In October 2018, Shivani joined the department of anthropology at University of Amsterdam as a PhD candidate and member of the Global Future Health research team. She will be studying the ethical, ecological and emotional entanglements of maternal-child nutrition interventions in Bhutan alongside an exploration of decolonial feminist research practices. Gender and development studies in the Himalayan region are interests generated from her family background and feminist conflict transformation work in Kashmir.
She moved to the Netherlands from the UK, where she completed an MRes in anthropology at UCL alongside psychodynamic-systemic training in mental health and wellbeing at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. In her MRes thesis she explored the relationship between globalizing media and changing body norms and beauty ideals among undergraduate women in eastern Bhutan, building on one year of ethnographic fieldwork, teaching, collaborative research and publication as a media studies lecturer at the Royal University of Bhutan from 2015-16.
Before this she lived for three and a half years in New Delhi. In 2015 she completed a WISCOMP Scholar of Peace fellowship to study conflict transformation programs in Delhi and Srinagar, after completing an M.A. in Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University. During her M.A. she researched the body in Indian art and thought, co-curated an exhibition on bodies and sexualities in contemporary art across the global South, and created educational programs for Amar Kanwar’s film installation The Lightning Testimonies.
Shivani initially moved to India in 2011 to explore her community history, and in the process interrogate tacit colonial categories of knowledge and power after participating in Occupy Boston. At the time she was as a research assistant at Harvard Medical School working with medical anthropologists on global health equity. The experience piqued her interest in how symbolic processes impact embodied experience and women’s health, and marked a ‘cultural turn’ from her previous four years of undergraduate training in development studies, political science and South Asia studies at Wellesley College and NGO experience in Bangalore, Delhi, Tulsa, and Boston.
Her previous research examined the relationship between globalizing media and undergraduate women’s body norms and beauty ideals in Kanglung, Bhutan. Gender and development studies in the Himalayan region are longstanding interests generated from her family background and feminist peace and justice work in Kashmir. Shivani holds a MRes in Anthropology from UCL, a Postgraduate Certificate in Mental health and wellbeing from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, a Masters in Arts and Aesthetics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and undergraduate degrees in South Asia Studies and Political Science from Wellesley College.