Fulbright to India

Professor Ray Bromley of the Department of Geography and Planning is the recipient of a Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award and will spend six months in India from July to December 2016. He will be based at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in Delhi, where he will teach a course on “Displacement and Resettlement” and give some guest lectures. 

While in India, Bromley’s research will focus on the origins and development of India’s Rural Reconstruction Movement, a loosely-interconnected group of initiatives and organizations based on co-operatives, credit unions, community development, experiential learning, folk high schools, intermediate technologies, organic farming, and the promotion of arts and crafts.  With a sixth of the world’s population, two thirds of them living in rural areas, rural development is of enormous importance in India, and “rural reconstruction” represents the primary alternative to a future based on corporate agribusiness.  Early inspirations to the rural reconstruction movement included the great Bengali intellectual Rabindranath Tagore, who established Visva-Bharati University in 1921, dedicated to rural reconstruction, and the Indian YMCA Movement, which established five pilot projects in 1913, including one directed for two decades by an upstate New Yorker, Dr. Duane Spencer Hatch.  These projects influenced Mohandas K. Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave and many others who, over the last century, have sought an alternative and sustainable path to rural development.

This is Bromley’s second Fulbright Fellowship, the first having been for a semester with the National Engineering University in Lima, Peru, in 1997.  For most of his career he has focused mainly on Latin America and the United States, but the upcoming fellowship enables him to broaden and consolidate his interest in India.  He has already made many short visits, ranging from one to four weeks in duration, and he has played a leading role in establishing and supporting UAlbany’s Study Abroad programs in India.  He has taught an undergraduate course called India: Development Debates four times, and he expects to offer it on an annual basis after his return.          

Bromley is well known for his research on street and market vendors, urban informality, and various aspects of urban development in the U.S. and Latin America.  His first publications on India have focused on the work and ideas of Patrick Geddes, a Scottish intellectual who was based in India from 1914 till 1924.  Geddes wrote numerous city plans, was a pioneering advocate of historic preservation and neighborhood upgrading, and was India’s first Professor of Sociology.  The work that Bromley does during the Fulbright Fellowship in India will contribute to a book on the global rural reconstruction movement.