PhD Candidate

Dissertation Title: Formations of Tamil Islam: Negotiations and Contestations in Contemporary South India


Harini Kumar is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation examines the practices through which Muslims in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu cultivate and sustain attachments to multiple traditions, histories, and places. It specifically focuses on how the complex relation between a religious and ethno-linguistic identity is articulated in the contemporary moment. Harini's research and teaching interests include the anthropology of Islam, the senses and embodiment, temporality, gender, forms of knowledge production, and place-making.

Harini is a Martin Marty Center Junior Fellow at UChicago's Divinity School for the 2020-2021 academic year. She is the recipient of the Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant and the American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Research Fellowship. At the University of Chicago, her research has been supported by the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS), the Orin Williams Fund (SSD), and the Center for International Social Science Research (CISSR). She received a MA degree in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a MA degree in Communication from the University of Hyderabad, India.