Kalady Osowski ’19 Awarded a Fulbright to Study in India Her scholarship will fund a nine- to 12-month study of small-scale cultural heritage looting operations in the Golden Triangle of India.
Washington and Lee University senior Kathryn Kalady Osowski ’19 has been awarded a Fulbright-Nehru Open Study/Research award. She will travel to Delhi in Aug. 2019 for her Fulbright orientation, and she will live in that area for the duration of the project.
Her scholarship will fund a nine- to 12-month study of small-scale cultural heritage looting operations in the Golden Triangle of India.
“Contrary to popular depictions, art theft today rarely involves dramatic museum break-ins, famous paintings or mastermind forgers,” said Osowski. “Instead, the looting and illicit sale of archeological artifacts from vulnerable areas in the Global South has taken center stage. While people may be familiar with ISIS’s destruction in the Middle East, they are likely unaware that this sort of process also takes place every day in India.
“To stop this cycle of looting and selling of Indian cultural heritage, it is essential to work directly with those who put a price on it,” Osowski said. “I hope to use the Fulbright grant to better understand these small-scale looting operations from the inside out and make that information accessible to communities whose heritage is in danger and policy-makers who manage cultural heritage custodianship.”
After her project, Osowski plans to continue immersing herself in art history.
“My grant runs from August 2019-August 2020, so the Fulbright will be the first year of my post-graduation plan,” she said. “Afterwards, I will bring my experience to either graduate programs in art history or South Asian studies or governmental work on art crime, diplomacy to India or translation.”
Osowski credits her adviser Melissa Kerin, associate professor of art history, for being “my ultimate role model both professionally and personally. I specifically want to also thank the Department of Art and Art History for taking me under its wing; Tim Lubin, professor of religion, for guiding me through South Asia for the first time; and Jonathan Eastwood, professor of sociology, for his thoughtful edits on my Fulbright application; and the Johnson Scholarship Program for funding my education, my many months abroad and my independent research projects.”
As her time as a student at Washington and Lee nears its completion, Osowski also credits her W&L experience as a vital tool in preparing her for the next steps in her educational journey.
“Over the past four years, my mentors at W&L have encouraged me to pull together all my different interests in art history, law, international relations, and research; now, I’m ready to mobilize that knowledge in this project.”
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