Introducing the Folklore Graduate Cohort for the Fall 2019


Sailakshmi Senthil Kumar: Born in Chennai, India but raised in Fremont, CA, Sailakshmi (Nisha) comes to the folklore program after finishing her undergrad in anthropology at Berkeley in the spring of 2019. Her interests lie in diasporic Indian-American communities in the Bay Area and how they conceptualize more taboo forms of health like sexual, reproductive, and women's health. Having worked in Tamil Nadu, India in the winter of her sophomore year of undergrad, she is particularly interested in how notions of taboo cross transnationally to become modified or re-contextualized in new settings through narrative, gossip, and rumor. An avid cook, Sailakshmi also spends her free time attempting various new recipes.

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Molly Robinson: Molly joins the Folklore Program to explore the material and cultural histories of the so-called American South. She examines how these histories are brought to life in Gullah figurative painting and other art forms created in the part of the southeastern United States vernacularly dubbed the “Coastal Empire.” These interests issue from a broader concern with how we might learn to see legacies of difference, diasporic identities, and articulations of political desire through representation of Southern bodies in art. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and prior to studying at Berkeley worked as a watercolorist for a real estate company and as a docent at a historic house museum in Savannah, Georgia.


Kathryn Brock: Kathryn received a B.A. in Creative Writing and Music Business from Anderson University in Indiana prior to pursuing an M.A. in Creative Writing at University College Cork in Ireland. There her studies included poetry and folklore pertaining to the Hag of Beara, Brigid, and Sheela-na-gigs. Her primary interests are women’s sexuality, femininity, and reproductive rights in Old and Modern Irish poetry and culture as well as the transformation of female figures in oral tradition and the archaeological record. She is currently studying Modern Irish and plans to conduct archival research in the National Folklore Collection in Dublin and ethnographic work in the West of Ireland.


Julia McKeown: Julia is a non-binary Peace Corps Volunteer currently living in and working with Youth in Development in Morocco. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and minor in creative writing from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2016. While there, she wrote a senior thesis on the community of vulnerability and positive youth development that occurs within the Triangle’s spoken word and slam poetry community (of which she is a proud member). In May of 2017 she was honored to participate in the Iowa Summer Writers Workshop with James Galvin at the University of Iowa. She is interested in continuing to explore how those ensnared by dominant narratives find spaces and mediums to create their own stories. In particular she is interested in previously colonized countries, questions of LBTQIA* identity in countries with a dominant religious narratives, movements of peoples across physical and socially constructed borders, and many other things. She is very much enjoying watching these interactions unfold in a country where her integration and language skills allow her to be ever more deeply involved in people’s lives.


Nalin Sindhurprama: Nalin received her BA from Chulalongkorn University in Thai language and literature with a focus on folklore. After graduating, she began researching the two decades that have ensued since the violence of the Khmer Rouge government in neighboring Cambodia. For her MA Thesis, she plans to conduct fieldwork on how Cambodians born after 1979 engage with narratives of the Khmer Rouge years that appear in memoirs, novels, films, comic books, political discourse, and official narratives. Her particular interest lies in how this generation uses media, including social media, to construct "Khmerness" in relation to the 1975-1979 period.

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