Research Assistant - The Roti Collective
I researched the diet habits and regimens of South Asian sugar plantation indentured laborers in Trinidad and Tobago during the late 19th and early 20th centuries during the time of the British Empire, in order to show how the British control of laborers' foods resulted in their imperial control over Trinidad and Tobago and the Europeanization of Roti in Trinidad and Tobago. A larger description of The Roti Collective as a whole is below:
The Roti Collective refers to a set of collaborative multimodal research projects that study roti, a flatbread food eaten by people in south and southeast Asia, east and south Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, and their Diasporas everywhere. What can we learn about ourselves, our shared histories, and our relationships to each other if we center roti as a living practice shared by more than 3 billion people? This capacious approach to roti as an everyday practice and as a cultural object stretching across centuries and geographies is organized through ethnographic research on the social semiotics and material conditions of roti and the people who eat/ate it. The global migrations of roti tells an expansive narrative on how colonialism and related displacements shaped diasporas, their cultural knowledges, and daily practices. As a public feminist anthropology, the Roti Collective considers roti as intergenerational praxis that facilitates critical conversations about gender, patriarchy, and belonging through carework within and across diasporic communities.
The Roti Collective draws on interdisciplinary approaches to study the material conditions that shaped roti across regions alongside the social semiotics of roti-making and roti-eating in the home, in restaurants, and in politics. To situate roti as a practice everywhere, the team is cooking and eating roti at home and from local eateries in NY, NJ, PA, MD, FL, TX, and Pakistan as part of our ethnographic reimagining of roti as a “fieldsite” to understand the local and the global alongside personal and the political. We consider how indentured laborers from India who constructed British railways in east Africa and worked on British sugar plantations in the Caribbean brought roti-making with them, producing locally meaningful roti cuisines and cultures in their new homes and communities. We focus on roti-making as an everyday connective practice of carework and ancestral knowledge between today’s generation of Indo-Guayanese Diaspora women and their foremothers. We ask how reconstructions of roti and other foods in Sri Lankan, Indian and Malaysian food in US restaurants are informed by histories of Tamil Diaspora migration across communities and regions. We consider how roti became a symbol of subaltern solidarity across selected 19th and 20th century political movements in Pakistan and India. Through all this, the Roti Collective contends that colonialism must be understood as a locally and globally situated structure demonstrating the continuation of “distant” pasts into the present moment. Our exploration of roti as both capacious epistemology and grounded shared praxis will be presented through multimodal products including infographics, academic papers, podcasts, websites, videos, and memes. Designed for multiple audiences, the Roti Collective offers an ethnographic glimpse into the history, politics, and social life of roti and the people who eat/ate it in the past and present.
August 2021 -
Nuremberg Chronicle Marginalia Transcription & Translation
I transcribed and translated nearly one hundred pieces of marginalia from Hamilton College's edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle for the Hamilton College Special Collections in my Historical Paleography workshop course so my peers and future scholars could use the marginalia can for research purposes.
April 2021 -
Spherae Tractatus Marginalia Transcription and Translation
I transcribed and translated dozens of marginalia from 1583 and 1613 in Hamilton College's edition of Spherae Tractacus, an important sixteenth-century textbook on physics, astronomy, and cosmology, for usage by my peers at Hamilton and for future scholars. My study of the transcription and translation of the marginalia revealed a conversation, separated by three decades, with marginalia in 1583 showing an acceptance of the Aristotelian theory of the solar system, followed by later marginalia in 1613 showing a rejection of the Aristotelian theory in favor of the Copernican theory of the solar system.
November 2020 -