Ethnic Conflict and Peacebuilding in Northeast India

This project is a critical ethnographic investigation of protracted ethnic conflict in Northeast India. Arguing against the hegemony of State-sponsored ethnic identity categories, this work critically engages with the assumptions of Indian nationalism, citizenship and belonging as they apply to different constituencies in Northeast India. I draw upon this understanding to facilitate community-level peacebuilding in the Garo Hills. 

Exploring Youth Perspectives on Community: A Youth Participatory Action Research Project

This explores youth perspectives on everyday violence using a participatory action research approach. We document local youth experiences and their explanations about the multiple forms of violence in their communities. By doing so, this project hopes to: i) provide a more nuanced understanding of the contexts of everyday violence in the lives of youth in Lowell, and ii) use that understanding to inform community-based intervention efforts. Research here serves as vehicles for engaging local youth in a community needs assessment process, critically examining the sources of normalized violence in their lives, and sites of resistance.  

The Everyday Peace Project

This is a pedagogical initiative that combines research and critical pedagogy to engage students in local context-based peacebuilding efforts.  The Everyday Peace Project is organized around three elements: collaborative, context-based envisioning of everyday peace;  developing and enacting an action agenda for everyday peace; and process evaluations whereby we document methodologies, emerging frameworks, community engagement strategies, challenges, and process outcomes so as to develop a framework that might be relevant to other contexts. 

Gendered Patterns of Ethnic Violence in Northeast India

This research project investigates gendered patterns of ethnic violence in Garo Hills, India. My previous research on endemic ethnic violence in Garo Hills underscored the overarching discourse of masculinity and heteronormativity characterizing public discourses surrounding ethnic conflict. Garo women’s bodies are sites through which both insurgent and military violence are systematically enforced.  Not only is there culture of impunity so that those who hold social power are less bound by legal norms, established cultural and moral norms are constituted in ways that produce and sustain the violence. This gendered subtext is especially compelling given that Garo society is one of the few matrilineal societies across the globe. Foregrounding the perspectives of Garo women, my research seeks to unearth the spectrum of violence experienced by Garo women and the processes through which patriarchal power is reproduced in conflict situations. Informed by feminist intersectional approaches to citizenship, this line of work will help us understand how violence is systematically enforced through gendered bodies and interrogate the cultural and moral norms that sustain the violence.