Fulbright U.S. Student Program

2010 Bangladesh Fulbrighter

Elizabeth D. Herman

I was based in Dhaka as a Fulbrighter and my research examined the ways in which political dynamics influenced the retellings of history, specifically focusing on the story of...

...Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War as it has been and continues to be written into and edited within the nation’s social science textbooks..

Over the course of the year, I was able to collect over 150 textbooks and curriculum documents produced from independence to the present, conduct over 100 interviews, and observe over thirty schools. I visited classes and spoke with students, like those included in this image, about what they had learned about the Liberation War in their classes, how that compared to the stories they heard at home, and what questions were left unanswered by their history textbooks. I worked with a number of curriculum developers in the country and hope to use the information collected to develop a new, alternative curriculum on the Liberation War, one that can be used in schools and at other institutions that educate about the events surrounding independence, such as the Liberation War Museum.

With Fulbright, I was afforded an independence that let me pursue opportunities that I never could have predicted would emerge when first drafting the research outline. As a result, I was able to devote my time to projects and interests that I believe deepened my official research project, my understanding of Bangladeshi culture, and my engagement with different levels and aspects of local communities in a way that I would have not been able to had I been within a more traditional work structure.

One of the main projects that I pursued in addition to my research was an oral history and photography project on the role of women in the Liberation War. Entitled "A Woman’s War: Bangladesh," it documented the lives of women who played an active role in the 1971 war in the hope of providing an alternative narrative to the one that has dominated Bangladeshi history texts about women in the Liberation War, which is one that primarily emphasizes women as victims. Towards the end of my Fulbright, I organized a conference for the project’s participants, bringing together women from across Bangladesh to discuss the ways that society has remembered – or not – their contributions to the war. The conference also featured an exhibit of the photographs that I made for the project, as well as excerpts from the women’s testimonies about their experiences both during and after the war.

The responsibility that I was granted by Fulbright as the primary investigator of my own research project was daunting at first, but ultimately invaluable for the experience and skills that I gained. I discovered what needed to be done to develop an independent work from start to finish, including preparatory research, networking, and logistical planning for fieldwork. I came across a number of obstacles along the way, including cultural differences, transportation issues, and, of course, language barriers, but over the course of the year, I learned how to work through challenges and adapt to new elements that arose. As a result, I believe that my experience as a Fulbrighter provided me with a better understanding of how to work in a different culture, not only in Bangladesh, but in any community different from my own, whether that be at home or abroad.

View more of Elizabeth’s work on her websites: http://www.elizabethdherman.com/, http://elizabethdherman.visualsociety.com/

 

Fulbright Fellowship
Bangladesh, 2010-2011

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Current U.S. Student

United States citizens who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are eligible to apply.  All applicants enrolled in U.S institutions must apply through their home campuses.  Find the Fulbright Program Adviser on your campus.

If you are an undergraduate student you would be eligible to apply in your senior year.  If you are a graduate student you are eligible to apply to most countries as long as you will not have a PhD degree on the application deadline.

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If you are a U.S. citizen, hold a bachelor’s degree, and do not have a PhD degree then you could be eligible for certain awards within the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Please review the program summary for the country where you would like to apply.

Artist

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program welcomes applications in the creative and performing arts.  Arts candidates for the U.S. Student Program should have relatively limited professional experience in the fields (typically 5 years or less) in which they are applying.  Artists with more experience should consider applying for Fulbright Scholar Program.

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U.S. Professor

If you are a U.S. citizen and a professor at a U.S. institution and are interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award you will need to apply through CIES.

Non U.S. Professor

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and a professor interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award to the United States you would need to apply through the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in your home country.  Find out more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.