Graduates and undergraduates at Brown University engage in a rich mix of courses, student groups, overseas research, exchange, and other opportunities that connect them with India – and bring India to Brown.
Numbers tell part of the story, including:
- 26 Brown undergraduate students from India in 2008-09
- 42 graduate students from India in ’08-09
- 15 Indian undergraduate alumni
- 57 Indian graduate alumni
Underscoring the level of engagement on campus are the many highly active student groups devoting attention to India’s people, culture, economy, and politics, including:
- South Asian Students Association, one of the largest cultural student groups on campus, celebrating the diversity of South Asian culture while exploring the facets of a pluralistic identity
- AWAAZ: South Asian Journal of Arts, providing an outlet for the South Asian voice at Brown and a forum for discussion and artistic expression
- Brown Badmaash, Brown University's South Asian fusion dance team
- Brown International Organization (BRIO), which promotes cultural and international awareness by inviting speakers and developing scholarship opportunities
“Epics of India,” “Introduction to Indian Religions,” “Politics of India,” “Identity and Images in Indian Societies” – these are among the many relevant courses offered for any undergraduate at Brown. Those students who choose to pursue an academic concentration in South Asian Studies can emphasize one or several aspects of this broad field. They may work primarily in a given chronological period (e.g. ancient, medieval, early modern, or contemporary) or in a given geographical area (e.g. Maharashtra, North India, South India) or in a given discipline (e.g. anthropology, Hindi/Urdu, history, religion, or Sanskrit). Courses are available or can be arranged in economics, literature, philosophy, political science, and theater arts, as well as the core disciplines mentioned above. Each concentrator works out a coherent course of study in consultation with the concentration advisor and members of the South Asia faculty.
The summer of 2009 marked the fourth annual round of internships in India for students of the CV Starr Program in Commerce, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship. In these first four years, some 30 students have spent eight weeks working for companies based in cities including Bangalore, Calcutta, Delhi, and Mumbai. Their projects have varied widely from business strategy to finance to researching opportunities in innovation initiatives as well as the energy and pharmaceutical markets. Interns attend client meetings and conferences and prepare presentations. Most importantly, they are challenged by a new culture and given the chance to learn about themselves and their priorities.
Other fellowships across campus have supported undergraduate research in India. Among them:
- Economics concentrator Akshay Rathod '10 was one of 15 undergraduates who were named Royce Fellows for 2009. Rathod has been using his $4,000 fellowship to explore how the emergence of an urban youth culture in India has affected Bollywood films since the mid-1990s. The previous year, Shae Fitzpatrick '10 [LINK: http://www.brownbears.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/070308aad.html] received a Royce Fellowship and traveled to Delhi to study the US National Basketball Association's efforts to promote HIV prevention and sportsmanship while also demonstrating basketball fundamentals.
- As a 2009 Swearer International Service Fellow, Elizabeth Baron '10 worked with the Sadhana Forest Reforestation Project in Tamil Nadu Province. She served as education/outreach coordinator working with volunteers in the reforestation project and also with local village schools and teachers to enhance their relationship with Sadhana Forest.
- Meghna Philip '11 and Farrukh Malik '11, 2009 Starr Fellows with the Social Innovation Initiative, have been working to establish Networks for Peace: The India-Pakistan Dialogue Project. They aim to create a platform for policy-oriented discussion and conflict resolution between university students from India and Pakistan.
- As a Luce Undergraduate Environmental Fellow, Will Lippitt '09 spent the summer of 2008 researching "Ecotourism in Himachal Pradesh: An Inquiry in Camp Potters Hill." Christina Tang '09, another Luce fellow, spent the summer of 2007 in research on "Bridging Local Knowledge and Water Management Practices: a Case Study in Kuttanad, Kerala, India."
- Eunice Chyung '10 was a Richard Smoke Summer Fellow in 2008, interning with Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India.
Graduate-level research in India has also taken many forms, among them:
- Three graduate students in anthropology have been working on diverse topics: Harris Solomon conducted research on medical tourism in India and now is pursuing his doctoral work in Mumbai on "The Science and Politics of Obesity in India," with support from the National Science Foundation. Sohini Kar completed her research work on the changing nature of markets, "Selling the New World Order in the Marketplaces of Kolkata." Bhawani Buswala is conducting his research work on changing perceptions and self identification among the "low" castes in India.
- Sociology doctoral students Shruti Majumdar, Trina Vithayathil and Gayatri Singh (who is also part of the Graduate Program in Development) have spent the summer of 2009 in India on urban governance. Majumdar also spent the summer of 2008 in New Delhi, studying the uneven way in which foreign direct investment is affecting states in India.
Brown students of Indian origin have enriched not only the campus but the local, national, and global communities. In 2005, Brown medical student Rajiv Kumar launched Shape Up RI in Brown’s home state of Rhode Island; it is now expanding across the United States and in 25 additional countries.
Through an initiative called Brown in India, exchange programs between Brown and St. Stephen's College as well as Lady Shri Ram College for Women provide an opportunity for students to study directly at institutions of higher learning in India. As part of this exchange program, Indian professors come to Brown from partner institutions to do research. Additionally, Brown-approved programs are available from a handful of other Indian colleges and exchange organizers.