Anthropologist Julia Kowalski, scholar of gender dynamics in South Asia, appointed assistant professor of global affairs
August 21, 2018 — Julia Kowalski, a cultural anthropologist who studies gender, kinship, and women’s rights in South Asia, has joined the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame as assistant professor of global affairs. Kowalski serves concurrently with Notre Dame’s Gender Studies Program through the College of Arts & Letters.
Her appointment expands the Keough School’s growing global research profile, especially strengthening the school’s focus on gender equality and enhancing scholarship in South Asia.
“Julia Kowalski will contribute immediately and significantly to the educational mission of the Keough School in general and to the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies in particular,” said Scott Appleby, the Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School. “She brings expertise in South Asia, particularly India, where she has conducted research on the agency of women in fostering healthy family and interpersonal relationships. Her work at the intersection of gender, law, and human rights supports the Keough School’s mission of integral human development and our vision for an interdisciplinary approach to global development.”
Kowalski holds a Ph.D. in comparative human development from the University of Chicago. Her research has been funded by Fulbright-Hays, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the American Institute for Indian Studies. She is currently completing a book manuscript based on her research titled Counseling Kinship: Women’s Rights and the Politics of Interdependence in Jaipur.
Kowalski’s research draws upon methods and theories from cultural, medical, and linguistic anthropology to understand how people work for social change. Since 2007, her fieldwork in Jaipur, India, has examined family counselors employed at women’s rights nongovernmental organizations. Specifically, her research shows that counselors rely on existing kinship and family relationships to expand discussions of how to build supportive, healthy interdependent relations.
Starting in the fall 2018 semester, Kowalski will teach Gender, Sexuality and Development for the Master of Global Affairs program at the Keough School. She will also teach Love and Romance in Modern Asia as a University Seminar for first-year Notre Dame students. Future courses will likely maintain a focus on issues connected to gender, development, and Asia.
As a faculty fellow of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies at the Keough School, Kowalski’s courses contribute to the Asian studies undergraduate supplementary major and minor. Additionally, she joins a coalition of Liu Institute fellows with research interests in South Asia who seek to expand scholarship, connections, and student experience in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Before coming to Notre Dame, Kowalski served as an assistant professor of anthropology at North Dakota State University.
— Christine Cox
Founded in 2014, the Donald R. Keough School of Global Affairs advances integral human development through research, policy and practice; transformative educational programs; and partnerships for global engagement.