Ms. Lisa A. Brooks
Field of Study: History of Science and South Asian Studies
Home Institution in the U.S.: University of California–Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Host Institution in India: University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala  
Start Date/Month in India: August 2015
Duration of Grant: Eight months

Brief Bio:
Ms. Lisa Brooks is a doctoral student in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California–Berkeley (UC Berkeley) specializing in Sanskrit, the history of Indian medicine, and gender. She is also earning designated emphases in science and technology studies and gender, women and sexuality Studies at UC Berkeley. Ms. Brooks earned a BA in human biology from Stanford University, an MA in African studies from Yale University, and an MA in religious studies with a focus on South Asian religion from the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU Boulder). She has completed seven years of Sanskrit study and first- and second-year Hindi. Ms. Brooks has given papers at numerous national conferences including the American Academy of Religion, the Association for Asian Studies, and the American Institute for the History of Medicine. She has taught the undergraduate classes Great Books of India and India through the Writer’s Eye (UC Berkeley) and has been a graduate student instructor for Medieval and Modern India (UC Berkeley) and Religions of South Asia (CU Boulder). She has also worked as a research assistant for her advisor and Sanskrit professor Robert Goldman.

Ms. Brooks’s research project examines how representations of touch in classical Ayurvedic texts delineate social roles and articulate models of gendered subjectivity. This project is unique in its sensory historical approach, attention to gender, and engagement with the broader intellectual landscape of early Ayurveda, including Kamasutra, Brahmanic law codes, and Buddhist monastic codes. Using representations of touch to examine historical changes in the representation of gender and social roles, professional communities, disciplinization of medical knowledge, and touch-based therapeutic practices, its findings will contribute to understandings of the social and intellectual landscapes of medicine in early India.