Miriam Shah

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20222023 Forum on Heritage

Miriam Shah

Intellectual History

CAS, 2023

Miriam Shah is a student in the College, studying Intellectual History with a concentration in Judaic Studies. She grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, although much of her childhood was spent visiting family in South India. Having spent so much time in India, which is currently implicated in a serious battle to hammer out a national identity, Miriam is fascinated by the relationship between myth, nationalism, and the notion of "nationhood." She is also interested in the relationship between religion and culture, and the way in which this manifests itself in the legislation of a country.

Inheriting Political Myth: India’s National Identity?

My aim is to explore of the relationship between Hindu Nationalism and political myth. I am interested in questions such as: can one have a national identity without the presence of a “creation myth”, a story that mythologizes the beginning and foundation of a nation? Does one need to inherit a numinous narrative on which to base one's faith in one's country? Or is the better alternative simply to override roots or national divisions as a psychic and cultural need?