2018 Summer School | Participants Biography

Kathleen Michelle Burke | Humboldt University, Germany & King’s College London, UK

Kathleen Burke is currently completing a joint MA in History at Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin and King’s College London. Her research focuses on Indian Ocean settlements of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), exploring interconnections through the movements of bodies, knowledge, and cultural influences.

Hui Fang NYU / NYU Shanghai

Hui Fang is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. In her dissertation, she studies how the city of Nanjing was transformed from a standard prefectural capital into the national/regional art center in the opening years of the Ming dynasty, and how its role as such was closely woven into the network of the Jiangnan region, as well as in the dual-capital system in the first half of the fifteenth century. In light of the post-Mongol period world order during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century, her project also examines how art production in Nanjing participated in the early Ming rulers’ grand ambition in establishing an empire with global influence, and studies the early Ming Empire’s self-visualization through the windows of contemporary pictorial art. 

Federica Guccini | The University of Western Ontario, Canada

In September 2017, Federica Guccini enrolled in a PhD program in Anthropology at The University of Western Ontario (Canada). She received her B.A. in Egyptology and Anthropology from the University of Göttingen (Germany) in 2013, and her M.A. in Anthropology from the same university in 2017.

Peter Friedrich Alfons Kneitz | The Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany, and at the Department of History, University Antananarivo, Madagascar

Peter Kneitz, Ph.D. (Cologne 2003), M.A. (Cologne 1997) is Research fellow at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany), and at the Department of History, University Antananarivo (Madagascar). He is currently working as global fellow on a project linking conflict, conflict resolution and normativity in Madagascar, an investigation financed by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions of the European Union (Horizon 2020 research programme).

Natalie Martha KontnyUniversity of Hamburg, Germany

Natalie Kontny is a research associate in the department of Islamic Studies at the Asia-Africa-Institute, University of Hamburg, Germany. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of Hamburg. She is currently developing a PhD project focussing on the western Indian Ocean during the time of the early Islamic Empire (7th-10th century CE).

Anu Krishna | Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany

Anu Krishna is a Doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany. Her Doctoral dissertation focuses on the maritime cardamom trade in the Malabar Coast of the Indian Ocean (ports Alleppey and Cochin) and its impact on the lives/livelihood of people in the Cardamom Hills of India.

Elizabeth Lee | NYU

Elizabeth Lee is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in East Asian art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. Her dissertation examines the role of rock-cut Buddha images in the spatial narratives of Koryŏ period Buddhist and indigenous religious traditions. She is currently engaged in a GIS project mapping the locations of Buddhist images in the peninsular landscape.

Johann Nils NicolaiBerlin Institute for Comparative State Church Research, Germany

Johann Nils Nicolai is affiliated with the Berlin Institute for Comparative State Church Research. From 2011 to 2014 Johann Nicolai worked on his PhD at the University of Potsdam, focusing on Jewish emigration.

Anil Domenic ParalkarRuprecht – Karls – University Heidelberg (Heidelberg University), Germany

Anil Paralkar is a PhD candidate in Early Modern history at Ruprecht – Karls – University Heidelberg. He had completed his MA-studies of modern and contemporary history at Ludwig – Maximilians – University Munich in 2013. In the following three years he participated in the Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies at the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’ of Heidelberg University, in which he also pursues his PhD project. His research investigates the European encounter with South Asian foodways in the 15th to 17th century.

Mohamed SebianeSchool for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, France

Maho Sebiane is anthropologist and ethnomusicologist. Since 2002, he has been doing research on different musical and ritual practices in the Persian Gulf region and East Africa. He focuses on different musical and ritual practices in the Persian Gulf. After the defence of his doctoral thesis in 2015, he continues his research as postdoctoral fellow at School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences.

Melanie Janet Sindelar University of Art and Industrial Design Linz, Austria

Melanie Sindelar is currently an IFK Junior Fellow at the International Research Center of Cultural Science at University of Art and Industrial Design Linz, as well as a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna’s Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology.

Joshua Allen Sooter | NYU

Joshua Allen Sooter is a Ph.D. Candidate in the history department of New York University who studies world history and Chinese intellectual history, particularly in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Arran Robert Walshe | NYU

Arran Walshe is a PhD candidate in the Middle East & Islamic Studies Department, Culture and Representation track. With a disciplinary background in History and Social Anthropology, he studies commemorative discourses, governance, and media, and how these relate to notions of citizenship, identity, and negotiations between the public and private in the contemporary Middle East.

Meng Wei | NYU

Meng Wei is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at New York University in New York.
She is currently a Global Dissertation Writing Fellow at New York University Abu Dhabi. She wrote an article entitled “Who were the Hui? The first empire-wide investigation of Hui communities in Qing China” for the International Institute for Asian Studies.

Boris Wille Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Boris Wille, M.A. is researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. His research focus is on South Asia, the Maldives, maritime societies, political anthropology, anthropology of media and visual culture.

Fan Zhang | NYU

Fan Zhang received her PhD candidate of Asian Art and Archaeology from the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University. She specializes in visual and material culture of early medieval China (3rd to 6th century) and cultural exchanges between China, Central Asia, and Northeastern Asia. Her dissertation, entitled “Cultural Encounters: Ethnic Complexity and Material Expression in Fifth-century Pingcheng, China,” examines the articulation and negotiation of identity in the process of cultural interaction, transmission and transformation of artistic styles and funerary customs, as well as the circulation of luxury goods.


*Alphabetically by last name



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