V. Bharathi Harishankar, an alumnus of the Dept. of English, University of Hyderabad (UoH) which is now ranked in the global 251-300 subject rankings by QS, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, one of the highest distinctions to any alumnus of the illustrious Department. She did her PhD in English at UoH (1989-93).

Currently the Chair of the Dept of Women’s Studies and Director of IQAC in the University of Madras, Prof Harishankar is also Chairperson, School of Social Sciences and Coordinator, Rashtriya Uchha Shiksha Abhyan [RUSA] Projects in Humanities and Social Sciences.

Working in gender studies, postcolonial literature and currently online pedagogies, Prof Harishankar is the author of over 100 publications, with three Oxford University Press textbooks in the area of literature and translation, and more recent work on OERs published in volumes on Open Educational Resources from COL and UNESCO and COL and OER. She is the co-editor of the anthology,  Re-defining Feminisms and an established  translator.

The FRSA comes after a chain of very significant recognitions for her work: Humanities Research Centre Travel Grant (Australia); the Shastri Indo-Canadian Faculty Enrichment Fellowship, Adjunct Professorship at Athabasca University, Canada; Woman Achiever Award by the University of Madras; Nominated Member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies; visiting professorships to numerous universities in New Zealand; Consultant Author for Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO. At the University of Madras, Prof Harishankar has been Director, International Centre; Director, Student Affairs; Founding Head, Centre for Web Based Learning and Coordinator, Pan African E Network Programme and Virtual University Programme.

An active researcher, Prof Harishankar, was the Principal Project Officer for a project on “Online Tutorial for Rural School Students” (IIT Madras); Project Leader for a project on “Open Education Resources (OER) on Soft Skills,” (International Development Research Centre, Canada); Principal Investigator for a project on the “Devadasi System in India” (National Commission for Women); Principal Investigator for a project on the “Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility Activities on the Skill Building of Women in Rural Tamil Nadu” (University Grants Commission); Co-Investigator of the Erasmus + project of the European Union on “Capacity Building on Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education”; Principal Investigator of the project on the study of “Socio-cultural Factors  leading to Perpetration of Domestic Violence” undertaken in collaboration with the Assistant Director General of Police, in charge of Crimes against Women and Children.

Prof Harishankar set up the Gender Lab for Diversity and Inclusiveness Education (GLIDE), the first of its kind in the country, in collaboration with Sutherland Global Services.

Prof Appa Rao Podile, Vice Chancellor, responding to this singular honour for UoH, the Dept of English and the country as a whole, congratulated Prof Harishankar, and said “this election to the Royal Society of the Arts positions Indian academics among the world’s best, and Prof Harishankar’s published work, transformational research and leadership is richly deserving of the recognition”. Prof Prakash Babu, Professor in charge of the Alumni Cell, while offering his congratulations to Prof Harishankar, observed “this recognition sets the standards for all current students, our alumni and the Department itself – to go out into the world and excel and whatever they do, as exemplified in the career of Prof Harishankar”.

“Even as we applaud Dr Bharathi Harishankar for this stellar achievement, we believe that it is but the latest and best in a string of singular achievements that she has chalked up. She is an exemplary role model for several students of English and Women’s Studies throughout our country. The Department congratulates her and has the absolute confidence that she will continue to scale even-greater heights.”, said, Dr. Anna Kurian, Head, Department of English.