ANFEP 2011: India

ASIANetwork Faculty Enhancement Program (ANFEP)
Deepening Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts
Seminars in India, South Korea and Vietnam

“India: Religion, Globalization, and the Environment in the 21st century”

June 14 – July 5, 2011


Dr. Cathy Benton, Lake Forest College
Dr. James Lochtefeld, Carthage College

2011 India Seminar: Program Details

For the summer 2011, those chosen as participants in the India Seminar will visit North Indian religious and historical sites connected with contemporary Indian religious communities — Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Buddhists. These sites draw pilgrims and travelers from other parts of India and from around the world, and their needs are served by global businesses as well as by local merchants. Commerce and social service organizations operate side-by-side in these densely populated areas best known for their religious shrines. And in 21st century India environmental activists also work in these areas, demanding that the central government institute better programs and policies to protect the natural resources at these sites and in the surrounding regions. India is a profoundly complex society whose citizens are drawn from sharply different regions, educational levels, economic resources, and religious identities. India is also a modern society that has successfully hosted world class athletes from around the globe during the recent Commonwealth games, that has an indigenously developed space program, and has launched commercial enterprises now competing for international business from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. The itinerary includes Delhi, Agra, Amritsar, Dehradun, Mussoorie, Lucknow, Varanasi, and Bodh Gaya.

Detailed Itinerary

Arrive Delhi by International flight.
Overnight in Delhi

Thu 16 Jun IN DELHI
Forenoon : Guest speaker on History of Delhi and Shahjanabad
Late afternoon: Visit to the Shrine of Hazarat Nizamuddin Auliya to hear the Sufi devotional music known as Qawwali.
Dinner & overnight in Delhi

Fri 17 Jun IN DELHI
Morning : Tour of Old Delhi
Afternoon : New Delhi tour
Dinner & overnight in Delhi

Sat 18 Jun IN DELHI
Morning tour of Delhi visiting Craft museum, Baha‘i temple and a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna.
Afternoon : Free time to explore the city.
Dinner & overnight in Delhi

Sun 19 Jun DELHI / AGRA
Leave Delhi for Agra by bus (215 Kms / 05-06 hrs drive) visiting en route the UNESCO World Heritage site Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri was built by Akbar the Great in 1569 to serve as his capital, but was abruptly abandoned 14 years later.
After lunch in a local restaurant, return to Agra (40 kms / 1 hr drive) & check-in at hotel.
Dinner & overnight in Agra

Mon 20 Jun AGRA / DELHI
Morning and afternoon: Visit Agra Fort & Taj Mahal
Later in the afternoon, drive back to Delhi by bus (5-6 hrs drive). Check-in at the hotel
Dinner & overnight in Delhi

Board flight for Amritsar at 0750 hrs, arrive at 0905 hrs and transfer to hotel.
Morning : Guest speaker on History of Sikh traditions
Late afternoon : Visit the Wagha border by car (30 kms /1hr drive one way) for Beating Retreat (daily ceremonial border closing).
Dinner & overnight in Amritsar

Attend the early morning ceremony at the Golden Temple, in which the Guru Granth Sahib is ceremonially installed in the Golden temple for the day.
Morning: Enjoy morning tour of Amritsar visiting the famous Golden Temple, the Durgiana temple dedicated to goddess Durga, and the Jallianwala Bagh, famous for the notorious massacre by the British General Dyer on 13th April 1919.
Leave Amritsar at 22:15 by overnight train for Dehradun.

Arrive at Dehradun railway station at 10:05 hrs – transfer to Mussoorie
Overnight in Mussoorie

Work with Mussoorie Gramin Vikas Samiti (“Village Development Committee”): visit to Donk Primary School to work with children aged 4-11 years, and to visit with families in Donk Village.
Overnight in Mussoorie

Work with Mussoorie Gramin Vikas Samiti (“Village Development Committee”): Cultural exchange activities with Kaplini School students (ages 11-17).
Overnight in Mussoorie

Morning: Visit the Woodstock School — founded in 1854 to educate the children of Christian missionaries, and one of modern India’s premier educational institutions.
In the afternoon, transfer to Dehradun railway station to board Shatabdi Exp at 1700 hrs. Arrive Delhi at 2245 hrs and transfer to hotel.
Overnight in Delhi

