English Faculty Member Wins Fulbright Grant to Strengthen U.S.-Asian Connection

Yuan Shu wants to study the relationship between democracy/human rights and Asian values in Singaporean literature and culture.

Yuan Shu

Yuan Shu

As the director of Texas Tech University’s Asian Studies program and an associate professor in the Department of English, Yuan Shu is undoubtedly passionate about building a connection between the United States and Southeast Asia.

As one of four Texas Tech faculty members who has been named a Fulbright Scholar for the 2017-18 academic year, Shu will have an opportunity to do just that, teaching transnational American studies to university students in Singapore.

What does your project entail?

“My proposal title is: ‘Democracy, Asian Values and Transnational American Studies.’ In this teaching/research project, I propose to teach one of the three courses, ‘Introduction to American Studies,’ ‘Post-9/11 American Literature’ or ‘Vietnam War Literature’ as a seminar at the graduate level at the National University of Singapore on the one hand, and to investigate how the relationship between democracy/human rights and Asian values has evolved in Singaporean literature and culture through the framework of transnational American studies.”

What is the goal of your project?

“By doing this, I seek to achieve two objectives. First, since I collaborated successfully with leading scholars at Hong Kong University and Tsinghua University in Beijing in 2012, I want to share my expertise with the faculty and graduate students at the National University of Singapore and bring more scholars in Southeast Asia into the conversation of transnational American studies. Second, I also hope to co-sponsor a symposium and then co-edit a volume of essays on ‘Southeast Asia and Transnational American Studies’ with Singaporean and American scholars.”

How will the Fulbright help you?

“The Fulbright provides me with the resources to teach and do research at the university and also opportunities to network among the Fulbright alumni.”

How long will your research last?

“I will teach and do research at the National University of Singapore for five months, from August 2017 to January 2018. I will return to organize a conference on transnational American studies in August 2018.”

What reaction have you received from the people you’ll work with?

“People at the National University of Singapore are very supportive. I already met one faculty member in Boston last month. We’ll work together on the conference and probably co-edit a book on the subject.”

What do you hope to contribute on a larger scale through your work?

“By teaching and conducting research as a Fulbright scholar at the National University of Singapore, I hope to participate in and help to expand the intellectual exchanges between scholars in Singapore/Southeast Asia and the U.S./North America in American studies and the humanities.

“Given my experiences in getting a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to bring 12 distinguished scholars from the U.S. to the symposia in Hong Kong and Beijing in 2012, which would finally produce two volumes of essays on transnational American studies, I’m confident I will be able to achieve the more ambitious plan to bring together scholars in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and the United States, and start a new critical conversation on democracy, human rights and transnational American studies.”

Why are you passionate about this?

“This is a new field, which I hope I will help inform and shape.”

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

“I really appreciate the support of Texas Tech University, from the English department to the College of Arts & Sciences to the Office of the Provost.” 


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