Two Stanford Global Studies centers—the Center for East Asian Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies—provide Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students, either during the academic year or over the summer, through the U.S. Department of Education.
Here are a few highlights of students who received the FLAS Fellowship in years past:
Center for East Asian Studies
My interest has always been with women's rights in the context of East Asia, particularly South Korea. As a Korean-American myself, I hope to further understand the relationship between a state and its female populace. Language training has deepened my understanding of the nuances and cultural implications when conversing in Korean. The scholarship has allowed me to gain a new perspective on Korean culture and further my research in understanding the significance of womanhood and body in South Korean society.
Through this experience, I learned to be humble and more aware of my own privilege and stance when researching any nation or culture. As a researcher, dedication and perseverance are crucial; however, always striving to be more aware and careful with my topics and considering how others might regard them is a necessary skill to learn.
Nancy J. Hamilton
CENTER FOR EAST ASIAN STUDIES
I applied for the FLAS scholarship to bring my Japanese language capability up to the level of skill required to accomplish research in my field of Japanese literature. My interest in Japanese literature, specifically poetry, stems from my experience in chanoyu, or traditional Japanese tea practice, in which the associative affordances of poetry are employed to relay richly nuanced levels of meaning. From this starting point, I wanted to explore the social, political, and aesthetic history of the poetic form as it appears in works of literature. This led me to the study of Yosano Akiko’s 1928 travelogue, which documents her journey through Manchuria in both prose and poetry.
With my FLAS fellowship, I have pursued language study in Japanese as well as courses in Japanese literature, poetry, translation, and text mining. In addition to my language study on campus, I also was able to participate in an intensive summer program of Japanese language study geared toward graduate students at the Inter-University Center in Yokohama, Japan. This past February, I presented my research at the Harvard East Asia Society Graduate Student Conference in a talk entitled, “The Poetics of Travel in Yosano Akiko’s Man-Mō Yuki.” I was also fortunate to receive a travel grant from Stanford Global Studies, which allowed me to travel to Japan over spring break to conduct research. I was able to employ my language skills in a variety of ways that were immensely beneficial to my research: consulting with Japanese scholars, attending lectures in Japanese, conversing with librarians, and reading through archival materials.
Center for Latin American Studies
The fellowship offered a unique opportunity to learn Quechua, an indigenous language from the Andes. I took Quechua language courses both at Stanford and in Cusco, Peru. This was vital, not just for my personal growth, but also for facilitating my understanding of indigenous human rights in the Andes, which was my academic area of study.
This experience supplemented my M.A. program’s interdisciplinary curriculum with Quechua language courses that have been vital to my present and future endeavors. Particularly, the language courses allowed me to further my knowledge of indigenous peoples in Latin America and equipped me with the tools to become an effective indigenous rights advocate. My studies gave me a theoretical understanding of Latin American history and politics, as well as basic Quechua language skills. However, taking intermediate courses in Quechua enhanced my learning process by helping me understand the role that indigenous communities play within Latin America, specifically the Andes region.
center for Latin American Studies
The FLAS summer fellowship presented me with the opportunity to live in Brazil for two months while learning Portuguese at the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina (UNISUL) and absorbing the culture of Florianopolis. Furthermore, the FLAS fellowship during the academic year allowed me to exponentially improve my language fluency under the guidance of preeminent Stanford professors.
While at UNISUL, I began collaborative research with the director of the Center for Sustainable Development and as a result, three academic papers are currently being reviewed for publication. In addition, towards the end of my trip, I was invited to attend a conference on international development and commerce at the Federation of Industries of the State of Santa Catarina (FIESC).
The experience of living in Brazil and learning Portuguese from experts in the field has granted me a new lens with which to see the world and new tools to more effectively interact with others. One of my memorable moments in Brazil was being interviewed by the country’s second leading television channel, RecordTV. I was one of two selected for this opportunity and still remember the nerves I felt during my “fifteen seconds of fame” as I relayed my enchantment with Brazilian culture.
While living in Santa Catarina, I was unsettled by the dearth of indigenous faces and as a result, I set out to connect with indigenous scholars in the area. I was able to make a connection with Dr. Eduardo Luna, an indigenous scholar from the Colombian Amazon region, now residing in Florianopolis. Dr. Luna’s expertise is in traditional medicinal uses of native plants, and through his support, I was able to glean a better understanding of the similarities between indigenous groups not just in the Amazon, but in the Americas in general.
Additionally, I leveraged my advancement in Portuguese to connect with Edgar Corrêa Kanaykõ, a young indigenous activist and scholar who resides in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. As an ethnographer, photographer, activist, and member of the Xakriabá community in Mina Gerais, Edgar intentionally utilizes academia and modern technology as a tool for the promotion and reinforcement of indigenous tradition. I am currently investigating the possibility of collaborating with Edgar and other indigenous scholars in future multidisciplinary entrepreneurship projects for social and racial equity in Latin America.