Mr. Andrew H. Otis   
Fulbright-Nehru Project Title: "Early Press in India and the Bengal Renaissance"
Field of Study: Study of India
Home Institution in US: University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Host Institution in India: Calcutta University, Kolkata, West Bengal  
Start date/Month in India: August 2013
Duration of grant: Nine months

Brief Bio:
Mr. Andrew Otis is a 2011 graduate of the University of Rochester, where he studied history and political science, and studied abroad in South Africa and India. Mr. Otis completed and presented a senior history honors thesis titled, "Press Freedoms in Colonial South Africa and India." As a comparative study that required Mr. Otis to collect resources from universities around the US, his thesis attempted to distill certain truths about the press in former British colonies: patterns of expansion, government suppression and the effects of competition.

As an undergraduate, Mr. Otis also worked on student newspapers at the University of Rochester and University of Cape Town. Hebriefly taught English in South Korea and also conducted research on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British colonial newspapers at the British Library in London as a recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa O'Hern Scholarship. From this research, he is composing a non-fiction book on Hicky's Bengal Gazette which will contextualize British-Indian relations and the development of a free press in the early nineteenth century. Mr. Otisinterned with All Things Considered's Books and Opinion section at National Public Radioand now lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he works for Discover Borderlands, a whitewater rafting and adventure travel company.

Mr. Otis' Fulbright project will examine how the early colonial press fostered the Bengal Renaissance. Nineteenth-century Bengal's rich intellectual movements are formative to modern day conceptions of Indian identity. The Bengal Renaissance's origins, especially the struggle for press rights of free speech and the traditions through which early editors learned their trade, remain under-studied. Early newspaper history deserves additional scholarship to help better understand contemporary India.