Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

Loritta Chan, BA, 2015

Field of Study: B.A. in Asian Studies (High Honors) and Economics; Minor in Environment

Graduation Year: 2015

I am currently a Ph.D. student in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh. My research looks at caste and environmental identities amid India's urbanizing cities and sustainable development.

As an avid linguist, my first exposure to South Asia began with a first-year Hindi language class at Michigan. Through learning the language, I soon developed interest in India's cultural and socioeconomic issues, particularly the Dalit caste. In South Asia, Untouchables, also known as Dalits, occupy the lowest rung in the societal structure and thus are severely discriminated against. This interest led me to pursue a B.A. in Asian Studies, with a focus on South Asia, that amalgamated well with my other specialization in Development Economics. Under the guidance of Professor Christi Merrill, I completed my Honors thesis on the spiritual dimension of India's Dalit Buddhist movement, a mass socio-political movement where Dalits converted to Buddhism to reject the caste system as well as Hinduism, from which the idea of caste originated from.

After graduating in 2015, I carried forth my interests in caste and pursued a M.A. in South Asian Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. During that time, I developed two M.A. papers, one focused on the theoretical understandings of environmental identities, caste and class in India, and the second focused on situating the child in the environmental discourse of India's globalizing cities. Apart from India, I have also collaborated on papers relating to caste, migration and women's healthcare in Nepal, and was a Summer Policy Communication Fellow through the University of Michigan's Program in Society, Population and Environment in 2016.