Caitlyn is an undergraduate senior from Tennessee majoring in South Asia Studies at the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research interests broadly center on modern South Asian history, with topical interests in historical linguistics, state-making and nationalism, and religious conflict and syncretisms in borderland regions. At Penn, she is the education chair for Students4Rohingya, a student organization that aims to educate the public about the Rohingya human rights crisis. She has also worked with the Penn German Society, a group that aims to provide a platform for contemporary issues in German-speaking countries. She also works as an editorial intern for Canadian-American Slavic Studies, a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal, and as a college preparation and career readiness coach at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. In her free time, Caitlyn enjoys playing the clarinet, exploring Wikipedia, and learning new languages.
Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow
2021—2022 Forum on Migration
Chair, Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum
South Asia Studies
How Masses Mobilize: The Bangla/Urdu Divide in Pakistan, 1947–1971
This study investigates the lived legacy of Bangla amid the flow of people and languages to and from the eastern portion of Pakistan between 1947 and 1971. Using primary- and secondary-source literary materials to trace a legal history of Bangla, I will explore how Bangla and Urdu—the definitions extended to them through legal codes, the exclusionary and assimilatory properties they developed in Pakistan, and the anxieties and prides that manifested in Bengali sources—constructed the culture of a nascent Bangladeshi national identity and mobilized masses to fight for an independent nation. In particular, this independent study strives to emphasize how Bangla operated and continues to operate as an affective and politically mobilizing force within and beyond eastern Pakistan’s—and, later, Bangladesh’s—borders.