CASI Student Programs Blog

Since 2007, the Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) at the University of Pennsylvania has supported nearly 150 students! Welcome to the home base for CASI students and alumni to share their thoughts, reflections, and ongoing learnings about their internships, research projects, and travels in India and beyond.

In an earlier post, I discussed the financial pinch of electoral competition, noting that aggregate campaign spending has risen from one election cycle to the next. This trend poses a pair questions pertinent to my research: why does expenditure continue to rise and how does this impact the democratic participation of minority parties such as […]

In July 2016, I spoke with N. Gopalaswami, former Chief Election Commissioner of India (2006-2009), at his residence nestled amidst a quiet street in central Chennai. For the greater part of an hour, we discussed why election spending in his home state of Tamil Nadu rises sharply from one election cycle to the next. Gopalaswami […]

In India’s southernmost state of Tamil Nadu, the relationship between cinema and politics is well established. Shortly after Independence, a handful of youth in the Tamil film industry founded the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), an ethnic party that advanced a unique brand of Tamil cultural nationalism. Led by a motley assortment of screenwriters, actors, actresses, […]


After our internship ended Bevan and I traveled to Mumbai for a few days and met up with two other CASI interns who had been working and living in Bangalore. Over a lovely dinner of Burmese food we discussed our internships and lives for the previous two months. Immediately it became extremely apparent how vastly different […]

I arrived at Kolkata during the last 15 days of my study trip. At Kolkata, my main intention was to investigate the relationship between the British, the Deb Raja of Bhutan, and the Tibetans, as well as the influence of the Tibetans’ religio-political institutions on Northern Bengal and North-Eastern India. For that I went to […]

Going through racks and racks of Tibetan political journals is not an easy task, and something you can never prepare yourself for. As I walked through the streets of Dharamsala, greeting smiling Tibetan faces and talking casually about the weather and the problems of over-construction in McLeod Ganj, I couldn’t help but feel a pang […]