Each year, UNH faculty travel throughout the world to further their research with the help of grants from the Center for International Education.
Grants are available to full time, tenure track or tenured faculty in all departments. The funds come from the budget of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. David Hiley, who established the grants to encourage international scholarship and teaching by UNH faculty members in all disciplines.
The grants may be used to support international training, international research, or membership in an international seminar. As part of the grant award, faculty members submit travel reports that highlight their international research activities.
In this issue, Campus Journal is highlighting the research of several faculty members who traveled abroad last summer.
Amidst the heat of Asian summer in July 2002, I spent a week in Hong Kong and the following 12 days in Shanghai. My original goal was to do some preliminary investigations on the Phoenix Satellite Television, one of the three major TV stations in the former British colony.
Since its inception in 1996 (just one year before Hong Kong was handed back to China), Phoenix TV has attracted the attention of China watchers for a number of reasons. Its founder and current president, Liu Chang-le, is a PLA (People's Liberation Army) soldier turned businessman.
The TV station under his direction has been aggressive in expanding business connections and has sealed partnership with Star TV, owned by Rupert Murdoch, the international media mogul. Its programs are cosmopolitan in cultural outlook, with a heavy dose of the hybrid Hong Kong taste. Several of its major anchors are from Taiwan.
Adding to all that is yet another interesting fact: although based in Hong Kong and with broadcasting channels in Southeast Asia, Europe and North American, Phoenix gets its major audience on mainland China. And a sizable number of its faithful audience is found among the high leadership in Beijing and the growing business circles along the coast.
I went with the initial question of discovering Phoenix's role in China's "graying culture" -- graying in a sense of bleached redness. With the help of Phoenix's senior news commentator, Cai Jingxing, I was introduced to and interviewed some of the directors in several key departments of Phoenix TV, including the director of publicity and public relations, who promised to send further information upon request.
I was allowed to observe the operation of Phoenix's various studios and watched (from inside the studio) its anchor making news reports. Most of my research time, though, was spent on sorting and reading various kinds of primary sources in Cai's personal archive.
Days of watching, reading and interviewing convinced me that the phenomenon of Phoenix was broader than the issue of the grayness of culture. I was intrigued by its style of news reporting marked by openness, its energetic business approach and, particularly, the varied responses from its audience. To me, Phoenix now appears to be less a Hong Kong business but more a harbinger of China's changing media.
With that speculation, I proceeded to investigate the media in Shanghai, a bustling metropolis on China's coast with long-standing cultural and financial importance. During 12 days there, I browsed and read newspapers and popular magazines now sold in great quantity and variety every day, researched in the Shanghai Municipal Library, and spoke to half a dozen journalists in newspapers and TV stations.
The booming print and broadcasting media is something that I could not imagine some 15 years ago. What I see now, indeed, is like a phoenix rising from ashes to be reborn a magnificent bird, just as the fable has it. How did that happen? Who made that happen? And in what ways did the changes in media mirror, or even affect, the transformation of China during the last 15 years of the 20th century? This swift but exciting tour left me more questions than answers. Much awaits further research and discovery in my next trip.
This summer's international travel opportunity took me to southern France -- and while the focus was on life-cycles of plants rather than bicycles, we certainly saw a lot of the countryside of the famed Tour de France bicycle race.
The natural history trip, organized by New York Botanical Garden taxonomist Dr. Scott Mori and NYBG Tour Coordinator/Wildflower Specialist Carol Gracie, began in the beautiful mountains at the edge of the French Alps in the area known as the Vercors. These limestone mountains, cut by rivers into deep gorges, rise to more than 6,700 feet. The cliff scenery was magnificent and the mountain meadows were at their peak of wildflower bloom.
This area has one of the greatest diversities of plants in France, and I was astounded at the great number of orchids I was able to see and photograph. One of the most fascinating orchids belongs to the genus Ophrys, which has flowers that look remarkably like insects. Even more incredible, these flowers come into bloom just as the male bees they imitate are emerging from their larval metamorphosis stage (and about two weeks prior to the female bees) -- and emit the very same sex hormone the females use to attract the male bees for mating, resulting in the male bees pollinating the orchid flowers in a process we call pseudocopulation.
