Kumkum Bhattacharya, head of social work at Visva Bharati, is spending this month at the Asian American Studies Institute. She is the first scholar from India to participate in the Scholar Exchange Program between the Asian American Studies Institute and Visva Bharati, the university founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore to provide a global, humane education.
Bhattacharya will present two lectures. Today, Oct. 11, she will discuss how marginalized women, especially Asian Americans, are brought into the political process. Her talk will take place from 2 to 3:15 p.m. at the Asian American Cultural Center. On Oct. 27, she will speak about Tagore and Gandhi, from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in the Class of ’47 Room at Homer Babbidge Library. The lecture will include rare archival photographs from the Visva Bharati archives. The lectures are sponsored by Asian American Studies and the India Studies Program.
Bhattacharya’s work spans sociology, psychology, and anthropology. She focuses on Hindu, Muslim, and indigenous Santal communities in rural India. She has published many papers and books, including Conditioning and Empowerment of Women, co-edited with Asha Mukherjee.
The Asian American Studies Institute signed a scholar exchange program with Visva Bharati three years ago. The university, reflecting Tagore’s universalistic outlook, contains archival treasures of the Bengal/Indian renaissance, the arts and cultural movements in India and Asia in the early 20th century, the history of Tagore’s dialogues with Gandhi on nationalism and society, and other related subjects.
In January, Bandana Purkayastha, associate professor of sociology and Asian American studies at UConn, went to Visva Bharati as the first exchange scholar.