S.T.A.R.S Research Team

Zoe, Ramesh, Alexandra and Vanessa are diversely involved in the implementation and coordination of the various activities of the STARS collective.

Their photos below are manipulated from original studio portraits from the STARS archive.

                                Zoe E. HEADLEY, Social anthropologist

Zoe is the head of the S.T.A.R.S team project.

After studying Social Anthropology in SOAS (University of London), EHESS (Paris) and the SAI (Heidelberg Universität), Zoe Headley joined the CNRS (CEIAS, Paris) as a researcher in 2010.  She initiated this project in 2015 to document the social history of Tamil studio photography and family portraiture in South India.

She has coordinated in EAP 314 (2010), EAP 458 (2011-2013) and EAP 689 (2014-2016).


                                    K. Ramesh KUMAR, Photographer

                        Mr. K. Ramesh Kumar, Photographer at the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP), joined the institution in 1997. He has collaborated in a number of projects conducted by the different departments of the IFP. In particular, he has been involved in projects relating to the art and history of South India, being a member of the team for the CD-ROMs Bhairava Sahasrapratimāvaliḥ (2005), Darasuram: architecture and iconography (2007), Pondicherry past and present published (2007) published by the IFP.

He has been involved in few EAP projects as co-applicant in particular, EAP 692 (2014), EAP 737 (2015), and EAP 946 (2017-2019).

Expertise in digitization   of manuscripts, photographs and negatives, Herbarium sheets, fragile books.

His role in different digitization Projects:

2008 – 2010 Technical co-ordination with Sanmarga trust team to digitize complete IFP Palm leaf manuscript collection.

2009 – 2010 (EAP 314) Associated with Tamil Customary Law.

2010 – 2013 (EAP 191) Associated in Digitization of old rare books.

2011 – 2013 (EAP 458) Associated in Tamil Customary Law second phase.

2008 – 2010 Pl@ntnet project, (digitization of Herbarium sheet collections for Botany lab, IFP).

2013 – 2015 Digitization of the IFP Photo Archives B&W negatives and colour slides through Digital SLR camera. The innovative system helped  to speed up the process, 1, 30,000 images was digitized (instead of 20,000 images) by utilizing the same grant and time      frame.

2016 – Digitization of Mr. J. Deloche and F.L’Hernault collection (EFEO).

                                      Alexandra De HEERING, Historian

Alexandra de Heering is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Namur, Belgium and the French Institute of Pondicherry, India. She is an historian working in the areas of Cultural and Historical Anthropology, doing research on various historical aspects in India (Tamilnadu) for almost 10 years. She has published several papers in reputed journals and books concentrating on oral history in relevance with the fieldwork in rural Tamilnadu. And visual history focusing on the Tamil photo archives. In addition she has undergone Extensive training on analog photography. Her interests include scuba diving, kalaripayatu, trekking and traveling.

                                             Vanessa CARU, Historian

Vanessa Caru is CNRS Research Fellow in contemporary social history at French Institute of Pondicherry. She obtained her PhD in 2010 with a dissertation entitled “Working class housing and the social question, Bombay (1850-1950)”. Her research within the STARS project focuses on the emergence of the studio photographers as a professional group.

       Main publications:

(2013). Des toits sur la grève. Le logement des travailleurs et la question sociale, (1850-1950).  Bombay , Paris, Armand-Colin, 432p.

Des ajustements de circonstance. L’État colonial, le mouvement nationaliste et les lois de contrôle des loyers (Bombay, 1918-1928),” in Le Mouvement Social, No. 242, March 2013, p. 81-95 [available in English under the title “Circumstantial Adjustments: The Colonial State, the Nationalist Movement, and Rent Control Legislation (Bombay, 1918-1928)” through Cairn international: http://www.cairn-int.info/article-E_LMS_242_0081–circumstantial-adjustments-the.htm]

(2011). “Où se loge le politique ? Mouvement des locataires et politisation des subalternes, Bombay (1920-1940),” in Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine, Vol. 58, No. 4, p. 71-92 [available in English under the title “Where is Politics Housed? Tenants’ Movement and Subaltern Politicization: Bombay, 1920-1940” through Cairn international: http://www.cairn-int.info/article.php?ID_ARTICLE=E_RHMC_584_0071&DocId=74384&hits=15+14+13.