The group then proceeded to the infamous wildlife areas of the Camargue region south of the city of Arles at the Mediterranean. The countryside en route gave us a glimpse the local agriculture, such as wheat, millet, oats, and great purple fields of lavender. Yet, vineyards seemed to be the dominant agricultural activity. The Camargue is an area famous for freshwater and saline marshes and meadows.
The most spectacular attraction of the sight of thousands of pink flamingos that nest and feed in these marshes. On the hills and lowlands of the region I also had an opportunity to photograph typical Mediterranean vegetation -- maquis and garrigue -- to add to my lecture on the earth's biomes for the IA-401 course. This is a scrub vegetation dominated by evergreen species of oaks and pines. One of the notable native shrubs was a plant of culinary interest -- Rosemary. Thyme and sage also grew in this area.
The final portion of the tour took us to the French Pyrenees just north of the border with Spain, in the vicinity of the city of Lourdes. Our hotel was in the quaint French village of Luz St. Sauveau, with magnificent views of the high Pyrenean peaks. It was wonderful to spend time in these mountain alpine meadows -- and add to my knowledge of alpine vegetation.
While most of the species were new to me, many of the genera I had seen in the alpine of our own Presidential Range or in the mountains of western North America. Some plants I was familiar with from field work in the mountains of the Crimea, the Caucasus, and in the Altai Mts. of Siberia.
Since in my Biodiversity Module in the IA-401 International Affairs class I try to give students a wide range of international perspective through my photographs, this was a particularly welcome opportunity to add another important region to my personal first-hand experiences. One of the assignments I give is to have the students write a paper on the country they anticipate going to for their semester abroad experience -- emphasizing biodiversity and natural history. Over the years I have read numerous papers written by students headed for France. I must say, these papers have whetted my appetite to visit France, and I hope in turn, that the slides I show in class of various countries will likewise create an enthusiasm for international travel for the students of IA-40, and other courses in Biology/Plant Biology as well.
I greatly appreciate the support provided by the CIE as well as the support for Faculty Professional Development provided by the dean of COLSA.
I visited St. Petersburg, Russia, from July 1 to July 8, 2002, to attend the second annual conference on "Hierarchy and Power in the History of Civilization" co-sponsored by the Russian Academy of Sciences Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies and the St. Petersburg branch of its Institute for Oriental Studies.
The conference featured participants from around the world, and its organizers hope it will become an annual event. Their purpose is to bring anthropologists and other social scientists together with historians interested in longue dure or "civilizational"-level analysis, to discuss issues of contemporary relevance.
At the conference, I chaired a two-panel session titled "Testing a Model of Civilizational Analysis: Globalization and Civilizational Change."
It was based on the perception that the phenomenon of "globalization" entails the paradox of increasing homogenization on some levels (e.g., a widening diffusion of Western technologies, economic models, and even political practices), and intensifying particularism on others (e.g., militant and sometimes violent defenses of cultural uniqueness).
There were papers on contemporary Islamist terrorism, the phenomenon of "neo-paganism" in contemporary Russia as a reaction to globalization, gender hierarchy and feminist praxis in global context. My paper addressed the question of "Eurocentrism" in the philosophy of human rights.
My participation was made possible by grants from both the Center for International Studies and the Humanities Center, as well as professional-development funds provided each faculty member at UNH-Manchester.
The major purpose of my travel to southern France was to present a paper and meet potential colleagues in my area of research. The conference was the EISB Conference: New Frontiers between Small and Large Firms, Sept. 8-10, 2002, in Sophia Antipolis, France.
It is one of the leading European conferences on start-up entrepreneurial ventures and these annual conferences have been held for over three decades, all in Europe. My presentation was "Angel Investment Activity: Funding High Tech Innovations." The international travel proved quite helpful and enabled me to begin some dialogue with several researchers and teachers in business schools in Europe.
My presentation and attendance at the conference resulted in two direct benefits for myself and UNH. At the conference I met Rudy Aernoudt. While we had been on a panel several years ago, we had not been in contact for a number of years. Aernoudt is deputy head of cabinet to the Minister of Economy for the Government of Belgium.
