Eleven Indian-American and Indian-origin researchers, artistes awarded prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Religious Studies at UC Davis Archana Venkatesan, recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship 2018 in the field of Humanities (Photo: UCDavis.edu)

Eleven researchers and artists of Indian origin in different fields of endeavor, are among the 173 winners of the Guggenheim Fellowships for 2018, one of them a joint fellowship.

The Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of 173 Guggenheim Fellowships April 4, to a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists, selected on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, from among almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation’s ninety-fourth competition. Both citizens and permanent residents can apply for the Fellowship.

Professor of Psychology, Tufts University, Massachusetts Aniruddh D. Patel, recipient of the 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship for his work in the field of engineering, under the category ‘Natural Sciences’ (Photo: Tufts.edu)

The great variety of backgrounds, fields of study, and accomplishments of Guggenheim Fellows is one of the unique characteristics of the Fellowship program, a press release from the foundation said. In all, forty-nine scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, sixty-nine different academic institutions, thirty-one states, and three Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from twenty-nine to eighty. Sixty Fellows have no academic affiliation or hold adjunct or part-time positions.

Indian-origin recipients on the list hail from all over the U.S., living in 8 states, and covering subjects ranging from neuroscience to film-making and poetry.

Maryland-based painter Mequitta Ahuja, of mixed Indian and African heritage, won the 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship in the category ‘Creative Arts’ (Photo:Facebook)

List of recipients:



Shri Kulkarni – George Ellery Hale Professor of Astronomy, California Institute of Technology: Exotic Cosmological Explosions.


Arup K. Chakraborty – Robert T. Haslam Professor, Institute for Medical Engineering & Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Induction of Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies against Highly Mutable Pathogens.


Aniruddh D. Patel – Professor of Psychology, Tufts University, Massachusetts: Evolutionary Music Cognition



Aparna Ramaswamy — Choreographer, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Artistic Director, Ragamala Dance Company: Choreography. (jointly with Ranee Ramaswamy)

Ranee Ramaswamy  — Choreographer, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Founder and Co-director, Ragamala Dance Company: Choreography. (jointly with Aparna Ramaswamy)


Parvez Sharma — Filmmaker, New York City; Director, Haram Films: Film-Video

Nandini Sikand — Filmmaker, Allentown, Pennsylvania; Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, Lafayette College: Film-Video

Fine Arts

Mequitta Ahuja – Artist, Baltimore, Maryland: Fine Arts.


Pradip Malde – Photographer, Sewanee, Tennessee; Professor of Art, University of the South: Photography.


Srikanth Reddy – Poet, Chicago, Illinois; Associate Professor of English, University of Chicago: Poetry


South Asian Studies

Archana Venkatesan – Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Religious Studies, University of California, Davis: Poetry Makes the World: The Festival of Recitation at Viṣṇu Temples in Tamil Nadu

Guggenheim Fellowships are grants to selected individuals made for a minimum of six months and a maximum of twelve months, and helps  Fellows with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible, with no special conditions attach to them, and Fellows may spend their grant funds in any manner they deem necessary to their work. The amounts of grants vary, and the Foundation does not guarantee it will fully fund any project.

Since it was established in 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $360 million in Fellowships to more than 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Turing Award, National Book Awards, and other important, internationally recognized honors.



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