Ipsita Dey | "Home on the Fijian Farmscape: Agricultural Attachments to Land and Place"

May 7, 2024

On May 6th, Princeton Anthropology graduate student Ipsita Dey defended her dissertation "Home on the Fijian Farmscape: Agricultural Attachments to Land and Place."

This dissertation explores how Indo-Fijians operationalize narratives of plantation labor and contemporary farmwork to produce a non-settler local identity that reconfigures relations between diaspora, indigeneity, and nationalism. Through multiple government coups and violent anti-Indian rhetoric, indigenous politics in Fiji has repeatedly attempted to render Indo-Fijians, whose ancestors arrived en masse to Fiji as indentured laborers to work on sugarcane plantations, alien to lands they consider home. Drawing from ethnographic research among farmers in the Sigatoka Valley, Dey demonstrates how Indo-Fijians imagine farm practices as simultaneous projects in nation-building, heritage/traditional knowledge preservation, and environmental protection.

Ipsita's dissertation defense committee included her co-advisors, Agustín Fuentes and Jerry Zee, as well as her two examiners, Jonathan Gold (Religion) and Mythri Jegathesan (Santa Clara University).

Ipsita will be joining the University of Washington, Seattle, as an Assistant Professor in the Comparative History of Ideas Department in Fall 2024. Congrats, to Dr. Dey!