S. Shankar, professor of English at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, received the prestigious Senior Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award (Teaching and Research) for 2017–18. He will soon head to India where he will teach at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, in Chennai, India, conduct research, and interact with students and faculty in India for the academic year. The Fulbright-Nehru enables the most outstanding students, academics, and professionals in India and the United States to study, research and teach in the host country.
The Fulbright-Nehru award poses an exciting opportunity for Shankar both personally and professionally. Originally from India and of Tamil heritage, Shankar is pleased to have the opportunity to share his Tamil and American cultures with others through this academic endeavor. He has experienced India’s emergence as an economic power and the growth of its citizens in many educational fields. In 1987, Shankar came to the United States to pursue graduate studies and received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2002, the Department of English was fortunate enough to attract him—and he has been here ever since.
“One of the stated aims of the Fulbright is to help Americans better understand the rest of the world, and also to help the rest of the world better understand the United States,” said Shankar. “Although I am from India myself and remain intimately connected to that country, it means a lot to me to be able to contribute to this process of mutual understanding in positive and honest ways.”
While serving as a Senior Fulbright Scholar, Shankar will undertake a significant research project, titled “Translation, Comparatism and the Tamil Cultural Sphere.”
Among the many goals for the project are:
- To explore contemporary Tamil literature and criticism from the perspectives of translation studies and comparative methods
- To illuminate contemporary Tamil culture by publishing a scholarly essay
- To do an English translation (with commentary) of an influential Tamil literary work
- To teach translation studies and comparative methods in India and the United States
—By Karin Mackenzie