Satyashikha Chakraborty

Summary of summer research

Satyashikha Chakraborty SASP award recipientSatyasikha is a third year graduate student in the History Department at Rutgers. Her research centres on the history of South Asian maids (ayahs) in European imperial households. The SASP Research/Travel Award and the Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative Award enabled her to attend a three-day workshop at the TATA Institute of Social Sciences, in Mumbai. The awards supported her archival research at the National Archives of India, in New Delhi. She unearthed Health Department documents on the employment of ayahs in colonial medical establishments between the 1870s to the 1930s, which broadened her analytical frame, motivating her to look beyond the household as the domain of interracial feminine care-giving. She was also able to explore nineteenth century ship records and letters from private agencies, which gave her new insights on the networks of the transcontinental mobility of ayahs between South Asia and Europe. The award also enabled her to travel to Kolkata and examine the archival holdings of the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad. Overall, the grants provided valuable support to her pre-dissertation archival research during the summer of 2014.

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