Fiana Kawane

 
Toward lyric disunities: Late modern political ecologies of South Asian diasporic poetry, 1970s to 2000s
Faculty of Arts
Kavita Philip
Ahmedabad
India
 
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Pursuing a doctoral degree in English allows me to continue working, researching, and writing in areas that matter deeply to me at UBC. I continue to reflect about my everyday relationship to space, scholarship, and public discourse on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded lands of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm, Skwxwú7mesh, Stó:lō, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

The University of British Columbia was best suited for my research as a public research university in North America with its transnational and interdisciplinary outlook.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

The research expertise of professors in affect theory, anticolonial writing, and modernist studies drew me to UBC English. The close links of UBC's Department of English to the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (GRSJ) and Science and Technology Studies (STS) laid the foundation for interdisciplinary threads to emerge in my research.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

For my first year at UBC, I lived on-campus at St. John's College. It turned out to be an incredibly enriching experience to collaborate and dialogue with peers and established scholars across wide-ranging disciplinary interests from education, history, physics, to Asian studies. I cherish memories and continuing friendships from those dinner table conversations and collective cooking weekends. 

What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

I appreciate and respect the many forms and pathways of learning inside and outside of university systems. Many people, near and far, have been incredibly supportive of my desire to pursue research-based studies. My prior academic experiences provided me with the foundation and critical vocabularies that opened up research directions to pursue at UBC. As someone trained in classical South Asian dance, I am well-versed with how a PhD is a similar long-term process that is so much about the journey than the destination. 

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I appreciate and respect the many forms and pathways of learning inside and outside of university systems. Many people, near and far, have been incredibly supportive of my desire to pursue doctoral studies. With gratitude to my professors, my prior academic experiences provided me with the foundation and critical vocabularies that opened up research directions to pursue at UBC.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Every process of gaining an education is personal, especially a research degree, so take any advice with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, there are some elements that are transpersonal to be able to moderately thrive in university. Ask questions, allow yourself the time to learn, and think of every cul-de-sac as an opportunity to grow. Talk to other graduate students, don't be afraid to make mistakes, and advocate for your wellbeing.

Outside of your academic work, what are the ways that you engage with your local or global community? Are there projects in particular that you are proud of?

I'm a performing artist trained in Kathak with Kumudini Lakhia and Vaishali Trivedi at Kadamb, India, a pioneering institute of modern choreography. As part of performing companies and independently, I have danced across India, Canada, Japan, Pakistan, and France. I love collaborating with artists through dance and musical composition, and look forward to more such engagements in the future. A project that I am proud of leading is Nritya-Vandan, an hour-length Kathak production that premiered in Tokyo in 2016. 

 
 
 

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