Rachel A. Varghese is a Fulbright- Nehru Post- Doctoral Fellow affiliated with the South Asia Center and the Department of Anthropology. Professor Lynn Meskell, PIK Professor of Anthropology and Professor of Historic Preservation, Weitzman School of Design, is her faculty host. Rachel A. Varghese has been with the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India as Research Officer since 2018. She completed her PhD in 2018 under the supervision of Dr.Supriya Varma, at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her thesis was titled Archaeology, the Public, Nation and Region: Case Studies from South Asia. She obtained her BA degree (Psychology) from Union Christian College, Kerala in 2004 and her Master’s and MPhil degrees from the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU in 2006 and 2009 respectively. She is the recipient of the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship from 2009-2011 for pursuing the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Quaternary and Prehistory. Dr. Varghese has training in field archaeology through her participation in several field archaeology projects in India, Egypt and parts of Europe from 2006 onwards. Her research interests include Public Archaeology, Politics of Archaeology, Heritage Studies and the history and archaeology of Indian Ocean trade. She has published articles in these areas in peer-reviewed journals, edited volumes and online academic forums.
Her post- doctoral project is a theoretical exploration supplemented by case studies to understand how absences, especially material absences, become central to contemporary political discourse. It is informed by the recent scholarship in anthropology, archaeology and heritage studies on absence and on the politics of the past.