

This is the tenth cohort of  students who are awarded a Travel and Research Grant towards their academic engagement on India and China. Students undergo a competitive application and interview process and commit to conducting field research in India or China for a minimum of  three weeks during the spring or summer.

The list of the 2017 Finalists is below. Congratulations to all of them!!

mariaMaria Radulescu is an undergraduate student in The School of Drama. Her project is entitled “Tracking the Evolution of Theatre Practices in India”. She will explore the influence of traditional and classical theatre of India on contemporary theatre practice.




monisesilvaMonise Silva is a Ph.D. student majoring in Public and Urban Policy at NSPE. Monise will study the socio-spatial dynamics of Indian mega-cities.  Monise comes from Curitiba, Brazil, and has been studying the working of socio-spatial dynamics in Brazil in relation to the issues of intra-urban inequality and social exclusion. She conducted similar research in Africa.  The ICI grant would allow her to compare and contrast the urban experiences of Delhi with her previous work on megacities in the other two continents, and to further explore alternative categories of urban analysis to strengthen the discourse on the urban condition.



isabellaIsabella Kazanecki is an undergraduate student at Eugene Lang College. The topic of her project is “Sacred Practices and the Environment”. She will explore the physical manifestations of religion and analyze globalization’s impact on the way people worship.  With the help of interviews and photography, Isabella aims to get a grounded understanding of climate change and its effects on cultures in the Himalayas.



amandaastrogapintoAmanda Astorga is a student in M.F.A. Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons. She comes from Chile, where she worked in public health care services after her college study. Drawing from her previous work experiences, she has grown a major interest in exploring gender equality in health care system. Amanda will look into gender equality in India, since India has been rated the country with worst gender equality statistics. Amanda hopes to obtain the answer to her question—how the concept of gender equality is perceived in Indian culture and what is its impact on women’s health care?



dannydangDanny Dang is a senior student in Design and Technology at Parsons. His project is “BeyondABC”, a game designed by two former Starr Travel Award recipients, Kate Wallace and Ker Thao, and himself. “BeyondABC” is a game aimed at providing Indian youth with the safety skills they need to protect themselves from human trafficking. As a core team member of BeyondABC, Danny wishes to go to India and contact people who have first-hand experiences with human trafficking, as well as work with GOAL India, an organization that helps youth leaders in underprivileged communities to develop critical thinking skills.



kaartikkeyabajpaiKaartikeya Bajpai is an M.A. student in Creative Writing at NSPE. Curious about the questions why Chinese literature doesn’t widely reach the West and vice versa, Kaartikeya’s project is to compile a “Contemporary Chinese Literature and the Global Reader”. As the chief editor of The Bombay Review, a bi-monthly international literary magazine in India, he accumulated great experiences to help him research into the literature world in China. He aspires to generate a deeper analysis of readership and popularity of certain Chinese books.

Meet Our New Student Fellows (2016)


We are excited to announce the final list of Starr Foundation Student Fellows for 2016. These are students that applied to the Student Travel and Research Grants in the fall of 2015 to support academic research on India and China. The list of final Fellows is below. Congratulations to all of them!!

read on

Student Research and Travel Grants (2015) – Apply Now

Nick Krebs Student Fellow

Former Student Fellow Nick Krebs in China.

We’re happy to announce that the application period is now open for the 2014-15 Starr Foundation Student Research and Travel grants. ICI will be offering six New School students a $3,000 grant to support their research in India or China in 2015. Each year these Student Fellows engage in exciting research projects around some topic of interest to their academic or professional interests. So if you have ever thought about going to India or China, here’s your chance!

Applications are being accepted until Monday, October 27, 2014.

Want to know more about this grant, and what past Student Fellows did? Simple. You can meet our past Student Fellows right here. While you’re at it, take a look at the latest blog posts from the current group of Student Fellows conducting research right now in China and India. This is the best way to see what you could be doing a year from now.

To learn more about the details of Starr Foundation student grants click here.


Migrants in the Archives

Union Pacific Tea

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 life stories of Chinese migrants and businessmen.

