Dr. Anu Mitra named recipient of Union’s Gopman Faculty Research Award and a Fulbright Scholarship

A first-of-its-kind research project will take Dr. Anu Mitra to Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana.

Dr. Mitra, professor in Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program, will study the South Asian/Indian people who arrived in this Caribbean in the 1840s.

“The Herbert L. and Dr. Beth Alswanger Gopman Research Fund will allow me to examine the art that emerged from the Indian migration to the Caribbean in the first wave of immigration,” said Mitra.

She seeks to stitch together their oral and visual traditions. In doing so, she will explore questions of visibility and invisibility, of distance and proximity, of power and powerlessness, of remembering and dis-remembering, as they are elucidated in the visual and cultural effects of the South Asian/Indian diaspora in this region.

Dr. Mitra’s project for the Fulbright Scholarship will extend this study and address questions such as:

  • Who is an American?
  • Can immigrants have the same influence and role in American society as their white counterparts?
  • How can immigrants reclaim self-hood?
  • Can this reclamation have redemptive values?
  • If so, what are they and how can they be accessed for the greater good of the American democratic process and a just society?


Dr. Mitra’s Research Advances the UI&U Mission

Both projects proposed by Dr. Mitra advance UI&U’s mission. They do so by using interdisciplinary methodology to explore issues of social justice and injustice in the world, which has been the compass guiding her work.

“I want to explore the feelings of inequality and disenfranchisement that are part of the Indian psyche and the injustices that are latent in the system that promotes this mindset. I also want to problem-solve, through the visual artifacts that remain, and determine how self-representation and self-identifying narratives can be changed through the pictorial story,” said Mitra.

Dr. Nelson Soto, provost and vice president for academic affairs shared his thoughts. “Dr. Mitra’s work is an excellent example of Union’s mission to transform lives and communities. Her goal is to shed light and develop new insights through multiple lenses. Her work informs her teaching and provides new perspectives to our students as they fulfill their educational journeys and pursue pathways where they can make a difference.”

Alumna Dr. Beth Alswanger Gopman and her late husband, Herbert, established The Gopman Fund to encourage and fund faculty research. The Fulbright Global Scholar Program promotes international goodwill through the exchange of researchers and students in the fields of education, culture, and science.


About Dr. Anu Mitra

Dr. Mitra has served Union Institute & University since the 1990s, as an administrator, faculty member, and dissertation chair. She believes strongly in interdisciplinarity – believing that our world is too complex and dynamic to understand through the lens of a single discipline. Her research and workshops linking art and social justice and art and leadership development have been offered at many forums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the University of Cincinnati Medical School, and to doctoral candidates at Union Institute & University. She continues to be drawn to the idea that all problems are capable of being solved, but only if we are able to view multiple solutions through the lenses of different perspectives.

Dr. Mitra serves on the boards of the Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Art Museum. Her areas of expertise are visual culture, arts-based practices, art, and leadership development. She has presented on several aspects of her work, most recently at the Art of Management and Organizations, American Management Association, International Leadership Association, among others. Dr. Mitra has traveled to more than 50 countries and lived on three continents. Her passions include frequenting museums, movies, and reading fiction. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.


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