2022 Elaine Combs-Schilling Memorial Fellowship Winner

Columbia University ISSG
May 24, 2022
Rishav Kumar Thakur

The Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender announces the winner of the 2022 Elaine Combs-Schilling Memorial Fellowship: Rishav Kumar Thakur

Rishav Kumar Thakur is a third-year Ph.D. student in sociocultural anthropology at Columbia University. He studies articulations of queer affinity across religious, racial, cultural, and other politicized differences through idioms of love. He seeks to trace what these enable or foreclose in the current political climate of India marked by Hindu nationalism. Through an ethnography of queer activism and media in Assam in the Indian Northeastern frontier, he aims to understand how queerness is intermeshed with rightwing populist politics that cannot be reduced to a position of resistance or capture. Before coming to Columbia, Rishav worked in India and Nigeria as a policy researcher. He has a MA in Development Studies and BA in Economics.   

The Elaine Combs-Schilling Memorial Fellowship, established to honor the memory of Elaine Combs-Schilling (1949-2016), Professor of Anthropology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, is awarded annually to an ISSG graduate student. The fellowship provides an opportunity to pursue summer archival research and travel in support of their doctoral work with a stipend of $2,000. Funding for the fellowship comes from the Elaine Combs-Schilling Memorial Fund.