I have previously sought to analyze the links between business and migration by relying on various archival sources and oral histories in the United States. Albeit informative, these sources have provided only a limited understanding of the ‘Chinese’ side of the story, and particularly the three-pronged role of Chinese business companies in: i) aiding migration, ii) negotiating Chinese migrants’ right to entry and presence on the US territory, and iii) engaging with the budding consumer society in the United States. Such understanding is important because it allows for a more thorough analysis of the various levels of interaction between the Chinese and US representatives and better assessment of the ways in which the Chinese business community, in conjunction with various US officials, facilitated the transfer and presence of migrants in the United States.

I am hopeful that my extensive research of archival collections in the United States provides some degree of preparation for exploring archives in China. (At the very least, it provides a good basis for comparison.) Yet, I am aware that accessing procedures might be vastly different. For this reason, I am currently thinking ‘beyond the archives’ and trying to identify alternative sources of information, such as museums, universities, public libraries, personal connections, etc.

Looking through the eyes of a researcher, this summer travel will allow me to see China in a different light. Especially, I will be curious to explore the extent to which the history and politics of trade and migration still influence/are part of the cultural and social interactions today. I look froward to sharing my thoughts and experiences through photos, videos, and blogs!



2014 Student Fellows Announced

We are happy to announce the final selection of students for the 2013-14  India China Institute Student Fellows. The Starr Foundation supports ICI Student Research Fellowships, which provides 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. Applications are accepted every fall for the next group of Student Fellows. A list of all past Student Fellows can be found here. Congratulation to the next group of Student Fellows, who are listed below.

Mikaela Kvan is currently pursuing a BS in Urban Design at Parsons, The New School for Design. She is interested in examining the global framework of economic development through the garment manufacturing industry. Through the ICI travel grant, Mikaela will look at China’s labor laws and use China as a baseline to evaluate the growth of Cambodia’s garment industry through the voices of women who work at various levels throughout the garment manufacturing process. The research will assess the physical effects of the growth of this industry on emotional outcomes in identity and personal expression, and will take place in Shenzhen, China and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Carolina Coviello is majoring in Strategic Design and Management at Parsons, The New School for Design. She is deeply interested in observing the business dynamics around the world, especially in emerging countries like China. Carolina’s research will look to gain a better understanding of the impacts of globalization in China’s goods market. During her summer experience in China, she would like to explore first-hand and define the improvement in Chinese labor standards. Furthermore, she would like to explore how this process has impacted both the manufacturing market and the relationship between China and the international companies, like Adidas, which have outsourced there.

Tomas Uribe is a M.A. student in Media Studies at The New School. With the ICI travel grant, Tomas will conduct research on music as a tool for empowering youth in order to analyze and evaluate the applicability and relevance of music education in the lives of at-risk youth based on two case studies in Mumbai (Mewsic) and New Delhi (Music Basti). In order to reach this goal, Tomas will create multi-media pieces that will be posted on the website or blog which will be developed, for further reference for other countries.

Joseph Wheeler is a MFA student in the Transdisciplinary Design program at Parsons, The New School. With the ICI travel grant, Joseph will engage in discourse with women working toward gender equality externally (via national reform) and internally (via community reform) in India. He will explore how the Uniform Civil Code is understood by both sides, the advantages and disadvantages of both solutions to this complex problem, as well as the lived ramifications of discriminatory Personal Law and real world persecution of religious minorities. Joseph will work with Women’s Rights groups such as Feminists India to set up in-person interviews with activists and community members, and reach out to some of the key voices in this debate.

Tim Rosenkranz is a PhD candidate in Sociology at The New School for Social Research. With the support of the ICI travel grant, Tim will explore how the nation-state of India is reproduced as a commoditized tourist destination; and what are the emerging conflicts of such an effort of the nation-state as actor of both the public interest and private enterprise. Through this project, Tim’s research will sketch out the emerging relational triangle between the tourist as audience, the private industry as part of the tourist destination India, and the national government agency as acting both in the public interest and as private enterprise.

