Thursday, April 15, 2010

University of Chicago Professor Speaks On Contemporary India At Ferris

Ferris State University President David Eisler (right) presents a gift to University of Chicago Professor Rochona Majumdar following her presentation on Thursday afternoon on the Ferris campus in the College of Business. In the middle is Rebecca Sammel, an assistant professor in Languages and Literature at Ferris, who introduced Majumdar. In the photo below, Majumdar joins a group of students from Big Rapids High School for a photo. (Photos/Sandy Gholston)

BIG RAPIDS - Rochona Majumdar, an assistant professor in the University of Chicago’s Division of Humanities, spoke to a large audience of students, faculty and staff packed inside a College of Business lecture hall at Ferris State University Thursday afternoon.

Majumdar’s presentation, part of Ferris' Globalization Initiative, was “Unity in Diversity: India as an Emerging World Power.” Her talk, including a question-and-answer segment, lasted about 50 minutes. A professor in the South Asian Languages and Cultural Studies department at UC, Majumdar addressed a number of topics (education, the caste system, its evolving democracy, the role of the country's media and more) related to India as part of a visit to Ferris she enjoyed.

“I want to thank Rebecca Sammel (an assistant professor in Languages and Literature at Ferris) for this opportunity to speak here at Ferris,” Majumdar said as she addressed an audience that included Ferris faculty, staff, and students as well as a class of students from Big Rapids High School. “It has been an extraordinarily pleasant stay here. Having met some of the faculty I was amazed at the team spirit that I perceived on this campus.”

Majumdar took an opportunity to introduce herself to the audience, briefly discuss some of her personal and professional background, and establish what fuels her passion on topics related to India.“I am a historian by training, but I am here at Ferris to talk about very contemporary events that are taking place in India. I do that as somebody who teaches contemporary India to students, but also as who cares about what is going on in India. So, whatever I say is going to be in the spirit of political engagement.”

“Some of the things I am talking about don't make it to the international media. The burden of my talk in some ways is to raise awareness.”

As part of Ferris' Globalization Initiative, Majumdar was welcomed to the Ferris campus by Sammel; Piram Prakasam, an associate professor in Chemistry, Ferris President David Eisler, Chief Diversity Officer David Pilgrim; Matt Chaney, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services and numerous others in attendance Thursday in the College of Business.

Majumdar's presentation was made possible through a mini-grant from the Diversity and Inclusion Office. Other sponsors of this event include the Globalization Initiative, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, OMSS and the International Center.

Below is a video clip of Rochona Majumdar's speech:


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