BGSU Magazine Spring 2012
Faculty Fulbright Scholars study abroad
Two BGSU faculty members, one retired and one at the start of her career, are off to very different parts of the world this spring. What they have in common is both are Fulbright Scholars.
Dr. Charles Crow, a professor emeritus of English, has traded the sunny climes of California for the Old World ambiance of Croatia and the University of Zagreb. Through July 4, he will be teaching graduate seminars on American Gothic literature and an undergraduate course on 19thcentury American short fiction.
In contrast, Dr. Kristen Rudisill, an assistant professor of popular culture, is spending six months in Chennai, India, studying the world of “film dance” competitions, an integral part of the Bollywood film industry as well as popular television.
Since his retirement from BGSU in 1998, Crow has maintained his lifelong agenda of research, scholarship and teaching abroad. “Fulbright encourages emeritus faculty to apply because we have the freedom and the time to go abroad without disrupting departmental schedules,” he said.
“Zagreb is an orderly, comfortable, human-scale European city with good public transportation and a lively street life and good cafes,” Crow observed. Since arriving, he has traveled to Spain to be a plenary speaker at a conference on the American West at the University of the Basque Country, and conducted a three-day seminar on American Gothic, which he describes as “another way of envisioning history and examining the haunted and darker side of experience.”
While viewers in the United States have been enjoying television shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” for a relatively brief time, they have been popular in India since 1995, said Rudisill. And with its five to nine million inhabitants, Chennai provides rich opportunities to study this aspect of Indian pop culture.
“It has been wonderful being back in Chennai, where the weather is perfect in the wintertime,” she wrote. “I’ve been busy working with two Tamil-language dance competition reality shows, ‘Ungalil Yaar Adutha Prabhudeva’ (‘Who Among You Is the Next Prabhudeva’— he’s a famous dancer) and ‘Manada Mayilada’ (‘The Deer Dances, the Peacock Dances’) and interviewing contestants and their parents as well as producers, judges, and choreographers.
“I’ve also started taking dance classes at different studios in Chennai and am talking to students and teachers about their styles, strategies, aspirations and livelihood. I am starting to make some interesting connections regarding style, aspiration, and class/educational status that I look forward to continuing to explore during the remaining four months of my stay. In addition to the field research, I am giving several talks at various universities in Punjab, Andhra, Pradesh, Kerala and Singapore.”
Rudisill comes well equipped for the work, having already spent more than two years combined in India. An affiliate of the L.V. Prasad Institute for Television and Film, she learned the Tamil language as a graduate student.
Aimed at improving international relations, the Fulbright program offers both teaching and research fellowships abroad to faculty, administrative professionals and alumni within one year of graduation. In recent years, BGSU alumni have taught English in Austria, Germany and Mexico; researched folk theatre in South Korea and studied saxophone in Paris, for example. The University also benefits from having visiting Fulbright faculty from other countries on campus.
For more information on the Fulbright International Educational Exchange program, visit bgsu.edu/international/page98594.html.