English professor wins Fulbright-Nehru award to lecture in India


Ed O'Shea.SUNY Oswego English professor Edward O’Shea has received a Fulbright-Nehru award and will leave Jan. 4 for a three-month lectureship at Presidency College in Kolkata, India.

An internationally recognized scholar on the life and works of the seminal Irish writer W.B. Yeats, O’Shea will teach Yeats at Kolkata’s Presidency College next semester. He will also lecture on the works of T.S. Eliot and Indian literature in English, such as the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore.

In the early 1900s, Yeats helped the Bengali poet Tagore translate one of his works into English, O’Shea said, and Yeats viewed India and Ireland as having much in common as colonies of the British at that time. Kolkata is the modern-day capital of West Bengal. Historically known as Calcutta, it was the capital of the British Raj and became the center of the revolutionary Indian independence movement.

O’Shea plans to stay in the apartment of Sanjukta Dasgupta of the University of Calcutta, whose Fulbright experience in Oswego inspired his Fulbright application. O’Shea became acquainted with her when she spent a semester in Oswego’s English department in 2006.

Distinguished Teaching Professor of History Geraldine Forbes, herself a past Fulbright recipient, had helped pave the way for Dasgupta at Oswego and also assisted O’Shea, he said. Forbes will be in Kolkata in January, too, with students in her Oswego course on “History of Human Trafficking,” O’Shea noted.

Presidency College, next door to the University of Calcutta, is the oldest Hindu university in India, O’Shea said. “It’s got an illustrious history,” he added, noting that its former students include such Indian luminaries as Oscar-winning film director Satyajit Ray and Nobel Prize in Literature winner Amartya Sen.

O’Shea’s professional international experience began in the Peace Corps in North Africa. In recent years he has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to run six seminars and an institute in Ireland on Yeats.

About Fulbright-Nehru Scholarships

The umbrella Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright participants are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential.

In July 2008, the governments of the United States and India signed a new educational exchange agreement creating the Fulbright-Jawaharlal Nehru Scholarship Program, operating the exchange program as full partners for the first time and doubling the dollar amount awarded annually. The new agreement calls for about 200 Indian students and researchers to visit the United States from India and 200 U.S. awardees to visit India each year.

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(Posted: Dec 09, 2009)

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