Transfer to airport to board flight for Varanasi at 1030 hrs.
Arrive Varanasi at 1145 hrs and transfer to hotel.
Afternoon: Travel to Ramnagar Fort by bus (2 mini bus), followed by a boat trip on the Ganges featuring live Indian classical music. Enjoy the sunset over the river and arrive at the main ghat in time for evening prayer offered to river Ganga.
Dinner & overnight in Varanasi

Early morning: Dawn boat ride down India’s most sacred river.
Afternoon: City tour of Varanasi visiting Shiva temple at Benaras Hindu University, Durga temple and Bharat Mata temple.
Dinner & overnight in Varanasi

Morning: Walk along the ghats and talk with a historian (Prof. from Benares Hindu University).
Afternoon: Visit the bazaar which is famous for Benares silk and toy making.
Later in the evening, visit a prominent musician’s family over tea. While enjoying tea with the family, attend a classical dance performance. Later return to hotel for dinner.
Dinner & overnight in Varanasi

Full day meeting / visit with Swaccha Ganga (“Clean Ganges”) Campaign, an organization devoted to cleaning up Ganges, whose stated goal is to ensure that not one drop of sewage enters the Ganges at Varanasi.
Dinner & overnight in Varanasi

After breakfast, proceed to Bodhgaya by bus (250 kms /5 hrs drive) en route visiting Sarnath, site of Buddha’s first sermon.
Dinner & overnight in Bodhgaya

Full day visit to Mahabodhi temple as well as other sites linked to the life of Lord Buddha.
Visit the famous Mahabodhi Temple, which has been restored and rebuilt over the centuries.
Later afternoon: Lecture on Tibetan Buddhism by faculty at the Mahabodhi Institute.
Dinner & overnight in Bodhgaya

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Patna airport by bus (200 kms / 7-8 hrs drive including visit) en route visiting Rajgir & Nalanda (Buddhist sites) en route.
Arrive Patna in time to board flight for Delhi at 1920 hrs
Arrive Delhi at 2055 hrs and later transfer to hotel
Dinner & overnight in Delhi

Mon 04 Jul IN DELHI
Breakfast at the hotel.
Full day free for independent activities – check out from hotel at 1800 hrs
After dinner in a city restaurant, transfer to international airport to board onward flight

Leave Delhi for United States by international flight.

2011 India Seminar: Participants and Projects
Sources: Indian History, Religion, and Society

Mark Berkson, Associate Professor of Religion
Hamline College

In terms of teaching, I hope to revise my existing courses that explore Indian religions, especially Religions of South Asia. I will bring to the class a perspective shaped by travel in India and the encounters and experiences it makes possible. The fact that I have never been to India makes me more comfortable teaching ancient texts than talking about the realities of religious life in India. Ultimately, I would like to develop a new course that focuses on religion in contemporary India. My current Religions of South Asia course does not reach the 20th century until the last three weeks of the semester, where we have to cover religious nationalism, partition, and the countless developments of the last century. I would like to devote an entire semester to the complexities of religion in India today, exploring the changing nature of religious belief and practice in a globalizing, increasingly economically powerful India, and analyzing the interplay of continuity and change at all levels of society. I believe that participating in the India program will also allow me to contribute to the larger university community outside of the classroom. For example, Hamline’s Global Studies program brings together scholars from a variety of fields for an International Roundtable each week. In the past, I have given presentations to the roundtable on East Asian themes. However, because there are so few faculty at Hamline with expertise in South Asia, very few roundtable events feature a discussion of India. In terms of my scholarship, I have a particular interest in religious pluralism that has shaped both my teaching and writing. I want to examine the extent to which pluralistic religious perspectives play a role in maintaining peace among Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and others in villages and cities throughout India. I hope to talk with Indian Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists about their attitudes towards other traditions and the way that their views are shaped through their engagement with history, literature, scripture, and practice. Of personal interest for me is that I have practiced meditation and yoga for over 16 years, and these practices have not only been transformative for me, but have also helped me bring a participant’s perspective to the classroom.

