Jaideep is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. He previously finished a bachelor’s and a master’s in English literature and an M.Phil. in gender studies in Delhi, India. His dissertation looks at literary exchanges (translations, adaptations, or movement of texts) between Urdu, Persian, and Arabic and how this shaped a distinct literary modernity grounded in the Islamic circulation of texts and tropes. He is particularly interested in how these practices came together around the trope of medieval Muslim Spain or Al-Andalus as a rallying point for South Asian Urdu literary modernity.
Name: Jaideep Pandey
Degree, Minor, Graduation Year: Graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Starting fourth year of doctoral study in fall 2022
Tell us about your Summer. Where and when did your Fellowship take place?
For my GISC Summer Fellowship, I traveled to Amman, Jordan, for two months, where I attended an intensive summer Arabic course at Level 3.
Tell us about you and your background:
I am a fourth-year graduate student, and I have previously completed a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English literature and an MPhil in gender studies from Delhi, India. Through my graduate studies, I have been looking at Urdu, Persian, and Arabic literary sources for my dissertation.
How did the GISC 2022 Summer Fellowship help you?
GISC 2022 Summer Fellowship helped me partly fund my travel to and stay in Amman, Jordan. The intensive Arabic program accelerated my Arabic learning, not only because of the high number of class contact hours but also because the environment of the city allowed me to practice speaking and listening seamlessly with my class time.
What experiences during the summer inspired you? The conversations that I had with locals in Amman, where we could both understand each other, greatly encouraged me to continue learning Arabic. As a language that can be famously hard to learn, these moments were very affirming and validating for me.
What did this fellowship allow you to do?
This fellowship allowed me to enhance my reading as well as speaking and listening skills in Arabic. At the same time, it also allowed me to connect with several other graduate students from across the world who shared similar interests as me and were in Amman to learn Arabic.
How do you see this fellowship impacting your future?
I hope to continue learning Arabic even as I am in India to do archival research so as not to lose the momentum that this summer allowed me to build. The summer has really strengthened my resolve to continue learning Arabic, and I can see it as a big part of my research and academic interests in the future.
What drew you to the 2022 GISC Summer Fellowship and how was your experience?
When I had earlier heard of the GISC Summer Fellowship, I had been impressed by the remarkable diversity of research and creative interests it had supported in the past and this is what drew me to it.
Favorite thing you learned this summer?
My favorite thing would be a cooking class I took in Amman, Jordan, where we practiced Arabic while learning how to make the Palestinian dish, Musakhkhan.
What advice do you have for future Summer Fellows?
Summer is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in activities that are difficult to manage during the semester, and the GISC is a great way to support these interests.
What are your dreams and goals for the future and does your summer fellowship relate?
I hope to be able to produce a fruitful comparative analysis of the Arabic, Persian, and Urdu sources that comprise my research, and this summer Arabic program was a really validating experience for me which made proficiency in Arabic seem possible in the future.