Manchester University
Oak Leaves

February 26, 2016


Assistant Professor of History Uma Ganesan

MU History Department Welcomes Professor Ganesan

Caitlin Doyle

Battles, wars, kings and legacies are evident throughout history, but the new assistant professor of history Uma Ganesan focuses on a more specific topic: modern South Asian history, colonialism and women’s history. These all stemmed from her life in India, where she lived until she entered graduate school at the University of Cincinnati in 2004. Ganesan graduated with her PhD in 2011, teaching afterward in several states, including Kentucky and Pennsylvania, before accepting a position at Manchester University.

Since coming here, she has worked with the other professors in the history and political science department to introduce new courses that complement her expertise. For instance, she taught a course on China and East Asia history this fall and also has a yearlong course for world history. She has planned a critical connections course available to juniors and seniors for next spring, which focuses on contemporary international women’s rights and how those rights are affected by society.

Ganesan was excited to talk about her future classes at Manchester. “One of my colleagues proposed traveling for January 2017, which sounds very exciting!” she said. “I would love to be a part of that, but probably not until 2018 and onwards.”

Ganesan’s enthusiasm can also be seen in how she treats the students that she teaches. Cody Stewart, a junior accounting major, was in one of her first classes —China and East Asia history. “Professor Ganesan was very helpful when I would ask questions about her class,” he said. “She was also great about giving extra review questions for the final.”

Ganesan's passion for history stems from her own childhood in India. Her dissertation focused on modern South Asian history––an Indian reform movement during the 1920s and 1930s––with three secondary topics of the British Empire, Women’s studies and Chinese history. Although modern Asia does not tie into her dissertation, Genevan says that she took an introductory course on China and “really fell in love with it.” This broadened her Asian history expertise.

Ganesan decided on Manchester because she felt it was the right fit for her. Before her campus visit, she had never been to Indiana. “I came here [to learn about the area] in December, around Christmas,” she said. “It was completely quiet, there was not a soul on campus; I told myself not to be discouraged.” But after meeting faculty members who had not yet left for the semester break, Manchester’s appeal increased considerably, solidifying her decision to accept the position.