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Scholar visits SFSU to study U.S. Jewish politics

January 9, 2006

Photo of Trithesh Nandan (left) and Marc Dollinger in the American Jewish History class last fallA broadcast journalist from India spent the fall semester in SFSU's Jewish Studies Program on a Fulbright fellowship to work on his doctoral dissertation. The topic: U.S. policies on Israel formulated by Republican presidents and the emergence of the Republican Jewish Coalition since 1985.

Trithesh Nandan, a doctoral candidate in American studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said he hopes his work will help citizens of India better understand politics and culture in the United States.

Nandan, on leave from his position as a correspondent for Indian television network Sahara Samay, said his interest in the topic was inspired by his grandfather's stories of a Jewish friend who lived in their hometown of Bhagalpur, India. His grandfather told him how the man taught him about the Jewish religion and culture. Nandan's own political beliefs lean toward the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party in India.

"The Jews were in my mind, lingering for a long time,” Nandan said in an article published in the Jan. 6 issue of j., a weekly magazine that serves Jewish communities throughout Northern California. "So when I entered university, I started learning more about them, and about Israel."

Nandan chose to study at SFSU for his Fulbright Junior Research Fellowship because of Professor Marc Dollinger, SFSU's endowed Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility. Dollinger is an internationally recognized expert in political activism among Jews, and author of the book "Quest for Inclusion: Jews and Liberalism in Modern America."

Nandan spent much of his time at SFSU conducting research. He sat in on each session of Dollinger's American Jewish History class, where he also presented a lecture. Nandan's expertise and interest are antithetical to those of Dollinger, resulting in many lively class discussions.

"All of the students have deep respect for him," Dollinger said in the article in j. "To have a Fulbright scholar with an expertise in American Jewish politics is great."

-- Matt Itelson

Photo: Mitch Wong


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Last modified January 9, 2006 by University Communications