Strong Pacific focus for postdoctoral researcher

28 August 2013

Pacific focus Research focused: Farzana (left) with her mentor Julie Barbour (right).

Oceanic linguistics specialist Dr Farzana Gounder has been awarded a 2013 Postdoctoral Fellowship Award by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences which will allow her to dedicate a year to research focusing on narrative and identity constructions in the Pacific.

Strong Pacific research focus

The Fijian Indian was drawn to the University of Waikato because of its strong Pacific research focus, particularly within the Linguistics programme.

“Being a person from and of the Pacific, I have a strong passion for contributing to scholarly knowledge on the diverse and unique narrating features found within the Pacific region, an area that is research-rich, yet currently understudied,” says Dr Gounder.

Plans whilst at Waikato

During her one-year term here at Waikato, Dr Gounder will be focusing on editing a volume with John Benjamins, titled Performing Narrative Identities in Oceania in the prestigious Studies in Narrative (SiN) series. The book has attracted considerable interest, with both national and international contributors.

Dr Gounder will also be writing journal articles, a book chapter, speaking at national conferences and leading seminars and workshops at the University.

“This award has given me a wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in research. It’s stimulating to be part of such a strong culture, surrounded by people who are so passionate about their areas of expertise,” says Dr Gounder.

Her mentor is Dr Julie Barbour, an accomplished linguistics researcher who currently holds a Marsden grant to study the mood systems in the oceanic languages of Vanuatu.

FASS Postdoctoral Fellowship

The FASS Postdoctoral Fellowship is a one-year award funded by Strategic Investment Funds. The Fellowship aims to attract emerging international researchers and to provide pathways for completed PhD students to enhance their capacity to move into an academic career position.

The position attracted a large number of applicants drawn to particular research foci in units, centres or institutes within the faculty, and by the international profile of many of the research staff.

In carrying out research at the University of Waikato, Dr Gounder intends to build relationships with other researchers in oceanic studies on campus, nationally, and internationally for further collaborations.

“My research for the foreseeable future will be in oceanic linguistics, as the Pacific is where my own identity lies.”