Introducing Salwa!


My name’s Salwa Kazi and I’m an Independent Researcher. I’m currently busying myself with conferences, academic research and graduate school applications. My research interests lie at the intersection of language, social media, and cultural analysis. I hope this introductory post gives you an idea of who I am. 

I have had quite the multilingual upbringing. We spoke Kokni, Hindi/Urdu, Dakhni at home and I learnt Marathi and English at school. I came to Pune (India) in 2011, a scared multilingual 15 year-old, stumbling over my words, determined to get a High School Certificate from a decent college, a humble goal, which I achieved with some difficulty. Fast forward, 5 years later, I was still in Pune, with a Bachelors Degree in English in hand and no idea what to do for my future. Being a first generation student in humanities didn’t make things easy but with enough help and determination I made it through.   

I took a year off, then went on to join Deccan College for a Masters in Linguistics. This is where I learned to value sociolinguistic diversity. I have come to inculcate these principles into my research. My thesis “A Grammatical Sketch and Texts of the speech variety of Sangameshwar” is a descriptive grammar of Kokni which also investigates the correlation between the social and linguistic identities among Kokni Muslims in the region. My experiences throughout college have given me access to a lot of information and experience that I’m very grateful for. 

After my masters, I wanted to make my research more relevant to my daily life and that’s when I thought about including digital media in my research. I had met Dr. Dhanashree Thorat, my mentor at the Winter School for Digital Humanities 2018,  where learned a lot about how digital tools can be useful for research and how the digital world itself is full of research possibilities. I put that learning into practise by working on a few proposals, new applications to graduate schools as well as applying the HASTAC program. I’ve been working over the last few weeks to write a book chapter for the Digital Humanities Textbook being developed at the Centre for Digital Humanities, Pune which will be forthcoming in 2021.  I am also set to present my paper on functionality of multiple language support on social media in the next week. I hope to see some of you there if you’re keen. 

For the HASTAC Scholars program, I hope to examine social media behaviour that is relevant to the Indian socio-political climate. I propose a digital advocacy related project that will study the phenomenon of declaring support on social media during the peak of socio-political movements through popular hashtags or slogans.  I hope to share my research through the HASTAC Scholars blog, and through a presentation at the end of my fellowship period under the sponsorship of the Centre for Digital Humanities, Pune. 

I applied for HASTAC’s 2020-22 cohort hoping to be able to connect with like-minded academics as well as to work on my digital humanities project on digital advocacy. I’m really looking forward to the book discussion’s and reviews as well as upcoming digital fridays. Feel free to come say hi to me on either Twitter or Instagram both @salwamuses. 

Excited to meet more of you! 

P.S. Amidst all the chaos of applications and Zoom conferences, I find my solace in painting. Featured in the picture above is a painting I recently made, inspired by Sheerqorma – an upcoming Indian short film.