Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Asian Studies Graduate Student Emilia Bachrach Earns Rare Distinction: ACLS-Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship

Mon, April 1, 2013
Emilia Bachrach
Emilia Bachrach

Emilia Bachrach, a PhD candidate in Asian Cultures and Languages, is one of 70 doctoral candidates nationwide awarded the highly presigious and competitive ACLS-Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship 2014. 

ACLS-Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowships support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and related social sciences in the last year of Ph.D. dissertation writing.The total award of up to $33,000 includes a stipend plus additional funds for university fees and research support. In addition to the monetary support that the fellowship offers, Dissertation Completion Fellows are able to apply to participate in a seminar on preparing for the academic job market. 

Abstract of Bachrach's project:

The Living Tradition of Hagiography in the Vallabh Sect of Contemporary Gujarat

The 17th century Hindi hagiographies of the Vallabh Sampraday, known as vartas, impart sectarian history, theology, and models of devotion and right-livelihood through accounts of the tradition’s founders and early disciples. Followers and leaders of this Hindu sectarian community in the contemporary Indian state of Gujarat regularly translate the vartas into modern Gujarati, compose written commentaries on the texts, and read and discuss the narratives in temples, homes, and even on the Internet. Bachrach's dissertation is an interdisciplinary ethnographic project that examines the enduring significance of the vartas, hypothesizing that the narratives provide a context for readers to perform devotion and to negotiate between ideals inherited from the past and life in the present.

Bachrach received Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and Bachelor of Arts from Smith College. 

Her interests include religion in South Asia (medieval-contemporary), Hindi and Gujarati devotional literature and expressive traditions, and gender and performance in South Asia. 

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