The latest instalment of our Graduate Stories features Sahrish Khan from Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha (University of Canterbury). Sahrish is in the last year of her PhD under the supervision of Professors Zhifang Song, Michael Grimshaw, and Lyndon Fraser.
Tell us about yourself
I was born in India, grew up in Dubai, moved to London, and now to New Zealand! I find myself belonging everywhere, and thus nowhere - a global nomad. This inspires my own personal research interests as well. I have done my Bachelors in Media and Communication at the American University of Sharjah, and then moved to doing a Masters in Anthropology at University College London.
What drew you to anthropology?
I love people, so studying people fascinates me! What makes us who we are? How are we all so similar yet so different? These are interesting questions worth exploring 😊
What are you working on?
I’m in the last year of my PhD, titled Crossing boundaries: Exploring the importance and interplay of identity and location amongst second generation Indian and Pakistani Muslim migrants. My central research question, is how do second generations of Indian and Pakistani Muslim migrants negotiate between their religious identity and national or cultural identity when living in third spaces far removed from their ethnic origins? I will answer this question by doing a comparative study between two locations: London, England, and Dubai, U.A.E. Some further questions I want to explore are: How is Islam practiced in London and Dubai - what does it mean to be a ‘good’ Muslim? How is national and cultural identity expressed in these two cities - what does it mean to be ‘desi’?
How have you found life as a graduate student?
Life as a graduate student is unique. It is a balancing act as we are often caught between multiple responsibilities. It is a truly challenging but rewarding experience.
What are your current influences?
I love looking up to powerful women like Frida Kahlo, Oprah Winfrey, or our very own Jacinda Ardern. I want to be a Professor so I can challenge stereotypes and inspire young minds, especially in my own position as a Muslim woman of colour!
Sahrish is a 2016 recipient of a University of Canterbury Doctoral Scholarship.