Double RoleGAMBIER, Ohio (July 28, 2005) Joel G. Lee, Class of 1998, has an unusual double perspective on India. As a researcher, he studies Indian social and political issues from the outside. But as a sometime actor in Bollywood films, he has also played a role-several, actually-in shaping the depiction of those issues from the inside, as it were. Now he has an opportunity to deepen his exploration of India, with a newly awarded Fulbright fellowship to study the political performances of traveling street-theater troupes in rural areas.
Lee, who has already appeared in two Bollywood productions, is no stranger to Indian performance. He is currently in Bombay, working on Dharm, an art-house film starring actor Pankaj Kapoor. "I play an American journalist studying Hinduism with a prominent Brahmin pundit," Lee says. In the film, his character falls in love with the pundit's high-caste daughter, triggering a scandal.
Lee previously appeared in The Rising, a historical drama about the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. He is also working in Lucknow, India, for the Dalit Women's Rights Study, a multi-year project on human-rights issues for outcaste women.
That project is Lee's latest in a series of research trips, which began with a junior year spent abroad during college. A religious-studies major during his years at Kenyon, Lee was previously awarded a grant from the American Institute of Indian Studies for the study of Hindi.
Lee joins six members of the Class of 2005 who won Fulbright fellowships for the 2005-06 academic year. After completing his work in India, Lee plans to begin graduate work at either Columbia or Harvard. He has been accepted into theological-studies programs at both universities.
The J. William Fulbright Fellowship Program was established in 1946, at the end of World War II, to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of people, knowledge, and skills. Grants are made for university teaching, advanced research, graduate study, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.