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PhD student Erica Mukherjee in India
PhD student Erica Mukherjee visits Mudh in Pin Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Erica Mukherjee, a doctoral student in the Department of History, has been awarded a highly competitive Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) grant through the Department of Education. These grants provide six to twelve months of funding to conduct doctoral dissertation research in one or more countries worldwide. The program is intended to create modern language and world area specialists who have an interdisciplinary approach to research.

Mukherjee, who is a PhD candidate in South Asian history, won a 2015 Fulbright Grant and spent the past year doing research in India. Now, the Fulbright-Hays grant will allow her to continue working on her dissertation in both India and the United Kingdom.

“Erica’s achievement makes us proud in the History Department, and it also reflects the uniquely global and thematic core of the History graduate program, which helps our students win many prestigious research fellowships,” said Paul Gootenberg, Chair of the Department of History.

External Fellowships Advisor Jennifer Green, from Stony Brook’s Office for the Integration of Research, Education, and Professional Development (IREP), was instrumental in helping Mukherjee secure the fellowship with the Department of Education. Her faculty advisor from the Department of History is Associate Professor Eric Lewis Beverley, who also received a Fulbright-Hays grant in graduate school.

Mukherjee’s dissertation is entitled “Imagined Infrastructure: Railways, Embankments, and Canals in Colonial Bengal, 1820-1860.” It explores the relationships among the environment of eastern India, large-scale infrastructure projects and the rule of the East India Company. Throughout the course of her research, Ms. Mukherjee has been reading both official and personal papers of Company employees to determine how their imagined expectations of the natural environment and the latest technologies in steam and civil engineering influenced their day-to-day decision making processes.

She will be returning to India in January 2017 to continue her work in Kolkata and Delhi. In April 2017 she will shift to the United Kingdom to conclude her research in archives in London, Cambridge, York and Edinburgh. Upon completing her dissertation, Mukherjee intends to secure a position teaching South Asian history and publish her work.

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