2019-20 SAADA Archival Creators Fellows

With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, SAADA is honored to partner with three fellows to create archival collections that reflect the histories and perspectives of some of the most marginalized groups within the South Asian American community.

Dhanya Addanki (she/her) is a journalist, writer, and photographer and is currently an editor at Sojourners. She has spent most of her career working in the human rights journalism space, ensuring people from the most silenced and marginalized communities have the power to shape their own narratives and have the platform to hold oppressive powers accountable. Dhanya’s project aims to uncover the stories of Dalit people – specifically Dalit women – in the U.S. This project’s main goals are to unearth the history of the people in this community, people who have often not had the privilege to know their past, and to showcase the nuance, dignity, and power in Dalit communities in the U.S. Because of her strong belief that communities cannot heal from historic, intergenerational trauma without knowing their history, with this project, Dhanya hopes to catalyze collective healing and liberation through story.

Gaiutra Bahadur (she/her) is a Guyanese-American writer and author of Coolie Woman, a personal history of indenture in the West Indies shortlisted for Britain's Orwell Prize for artful political writing. Her work as a journalist, essayist, and creative writer has appeared in a wide range of anthologies, magazines, and newspapers across the globe, including The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, The Nation, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Guardian, History Today, The Griffith Review, The Boston Review and Dissent. Gaiutra teaches journalism as an assistant professor in the Department of Arts, Culture, and Media at Rutgers University-Newark. For her project, she will gather stories and material objects that bear witness to the tales and textures of departures and arrivals for Guyanese immigrants in the New York metro area.

Mustafa S. (they/them) recently completed a PhD in soil ecology from Boston University and will be working in the field of environmental justice. They are excited to support building an ongoing archive of South Asian American queer and trans stories as a fellow for SAADA. They are looking forward to discovering stories of inspiration, resistance and resilience, and are interested in finding creative and authentic ways of storytelling that allow for community-building while maintaining privacy and resisting surveillance. Mustafa's family is from India, but they were born in Saudi Arabia before growing up in Texas.

Over the course of the nine-month fellowship period (October 2019 - June 2020), Dhanya, Gaiutra, and Mustafa will collect stories from their communities for inclusion in SAADA. With support of a community-based advisory group, their objective is to identify, digitize, describe, and provide online access to new archival materials from their community. They will also write for Tides (our online magazine), develop an online exhibit for the SAADA website, and organize an event sharing these newly collected materials with the public.

We look forward to sharing our work together with you in the months ahead!