New Faces at the South Asia Center - 2013

-Nitika Sethi

Dr Rashmi GangammaWe are happy to welcome Dr. Rashmi Gangamma to the SAC community this year. An assistant professor in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Rashmi’ s appointment is within the Marriage and Family Therapy department.

She joins us from Ohio State University, where she earned her Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy and conducted post-doctoral research. Prior to that Rashmi spent her childhood and early academic career in Mysore, a city located in the southwestern state of Karnataka.

Rashmi began studying Psychology at the University of Mysore before transitioning into social work. She says of India, “There, social work is not established as a separate discipline.” This fixed structure inspired her to look abroad for further, more interdisciplinary study. Her work looks primarily at fairness in relationships among heterosexual couples. Her approach is a symptomatic one; she views distress in a relationship as symptomatic of something going on in the larger system of an individual.

Additionally Rashmi is working with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Karnataka to build a training program for therapists in India. Rashmi has a warmth and kindness that instantly puts one at ease, qualities which certainly make her an asset to her field.

Anisha Saxena

Anisha Saxena comes to Syracuse as a Fulbright fellow from New Delhi. Her scholarship focuses on contested sacred spaces in India, specifically in Kutch, Udaipur, and Jodhpur. Anisha’s research involves understanding religious pluralism in the world’s largest democracy. She seeks to explore how different populations and different faiths have found their own significance in the same sacred spaces.

While she is in Syracuse, she will dedicate the bulk of her time to research and writing, taking full advantage of her fellowship. When she leaves in June, Anisha plans to return to India to submit her dissertation. In the future, she hopes to continue her academic work on South Asian spaces.

Anisha began her academic career with a Master’s program at the National Museum Institute in New Delhi. She is a trained art historian and completed her Master’s thesis on early Harappan pottery motives. This initial work generated her interest in the role of symbols in religion.

 In her free time, Anisha is fond of gardening and visiting museums. She has spent a great deal of time abroad, traveling and furthering her academic career. Find out more about her research when Anisha gives a talk on Tuesday, February 5 in 100 Eggers at 12:30 pm.

Dr. Lars RodsethDr. Lars Rodseth is a new faculty member in the Anthropology department. He came to Syracuse University last year after spending 17 years teaching at the University of Utah. He identifies himself a theoretical and historical anthropologist.

His initial interest in the South Asian region, which continues in his current work, began in Nepal in 1990. Lars conducted long-term fieldwork in Nepal studying marriage systems, religious associations, and the political history of a Tibetan Buddhist town. Shortly thereafter, the political situation in Nepal bubbled over and this area became a less accessible research site for Lars leading him to expand upon an early interest in comparative perspectives by shifting his fieldwork to the United States.

These days he is beginning a project on a particular community of Indian Americans, who originate from the West Indies, specifically Trinidad and Guyana. He has made preliminary visits to the Richmond Hill neighborhood of Queens, where there is a large Indo-Caribbean population. In Fall 2012, he taught a first year graduate core course in addition to a new, experimental course called Ungoverned Spaces. He uses these curricula to delve deeper into South Asian topics, including the implications of geographically removed spaces in this region of the world.