Ananya Agustin Malhotra

Woodrow Wilson School, Class of 2020

I’m a Woodrow Wilson School major with certificates in French Language and Culture as well as European Cultural Studies.

Role(s) held in the Humanistic Studies Program:

Humanities Mentor, Behrman Society

Activities on campus:

President of SHARE (Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education) Peer Program; Co-founder of Office of Religious Life’s UN Women Faith and Gender Justice Fellowship


Rhodes Scholarship; summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Why I decided to study the humanities:

I decided to study the humanities, first through the Humanities Sequence in the fall of my first year at Princeton, because I was interested in a slower, more empathic approach to human truths, one which endeavors towards moral imagination rather than unwavering answers; one which is curious about what is eternal, transcendent or shimmering about the human experience over the simplistic assumptions too often made by models and methodologies in the social sciences. I have found that situating my study of history and politics within the humanities’ unique strengths of reflexivity, self-awareness, and openness to critique and evolution grounds my academic work in the constant pursuit of a future different from the one I see before me.

What I have gained from the humanities:

Studying the humanities has given me the intellectual tools to begin to reckon with the griefs, paradoxes and joys of human existence alike, and has granted me a lens through which to seek what is truest and deepest about our fragile selves and our relationships with others in the world. Perhaps more urgently, a humanistic embrace of critique and imagination can grant students of all disciplines the ability to work towards what does not yet exist and to shift what is politically possible—which is all the more necessary in our world today, deeply in need of remaking.

Independent work:

I had an incredible experience on the 2017 Rome trip led by Professors Yelena Baraz and Esther Schor. My research was primarily in the Galleria Borghese and the Cornaro Chapel in Santa Maria della Vittoria. There, I studied the poetics of sculpture and the problem of voyeurism in Bernini’s Rape of Proserpina, Apollo & Daphne, and Ecstasy of St. Teresa. My time with my classmates and professors from the Humanities Sequence remain some of my most treasured memories of my time at Princeton.

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