rudolph-sm.jpgIn the summer of 1956, Lloyd and Susanne Rudolph embarked on a 5,000-mile overland journey from London to Jaipur, India. The Rudolphs had just finished their PhDs and, with funding from the Ford Foundation, were setting out to field surveys about political life across the subcontinent. Armed with the most sophisticated theoretical and methodological training of their time, they had designed a study that would reveal the true underpinnings of Indian democracy. What the Rudolphs discovered in the field confounded their expectations and revealed fundamental incompatibilities between the logic of surveys and how local citizens actually experienced politics. This fieldwork changed the course of their careers, eventually producing iconic critiques of imperial categories like modernity and tradition and reflections on fieldwork that are still widely read today.

Lloyd and Susanne joined the University of Chicago in 1964 and spent the next 40 years teaching, mentoring, and serving here. Proponents of what they called ‘situated knowledge,’ they vigorously advocated for social science research that proceeded from local specificities – gathered through fieldwork – upward to comparative generalizations. Together, the Rudolphs served on the dissertation committees of approximately 300 students, directed programs like the Center for International Studies and the Committee on International Relations, and were tireless champions of fieldwork opportunities for students at the University.

In honor of the Rudolphs, the Center for International Social Science Research (CISSR) founded a new initiative in 2019: The Lloyd and Suzanne Rudolph Field Research Awards for Graduate Students. Reflecting the Rudolphs’ devotion to fieldwork and to local, situated knowledge, these awards will support field and archival research projects of graduate students from across the Division of the Social Sciences. With support from this award, twelve students will embark on their own research journeys. We congratulate the recipients, wish them well on their respective fieldwork journeys, and look forward to sharing news about the fruits of their labor in the coming months.

The 2019-20 winners are:

Juan Wilson Coddou was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1988, were he studied both law (J.D.) and a M.A. in History at Universidad de Chile. Before coming to the University of Chicago in 2018 to pursue a Ph.D. in History, he worked as a clerk for Chile’s former Supreme Court Judge Enrique Barros and later became Instructor Professor of Legal History and Civil Law in Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Chile). His main research interests are Latin American Legal History, the relationship between legal and historical discourse and the role of law in the process of state formation in Latin America.

Pranathi Diwakar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology, specializing in urban and cultural sociology as well as the sociology of immigration. Her research explores urban processes, cultural spaces, and social inequality. Her current project focuses on cultural spaces within Indian cities, and investigates how these spaces and events are mobilized around articulations of caste identity and group boundary-making. She previously received a Masters degree in Development Studies from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Her research has been funded by the Committee on Southern Asian Studies.

Kirsten Forsberg is a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. She is an archaeologist with a methodological focus on bioarchaeology and the information contained in human skeletal remains. Her current research explores how decentralized societies in interior Senegal responded to the pressures of the European slave trade. She earned her BA in Archaeological Studies from Yale University and her MA through the MAPSS program at the University of Chicago, and she has been conducting archaeological research in West Africa since 2009.

Minju Kim is a doctoral student in the field of International Relations studying international political economy and American foreign policy. She is interested in bureaucratic politics in foreign policymaking and politics of trade remedies. She holds an MIA with the highest honors from Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University, and a BA from Yonsei University. She is a recipient of the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies (KFAS) doctoral study abroad scholarship. Before joining this program, she also worked at the International Legal Affairs Division of Ministry of Justice in South Korea.

Carl Kubler is a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History who studies the social and economic history of late imperial and modern China. His current project, “Barbarians on the Shore: Negotiating Global Trade and Daily Life on the South China Coast, 1770-1853,” provides a bottom-up reexamination of Chinese-foreigner relations from the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. His research interests include the history of Sino-Western contact, global maritime history, intercultural communication and conflict, language and identity, education, and the history of children, childhood, and nationalism.

Matthew Lowenstein is a PhD Candidate in the History Department, currently on a Fulbright conducting archival research in China. His areas of research include Chinese economic history, social history, and the history of Sichuan. Prior to his doctoral studies, he covered the financial sector as an equity analyst for JCapital Research.

Wan-Zi Lu is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology. She has completed a set of studies on how traditional authority structures shape democratization and financialization across indigenous peoples in Taiwan. Her current research traces the development of regulatory frameworks for organ donation in a number of East Asian polities to understand why shared cultural norms produced different policies of and practices in moralized markets.

Ramzy Mardini is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science, studying international and comparative politics. His research interests focuses on intrastate conflict and the politics of the Middle East. He is a graduate of Ohio State University and the Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago.

Usama Rafi a PhD candidate in the Department of History, working on intellectual and international history. His research focuses on the history of equality, redistributive politics, and self-determination in Asia and Africa during the twentieth century. Usama received a BA in political economy in Lahore, Pakistan and previously worked as an international development consultant on public legal reforms in Pakistan. His previous research has been generously supported by the Nicholson Center for British Studies, the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, and the Division of the Social Sciences. Usama is currently the co-coordinator of the inaugural History and Social Sciences Forum and a member of the Student Executive Committee in the Social Sciences Division.

Jonathan Schoots is a PhD Candidate in the department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is broadly interested in political and historical sociology, focusing on historical moments of transformed political understanding and practice. His work focuses on African intellectual and political responses to colonialism and his PhD follows the emergence of Xhosa proto-nationalist political organizing between 1860-1910 in the present day Eastern Cape region of South Africa. His work combines intellectual history with social network analysis to follow the conditions which facilitated the political innovation seen in the early development of African nationalist and Pan-Africanist ideology and political organizing.

Estefanía Vidal-Montero is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her research examines the material processes of the emergence of village-life in the Atacama Desert, where she has been working as an archaeologist since 2005, after receiving her BA in Anthropology at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago. 

Emily Wilson is a PhD student in Comparative Human Development researching intergenerational care and social belonging. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Michigan, where she specialized in social policy, organizational management, and housing and homelessness. She has been the recipient of multiple fellowships including the Society for Psychological Anthropology (SPA) Lemelson Fellowship and the Nicholson Graduate Research Fellowship.