Carnegie Mellon University
November 19, 2014

Ph.D. candidate Wins CMU Fellowship to Study Ecology Text

Pavithra TantrigodaPavithra Tantrigoda

Pavithra Tantrigoda, English Department Ph.D. candidate in Literary & Cultural Studies, has won one of this year's Carnegie Mellon University Asian Students Association Graduate Fellowship awards. The Fellowship encourages work in Asian languages and on Asia. With this funding, Pavithra will travel to archives abroad to examine legal texts and newspaper/magazine articles in Sinhala on ecological disasters that impacted Sri Lanka, such as the South Asian Tsunami in 2004.

Pavithra's dissertation is a literary and cultural study of the relationship between global human rights and ecological discourse in the South Asian context. Using a historical approach and an interdisciplinary archive of texts that includes law and literature, she charts the construction of a scientific and philosophical discourse she calls "green imperialism." By connecting the study of human rights to the study of ecology, she helps us rethink the way that the violation of human and ecological rights share a common set of ideas. Through her literary and cultural study, Pavithra offers possible solutions to human and environmental exploitation in the form of alternate understandings.

This fall, Pavithra also received a competitive external grant to attend Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy's 2015 workshop in Doha, Qatar.