May 14, 2013
Lavanya Vemsani, Ph.D., associate professor of Asian History and Religious Studies received the 2013 Distinguished Teacher Award at Shawnee State University.
Each year the Distinguished Teacher Award is given to acknowledge a full-time faculty member at SSU who exhibits the qualities of an outstanding instructor of undergraduates.
"I was truly delighted to get the award," Vemsani said. "It is such an honor."
Vemsani has two doctoral degrees, one in history from the University of Hyderabad in Hyderabad, India and one in religious studies in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Her dissertation in Religious Studies, "Balarāma: Change and Continuity in an Early Indian Cult," was awarded the Best Canadian Ph.D. Dissertation on South Asia 2007 and also won an honourable mention prize by the South Asia Council of the Canadian Asian Studies Association.
Vemsani's master's thesis, "Inscriptions of Karimnagar District: A Study of Naming patterns and Palaeography," showed the emergence of townships and village structure in early medieval Andhra Pradesh. It was acclaimed as one of the best written theses of the University of Hyderabad, and awarded the Thesis Publication Grant of Telugu University, Hyderabad, 1998.
Her book, "Hindu and Jain Mythology of Balarama: Change and Continuity in an Indian Cult," is in its third edition.
Vemsani discusses current issues in relation to history of India on her blog: http://manthratalk.blogspot.com. She maintains her Web resource on Balarama at http://balaramainhistory.blogspot.com . Her research interests include Hinduism in the world, Jainism, and popular religions of India, early modern women, early history of India, classical and modern literatures of India.
She is currently working on two book projects, to be published in 2014. Her book "Krishna: Encyclopedia of the Hindu Lord of Many Names," is an exhaustive resource on Vaishnavism and Krishna. Her other book, "India to 1500," is on ancient Indian history and utilizes new research on India and contributes an up-to-date analytical account of Ancient Indian History.