What department are you a graduate student in?
Why did you decide to go to graduate school?
I was in the world of NGOs and humanitarian organizations serving in SriLanka and India before I decided to be in academia. I decided to go to graduate school because I wanted to learn and write about critical issues of social, political and collective justice and develop my own pedagogy. I also appreciated the critical radical thought and thriving scholar-activism within Geography which inspired me to pursue the PhD in Geography.
Did your interests change throughout your program?
During my Masters days at Syracuse University, I was interested in researching environmental justice issues in South Asia with a keen eye in the way in which social relations of caste, class and gender. I had published this research in several journals including Human Geography and Geoforum. During the course of my PhD I became more interested in the city, that is the subfield of urban geography and particularly questions of racialized subjectivity and lived experiences of displacement. My current research looks at spatial memory and racialized lived experiences of urban renewal and gentrification in the Black neighborhood of Rondo in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
What do you want to do with your advanced degree?
I would like to further research across urban racialized contexts in America and do comparative studies of Black lived experiences of urban renewal and highway construction across cities like Minneapolis, Miami, Detriot and Albany. I would also like to explore African American and Asian diasporic neighborhoods across the US and understand how these racialized communities produce spatial memory, perceive gentrification and negotiate other urban transformations. I would also like to teach courses at the University level that focus on race, gender and urban spaces.
Source for featured image: https://fsu.academia.edu/ParvathyBinoy