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Traveler to lecture on foreign policy

BY MARISA WAY | APRIL 29, 2010 7:30 AM

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For Chicago native Matthew C.J. Rudolph, faraway places like India and China aren’t considered “foreign.”

In fact, one might even be able to call these countries his home away from home. As an elementary and high-school student, he spent several nonconsecutive years living with his family in India. His parents, both professors at the University of Chicago, traveled there for their research.

“There’s a long tradition in Asia of ‘family businesses,’ ” Rudolph said. “And in my family, one of the businesses is studying Asia — particularly South Asia. My parents would take their family with them to India.”

While in Iowa City, Rudolph will deliver two lectures. The first, “Speaking in Many Voices: How India’s ‘Multivocality’ Shapes Its Foreign Policy,” will occur at 4 p.m. today in 1117 University Capitol Centre. The second, “Financial Change and Varieties of Asian Capitalism: The Politics of Chinese and Indian Securities Finance Compared,” will be held at noon Friday in the same location.

Both events are open to the public, and admission is free.

Rudolph said his first lecture will explore India’s ability to have many identities, such as “a leading force in high-tech and information technologies,” while at the same time existing as “a low-income country.” His second lecture will compare the stock market of China and India in the 1990s.

Frederick Smith, a UI professor of Sanskrit and classical Indian religions, has known Rudolph since 2001, when both men had fellowships at the American Institute of Indian studies in New Delhi, India. Smith, who has been trying to arrange for Rudolph’s visit for several years, sees his colleague’s research as more applicable now than ever.

“It’s a very timely talk, with India and China emerging as the next two great powers,” Smith said. “And it’s very, very rarely the case when you find a scholar who has studied both of these countries. It just doesn’t happen.”

In addition to living in India for eight years, Rudolph also spent two years living in China and Taiwan.

Prior to his current job teaching political science at Georgetown University, Rudolph worked at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. The goal of the center is to resolve conflicts on a national and international level.

But Rudolph said he thought the organization’s attempts at solving problems were misdirected.

“There were very few people who knew a lot about China,” he said. “Also, it made me aware of the fact that people didn’t understand that most of the causes of insecurity and violence are bottom up. I became much more aware of those problems and the fact that they were ignored.”

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