Marina Kaneti is pursing her PhD in Political Theory and Comparative Politics at the New School for Social Research. Marina is interested in exploring various intersections between the politics of urbanization and business, globalization and migration. Marina will use the ICI travel grant to travel to Hong Kong, Guandong, and Shanghai to conduct research of archival collections at several locations. This research, part of a broader PhD Dissertation work, will examine the links between migration and business at the end of the nineteenth – early twentieth century. Marina will analyze the Chinese business companies’ trade negotiations with the United States business and government elites; and the Chinese business community facilitation of migration flows to the United States.


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 on how much time, one takes to soak in the beautiful back-packing trip. The best part about the backpackers are that they steer clear from the “touristy” routes which are highly commercialized and tend to camp out with many herders who are partly herders and partly farmers. The moment, I reached Xining, I was welcomed by a host of travelers sharing their journeys with me. I am not only amazed by the hospitality of Xining locals, but also, that is how I found my translator for my field work. Wan Ma Kan Zhou is of a Mongol-Tibetan descent from Henan County in Qinghai. good for me me that she speaks Chinese, Tibetan and some English. But with a translator app on my iPhone, we manage just fine. The past few days and the next week, we are heading to neighboring counties and villages in search of nomadic pastoralist herding communities. Traveling by local buses is also another joyous experience, meeting people of different cultures, Hans, Salars, Hui, Tibetans and Chinese.
“Ni hao, shenme minzi, Wo jiao ‘Divi’, Yindu ren”, I introduce myself with a shorter easier name. It is heartwarming to find people responding and trying their best to speak slowly to make a conversation.

Visiting the rangelands in the neighboring counties is exciting and I am looking forward to bringing back as much in terms of knowledge and experience as possible. Long stretches of varying degrees of greens spotted with grazing sheep, yaks, cows and horses, shy herder communities and rich cultures, such are the joys of this fieldwork.

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 this is built on the foundations of the eco-dynamics of a place. The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) is colloquially referred to as “The Roof of The World”. Geologists refer to QTP as a natural geological museum. Background studies have brought to light that 200 million years ago, at a time when the continents were drifting in the oceans, the Eurasian continent and the Indian sub-continent collided into one another and as a result of which the Himalayas and the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau arose.
Some interesting facts about the QTP collected from various sources:
– QTP is the highest plateau in the world with an average altitude of 14,800′.
– The world’s highest mountains peaks – Mt. Everest (29,029′)and Mt. Ketu (28,251′) are both located in the QTP region.
– The QTP region is geologically active zone frequented by earthquakes and glacier movements and its geomorphic nature creates and alters climatic conditions in the Asian continent.
Very appropriately termed as “The Roof of The World”.

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 allows me to photograph more freely. So I have begun to get my equipment ready.

With the new semester, I have begun to expand my current project on the Chinese and Chinese American community in New York and New Jersey; I have begun photographing people in their homes rather than focusing on the general community. During the photo shoots there have been many stories shared about the experience of racism in the United States, which is not surprising knowing the history of first and second wave Asian immigration/migration to the United States. It is still saddening to hear.

As I talk about my trip with many of my friends from China, I have received much advice. This has ranged from accepting staring as a cultural norm to keeping my identity as a homosexual male unknown, as well as to not take photos in front of police to wearing a mask while in Beijing due to pollution. Of course there is probably truth in my friends’ experiences, but I also understand that this is from their viewpoints. But my friends’ support and help has been amazing. Another friend of mine has been trying to prepare me for the trip by introducing me to many traditional dishes from Shanghai and Beijing; they have all been delicious.

And on top of all of this, I am waiting to begin work on my passport and visa. With my recent name change, I must wait for the right time to file for both of those important documents. Once those are done, I will get my plane tickets.

So I have been preparing my equipment, continuing to be involved with the Chinese and Chinese American community in New York and New Jersey, obtaining advice and knowledge from friends, working on the technical aspects of preparation for my time in China, as well as reviewing my Mandarin as much as possible.

Before I know it, June will be here and I will be boarding a plane to China.

Pages: 1 2 3 4