Graduate Students Receive Expanding Horizons Scholarship

Group of Women Sitting on Ground

The following Rice Anthropology PhD students have been awarded the Expanding Horizons Scholarship for 2024-2025 from The Rice University Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS). Generously funded by Rice alumnus Dr. Walter Loewenstern, the Expanding Horizons Fellowship provides students the opportunity to conduct research-related future travel that will benefit the local communities connected to their research while expanding the student's knowledge and experience.

Ihsan Arsalan 
Arsalan is traveling to Shimshal and Hunza in Pakistan with the aim of documenting the narratives of daily life and how this is impacted by glaciers. The goal is to gain a deeper understanding of how communities organize and endure the challenges posed by Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) while being stewards of the environment around them. Through participant observation, Arsalan wishes to chart the range of ways people interact with glacial ice, their feelings about the state, and the stories they tell about the future to come.

Z. Selcen Boztepe
Boztepe is working at the borderland of Armenia-Turkey where honeybees and beekeepers live and be at risk with each other. They aim to discover how living beings form politics in such borderlands, intertwined in genocidal and climatic violence. 

Samhita Das
Das will conduct a month-long ethnographic fieldwork in the “wombless villages” of Beed, situated in Western India. This project is a part of Das’ multi-sited ethnographic work, which seeks to understand and identify possible connections between two contrasting medical technologies in India- Hysterectomy in rural villages of Beed and Uterine Transplantation Program recently established in private medical institutions in metropolitan cities of Delhi and Mumbai in India. 

Alejandra Osejo Varona 
Osejo Varona will examine the controversies among scientists, policymakers, animal rights defenders, and local communities over control of the unusual presences of more than 150 hippos in the Magdalena River. She will develop a collaborative methodology involving a Colombian artist and communities living with the hippos about the risks and promises of living with hippos.

Zhou Zhou
Zhou’s project investigates the connections between Chinese investment and online scams in Cambodia. Online scams moved from China to Cambodia in the late 2010s, where they created a real estate bubble in Sihanoukville. When crackdowns by the Cambodian and Chinese law enforcement and COVID partially crashed this real estate bubble, it left behind 359 unfinished high-rise buildings, most of which were financed by Chinese investors. For this project, I will conduct a 12-month fieldwork in Sihanoukville to examine (1) what types of Chinese capital are more easily attracted to online scams, and (2) how being in close connection to crime impacts the functioning of these formally legal businesses.