Andrew Wortham and Michelle Zhang receive FLAS Fellowships | Anthropology and Education | International & Transcultural Studies

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In the Department of International & Transcultural Studies

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Anthropology students Andrew Wortham and Michelle Zhang have been awarded Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships for the 2016-2017 Academic Year.

Andrew Wortham is currently a first-year Masters student. After two years of teaching in a small village in Yunnan, China, he witnessed a complex social process of students positioning and being positioned as successes and failures. This was derived partially through specific school interactions but also reflected social practices of youth culture amongst adolescents. For his FLAS research he will be studying Chinese so that he can return to this village and study the creation of rural youth culture, especially amongst students whose parents reside in other parts of the country for work and thus have increased social emphasis on friends and cohorts over traditional family structures. 

As a third-year doctoral student, Michelle will be using her FLAS award to begin preparing to undertake fieldwork in the Fall of 2017. She hopes to use the additional language training to improve her academic proficiency in reading Chinese, a necessary skill to engage deeply and critically with the wealth of Chinese-language resources available. Michelle’s research focuses on discursive categories in practice; at the moment, she is particularly interested in strategies of locality production in relation to government-imposed hukou policies. Her participants in Beijing are often labeled “non-local” or “migrant” - she hopes that an emphasis on practice and the everyday work of locality can uncover the processes by which such commonsensical labels are produced.