ITHACA, NY — Tom Shevory, professor of politics at Ithaca College, has received a grant from the Fulbright Program to spend the 2009–10 academic year at the National University of Mongolia. In addition to courses in American politics and culture, Shevory will teach a course on international environmental film.
“I’ve taught abroad as a Fulbright scholar before, having spent the 1995–96 academic year at two universities in Moldova,” Shevory said. “I found that experience to be extremely rewarding. Now seems like an ideal time, professionally, to again teach overseas. Mongolia interests me because of its rich history and culture, its vast and complex ecologies, and its position geographically and economically between Russia and China. I plan to immerse myself in the language and cultures of Mongolia while I’m there.”
Teaching Mongolian students about aspects of American culture they might not normally encounter is at the top of Shevory’s to-do list. One way he plans to accomplish it by using the HBO series “The Wire” to explore how political power circulates in American society.
Shevory also aims to introduce students to international documentary films they might not otherwise have an opportunity to see. Serving in his fifth year as codirector of Ithaca College’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF), Shevory will encourage Mongolian students to broaden their horizons by taking part in FLEFF’s international partnerships.
“I’m hoping to create collaborations that will be mutually beneficial in terms of the screening and dissemination of environmental film and digital media,” Shevory said. “That includes connecting the National University of Mongolia with the Open Cinema Project that has now become a crucial part of FLEFF’s mission.”
Open Cinema is an international collaboration to increase visibility, expand distribution networks, and generate new audiences for human rights and environmental film, video and new media. It now has partners in Cuba, Spain, India, Mexico and the United States.
Shevory has authored five books and numerous scholarly articles on issues related to law, public policy and popular culture, devoting special attention to health and the environment.
“I’m hoping that my experience as a Fulbright alum, my interest and expertise in public policy, and my position as codirector of FLEFF — with faculty colleague Patricia Zimmermann — gives me a skill set that will be valuable at a Mongolian university,” Shevory said.
During his year in Mongolia, Shevory will post to a blog entitled, “Mongolian Spaces: Notes from an Ecological Nomad.”
The Fulbright Program was established by the U.S. government at the end of World War II as a way to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. For more information, visit www.cies.org.
Originally published in News Releases: Ithaca College Faculty Member Will Use Fulbright Grant To Teach And Learn In Mongolia.