BOWLING GREEN — Who better to engage in a semi-diplomatic mission to India than Bowling Green State University pop culture instructor Matt Donahue?
He is relentlessly upbeat about northwest Ohio, eager to share the region's cultural riches, and one of the most engaging guys you'll meet. Sure he puts on academic conferences that focus on heavy metal, acts in gritty film vignettes that focus on the region's economic underbelly, and plays aggressive politically conscious music.
But his motives for a trip to India to present at a conference next week on American culture are high-minded. His trip is partially sponsored by the U.S. Consulate to India.
"I am thrilled to be able to represent northwest Ohio and the United States of America in relation to the opportunity to present my research that is related to the popular culture of northwest Ohio, the industrial Midwest, and the United States," he said. "I hope that this opportunity and my involvement can yield further engagement between the two countries."
He will be at the University of Hyderabad in Hyderabad, India, to present on his teaching, research, and creative projects related to American popular culture
The genesis of the trip was a visit to BGSU late last year by Dr. Pramod Nayar, who teaches in the Department of English at the University of Hyderabad. "He and I hit it off. We hung out a little bit and I showed him my office, which is kind of like a pop culture shrine," Donahue said.
They stayed in touch via email and Nayar invited him to India for the conference. "Naturally I jumped at the chance because I think it will be a great opportunity to highlight pop culture, and particularly the pop culture from our area," he said.
He plans to discuss American culture in general, techniques for teaching it, and will emphasize some of his work that has a strong northwest Ohio flavor. Among other things, Donahue has produced a documentary on the Hines Blues Farm, he is heavily involved in The Home Project, a Web-based film series that looks at economic dislocation in the area, he plays in the band MAD 45, creates "art cars," and is project scholar for the America's Music Series at Owens Community College. He also is co-organizing a national conference on heavy metal music next month at BGSU.
He grew up in Toledo, worked at Boogie Records, received an undergraduate degree from the University of Toledo and his masters and doctorate degrees from BGSU, so he is uniquely qualified to talk about the area.
"I look forward to being a cultural ambassador, if you will, for the northwest Ohio," Mr. Donahue said.
Contact Rod Lockwood at email@example.com or 419-724-6159.