• Graduate Student Workers
Anar Parikh

Where is home to you? Charlotte, NC

Department: Anthropology

B.A. Anthropology & History 2012, Bard College
M.A. Anthropology 2015, Brown University; PhD Anthropology (2020 expected), Brown University

Anar Parikh is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Brown. Her dissertation, tentatively titled "Building a 'Samosa Caucus': South Asian Political Belonging in the U.S." uses civic engagement, political participation, and activism as lenses to examine questions of identity, belonging, and citizenship in the context of migration and diaspora. Her thesis is based on 15 months of ethnographic research in Chicago, Illinois where she worked closely with immigrant rights organizers, service agencies, and advocacy organizations. She also worked as a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) organizer in a working-class South Asian neighborhood on the Northwest side of Chicago during the 2018 gubernatorial and midterm congressional election in Illinois. 

Publicly engaged scholarship is not just a happy coincidence her work, but rather a part of its fundamental premise. Anar strives to produce scholarship that moves beyond insular scholarly worlds that debate fundamental questions about the human experience in abstract terms. Rather, her work is grounded in a commitment to producing scholarship that reimagines how knowledge and expertise flow between academic institutions and local communities in order to produce social change. As a fellow, she is excited to contribute to the Swearer Center's pledge to connect undergraduates, faculty, and graduate students to community partners. 

"For example: I considered at great length the question of field. In classical anthropology, there’s a rigid distinction between 'field' and 'home.' Field’s where you go to do your research, immersing yourself, sometimes at great personal risk, in a maelstrom of raw, unsorted happening. Home’s where you go to sort and tame it: catalogue it, analyze it, transform it into something meaningful. But when the object of your study is completely interwoven with your own life and its rhythms, this distinction vanishes: Where (I asked, repeatedly) does home end and field begin? Or–and this problem follows from the last–I reflected on the anthropologist’s relation to the figures known as his 'informants.' If these people’s background and culture is no different from your own, and if these people are your friends–albeit ones who might (or then again might not) know of your sidebar ethnographic carryings-on–then how should you interrogate them?” ― Tom McCarthy, Satin Island (2015)