Joining Worlds

This Fall’s In-Asia Grant Recipients!

In-Asia Grant Recipients!

This fall we had an absolutely inspiring bunch of applications for Oberlin Shansi In-Asia Research Grants. The proposals spanned the spectrum of possibility and it was a very difficult process to decide the recipients.

In fact, the potential and range of the applicants was so vibrant that we have decided to offer another two grants for summer study. The deadline for Summer 2014 In-Asia Grants is March 7th, at 4:30 pm. 

Now, let’s meet our In-Asia Grant recipients!

SarahChattaFreshman Sarah Chatta, will spend this summer in India “Tracing History.” She will be traveling to New Delhi and then to Shimla, the capital city of India’s northern state of Himachal Pradesh, two places where she has extended family members that are of her grandmother’s generation. Sarah plans to explore both the significance of Shimla in India’s history and the Indian-Pakistani Partition through listening to oral stories that she’ll gather through living, breathing resources. She will contextualize these personal accounts by delving into university and private archives, and plans to incorporate her findings into a larger study of modern Indian history.

gianThis January Gian Parel, a double major in neuroscience and economics, will travel to Manila, the capital of the Philippines. While there, he will learn about existing labor patterns and the movement toward economic empowerment of bakla youth (rough western equivalent of bakla: gay male). He will work with two student organizations at the University of the Philippines Diliman: Anakbayan and Babaylan, a radical youth organization and a queer support advocacy group, respectively. He hopes to explore Filipino concepts of male queerness (rough translation: kabaklaan) in the context of the Philippines’ postcolonial and neoliberal history. This is a particularly important subculture to examine against the backdrop of the recent “pork barrel scam” of President Benigno Aquino’s administration and the even more recent devastation caused by last week’s typhoon. Gian hopes that his experiences will help to inform his participation in the Filipin@ American Students Association and scholar-activist aspirations beyond.

loanluThe title of Loan Lu’s project is “Examining Vietnamese Women Diaspora in South Korea,” and her research will span two countries. Loan will spend the first part of her project in Vietnam at the Kanata School. The Kanata School offers Korean language classes and cultural preparation workshops specifically designed for Vietnamese women getting ready to move to Korea and marry Korean men. Loan will interview some of these women, looking for patterns in their socio-economic conditions or other impetus for marrying and moving abroad. Loan will then look at the other side of this diaspora, traveling to two cities in South Korea where large Vietnamese populations live. She will interview recent transplants as well as individuals who have been living in Korea for a longer time. If possible, she will also talk with South Korean men to understand their motivations for marrying Vietnamese women. Though this project may seem very specialized at first glace, it is a microcosm of the phenomena that occur in a modern, globalized world, one in which going abroad can sometimes be for fun or education, but other times for survival, or in hopes of an improvement in quality of life. Loan wants to explore how identity is preserved and navigated when living abroad in this ever-changing world.

weelicchongWeelic Chong who studies biochemistry and neuroscience, will be spending this January researching bioluminescent organisms in Japan. He will join Darrin Schultz ’13, who is currently pursuing a Fulbright and hoping to give trees bioluminescent qualities so that they can emit light at night. Weelic will not only be spending time in the lab crunching data and conducting gene purification, he’ll also be out catching deep-sea glowing organisms off the coast of Japan. “The collaboration of science,” as Weelic aptly puts it, “transcends international boundaries,” and data shared across countries often transcends language barriers. Weelic will spend the following spring semester at Waseda University as part of the Japan Study Consortium program. Upon his return to campus he plans to act out an improvised performance of a typical day in the lab and examine the different ways that different countries and cultures think about science.

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