Here is the text of the proposal I submitted to IGS Oxford
I had just arrived in town and managed to settle in a lovely apartment in Summertown in North Oxford. I will be meeting the people at the Center in the next few days.
I hope to be able to spend the full term during October-December 2009 (the Michaelmas term) at the IGS in order to pursue the project titled “Gender, Citizenship and Health among the Banjara people of India.”
I plan to develop the second phase of a research I had begun on a nomadic group known in India as the Banjara. I am particularly interested in exploring the links between citizenship, gender and maternal health among people in this group. Two years ago I had begun a collaborative research project on “Safe motherhood” among these nomadic women with my colleague Prof Nirupama Prakash of BITS University at Pilani, India. In the Winter of 2008, I had spent about two months of preliminary fieldwork among this group in Rajasthan (my reflections on this field research are to be published by The Journal of Anthropology and Humanism in December 2009). During the past year a team of research assistants had used a questionnaire we had developed to quantify the extent of infant and mother mortality rates among the Banjara in three regions in Rajasthan. We also collected data on socio-economic and cultural-political factors that underlie the extremely high rates of mother and infant mortality recorded for the group. The results of this survey work have been analyzed and summarized in our scientific report submitted to the Indian Research Council in March 2009. During my term at the IGS I hope to complete one essay that will prepare these results for publication. I had also been working on another essay that will explore the scope of Banjara nomadism based on existing published and unpublished data. I hope to have access to some historical records in the archives at Oxford in order to understand the colonial roots of their nomadic existence.
Finally, I hope to prepare for the second leg of my ethnographic field research among this group in two other locations in India, in addition to the study carried out in Rajasthan. I plan to carry out such ethnographic field research immediately at the end of my term at IGS, i.e., in mid December 2009.