PhD English Rukshar Hussain, India

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a feminist who dreams of a better society. The injustice done towards certain sections of society deeply affects me, and I want to work towards their uplifment.

Why did you choose Strathclyde for your postgraduate research study?
I chose Strathclyde because it provides an ideal research environment to realise the objectives of my research programme. The Strathclyde University’s library gives me free access to all important journals related to my field. Further, the University’s Researcher Development Programme for PhD students offer amazing sessions on personality and carrier development skills. Another main reason for choosing Strathclyde was the great mutual understanding of my research topic between me and my supervisors; and the fact that they both have expertise relevant to my research.   

Tell us about the nature of your research?
My research is an activist research project and is oriented towards social justice. I am looking at the representations of hijras (a contested name for ‘transgender’ community in South Asia) in Indian fiction, mainstream cinema and life writing within the contemporary politicised Indian environment. I use queer feminist methodology in my research to decentre heterosexual assumptions and representations of hijras, by conducting fieldwork with hijras in India. 

What do you like about your research area?
I love the fact that I am working in a field which works towards social inclusion and aims at challenging the evils present in society.

What’s the Strathclyde research community like?
PhD is often a very isolated study course, but Strathclyde research community makes every effort to make the researchers network with each other. The University has many societies which conduct events every now and then for the Postgraduate researchers which provides a very positive environment.

What are the Strathclyde facilities like?
Strathclyde facilities are really student centred. The University has a Graduate Lab in Humanities and Social Sciences Department, where researchers are provided private desk spaces. It also gives access to private study rooms on prior bookings. Also, the facilities are kept in mind with special attention to people with different faiths, like the facility of praying rooms in several buildings of Strathclyde.

Tell us about the support from your supervisor and the wider Strathclyde team?
My supervisors are highly supportive and positive. They are engaging, easily approachable and their reviews show their readiness and sincerity to supervise my project. The wider Strathclyde team is equally supportive in their approach in providing good working environment. I especially like the provision of RLF writing fellow to help postgraduates with their writing. 

What's the best thing about Strathclyde?
I really like how Strathclyde team always makes effort to improve student’s experience. It is an institution which takes student feedback seriously and works towards a positive change.

What would you like to do after your PhD?
I would like to begin a career in academia after completing my PhD, and contribute to society towards a better future.

What are the main differences between studying in India and in the UK?
The education system in my home country is good. However, the easy accessibility of things in the UK is a great advantage of studying here. As a researcher, almost all reading material is just a  click away from me. Also, a PhD student is treated as a professional in their field from day one in the UK system, which built great confidence in me.

What was it like moving to Scotland?
Moving to Scotland was not as tough as I imagined it to be. I adjusted here pretty soon. I think this is mainly because the people here are really helpful and friendly. Though the Scottish accent was not something I was familiar with, but that became normal in a few months.

What is it like being a student in Glasgow?
Life in Glasgow is fun. Except for some moments when home sickness is high, I never feel like I am away from my country. Glasgow has a huge population of South Asians, which makes local South Asian products easily available. Glasgow is also cost effective, making student life easier.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to explore the city and nearby places.

What do you like most about the city?
I really like the co-exitence of multi cultural population in Glasgow. It houses people with different ethnic groups which makes living in Glasgow comfortable.

What’s your favourite Scottish word/phrase, and why?
I find it quite amusing the way people use ‘wee’ here.