As a result of my presentation, and a meeting with Aernoudt and his colleagues during the conference, I was asked to deliver the keynote address for a major public policy workshop organized by Aernoudt and Serge Kubla, minister of economic affairs for the Walloon Region of Belgium. The keynote address "Business Angel vs. Entrepreneur: Love or Hate?" was delivered in Gent, Belgium, in November 2002.
A second direct benefit of my attendance at the EISB Conference was the exchange of information and case studies with David Molian from the Cranfield School of Management in Cranfield, UK. I met Molian after his presentation about an interesting case study on corporate venture capital investing in the United Kingdom.
I plan to use Molian's completed case in both my undergraduate class (High Tech Entrepreneurship Internship) and my MBA class (Private Equity/Venture Capital).
Thus, the trip was a productive one. I would like to thank the Center for International Education for the partial support to attend this conference and for the international opportunities that the conference has enabled me to undertake.
From June 26-29, 2002, I participated in the "Islands of the World VII: New Horizons in Island Studies" conference at the University of Prince Edward Island, in Charlottetown, Canada.
My paper, based on ethnographic work over the past few years, had to do with the social and economic conditions that surround an unusually vital world of local music in western Cape Breton island, part of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. In it, I examined how local identity is framed, both historically and in the present moment; ways in which this old but thriving music works as a form of social capital; creativity in a context of chronic unemployment and other economic woes; and the development of "music tourism" in that milieu. Cape Breton, in my view, may have something to teach us about the integrity of local cultural resources in an environment of many external challenges.
The International Small Islands Studies Association, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, sponsored the conference in conjunction with the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island. This is a motley crew. Participants came from many parts of the world -- South Pacific islands, Indian Ocean islands, the Caribbean, small islands associated with Korea and Taipei, "cold climate" islands such as PEI, the Orkneys, and, of course, Cape Breton. Many of the islands are small nation states. Development economics and environmental studies were especially well represented. This was almost certainly the most cross-disciplinary conference I've ever attended.
Whether there's something methodologically distinctive about island studies is, at this point, unclear to me (as it is to virtually everyone else at the meeting, it seems). On the other hand, it was useful to see that, despite their huge differences, many islands share similar challenges, frequently facing out-migration, environmental exploitation (and a limited range of natural resources), rampant tourism development, distance-from-markets issues, and so forth.
I want to thank the Center for International Education, the Canadian Studies Program, and the Department of English for their support.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic ravaging many countries in sub-Saharan Africa is painting a gloomy picture for the future of this sub-Continent socially, economically, politically and culturally. AIDS is not only killing many people, it is manufacturing a great number of helpless, parentless children (orphans), and eroding the active labor force in all spheres of economic activities in these countries.
According to a regional newsletter on AIDS in Eastern Africa (AIDSNET) December 2001, about 500 people are dying from AIDS every day in Kenya. In Tanzania, it is estimated that more than 2 million people are infected with HIV and AIDS: 70.5 percent of whom are in the age group 25-49, and 15 percent are between 15-24 years.
Overall, the situation of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is alarming and of great concern. Of the estimated 40 million people living with AIDS, by December 2001 sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 28.1 million or 70.3 percent (UN AIDS/WHO 2001). Of the 5 million new HIV infections in 2001 alone, the sub-Continent accounted for 3 million to 4 million, or 68 percent. Most of those who are infected are women and young people, but particularly women in their teens. The rate of infection of this social group is two or three times that of young men of the same age. Children born with HIV infections or those made orphans because of AIDS have a short and painful childhood.
Because of the severity of the problem, it is increasingly becoming evident that there is no single strategy that can effectively yield good results in the war against HIV/AIDS. A combination of multiple strategies is a must if sub-Saharan Africa is to succeed in her struggle to stop the spread of this fast killing pandemic.
My pursuit of this endeavor is of a social scientist from Africa. For the last 15 years, I have been working on HIV/AIDS-related activities that have ranged from those duties that are research oriented, i.e. identifying the social, cultural, economic and political factors that facilitate the rapid transmission of HIV/AIDS in this subcontinent, to the availability and acceptability of intervention and to those that are advocacy and intervention oriented.
In order to share my knowledge and experience on these issues, I have published a variety of articles in international journals, co-edited a book on "Poverty AIDS and Street Children in East Africa" (published by Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, New York, 2002) and attended local and international conferences on HIV/AIDS.
