An American professor, who has lived in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and speaks Hindi well, has won a Fulbright scholarship to teach and study at the University of Mumbai during spring semester 2010.
'I am thrilled and excited by my selection, not only for the opportunities it allows for study, but also for the opportunity it offers to be an ambassador for Idaho State University (ISU) and American higher education,' said Alan Johnson, ISU Associate Professor of English, who was raised in India.
Johnson's specialty, according to the university is postcolonial literature and theory, with a focus on South Asian literature, primarily Indian.
He studies Indian writers writing in English who have become increasingly popular abroad as well as in India, such as Salman Rushdie, Kiran Desai and Amitav Ghosh. He will teach classes on globalisation and literature, literary theory, and postcolonial studies.
'It will be interesting to see how that university works and to become familiar with Indian higher education,' said Johnson.
'It may be useful for me to share my experience as we live in an increasingly globalised world and ISU tries to attract more international students. It is not just the subjects I teach, but the reciprocal relationships I wish to cultivate that are important.'
Johnson left India after graduating from high school. He earned his BA from Southern Illinois University, his MA from the University of Virginia and his PhD from the University of California, Riverside. All his degrees were in English.
Johnson is married and has three children, and hopes his wife and some of his children can visit him sometime during his five- to six-month stay in India.
The Fulbright Programme is the flagship international educational exchange programme sponsored by the US government and is designed to 'increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries,' according to the organization's website.
Approximately 294,000 'Fulbrighters,' 111,000 from the US and 183,000 from other countries, have participated in the programme since its inception more than sixty years ago.