Department of History

Research Spotlight: Akshaan Parikh '22

In the winter of 2021, Akshaan Parikh '22, a history and computer science concentrator, traveled to Mumbai to conduct archival research for his thesis on the bubonic plague epidemic. In this archival research spotlight, he tells the Department of History about his time at the Maharashtra State Archives.

Akshaan Parikh"Thesis Title: 'Let us die alone’: Life and Death in Bombay’s Plague Camps, 1896–1901. My thesis explores the development of and life inside plague camps in Bombay during a 19th century bubonic plague epidemic. While plague camps were highly segregated environments, my thesis shows how they presented significant challenges and hardship to the poor, working-class, and elite alike. Contrary to past colonial characterizations, my thesis uncovers the nuanced and complex reality of native lives by explaining the scientific, medical, and human reasons people had to resist the flawed and oppressive plague regulations.

In the winter of 2021, I conducted archival research at the Maharashtra State Archives in Mumbai. I returned to Brown with a host of letters, government memos, and community petitions. But the trip left me with more than that, too. It pushed my limits of tenacity, resourcefulness, and problem-solving and introduced me to many kind and talented scholars."

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