I was not terribly close with Chandra, but I missed her this week at ISA and the panel prompted me to reflect more upon our relationship.
Her scholarship was first rate. She was sharp of intellect and of wit, so, when there was a need for someone to join a project who would challenge assumptions and methods, she was the first to come to mind.
I’ve known her for at least a decade; I actually don’t recall when or how we first met. As a young scholar, I found her quite intimidating. One of my earliest memories is many years ago when we had a conversation on a minibus in Bergen. We talked about book publishing and our research. I still remember feeling like her genuine interest in my perspectives was a sign that I belonged in academia.
Over the ensuing years, we were involved on a few larger research projects together over the years. I was invited to a couple of her ISA dinners. She was a great mentor, offering advice and to write letters of support. These were characteristic of her generosity of spirit.
We spent the most time together in the last two years of her life as part of the Justice, Conflict and Development Network. I wish I had been able to enjoy her friendship for longer, but I’m grateful for the time I had.
After almost 6 months, I still don’t feel ready to write
this, because I find it so hard to believe Chandra is gone. While we met
because of the human rights scholarly community, most of the bases on which our
friendship grew were unrelated to scholarship. In fact, Chandra was passionate and knowledgeable on so many
fronts that when introducing her to friends I would sometimes forget for a
moment how we met!
I was particularly in awe of her ability to hold people
(including me) accountable and show them deep love at the same time.
Just as ISA feels odd without a Chandra-initiated outing,
it will be a long time before I can be in London without the impulse to text
her, knowing she will plot a devastatingly fabulous adventure somewhere I never
would have found myself, and that we’ll pick up on every front as though no
time had passed.
My acquaintance with Chandra felt like being befriended by a force of nature. She expanded my sense of what was possible on countless fronts, and for that I will be forever thankful.
When: Thursday, March 28, 1:45 PM – 3:30 PM
Where:Churchill, Sheraton Centre Toronto
Chandra Sriram Memorial Panel
- Chair: Dave Benjamin (University of Bridgeport)
- Participant: Mark A. Drumbl (Washington and Lee University)
- Participant: Alison Brysk (University of California Santa Barbara)
- Participant: Kurt Mills (University of Dundee)
- Participant: Olga Martin-Ortega (University of East London)
I didn’t know Chandra well. Our paths crossed briefly in the early 2000s – the first time I saw her, she was walking into Princeton’s Firestone Library, like some kind of apparition. She was so… THERE, if you know what I mean. We had common friends, and I came to frequent the house she was living in at the time, in Brooklyn. I remember sitting in the kitchen, leafing through a book about NY while she was preparing one of her fabulous dinners. I remember having drinks at… was it Jacques Brasserie, off Third Ave? I think it was. Memories are fickle things. She had her own mythology – the way she talked about strangers on the subway… it was hilarious. No, we certainly weren’t friends; I suspect she didn’t like me very much. I’m shaken by her death, I truly am. Maybe it’s a selfish thing, I don’t know – maybe it’s just my own nostalgia, since those were good times. But even so, are there “good” and “bad” reasons to think of someone? I’m thinking of her, and I’m sad. I know she was there, and she had an impact on my life, no matter how small. Now she’s gone, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
I am a current junior at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and focus my studies on international human rights law. I recently realized that I had several texts on the subject that Dr. Sriram had written. After googling her I was surprised to find that she had also attended SRC and studied the same thing. Based on the website and her writings she sounds like an incredible person. Her work has really inspired me.
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a testimonial since I never met her, but her work has had its impact, in a serendipitous way too.
Thank you for maintaining this website,