A Gettysburg College religion professor has earned a Fulbright award to teach in Lithuania at Vilnius University's Center for Oriental Studies during the 2010-2011 academic year.
Prof. Deborah Sommer, who has amassed considerable experience living, working, and teaching abroad in Taiwan and mainland China since the mid 1980s, will teach four courses and deliver guest lectures at a number of European locations. Meanwhile, six members of the College's Class of 2010 have also won Fulbright awards.
Sommer's award comes at a time of exciting growth in Asian studies in the Baltic nations and will facilitate exchanges with scholars across Europe. "I plan to collect materials for a book solicited by Capital Normal University Press in Beijing on the subject of Western depictions of Confucius," she said. "European libraries have many unexplored sources for the study of China in the West, and I will explore Vilnius's libraries and museums on these subjects. Vilnius University has one of the oldest traditions of Asian studies in Europe."
Photos of southwest China, taken during an ASIANetwork student trip led by Sommer
Sommer's courses, to be taught in English, will include Chinese Buddhism, Confucianism, Visual Propaganda in Contemporary China (with comparisons to Lithuania's experience under the Soviet regime), and Body Studies and Visual Representations of the Body. The latter, Sommer said, will be "an exploration of the religious and symbolic dimensions of conceptualizations of the human body and of the ways it is represented visually in different cultures of the world, particularly in Asia. We will explore, for example, how the body is associated with notions of the sacred or divine."
The new courses and the experience generally will enrich Sommer's teaching in Gettysburg College's Department of Religion. Gettysburg College also offers Chinese language instruction and an interdisciplinary Chinese Studies major through the College's Asian Studies Program.
The Fulbright Program, America's flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State. Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program has enabled 294,000 people to observe each others' political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas, and to embark on joint ventures. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide. Recipients are selected for academic or professional achievement and leadership.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Jim Hale, online content editorPosted: Mon, 19 Jul 2010
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