Welcome to our new grad student profile! We are excited to highlight the research of grad students working in science and technology studies, history of science, and philosophy of science. Know someone whose work you’d like to support? Email us!
Anita Buragohain is currently a second year PhD student at the Science and Technology Studies programme at York University in Toronto. In the midst of studying for her comprehensive exams, she answered a few questions about her interest in interdisciplinary work and the path that brought her to science and technology studies at York.
Anita’s academic training bridged both a number of disciplines and continents. Her undergraduate work was in Mathematics and Religious Studies – “an unusual double major,” as she describes it – which she undertook at a liberal arts college in the United States. For her master’s, she decided to go to Hyderabad, India, and complete a degree in Cultural Studies.
After finishing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Anita pursued a different track for a couple of years. She worked with various development organisations, mostly in the education and public health sectors of Indonesia and India. When she decided to return to academia, it was to do a PhD at York University.
“My road to STS was a quite an itinerant one,” she notes. It cut “across academic disciplines and professional sectors.” But this aspect is a large part of what drew her to science and technology studies. “I think this in a way provided most of the appeal of this field for me. I was always struck by the sheer scope (and methodology) of the inquiries – the kinds of questions it is possible to ask, and indeed, are asked – by STS scholars.”
Interdisciplinarity continues to be an important focus for Anita’s research. She explains, “Many of the best projects in the area stand out for their interdisciplinary nature. Also, they are highly politically relevant, given that they address issues around the relations between science, knowledge, and power, in one aspect or another.”
At the moment, Anita is preparing for her comprehensive exams. Despite the intensity, she enjoys this step in her graduate work. She remarks, “I’ll say that it is pretty satisfying to realize that my current job is to read great work!” After her exams, Anita plans to research the recent history of a diagnosis of drug-resistant TB in India. We wish her all the best in her current and future work!