Four Indian Americans bag Guggenheim fellowship


Our Bureau

New York, NY

The Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced their appointment of 188 Guggenheim Fellowships to a distinguished and diverse group of culture-creators working across 52 disciplines. Chosen through a rigorous application and peer review process from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants, the Class of 2024 Guggenheim Fellows was tapped on the basis of prior career achievement and exceptional promise. As established in 1925 by founder Senator Simon Guggenheim, each fellow receives a monetary stipend to pursue independent work at the highest level under “the freest possible conditions.”

“Humanity faces some profound existential challenges,” said Edward Hirsch, award-winning poet and president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. “The Guggenheim Fellowship is a life-changing recognition. It’s a celebrated investment into the lives and careers of distinguished artists, scholars, scientists, writers and other cultural visionaries who are meeting these challenges head-on and generating new possibilities and pathways across the broader culture as they do so.”

Hari Krishnan

Hari Krishnan, professor, Department of Dance at Wesleyan University, Hari Krishnan is a dancer, choreographer, scholar, and educator who specializes in Bharatanatyam, queer dance, and contemporary dance from global perspectives.

Krishnan’s choreographic explorations center both postcolonial complexities in Indian dance as well as queer themes. He is among the pioneering generation of choreographers of South Asian origin who began to explore the intersections between traditional South Asian and global contemporary dance forms in the North American diaspora. His extensive body of work arises from a critical awareness of Bharatanatyam, fused with contemporary global dance styles and postmodern, queer, anti-racist and anti-caste social critique. His choreographies are designed to challenge stereotypes and enable minoritized communities to reclaim control over narratives of sexuality, religion, and culture in a global arts world. He is also the artistic director of inDANCE (, which he founded in 1999.

Vivek K Goyal

Vivek K. Goyal is professor and associate chair of Doctoral Programs for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Boston University College of Engineering.

The award recognizes Goyal’s groundbreaking work in computational imaging, including research to photograph objects hidden by walls and around corners. “I really love the generation and analysis of probabilistic models,” admits Goyal, who is also associate chair of ECE doctoral programs.

“Vivek is the third Boston University College of Engineering faculty member to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in recent years, which speaks to the outstanding depth and quality of research at the college,” says Elise Morgan, ENG dean ad interim. “Professor Goyal is a preeminent scholar and outstanding member of our faculty. His research on non-line-of-sight imaging—at the intersection of optics/photonics and computers and mathematics—has great potential for making the world safer for many people.”

Sonia Shah

Sonia Shah is a journalist and author of “The Next Great Migration: the beauty and terror of life on the move “(2020); “Pandemic: tracking contagions from cholera to Ebola and beyond” (2017), and “The Fever: How malaria has ruled humankind for 500,000 years” (2010) among others.

Her new book, “Special: the Rise and Fall of a Beastly Idea,” winner of a 2023 Whiting Grant for Creative Nonfiction, is forthcoming from Bloomsbury. Her writing on science, politics, and human-animal relations has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, the Nation, Foreign Affairs, Scientific American and elsewhere and has been featured on CNN, RadioLab, Fresh Air, and, where her talk, “Three Reasons We Still Haven’t Gotten Rid of Malaria” has been viewed by over 1,000,000 people around the world.

Nita Kumar

Nita Kumar is currently director of Nirman, a non-profit that works for education and the arts in Varanasi. She completed her PhD from the University of Chicago in History and has taught at the University of Chicago, Brown University, and the University of Michigan among other places.

She was mostly recently the Brown Family Chair of South Asian History at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. Kumar studied Anthropology alongside History and has been productive in research and publishing in both fields.

Created and initially funded in 1925, by US Senator Simon and Olga Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has sought to “further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions.”

Since its establishment, the Foundation has granted over $400 million in Fellowships to more than 19,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors. The broad range of fields of study is a unique characteristic of the Fellowship program.

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