Steven Emmanuel, Professor of Philosophy
Virginia Wesleyan College

My main areas of research and teaching lie in comparative ethics and intellectual history, with a special emphasis on Asian thought. Even though one of the main areas of my teaching and research is Buddhist philosophy, I’ve never had an opportunity to travel and study in South Asia. Apart from directly supporting my current research, there are two other important reasons I have for wanting to participate in the India Seminar. The first has to do with my current documentary film project (“The Western Stream”), which has been in the production phase since May 2010. This film deals with the influence of Buddhist thought and practice in the West, with a special emphasis on mindfulness. We are looking at mindfulness not only as a means of promoting optimal health and well being, but also as a vehicle for moral and spiritual transformation, and as a practice that supports nonviolent approaches to social activism. One of my goals for the seminar, therefore, is to gather more information about the early Indian context, particularly the cultural and intellectual sources and contemplative traditions that shaped Gautama Siddhartha’s thought and practice. Ideally, I would like to interview some Indian scholars, as well as capture footage of key historical sites. The India Seminar would also give me an opportunity to enrich and expand courses that I currently teach, and to develop some new ones. One thing I would especially like to do is expand my teaching of Indian Buddhist philosophy, at both the introductory and advanced level, to include more historical and cultural content. The guidance of Indian scholars would be invaluable here. I would also like to bring back a collection of images, artifacts, and video to support this new teaching emphasis. Finally, this opportunity would support our Study Abroad program, which is currently focusing its efforts on sending more of our students to South Asia. As of this writing, none of our current faculty or students have traveled or studied in India. I do hope we can change that with this grant.

Robert Gardner, Environmental Studies and Assistant Professor of Sociology
Linfield College

The intersection of religion, globalization, and the environment in the 21st century reaches a flash point in the newly developing India. Given its emerging position as a center of global industrial production and trade, environmental decline has become a considerable issue in India, not only for ecological but also social and spiritual reasons. within its local communities. When governments fail to provide their people with the basic means of survival, citizens often take things into their own hands, forming coalitions, citizens action groups, and grassroots collectives across religious and caste affiliation for greater representation and bargaining power. Through these groups, common citizens are empowered to challenge local, state and global economic policies to enact meaningful change in their home communities. For this program, I propose to examine how India’s religiously and culturally diverse communities respond to global social forces and organize themselves across social divisions in the face of growing poverty and environmental decline. My primary goal is to lay the groundwork for long-term engagement with the subcontinent across my various teaching, research, and service activities at Linfield College while enhancing student and faculty learning about India’s diverse societies, religions, and cultures. As an environmental sociologist, I am also eager to better understand the complex relationships between religion, globalization, and environment in an Indian socio-cultural context. My current research examines grassroots community response to disaster and environmental risk, and explores the various ways that average citizens address environmental issues in their localized, community contexts.

For the India Seminar, my specific objectives are to:

    1. Develop curricula for a proposed international service-learning travel course in India in January 2012, and for an introductory pre-travel seminar focusing on Indian culture and religion in Fall 2011;
    2. Develop relationships with community organizations, advocacy groups, and university partners to research how local communities respond to global environmental risk; and 3) Develop new courses, curricula, case studies, and units for several of my existing courses, including Environmental Sociology and Sociology of Religion.

Mona Ibrahim, Director of Intercultural Affairs and Associate Professor of Psychology
Concordia College

As a Muslim Egyptian immigrant to the US, I have long been interested in other cultures and in issues related to ethnic identity, religious diversity, and intercultural competence. Because of this interest, I have travelled to many countries in Europe, Africa, South America, and the Middle East, and I have been involved in international and cultural diversity organizations in my community and in the office of intercultural affairs on my campus. While I have traveled to many places, Jordan and Turkey are as far East as I have had the opportunity to visit and to closely examine. For the sake of my intercultural affairs work, my teaching, and my scholarship, as well as my own personal development, I have felt a need to learn more about Asian countries, particularly India. India holds a great interest to me because it contains close to one fifth of the population of our world and because of its remarkable ethnic, economic, educational, and religious diversity. Increased knowledge and awareness would enable me to better educate my students about these issues, inspire them to challenge their own assumptions and prejudices about Asian cultures in general and Indian culture in particular, and motivate them to seek more knowledge and to take action toward a more inclusive, socially-just world.

Participation in the AFNEP India seminar will enrich my teaching of cross-cultural psychology as well my teaching of other courses such as lifespan development, psychological assessment, and educational psychology, by enabling me to to better educate students about the diversity in human thought and behavior in Asia more generally and India more specifically and about issues of prejudice and ethnocentrism.

