Lutgendorf was in India during 2010-11 as a Fulbright-Hays Senior Overseas Research Fellow. His research topic was the popularization of tea drinking in India and its evolution into the country’s (invented) “national drink”-chai, a distinctive spiced tea. This topic necessarily touches on colonial era and post-Independence history, the rise of advertising, marketing, visual culture, changes in manufacturing, commerce, lifestyle, and eating habits.
Philip Lutgendorf is Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies and has taught in the University of Iowa’s Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literature since 1985. His research on the Indian epic, Ramayana, has appeared as two books The Life of a Text (University of California Press, 1991), and Hanuman’s Tale, The Messages of a Divine Monkey (Oxford University Press, 2007). He is presently translating the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas for the Murty Classical Library of India and Harvard University Press, and writing on the popularization of chai in 20th century India. He serves as President of the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS).