Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Going to India -- An Interview

One of our Rockhurst faculty members, Dr. Faith Childress from the History Department, has just been accepted into a prestigious summer institute in India. So here’s an interview report in the first person.

"I’ve been selected to participate in the National Endowment of the Humanities’ Summer Institute entitled “Bharata Darshan—Past and Present in the Study of India’s History and Culture.” The Institute is composed of about 20 professors from across the US. For the month of July, I’ll be living in three locations in India: Shimla, New Delhi, and Agra. We’ve already been warned that the climate may prove challenging because although all three locations are in northern India, temperatures in July range from the 50s in Shimla to 110-plus degrees in New Delhi and Agra. Every day I will be attending morning lectures by scholars of South Asia, in the afternoons visiting sites related to the lectures, and attending cultural events in the evenings."
"I'm really jealous, Faith!"

"Well of course you are, Daniel. Anyhow, I’m excited about the Institute because it’s interdisciplinary. We’ll examine India’s religions, arts, architecture, history, and literature from ancient times to the present. Likewise, we’ll explore a variety of topics such as the creation of Indian myth, the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, the synthesis of Hindu and Islamic artistic traditions, the interaction of British colonial power with the Princely States, the nationalist struggle, and the sexual economies of modern India. In addition, we’ll see temples and mosques, Mughal sites such as the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal, and memorial sites for leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi. I know that being in India will be a fantastic experience, and I’m looking forward to incorporating what I’ll learn and experience into my World Civilizations and Modern South Asia courses."
"Did you know that I'm a contortionist and can fit into a small trunk?"
Dr. Childress gasps, "O my gosh, Daniel! How did you do that? But I'm sure they won't let me smuggle a wild animal into India."

Have a great time, Dr. Childress!

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