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Amy Levin plans April 4 talk on her Fulbright experience teaching Shakespeare in Myanmar

March 21, 2013
Amy Levin

Amy Levin

NIU English professor Amy Levin, who spent the month of February as the first U.S. Fulbright Scholar in a public university in Myanmar (Burma) in almost 30 years, will present an upcoming talk and slideshow on her recent experiences.

Her informal presentation, titled “Teaching ‘Hamlet’ in Myanmar,” will be held from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Thursday, April 4, in Room 211 of Reavis Hall.

Levin was tasked with bringing graduate students and faculty in Myanmar up to date on U.S. literature and pedagogical techniques. She focused on texts by women and minorities. She also presented to a Muslim women’s empowerment group, gave a Black History Month lecture and heard Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu speak.

As the month progressed, she witnessed democracy emerging in ways that intersected with and illuminated the literary works she was teaching on a daily basis.

Levin’s students fill out course evaluations for the first time in their academic lives.

Levin’s students fill out course evaluations for the first time in their academic lives.

“Having decided to focus primarily on women’s and minority literature of the past 30 years, I found myself introducing such topics as the Civil Rights movement, jury trials, Native American reservations, fair housing and Affirmative Action legislation,” Levin says. “Most of the topics resonated against realities of life in Myanmar and ongoing political changes.”

Levin, chair of the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, applied to join the Fulbright Specialist roster two years ago, with the goal of learning more about higher education in other countries. When the opportunity to work in Myanmar came up, she was especially intrigued, due to NIU’s strong ties to the country through the Center for Burma Studies, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the number of students from the region who come to NIU to study each year.

For additional information on her upcoming talk, contact [email protected].