Meet Our New Wadsworth Fellows: Syed Mir Waleed

With the support of the Wadsworth International Fellowship, Syed Mir Waleed will continue his training in social-cultural anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, supervised by Dr. Samar Al-Bulushi.

I completed my undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Kashmir in 2018. Outside of the academy, I was a national-level athlete who aspired to pursue basketball professionally. Growing up amidst the conflict in Kashmir region, I felt compelled to set aside my dreams of pursuing a professional career in basketball.  In the hopes of finding some normalcy in my life and fueled by my academic interests, I left Kashmir.

In 2019, I enrolled in the Young India Fellowship program at Ashoka University, one of India’s leading liberal arts and sciences universities. There I found my calling in the social sciences. I continued to pursue my passion for sports as I became increasingly intrigued by questions at the intersection of sports, nationalism(s), militarism, and notions of development.

My fascination with the social sciences coupled with my personal experiences, inspired me to pursue a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) from Ashoka University in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in 2021. In the fall of 2022, I was admitted to a Ph.D. program in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, Irvine.

My interest in the Department of Anthropology at UC Irvine stems primarily from the faculties’ expertise and sub-specializations across different geopolitical contexts; especially those involving faculty projects around questions of state, militarism, and security studies. The doctoral program at UC Irvine allows students to engage in interdisciplinary collaborations and extends opportunities across the entire University of California system. I plan to expand my studies in the Department of Anthropology to include studies at the Center for Ethnography to develop a more robust methodological toolkit for pursuing my dissertation research.

Building on these personal, professional, and scholarly experiences, I aim to expand the scope of my intellectual interests to interrogate issues around militarized humanitarianism. My research seeks to trace and weave together the interplay between sports, militarized humanitarianism, and notions of development to generate important insights to fuel critical discussions and propose new pathways for studying conflict-affected communities.