Puja Sahney


Degree & Institution: Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington

Areas of interest: Folklore; Immigration; Ritual; Foodways; Material Culture; Religion; Ethnography

Office Location: LI B 96H

Email: psahney@albany.edu

As a trained folklorist, Puja Sahney’s studies analyze the way people make meaning out of “everyday” life. In her dissertation, Puja examined the way Hindu immigrants, especially women, from India, decorate their homes in the United States,keeping alive traditional practices and rituals in a new cultural setting. Puja has published on Indian women’s rituals, Hindu material culture, and the religious lives of South Asian immigrants in the United States. As a Lecturer in the WCI program, Puja encourages her students to examine their daily lives with a similar, critical lens. She has designed theme-based writing courses on topics such as Food and Facebook that urge students to question everyday practices of regularly checking Facebook accounts, building “virtual” communities, sharing pictures of food on Facebook that indicate social class, gender roles, and so on. In the future, Puja is interested in researching successful ways of integrating ethnography in her writing classes. She believes that this would enable students to expand their research methodologies to include interviews. They would, thus, initiate dialogue with people, from their diverse communities, outside the academic setting, who provide the important contextual framework for understanding the complexities of everyday experiences that they explore in her class.