Atlanta: Emory University in Georgia has embarked upon the task of establishing a chair in Telugu studies—the first such effort in the US.
The effort, expected to lead to the setting up of a professorship and a separate permanent department for Telugu, is intended to teach the language, literature, culture and history in the US.
The Telugu initiative was taken by Professor Ms Joyce Flueckiger, of the Department of Religious Studies at the university. The professor has a long association with Andhra Pradesh, which includes her extensive anthropological fieldwork in Hyderabad and Tirupati.
“She works closely with Dr Velcheru Narayana Rao, the distinguished visiting professor at the university,” a statement released in connection with the initiative said. “They have already raised over 750,000 dollars and are looking for active support and donations for another 750,000 to establish it at Emory.”
In October 2009, the university said in a report that the family of Florida biochemist Visweswara Rao Koppaka had made a lead gift of 750,000 dollars to help set up the professorship in Telugu and other South Indian traditions.
“Emory is committed to building a strong program in Telugu studies to enhance its South Asian studies through internal funding and support from the Telugu community. Emory hired world-renowned Telugu scholar Rao in 2007,” the report said.