May 1, 2000
Leading scholar appointed to hold chair in India studies at UC Santa Cruz
By Barbara McKenna
Professor of theater arts Kathy Foley, chair of the Theater Arts Department and provost
of Porter College, has been appointed to hold UCSC's Chandra Bhandari Endowed Chair
in India Studies--one of the country's few endowed chairs in India studies and a
cornerstone to the campus's burgeoning program in South Asia studies.
Foley, who will serve as chairholder through the spring of 2001, is a respected scholar
in the field of Indian and Southeast Asian dance and theater. Her areas of research
include the arts and culture of India. Foley received a Ph.D. in Asian theater from
the University of Hawaii, where she specialized in Indonesian puppet theater. She
studied the dance art of Tamil Nadu in the l970s and conducted research as a Fulbright
scholar on the impact of Indian arts and culture on the German Romantic movement.
Her recent research has focused on interconnections between South and Southeast Asian
performance and visual iconography and has resulted in exhibitions on South and Southeast
Asian puppets and Vietnamese water puppets.
|Traditional Indian art is one of the many subjects studied at UCSC with support
from the Bhandari Chair.
Image: Courtesy of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum
The Bhandari Chair was established by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Narpat Bhandari
in honor of his wife, Chandra, in 1997. Since its inception, the chair has supported
a number of important events, including two international conferences that have brought
scholars together from around the world to examine India's economy and the art and
culture of India, as well as a visit to India by a campus delegation, which has sewn
the seeds for a variety of multidisciplinary collaborations between UCSC and institutions
In announcing the appointment, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood said, "I
am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Foley to the Bhandari Chair.
Professor Foley is a respected leader at UCSC with a deep regard for and understanding
of South and Southeast Asian arts and culture. Under her leadership, this program
will serve as a bridge between the university and the community at large, supporting
activities that promote an understanding of India and drawing upon the rich resources
of the area's active Indian community as well."
"Additionally," Greenwood said, "we are grateful to Narpat and Chandra
Bhandari for establishing this endowed chair. Their gift represents a cornerstone
to our South Asia Studies Initiative and has already served as a catalyst for exceptional
scholarly and cultural activities in India studies on a local, regional, and international
"I am very pleased with the appointment of Professor Foley," said Narpat
Bhandari. "I am confident that she will further our vision to establish UCSC
as an international focal point for India studies that can support interdisciplinary
collaborations with academic and nonacademic colleagues around the world."
Foley plans to generate multidisciplinary activities drawing on campus, community,
and international resources. "I am looking forward to working collaboratively
with the Indian community in the Santa Cruz-San Jose area," she said. "I
would like to build programming that allows students to interact with the community
to learn about the rich history of Indian culture and also to understand its important
contributions to American culture, economy, and the arts."
Foley has already initiated several activities, which are supported by the Bhandari
Chair. Among them are:
- A course in modern Indian history, taught by visiting Indian scholar Dr. Rudrangshu
Mukherjee. Mukherjee is affiliated with the Subaltern Studies Collective and is a
member of the History Department at Calcutta University. He is also editorial page
editor of a leading English-language daily in India.
- A residency and performance by Natya Griha Kathakali, a professional Kathakali
troupe from India. The residency on the South Indian dance/drama form for UCSC students
will culminate in a free public performance on Wednesday, May 3, at 8 p.m. in the
Theater Arts Second Stage. For information, call 831/459-2787.
- On Thursday and Friday, June 1 and 2, at 8 p.m., Foley and Irawati Durban, a
prominent Indonesian dancer, will present a lecture and performance on "Islamic
Aspects of the Indian Diaspora." The event is free and open to the public and
takes place in the Theater Arts Second Stage. For more information, call 831/459-2787.
Plans for future Bhandari Chair activities include a lecture series featuring noted
Indian scholars; a course on Indian philosophy and religion and a course on Indian
performance, both to be taught in the 2000-01 academic year; and conferences on the
influence of India on economics, humanities, and arts.
Narpat and Chandra Bhandari, longtime entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, were both
born in India. Chandra Bhandari has worked in the field of education since 1965 as
both a Montessori teacher and a volunteer. Narpat Bhandari is an Angel Investor and
chairman and CEO of Vanguard Systems, Inc., a pre-IPO electronics firm in Santa Clara,
California. He also serves as an adviser and/or boardmember of several electronics
companies. He is a trustee of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation and cofounder and a director
of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) of Santa Clara.
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