Gwen Kelly

Anthropology, Archaeology & History

I am an anthropological archaeologist with historical leanings. I obtained my M.S. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (supervised by Dr. J. Mark Kenoyer), and my B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeological Studies from Oberlin College.

I am currently an Assistant Professor of History at Ashoka University, located outside New Delhi, India, and an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

My research is anthropological, archaeological and historical, and focuses primarily on South Asia, and on Southern India in particular. I am also broadly interested in the Indian Ocean sphere and in interactions throughout that region. In addition to sites in India, I have worked on materials from Medieval Madagascar, and Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt.

My interest in Southern India began as an undergraduate at Oberlin College, first in a course on South Asian History taught by Professor Michael Fisher, and then in courses in Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, and Religion. In many ways my interest in South Asia began first with reading ethnography and history, and not archaeology. But I was also profoundly interested in archaeology and material culture, and so decided to pursue a combination of all of the above. I first came to India in 2001, in my third year of college, to work on an excavation at the site of Gilund in Rajasthan, directed by the late Professor Gregory Possehl.

I also spent about three years living, studying, and researching in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka, where I conducted my dissertation research and studied Tamil language with the American Institute of Indian Studies.