So here’s the deal…

Ok. So some of you may be wondering when I’m going to blog about what this blog says it’s actually about: cotton farming in India. I figured it’s about time I explain my projected timeline for this year. The reason why my research topic has yet to be a topic of any of my posts is precisely because I haven’t really begun my research. You see, in addition to a research grant I also received a “Critical Language Enhancement Award” (or a CLEA) to study Marathi.

So my timeline goes something like this:

3 months of intensive Marathi study in Pune (the little green house on the map)

3 months of part time language study while concurrently beginning my research. At this point I think I will stay in Pune for the first month of this concurrent period. Learning Marathi has proven to be quite the undertaking! The AIIS faculty are wonderful, and I definitely want to keep learning from them for as long as I possibly can! Pune is only a few hours away from my advisor and affiliate institute in Bombay. Only having class a couple of hours a day will give me time to delve into the reading that I’ve brushed the surface of so far. And I’ll be able to travel back and forth to Bombay to meet with my advisor, some experts in this field that she knows, and who knows what else! Around February I will head to Yavatmal, Maharashtra (the little pink flag). There I will continue my language study with a private tutor (hopefully someone who will be willing to keep working with me throughout my research and help with translation and interviews!).

And the last 6 months of my time in India is just for research.

The beauty and the *sometimes* terror of having this independent research project is that everything is very dependent on circumstance. Like most things in life, it’s all about who you happen to know and where you happen to be. As my research advisor says, I must follow the snowballing method. One contact will lead to another.

So for now, I am focusing on learning Marathi. And in my spare time I am reading up on the history of land reform acts and economic policy in India. Eventually I’ll begin to build up a list of potential resources for my fieldwork. Eventually I’ll start reading about current issues surrounding cotton farming. For now I’m building up my understanding of the context in which everything is taking place! And developing basic conversational Marathi so that communicating with my interviewees is a little more natural and a little more comfortable. Somewhere down this road, I’ll post a blog about my research.

Until then, keep checking back for anecdotal accounts of my life in India!

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