Ishan Chakrabarti

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I got my undergraduate from UT Austin in Sanskrit, English and South Asian Studies; now I'm continuing along similar lines doing a comparative-literature heavy M.A. in South Asian Studies. While most of my work relates to late medieval/early modern (1400-1650) South Asian literature (I deal with Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian), I focus on connections and flows of information across different geographic, cultural and temporal areas. My undergraduate thesis, for example, looked at Muslim figures within Hindu hagiography in the 1500s as well as the relations between ascetic groups and rulers. My M.A. thesis will be discussing travel literature and autobiography from the 1500s to the 1600s and will follow a set of travelers in India. These travelers come both from within India and from Europe (England, Italy, Denmark) and the Middle East (Morocco, Iran).

My interests are also heavily theoretical: I draw inspiration primarily from Foucault, Deleuze and their 'tradition' (authors like Braidotti, de Landa, Negri). I find that the work of these philosophers fits well with our digital world: all of them centralize the role of process and information flow alongside time and history. Not only does this work for our age, it helps out in understanding the early modern period as well: that era also saw a rapid increase in the flow/trade of information and goods alongside a dramatic lessening of the distances between places. To me, the digital humanities are not only about using cutting-edge tools to assist research (spatio-temporal maps) but also about updating our epistemological and methodological suppositions to fit our changing perspective of the world.

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