|Ms. Rachel Ball is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Modern South Asian History at Boston College. Ms. Ball has also been a teaching assistant for various history classes, including "Islam and Global Modernities" and "Atlantic Worlds" at her current institution. During her time as a graduate student, Ms. Ball has presented several papers at conferences, including "Cyclical Memory: The Shaping of Memory and Identity through the 'Saffronization' of Textbooks in India," and "Bombay Divided: New Perspectives on Partition and Urban Change." Ms. Ball received her B.A. (summa cum laude) in Indian Studies and History with minors in Cultural Anthropology and Asian Studies in 2006. She received departmental distinction for her undergraduate thesis "Enduring Exploitation, Expecting Emancipation: Indian Women's Experience of Communism and Labor during the Nationalist Era." Her Honors while at South Methodist University (SMU) include Outstanding Senior Woman, the Presidential Award for Excellence Scholar/Leader, and the Herbert Pickens Gambrell Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in History. Ms. Ball's interest in India began in middle school, but was nurtured during her time at SMU, which she attended as a Hunt Leadership Scholar. After learning Hindi at SMU, Ms. Ball interned at the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai, India, and later went on to study abroad in Paris, France and Perth, Australia. Upon returning to SMU, she worked as a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at SMU with Professor Caroline Brettell on a Russell Sage Foundation Project on Indian Immigrants and Citizenship.
The purpose of Ms. Ball's Fulbright-Nehru project is to rethink the conventional wisdom on the rise of Hindu nationalism and examine the ways in which the 1950s and 1960s were critical in the emergence of Hindu nationalist politics. The focus of her research is on Bombay, the birthplace of the Shiv Sena movement, which remains one of the most influential Hindu nationalist forces on the Indian political scene today. Her research relies on a variety of sources ranging from Marathi movies and literature to censuses and newspapers; she wishes to examine the rise of Hindu nationalism at a time when 'Nehruvian Secularism' dominated Indian politics