Department of Sociology, Stella Maris College,
Lecturing: Indian Art, Culture, Religion
and Society as Manifestations of Indian Philosophy
Host: Hillsborough Community College,
August 2000-June 2001
"In a rather homogenous culture like
that of rural southern Utah, Sundari has been
an absolute gift! She has brought our students
a new awareness and appreciation for cultural
differences." That's how Louise Excell,
associate dean at Dixie State College of Utah,
recalls the visit of Sundari Krishnamurthy
(who prefers to be called by her first name).
Sundari is head of the sociology department
at Stella Maris College in Tamilnadu, India.
She lectured on Indian philosophy as a Fulbright
Scholar-in-Residence at Hillsborough Community
College in Tampa, Florida, and traveled
to Dixie State during her holiday. She also
spent several days at Polk Community College's
two campuses in Florida.
In her lectures, Sundari focused on the
ways in which Indian philosophy can be viewed
as manifestations of art, culture and religious
practices. For instance, she says, dance
in India is considered "a vibrant visual
performing art, embodying all that is siva
(beautiful) from its originator."
Much to Sundari's surprise, her students
had little difficulty interacting with a
scholar from abroad. She feels she was able
to help change some common misperceptions
of India, particularly those concerning
gender. "India was perceived a s poor
and illiterate, and the women backward,"
she explains. "Their first reaction
to me was whether I was typical of all Indian
women. When they listened tome and saw my
numerous slides on India, they would express
Encouraging a deeper understanding of her
homeland became a theme during her visit.
She titled her slide presentation "India:
Beyond Curry, Caste and Cow." Said
one student: "I felt a greater respect
for India and its culture after learning
about their way of life."