With the support of the Wadsworth International Fellowship Thoiba Saeedh will continue her training in social anthropology at University of Munich, Munchen, Germany supervised by Frank Heidemann.
My scholarly interests are two-pronged; I am interested in modernity and the transformations of place through new technologies and infrastructures, and the bodily interactions with and around new landscapes of technology. It is by studying the spaces of intersection between infrastructures and bodily experiences that I aim to explore new understandings of the complex relationship between material and immaterial and things and bodies.
Drawing on the scholarly works on space/place, I study the lived experiences in these spaces of intersection, experiences that I observe are emotional, performative and contested and reveal notions of sociality, identity and meaning making processes. To achieve this, I focus my research on the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge or the Sinamale’ Bridge of Maldives, the largest infrastructure project in the small-island developing nation. I view the bridge as a key monument that provides a backdrop for inquiries into social spaces filled with ambiguity, tension and anxieties.
I am grateful to commence my PhD under the guidance of Prof. Frank Heidemann at the Ludwig Maximilian Universität München, at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology. I had the pleasure to meet and accompany Prof. Heidemann on his study tour in Dhaalu Atoll of Maldives in 2020, the trip ending shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic re-shaped our lives in 2020 and beyond.
I have received my anthropology training in Australia and the United Kingdom. In 2018 I completed my Masters by Research in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh on a British Chevening Scholarship. In 2015 I received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology, at the University of Melbourne on an Australia Awards Scholarship. At present, I hold a Senate Board position at the Islamic University of Maldives, by appointment by the Minister of Higher Education, Maldives. I am a part of the research team on the inter-disciplinary research project BRINFAITH, of the University of Hong Kong.
I begin my PhD in challenging times, virtually connected to my supervisor and cohorts in Germany, in our different time zones. As a native anthropologist, I am excited to contribute to an anthropology of the Maldives and South Asia region, and contribute to the burgeoning field of infrastructural studies with a focus on space/place.