Michael MacKenzie, Associate Professor of Art History
DePauw University

Participation in the ASIANetwork Faculty Enhancement Program, “Deepening Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts,” seminar in India will allow me to do three things in my teaching at and scholarship at DePauw University.

The first would be to transform my current and planned courses from exercises based exclusively on secondhand knowledge out of textbooks to a learning experience drawing on a firsthand familiarity with modern, living India. I plan to teach a new course on the art of India in the colonial and postcolonial periods, covering the Mughals, the British Raj, and the post-independence periods, in addition to a survey course I already offer which ranges from early Buddhist pilgrimage sites, through Hindu, Jain and Muslim sculpture, architecture and painting, to Bollywood films.

The second would be to strengthen DePauw’s Asian curriculum, which is strong in offerings on Japan and China, but less strong in offerings on India, and specifically on the art of India. The art history program at DePauw recently added a historian of East Asian art; her specialty is the art of Japan, and she also teaches the art of China and Korea in her survey course. However, our program does not offer any courses on Indian art. I would therefore like to strengthen and broaden our Asian art history curriculum by offering a second, more advanced and specialized course, and by adding depth to my current survey course.

My third goal would be to push my own scholarship – which is currently focused on European modernism (specifically German and French) in the early 20th century, in the direction of postcolonial studies, and towards a secondary field of Indian modernism. Ultimately, I want to learn more about the contexts, both historical and contemporary, of Indian art and Indian culture, so that I can transmit that knowledge to others. Precisely because it has been the tendency of the western, orientalizing discourse about Indian culture to paint a picture of India as mysterious and timeless, in which religious and artistic traditions are timeless and static, and mystically free of conflict. Painting such a picture in an American classroom has very real negative consequences, because it promotes an image of India as backwards and lost in religious mysticism, and suggests that the growth of India’s modern industry and service sectors, to say nothing of its enormous middle class, is somehow inappropriate and undesirable, a misconception that goes hand in hand with a misplaced resentment of India as a competitor for modern service industry jobs. Countering this orientalizing discourse of a timeless, mystical India is a central concern of mine, both in the survey course I currently teach, and in my proposed course on modern India.

Ilaria Osella-Durbal, Associate Professor of Economics
Illinois Wesleyan College

Because of my father’s position with the United Nations Development Program, I lived the first seventeen years of my life in developing countries (though I have never been to India). I, consequently, observed firsthand the devastating poverty that prevails there, which led to my interest in development economics. The problems confronting developing countries are vast, as well as varied, and, unfortunately, resources are limited. Thus assessments always need to be made regarding which projects would be best in terms of creating an enabling environment for growth. The focus of my research, in effect, has been to examine how improvements in productivity and opening up to trade affect the growth rate of an economy. The social and economic growth realized by India, since the start of the economic reforms and the liberalization process in 1990, has been remarkable. These achievements have brought about the rise of a large middle class that enjoys a reasonably high standard of living. Nevertheless, tragic deprivations among large segments of the population still persist. Roughly sixty percent of India’s residents remain at the margin of development, excluded from the benefits of market driven development. The challenge is to identify and eliminate the factors that have impeded particular segments of the population from benefiting from the liberalization process. I would like to examine the major factors that contributed to, or hindered, the development process in certain parts of India. I would also like to investigate the impact that globalization has had on employment in the goods and services sector. I believe that my participation in this seminar would be of great benefit to me both in terms of my research, and as an educator. My teaching responsibilities include Economics of Developing Countries (Econ 355) and International Trade (Econ 351), and both of these courses are obvious venues to share the knowledge I would gain from this experience. I teach these courses every three semesters, to about 25 students, consisting of sophomores, juniors, as well as seniors. Furthermore, both courses are electives for several different majors, so the students tend to be a mix of economics, international studies, and international business majors.

