Princeton University professor Isabelle Clark-Deces dead after India fall

PRINCETON, N.J. — A professor from Princeton University has died after falling while leading a seminar for students in India’s Himalayan mountains.

The Ivy League university said in a statement that Isabelle Clark-Deces died June 29 in the village of Mussoorie. An anthropology professor, she was directing a six-week international study seminar for a small group of undergraduate students in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand when the accident occurred, but further details were not disclosed.

The university said outings around the Himalayan region known as the Garhwal would be part of the seminar.

Clark-Deces, 61, was born in Paris and earned her bachelor’s degree and doctorate, both in anthropology, from the University of California-Berkeley. She had joined the Princeton faculty in 1996 and taught undergraduate and graduate courses on India and other topics.

She also had written several books and directed the South Asian Studies program since it was established in 2007.

She is survived by a daughter, two brothers and her longtime partner.

Colleagues say Clark-Deces was a scholar of southern Asia and frequently traveled to the area.

“We have lost a passionate teacher,” said Carolyn Rouse, a professor of anthropology at Princeton who serves as department chair. “Walking through the halls, one could often hear Isabelle mentoring her undergraduate students. She always provided clear and honest advice, delivered with encouragement and love.”

Sarah Pinto, an associate professor of anthropology at Tufts University who earned her doctorate in anthropology at Princeton with Clark-Deces as her adviser, described her as “a passionate teacher and mentor, full of fiery intelligence and frank clarity.”

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