Aarti Kawlra has been the Academic Director of the Humanities across Borders: Asia and Africa in the World (HaB) program since 2016. She has worked with HaB partners to develop spaces for trans-sectorial academia-society exchanges around the themes of ‘place’, ‘practice’, ‘food’ and ‘words’ using situated learning methodologies at IIAS’s experiential schools, practice-based workshops and consultative roundtable meetings. A social anthropologist trained at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences IIT Delhi (1998), Aarti is also affiliated to the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai where she is collaborating on a book project with a historian on the politics of craft-based, manual training in colonial south India. Her book We Who Wove with Lotus Thread: Summoning Community in South India (Orient Blackswan, 2018) uses the methods of anthropology, social history and cultural studies to discursively interrogate colonial and postcolonial framings of culture, heritage, and development as they collide with artisanal self-representation in south India. Her experience in working with national and international craft advocacy groups and institutions (she co-founded an ethical craft production enterprise for women workers in rural Tamil Nadu in 2006), has helped shape the place and practice based pedagogical experiments of the HaB program.  

Academic profile: https://iias.academia.edu/AartiKawlra