PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – Shawnee State University’s Lavanya Vemsani, Professor of History and Religious Studies, delivered two keynote addresses and participated as a distinguished speaker in a public history forum held in India during the month of February.
Vemsani participated in two discussion panels as a distinguished speaker at ARTH- a Culture Quest, held at Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi, India, on February 8 and 9. She spoke on the panel, “Feminism and Tradition: Are They Compatible?,” alongside Smriti Irani, Union Cabinet Minister of Textiles, Government of India, and Ravina Tandon, noted actress and social worker. Vemsani spoke about the importance of tracing historical evolution of women’s roles in India from early history, emphasizing on the relevance of understanding early images of women in order to not let 5,000 years of India’s history to be eclipsed by 500 years of intermittent changes between the 12th and 17th centuries.
In the other panel, “Is History the New Battleground?,” Vemsani discussed issues with historiography and current history writing in India. This panel also included Dr. Saradindu Mukerji, Director, ICHR, and Dr. Meenakshi Jain, Delhi University. Her discussion emphasized the need for protecting historical monuments and other sources advocating a three-pronged approach that stresses the need for the involvement of educational institutions, government of India and the general public.
Video sessions of the discussions can be found online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch-A_zfdLN0 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-qk-zOE88M.
On February 10, Vemsani delivered the keynote address at the 39th South Indian History Congress Seminar held at Osmania University in Hyderabad. She spoke about the “History of Telangana and relevance of cultural sources.” Then on February 17, Vemsani delivered another keynote address at the B.R. Ambedkar Open University and Deccan History Society joint in Hyderabad where she spoke about “State of Indian History: Need for Inclusive Sources and New Methodology.”
“I’m very honored to have participated in all these conferences in India. Through these conferences, I have been able to share my research widely in an academic and public setting. It’s allowed me to understand different questions and concerns that will help plan for future research, and it has also help me bring current historiography and future work on history back to the classroom,” said Vemsani.
Vemsani has taught at SSU for over 10 years in the subjects of history and religious studies. She has published several articles and books (India: a New History and Hindu and Jain Mythology of Balarama). Vemsani holds two doctorates in Religious Studies from McMaster University (Hamilton, Canada) and in History from the University of Hyderabad (Hyderabad, India).