SAFN is pleased to award the 2021 Student Research Award to Sucharita Kanjilal for her project, “A homemaker’s diary: Caste, class and the gastropolitics of history-making in Digital India.” This project examines gendered class politics and nationalism through the lens of the popular and prolific vegetarian blogs of Indian homemakers. The reviewers agreed that this project was theoretically rich, methodologically strong, and, as “an ethnographic study of digital foodspaces,” perfectly-suited for data collection during a global pandemic. We are excited to see the results of this fascinating research project.
Sucharita Kanjilal is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is also associated with the Center for India and South Asia at UCLA. Her doctoral research examines the entanglements of class, caste and feminized domesticity in Indian digital publics, drawing on perspectives from the anthropology of food and digital media, as well as theories of affect. It investigates the salience and limitations of the growing ‘creator’ economy in India, where digital technology has been simultaneously expanding and surveilled amidst the complex contestations around Hindu (trans)nationalism.
Sucharita has been conducting multi-sited and multi-media ethnographic fieldwork for the past two years, located physically in Singapore and Mumbai, and digitally across the many platforms inhabited by diasporic community of Indian food bloggers and ‘home chefs’. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, her research has transitioned solely to digital ethnography. Prior to joining UCLA, she worked as a breaking news journalist in Mumbai, India.