This year, six Michigan State University students earned Fulbright-Hays research fellowships in the national competition among scholars of foreign language and area studies, setting a record number of awards granted to a single university in the United States. Five of the awardees are students within the College of Social Science.
The “Title VI Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowships” provide funding for individual doctoral students to conduct research in their areas of study in foreign countries for six to 12 months.
This year’s winners included historians Patrick Buck, Erica Holt, Eric Kesse and Bernard C. Moore and anthropologist Brian Geyer from the College of Social Science. Also winning an award was teacher education major Rachel Lockart from the College of Education.
“This scholarship not only distinguishes each awarded student as a leader within their field, but it also establishes Michigan State University and our College of Social Science as an international leader of world-changing research,” said Walter Hawthorne, associate dean of student affairs in the College of Social Science.
Though the students are conducting very different research in a wide array of countries, they each share a common goal of transforming the human experience and inspiring leaders.
Patrick Buck is travelling to China in May 2020 for a ten-month research trip to complete his dissertation, “Work-Scholars: Mass Participation in the Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius Campaign.” Buck will explore archives, libraries and used book markets in Shanghai, Beijing and other major cities to better understand the mass participation in this political campaign. His project will examine sources created by Chinese workers, students, bureaucrats and teachers.
In Kenya, anthropologist Brian Geyer will investigate how aspects of tech sector professionals’ identities — including gender, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic status — affect their positions of social, political and economic power in the sector. The research will build upon existing anthropological literatures that concern the concepts of science, technology and society.
Erica Holt will be spending the spring and summer semesters of 2020 conducting archival research at Medical Universities and Hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, China. Her dissertation, “Consuming Medicine: a comparative approach to the medicalization of gynecology in mainland China and Taiwan, 1950-1970,” aims to better understand how Western medicine and family planning campaigns altered individuals' relationships with doctors and the state, thus playing a foundational part in the creation of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China.
Eric Kesse will conduct twelve months of dissertation fieldwork in Ghana and the United Kingdom for his project “Living with Water: (Re)Creating Identity and Adaptation in Nzulezo—Ghana, c. 1848 to 2000.” Investigating the social and environmental history of Nzulezo, the only stilt-house community in Ghana, he will analyze how prolonged human relations around water have led to the formation of a complex relationship between culture and ecology, and shaped communal identity and human adaptability to physically challenging environments.
Bernard C. Moore will be travelling to Southern Africa, spending 10 months in Namibia and two months in South Africa working on his project titled "Fenced Out: Labor Relations and Inter-Species Conflict on Sheep Farms in Apartheid-era Southern Namibia." The project explores the economic and environmental history of karakul sheep farming alongside developments in apartheid planning, predator eradication schemes and increased rural poverty among black Namibians made redundant by farm mechanization. His project involves research at many Namibian archives as well as extensive interviews on the sheep farms themselves.
Finally, Rachel Lockart is in the “Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education” doctoral program in the College of Education. Rachel is going to Senegal to research the training of contract teachers, a practice that is spreading all over the developing world.
MSU and the College of Social Science join these students as they celebrate this definitive accomplishment and look forward to seeing the research that comes from these funded projects.