Prashanth Kuganathan joined the department as a postdoctoral teaching associate for the 2021-2022 academic year. He received his PhD in applied anthropology in 2021 from Columbia University and specializes in social stratification, language, and education in South Asia. In his dissertation, he combines the ethnography of education with applied linguistics, examining the role of the English language in postcolonial and postwar northern Sri Lanka. He also looks at people’s lives in the Jaffna peninsula who have firsthand experience of the devastation of violence and displacement during the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009). He focuses on the power dynamics of ethnic, religious, and social relations in the country, particularly the caste system, on which he has publications. After completing his first book project, he hopes to conduct ethnographic field research with South Asian indigenous or diaspora populations.
Sarah Page is a postdoctoral teaching associate for the 2021-2022 academic year. After receiving her BA from the department at UT in 2004, Page went on to earn an MA (2008) and PhD (2018) in anthropology from the University of Florida. As a sociocultural anthropologist working in the Caribbean, she examines the intersections of human rights, queer studies, political economy, social movements, and the anthropology of the Black Atlantic. Her current book project focuses on how local LGBTQ activists in Jamaica are challenging institutionalized homophobia in the country. Her work analyzes how the movement began, the factors that motivate people to become activists, and the strategies they have developed to ensure the movement’s survival. Her work also examines how social forces promote and naturalize homophobia in the English-speaking Caribbean. Her work is useful to community organizers and scholars of human rights both by documenting the rise of a political movement, and by providing examples of structural, social, and cultural hurdles to realizing positive social change. Her research contributes to an ongoing, global project toward inclusivity of sexual minorities, and highlights the need for such projects to evolve to meet the needs of vulnerable global citizens.