Ramya Swayamprakash


I am a first year graduate student in the History program at Michigan State. I am broadly interested in borderlands (specifically the US – Canada border), and urban form. I come to History from a interdisciplinary background in Journalism, Political Science, Science-Policy Studies and Urban Design.

I recently completed a Master’s in Urban Design at Lawrence Technological University (Southfield, MI); as part of the program I have undertaken a research thesis on the spatialization of the US-Canada border along the Detroit River. As the longest unmanned/non-militarized border in the world, the making of the US Canada border, especially over water is an under-researched area. Through my master’s thesis, I attempted to map the border making process and its relationship with island ownership. To me, borders become infrastructure through their making, performativity, behavior and as lived experience. In investigating the making of a border over water, I aimed to tease out longer historical movements of people, non-humans, trade, and politics.

I am also interested in cities, urban spaces especially the politics of certain spaces. I am particularly interested in the fashioning of specific spaces, zoning (i.e. the act of drawing spaces along zones etc). I am therefore particularly drawn to mapping as an exercise and concomitantly cartography especially during colonial times. The mapping of specific spaces, natural bodies like rivers thus also interests me greatly.

I have long been interested in the politics of water, more specific institutional arrangements that aid the fashioning of water in particular ways. Thus the ‘water bureaucracy’ is of particular interest to me.

My thesis website is: http://riverborders.weebly.com/

Year in Program: 1

Fields: U.S. Cultural and Social; History of Science and Technology; Borderlands History

Advisors: Dr. Lisa Fine, Dr. Michael Stamm

Committee: Dr. Helen Veit, Dr. Sara Fingal

Research Languages: English +/ French.

Educational Background:

Bachelor of Mass media, Wilson College, University of Mumbai, India.

Master of Arts (Political Science), Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.

Master of Philosophy (Political Science), Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.

Master of Urban Design, Lawrence Technological University, Southfield MI.

CV: CV July 2016

Email: swayampr@msu.edu