Aparajita Majumdar

Graduate Student


I specialize in the study of environmental humanities in South Asia. My interests circle around four issues: historical significance of failed crops, colonial production of botanical knowledge, indigenous re-makings of political borderlands, and heritage. My dissertation studies how Ficus elastica, a ‘failed’ rubber crop from the plantations of nineteenth-century British India, developed socio-ecological and heritage significance in the indigenous lifeworlds of the India-Bangladesh borderlands. My research involves work at the state historical archives of India and the UK and immersive ethnographic research in the borderlands of India and Bangladesh, precisely the Meghalaya-Sylhet region.

I was awarded the 2023-2024 Mellon Graduate Fellowship from the Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, due to my project’s significance to understanding ‘crossings’ between human and nonhuman worlds. My dissertation fieldwork in India was supported by the 2020 International Dissertation Research Fellowship Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and the 2019 Einaudi- SSRC Dissertation Proposal Development Program.

I have designed and taught two First-Year Writing Seminars at Cornell: Environmental Pressures of South Asia (Offered Spring 2023) and Entangled Environments: Histories of Social Justice in a ‘More-than-Human’ World (Offered Fall 2022). I have also held teaching assistantships in three courses: Introduction to Modern Asian History with Prof Durba Ghosh and Prof Eric Tagliacozzo; History of Modern India with Prof Durba Ghosh; Mughal Empire with Prof Thomas Robert Travers.

My dissertation committee at Cornell includes Professors Durba Ghosh (Chair), Eric Tagliacozzo, and Stacey A. Langwick.