SUNY Oswego history professor earns new Fulbright to India

SUNY Oswego Distinguished Teaching Professor of History Geraldine Forbes will share her knowledge, and collect more, through a Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Lecturer Fellowship to India.

Gerry Forbes.From November to next April, Forbes will teach courses on gender and history, gender and visual history and other topics at the Calcutta University Women’s Studies Research Centre.

Those high-level seminar-style courses will serve those who have already completed their master’s degrees and are pursuing M.Phil and doctoral programs in women’s studies.

“I’m also available as a kind of resource to their sociology, political science, history and English programs,” Forbes said. Those programs can ask her to present mini-seminars or presentations if her schedule allows. She said she expects it to be similar to when Sanjukta Dasgupta of that university was a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at SUNY Oswego—as colleagues learned about their visiting scholar, they would ask Dasgupta to make presentations to classes and the campus.

Forbes had a six-month Fulbright Research Grant to India in 2003-04 to work on a monograph, “Photographic Imagery in the History of Indian Women.” That experience included research into how photographs spanning back to the 1840s depicted and reflected the lives of women, as well as developing a sharable archive of more than 1,500 photos she had amassed. She said she plans to return to that project while she is in India.

In addition, Forbes has already been invited to give the plenary lecture at the “Narrativizing the Margins: Northeast India and Beyond” conference at Assam University’s Diphu Campus in January.

Other research topics she has offered to address for scholars include the Tarakeswar Murder Case of 1873, photographs and women’s history, missionary photographers among the Nagis in the 19th century and the women’s movement in colonial India.

“It’s always exciting to teach in a different place and interact with people from different cultures,” Forbes said.

India connections

Forbes first went to India in 1969 when she was a graduate student researching Indian Positivists for her doctoral dissertation. “Since then, I have traveled to India more than 20 times to do research, attend conferences, run study-abroad courses, participate in workshops and travel,” she said.

“Most of my publications focus on India, and for the past 30 years I have researched and written in the field of women’s/gender history, with a special emphasis on colonial Bengal,” Forbes said. “Because the audience I want to reach is in India, I have always published in India.”

Forbes also has been instrumental in bringing five Fulbright scholars from India to SUNY Oswego and strengthening the college’s connection with the populous nation. She has taken SUNY Oswego students there to learn about the modern-day slave trade for a short study-abroad course, “History of Human Trafficking.”

Other connections through the Fulbright program include Oswego English professor and Yeats scholar Edward O’Shea traveling to Presidency College in Kolkata as a Fulbright Lecturer in 2010. Joshua McKeown, SUNY Oswego’s director of international education and programs, developed more connections between the two nations during a Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrators Seminar in India in the spring. His hope is to increase student and faculty exchanges between the countries in the years to come.

PHOTO CAPTION: Scholar to India—Geraldine Forbes, a distinguished teaching professor of history at SUNY Oswego, will lead classes, share her knowledge and perform research through a Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Lecturer Fellowship to India. Her appointment will run from November to next April, and continues more than four decades of academic connections she has with the populous nation.

(Posted: Sep 16, 2011)

Tags: world awareness, india, history, geraldine forbes