Sai Bhatawadekar is Associate Professor of Hindi-Urdu at University of Hawaii. Her research explores South Asian identity in the dynamics of cross-cultural interaction in philosophy, film, and language. Specifically in philosophy she works on 19th century German thinkers’ interpretation of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. She focuses on Hegel and Schopenhauer, two rival philosophers, who are seldom brought together on the same platform on account of their diametrically opposing evaluations of India. Sai analyzes their interpretation of Hindu religion and philosophy interlocking various theoretical threads that inform the study of German Orientalism – the hermeneutics of their European horizon, the philology and logistics of their control over the source material, their streamlining of a working definition of Hinduism, and the effect Indian thought had on the consistency and delivery of their own thought.
Sai Bhatawadekar also created a new Hindi language and culture program at the Ohio State University, developed its entire curriculum and teaching material, and ran the program very successfully for 6 years before she joined University of Hawaii. At UH as well, she continues to reinvent her Hindi-Urdu program with Creative Project, Process, and Performance Based Learning. She is the recipient of University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents Medal for Excellence in Teaching.