Robert Petersen, Associate Professor of Art
Eastern Illinois University

Between 1986 and 1997 I made five trips to Java and Bali. Most of these trips were between four and six months long, the shortest was for just a about a month, and one in 1988 was almost a year under the auspices of a Fulbright Grant. During these visits I lived with families in Bandung, Cirebon, Banyumas, Yogyakarta, Surakarta and Ubud, where I studied the epic performances of the shadow puppets (wayang). Wayang is an itinerant theatre that performs on special occasions in front of the home of the host, so I was often made a guest at weddings an other celebrations in the remotest regions of the islands. These experiences established the core of my research and scholarship. Since 1998 the scope of my undergraduate courses at Eastern Illinois University has broadened to include subjects from Africa, China, Japan, and India. To grow into these many new areas I found points of contact from my years of travel and study in Java and Bali to develop comparative subjects in Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions, performance studies, and narrative art. I also have been very fortunate to be able to participate in several workshops and seminars in the last ten years on the topics of Islam, India, and China, along with a month long Nippon Foundation sponsored seminar on Japan (University of San Diego), and an NEH sponsored seminar on Southeast Asia (University of Hawaii and the East West Center). The opportunity to travel to India with ASIANetwork Faculty Enhancement Program comes at an important moment in my career as a scholar and educator where I hope to rekindle my interest in India with a chance to see the country for the first time. After completing my dissertation in 2001 I had hoped to begin work on researching the early modern theatre of India. I eventually completed one conference paper on dramatic adaptations of the story of Harischandra and published several entries on traditional theatre in India, Pakistan, and Bhutan for the Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre (2007). Unfortunately, it proved difficult to continue my work in Indian theatre as I did not have an opportunity make use of this scholarship in my teaching. With my gradual shift from theatre to art I began to turn my attention to the visual language of art and the development of popular narrative art. In this area of my research, collectively called graphic narratives, I just concluded a five year project chronicling the development of the visual language of popular prints and comics. In this book (published by Praeger) I examined the impact of literacy, caricature, and sequential action on graphic storytelling across Asia, the US, and Europe. I hope my participation in this seminar will likewise offer opportunities to address the gaps that have compromised my own understanding of India and provide me with an opportunity to look outside the boundaries of my current knowledge of art and theatre and form a broader more interdisciplinary view of India.

Courtney Tollison, Museum Historian and Assistant Professor of History
Furman University

I am interested in race, gender, and social movement, sustainability, concepts of identity, and the role and relevance of the past in the present, particularly through the use of historic sites, museum exhibitions, oral history programs, holidays, etc. In India, I plan to learn more about British India during World War II, with the goal of bringing depth and nuance to the traditional Axis versus Allies narrative of World War II. Equally as important to me will be the lectures and visits to religious and cultural sites of significance throughout northern India, regardless of the initial purpose of an era in which these sites were developed. The site itself serves as a primary source from which I can observe and expand my understandings of memorialization and the role of such spaces in public memory and consciousness. These experiences will augment my teaching in subsequent materials.

In my Public History course, we spend significant time discussing the relationship between memory, memorialization, a society’s contemporary values, and changing identity over time. I plan to extensively utilize the experiences this group will have visiting sites of cultural, historical, and religious significance in northern India to illustrate and discuss these topics with my students. I will ask myriad questions of each site we scrutinize. What do the preservation of buildings and monuments reveal about the nation’s values today? How does the evolving nature of these sites reveal changed in a culture over time? What does this society and culture vale, and how and what does the color, size, materials and texture, imagery, spacing, and condition of the site reveal? What are peoples’ relationships to the site today? Increasingly, my students inquire about public history practices around the world; the activities that comprise this trip will provide rich opportunities to expand this course into a course in Public history that showcases examples from across the globe.

For example, I would like to be able to include Delhi’s India Gate as an example of how war-dead are remembered. Those 90,000 who died while fighting on behalf of the British Indian Army during World War I and Afghan campaigns have been memorialized in the heart of the city. Even more revealing, perhaps, will be an examination of how the Indian Government maintains this iconic Delhi monument that was built during colonial times. I hope that through discussions with Delhi’s local historians and preservationists, I can return to Furman equipped with comparative public history material. This experience will enable me to enhance my teaching and research in ways that will augments existing efforts to promote Asian Studies and bolster its relevance in the minds of American college students.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation granting mission is to strengthen and sustain institutions and their core capacities, rather than be a source for narrowly defined projects. As such, they develop thoughtful, long-term collaborations with grant recipients and invest sufficient funds for an extended period to accomplish the purpose at hand and achieve meaningful results.

ASIANetwork, a consortium of approximately 150 North American colleges, strives to strengthen the role of Asian Studies within the framework of liberal arts education to help prepare succeeding generations of undergraduates for a world in which Asian societies play prominent roles in an ever more interdependent world.