Research

My dissertation examines the politics of dead bodies and space in 20th century South Asia in order to answer the question: what was the political role of the dead in the articulation of national identities in modern South Asia? Studying both the late colonial and early postcolonial states’ administration of the disposal, (re)location, and commemoration of human remains, I focus on the years between the close of World War I in 1918 and the 1957 centenary postcolonial celebrations of India’s First War of Independence.  Both popular and official acts of mourning and martyrdom created a landscape for the living that was marked by graveyards, cremation grounds, and massacre and assassination sites. I ask how the management and placement of dead bodies and their corresponding commemorations impacted the formation of national and religious identities through two avenues of inquiry: Indian combat casualties and civilian Indian deaths.