Dr. Devendra Sharma
California State University, Fresno
Department of Communication
5201 North Maple Ave, Mail Stop SA 46
Fresno, CA 93740-8027
Position: Professor, Undergraduate Adviser
Education: Ph.D., Ohio University
Interests: Performance and Communication, Persuasion for Social Change, Popular Culture, Communication for Community Engagement, Entertainment-Education Communication Strategies
In March 2012, Dr. Sharma was awarded the Franklin Research Grant by the American Philosophical Society to conduct research in the British Library for his upcoming book about Swang-Nautanki (a folk operatic performance tradition of India) and its connection to communication and community engagement.
While on sabbatical in early 2012, Dr. Sharma taught a course on folk theater at the national Film and Television Institute of India. At the end of the course, Dr. Sharma directed a Nautanki (folk operatic theater) production with acting students at the institute.
In 2011, Dr. Sharma's syllabus for COMM 264M (Graduate Seminar on Strategies and Applications of Communications Research) was selected among nationwide faculty by NERCHE (New England Resource Center for Higher Education) as a noteworthy example of community-based teaching and learning due to its application of communication literature to improve communities and its emphasis on student participation in field-based research projects.
Dr. Sharma’s research interests center on Persuasion for Social Change; Performance and Communication; Popular Culture; Communication for Community Engagement; and Entertainment-Education Communication Strategies. He is a practicing performer, writer, and director of Swang-Nautanki, an operatic theater genre of north India. He has given more than 500 performances to date worldwide and directed and produced many films for social change.
In 2000, Dr. Sharma was a Packard Foundation/ Population Communication International Fellow from India at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. His publications include book chapters in Development Communication in Directed Social Change: A Reappraisal of Theories and Approaches; Entertainment-Education and Social Change: History, Research, and Practice; and Communication Activism: Media and Performance Activism, as well as a number of peer-reviewed journal articles.
Dr. Sharma has given numerous guest lectures, conference presentations, and performances, including at the University of California—Los Angeles, University of California—Berkeley, Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi, India), Théâtre du Soleil (Paris, France), and Population Communication International, United Nations Plaza, New York. He has facilitated many "Participatory Theater for Social Change" workshops, including one for communication and theater students at Central Michigan University. In 2007-08, Dr. Sharma was the Chief Creative Consultant to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in India. In this capacity, he designed a folk media communication campaign to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS.From 1999-2004, Dr. Sharma helped Johns Hopkins University's Center for Communication Programs (JHU/CCP) and the Government of India to create a massive folk media campaign for women's empowerment and health in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Working through his non-profit organization, Brij Lok Madhuri (an NGO that uses folk theater and music for social change), Dr. Sharma trained more than 150 folk troupes to stage over 10,000 performances.
Links to Dr. Devendra Sharma's Community-Engagement Work
Book Chapters and Peer-reviewed Articles on Community Engagement written by Dr. Devendra Sharma:
News Articles about Dr. Devendra Sharma's Community Work/Performances:
San Francisco Public Radio
Information about Dr. Devendra Sharma's Academic Lectures Connecting Community Performances and Scholarship:
Lecture and Performance: Folk Opera Nautanki "Mission Suhani" at University of California, Berkeley, 2010
Videos and information about Dr. Devendra Sharma's Performances for Social Change:
For more performance videos, see Dr. Sharma's YouTube channel.
Dr. Devendra Sharma also started a non-profit organization (Brij Lok Madhuri) for Community-Engaged work in India.