As part of my activities on HIV/AIDS, I had the opportunity to travel to Botswana and South Africa from June 23 through July 3, 2002. This trip was partially funded by the Department of Anthropology, the Center for the Humanities and the Center for International Education. I also received partial support from the Kagera AIDS Research Project (KARP) of Tanzania, of which I am a member.
While in Botswana I attended an international conference on "Language, Literature, and the Discourse of HIV/AIDS in Africa" at The University of Botswana. From the title of the conference, it is evident that multiple strategies are required in order to actively address the pandemic of AIDS.
A few years back one could not have thought that language and literature had a role to play in public health in general, and in particular in explaining the discourse of specific epidemics. The severe nature of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa has brought to the forefront the importance of a multisectoral and multidisciplinary approach in dealing with health issues.
Many papers from authors in sub-Saharan Africa and outside were presented and discussed. Most papers expressed the role that language, literature and communication play in fighting the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS, not only in sub-Saharan Africa but in other places in the world.
While at this conference, I had the opportunity of presenting a paper on "The Role of Social Science in Teaching Public Health." I attempted to explain how the knowledge accrued from social science can assist people in understanding diseases and other health problems in a social context. I explained how the colonial policies of migrant labor, living in dormitories in mining areas in some parts of Africa managed to fuel diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis and gonorrhea. I also cited concrete examples of how the current process of globalization generates poverty in some countries and wealth in others, and how this is leading to the manufacturing of some social groups that become vulnerable to HIV infection.
After the conference, I traveled to South Africa and visited the University of the North, and the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Witwatersrand, where we discussed possible collaborative projects in the area of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
The trip was very enriching. I learned a great deal, made new connections, and collected a vast array of teaching materials that will be helpful both to me as well as my students.
Language is a means of entry to the study of any culture. Sociolinguistics investigates how language represents the identity of individuals and the groups to which they belong. I am developing a new course, to be offered in the Canadian Studies and Linguistics programs: "Language Variation in Canada and the United States."
Canada is a rich environment for sociolinguistic investigation, because there is every possible type of language contact situation imaginable. Beyond the debate over French and English use in Quebec, there are places where French is the minority language, where other immigrant languages are well represented, and where 53 different indigenous languages are still used. The course will examine languages and dialects which are associated with particular regions, cultures, or ethnic groups in Canada or the United States, with a particular focus on varieties spoken along the border or that have spread from one country to the other.
Many of my students and I are somewhat familiar with nearby Quebec and its French, but we didn't know much about other parts of Canada, or other groups in Quebec. To learn more, I spent three weeks in the summer of 2003 talking to Canadian linguistics professors at the following universities: York University, University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario, University of Ottawa and Queens University in Ontario; Université de Québec à Montréal and McGill University in Quebec; University of Moncton and Mt. Allison University, New Brunswick; University of Prince Edward Island, PEI; and St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia.
I learned about their research on General Canadian English, particularly English dialects of many places; differences between Quebec, Ontarian and Acadian French; the many indigenous or First Nations languages, in particular, Mohawk and how it's being taught; and some ethnic influences in different regions. I also saw many different models and theories for the analysis of languages and contact between them. In addition, I collected a shelf full of books, boxes of recent research publications, tapes and CDs of examples of different dialects and interviews with linguists, and a list of other contacts and resources. I plan to post an index of this material on the Linguistics Program Web site (http://www.unh.edu/linguistics).
I also attended a seminar of the International Council for Canadian Studies in Ottawa in August 2002. This was a workshop with 26 participants from 20 countries on five continents (Siobhan Senier and I were the only Americans). There were five full days of speakers on topics such as the origin and evolution of Canadian federalism, social policies, culture, history and government of Aboriginal Peoples, citizenship, linguistic and cultural issues relating to changing demographics and immigration, and globalization and the economy. One goal was to try to work out "What is Canada?" beyond many Canadians' first response: "Well, we're not the United States." This is still a work in progress, it seems. However, it was useful to me in framing a background of knowledge for my new course, and introduced wonderful new sources of information and contacts that will help my students and me.
These trips were funded by a grant from the Canadian Embassy, and from the following UNH offices: Center for International Education, English Department, Dean of Liberal Arts, and the Center for the Humanities.