Professor Malavika Kasturi

SSHRC Funding for U of T Mississauga researchers

Friday, October 16, 2015 - 1:40pm
Carla DeMarco
Eighteen Faculty members at UTM have received over $2.5 million in funding from the recent SSHRC Insight competitions

Professor Malavika Kasturi from U of T Mississauga’s Department of Historical Studies is one of 15 faculty members who have been awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant from last October’s competition.

Awarded a four-year grant for her project The ‘Lost Mughal Pensioners of Banaras:’ Diasporic Families, Urban History and Memory in South Asia Eighteenth Century to the Present, Kasturi will be examining the role that elite Muslim families, and households played in shaping urban history and urban space in Banaras (or Kashi) in northern India. She will be focusing on the families of the  ‘Mughals’ of Banaras for her research

“I am particularly interested in Banaras in this project, for it has always been memorialized and selectively remembered as a ‘Hindu’ pilgrimage city, when in fact it was a cosmopolitan space, which continues to be home to a heterogeneous population comprising Hindus and Muslims,” says Kasturi. 

“My research will try and understand how various material and visual markers like graveyards, shrines, mosques, and secular buildings built by Muslim elites and notables, still in use today, shaped urban space in Banaras.”

Kasturi will use her grant from SSHRC, which was nearly $160K, to travel to India and London throughout the four-year period to consult archives and private collections to examine colonial records, family papers, photographs, lithographs, and maps, along with conducting intense ethnographic fieldwork in Banaras.

Kasturi feels this examination of the past, which challenges stereotypical notions of Hindu pilgrimage cities, is very relevant “given the current troubled context of South Asian nation-building and religious violence.” Her research is tied in with collaborations in India, the U.S., and the United Kingdom, and will result in several publications as well as a series of workshops and conferences. To read more about Kasturi's research, see Of Destiny, Domains and Dance.

Along with Kasturi, the full list of those who have been awarded 2015 Insight Grants as Principle Investigators at UTM include the following:

  • Professors Francis Cody, Gary Crawford and Todd Sanders from the Department of Anthropology for their individual projects; Mediating the People: Publicity, Newspapers, and Politics in South India (Cody), Collaborative Research on the Shangshan Culture, Zhejiang, China (Crawford), and Putting Evidence to Work: An Anthropological Study of Fracking in the United Kingdom (Sanders).
  • Professor Phil Oreopoulos in the Department of Economics for his project Helping Students Achieve Their Goals: A Field Experiment.
  • Professors Matthew Osborne and Minlei Ye from the Institute of Management and Innovation for their individual projects, Understanding the Formation of Consumer Forward-looking Behaviour, and its Implications for Business Strategy and Public Policy (Osborne), and Regulatory Oversight and Audits in Capital Market (Ye).
  • Professors Nate Charlow and Diana Raffman from the Department of Philosophy for their individual projects, Communicating About What to Do (Charlow), and Vagueness and Legal Indeterminacy (Raffman).
  • Professor Peter Lowen from the Department of Political Science for his project The Local Parliament: Voter Preferences, Local Campaigns, and the Parliamentary Representation of Voters.
  • Professors Erika Carlson and Ulrich Schimmack from the Department of Psychology for their individual projects, Self-knowlede and Self-deception: Is Knowing How Others See Us Adaptive? (Carlson), and Well-Being in Modern Families (Schimmack).
  • Professors Josée Johnston and David Pettinicchio from the Department of Sociology for their individual projects, Consuming Meat: A Study of Taste, Risk and Food Politics (Johnston), and Employment Discrimination in Hiring People with Disabilities: An Audit Study (Pettinicchio).
  • Professor John Ricco from the Department of Visual Studies for his project The Risks and Pleasures of Bodily Abandonment and Freedom.

Additionally, three faculty members received an Insight Development Grant this July: Professor Mairi Cowan from the Department of Historical Studies for her project Demons in New France and the Spiritual Anxieties of Early Canada; and Professors Emily Impett as well as Tina Malti from the Department of Psychology for their respective projects, An Interpersonal Goals Perspective on the Boons and Banes of Parenting (Impett) and A New Approach to Studying Children’s Real-Life Experiences of Peer Exclusion (Malti).

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada annually runs the Insight Grant and Insight Development Grant competitions every fall and spring respectively. Both programs support research excellence in the social sciences and humanities.