P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Shivani Radhakrishnan, 2017

PhD, Columbia University

Shivani Radhakrishnan is the child of immigrants from India

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Philosophy at Columbia University

Shivani Radhakrishnan was born in Middletown, New York, to Indian parents from Bangalore and Baroda who met while working together in the Catskills. Growing up around Gujarati and Tamil, and studying Russian and Latin, Shivani became interested in linguistic and social identity.

After finishing her AB at Princeton University and her BPhil at the University of Oxford, Shivani lived and taught in Vladivostok, Russia, as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, where she spent time thinking about avant-garde Russian film and contemporary Russian literature. Following her time in Vladivostok, Shivani began researching Indo-Soviet connections and is writing an experimental novel about a left-wing political theater troupe that moves from West Bengal to Soviet Russia in the mid-1950s.

Shivani is now a PhD candidate at Columbia University, where she is studying philosophy’s role in social transformation. Some see philosophers like Marx and Plato as utopian, since they focus on perfectly just societies very different from our own. Responding to this criticism, Shivani’s research is about how theories of ideal justice can help us improve our nonideal world. She is also compelled by the crossover between philosophy and activism in the South Asian context, especially in the work of B. R. Ambedkar.

Shivani is interested in how long-form journalism and fiction can help us think about philosophical questions. She’s also a writer, with essays and criticism in n+1, The Georgia Review, Threepenny Review, The Washington Post, The Believer and others. As an aspiring critic at large and philosopher, Shivani wants to prompt reflective inquiry about the various aspects of our social and political lives that go unexamined. She is also in training to become a psychoanalyst at the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies.

  • Shivani Radhakrishnan GIF
  • BA Philosophy, Values and Public Life | Princeton University 2011
  • PhD Philosophy | Columbia University
  • MPhil | Oxford University
  • Fulbright ETA, Russia (2013-14)
Related Articles

The Opportunity You Shouldn't Pass Up: Apply

The 2023 application is open. Are you a New American who will be 30 or younger as of October 27, 2022, and who will be in graduate school full-time for the 2023-2024 academic year? Check out our eligibility requirements, learn about the Fellowships,...

Read More

Celebrating Immigrant Moms

Happy Mother's Day to all of the New American moms out there!

Read More

Meet the 2017 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows

We are delighted to announce our 2017 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows: 30 outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants from all over the country and world who are pursuing graduate school here in the United States. Selected from 1,775 applicants,...

Read More
transform="translate(188.000000, 15.000000)"