March 3, 2023

A first of its kind for a professor at Shawnee State University, Dr. Lavanya Vemsani received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award in History from the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in 2020-2021.

Lavanya Vemsani

One of over 800 U.S. citizens chosen, Dr. Vemsani was selected by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to conduct research and teaching as part of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. The program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to forge lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

“I am honored to receive the Fulbright senior research fellow award which helped me conduct my research contributing to the history of India,” said Dr. Vemsani. “My research has brought fresh understanding of Indian history, especially its society and culture.”

A professor at SSU since 2006, Dr. Vemsani has been widely acclaimed for her research and teaching in history. Her publications include “Feminine Journeys of the Mahabharata”, “Modern Hinduism in Text and Context”, “Krishna in History, Thought & Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Lord of Many Names”, and “Hindu and Jain Mythology of Balarama”, among numerous other articles. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Indic Studies and Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of History and Airforce Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs.

“Dr. Vemsani is one of the most prolific scholars at Shawnee State,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs, Dr. Sunil Ahuja. “In the academic world where research is important for the individuals and institutional standing, this recognition is well-deserved.”

During the Fulbright program, her research focused on “History of Hinduism in Middle India: Examination of Narasimha in Text and Practice”, which was published as an academic book. She also conducted another research project on “Independence and violence on the eve of Independence of India” and served as the keynote speaker at the international seminar on the 150th anniversary of Delhi University in New Delhi, India. Her travels took her across India to Nalanda, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Osmania University where she shared her research with each institution’s faculty and students.

This feature was originally released in the Shawnee Magazine 2022 issue. To view the full magazine online, visit