Colby Students Venture Worldwide

Twice a year the Center for Arts and Humanities calls for submissions from Colby students seeking financial support for their innovative research endeavors within the humanities or related disciplines. This January, the CAH proudly sponsored five students and their research projects, facilitating their journeys across continents and to Australia, Ireland, Japan, South Africa and South Korea. Whether their explorations unfold next door or further beyond, the CAH is enthusiastic about nurturing our students’ pursuits in the humanities.  Read their statements about their research and travel here.

Favour Ajibade ’24

 “Pink Tourism” Also Known as Queer Tourism in Cape Town, South Africa.“Queer Eye Tours.”

“Researching ‘pink tourists’ otherwise known as gay tourism in “Africa’s Gay Capital” has been fascinating. Queer eye tours provide a guided history of the gay village, DeWaterkant, providing me insight to this niche industry. As a Black student, visiting Johannesburg was essential to fully immersing myself in the history of Apartheid South Africa. My time in Johannesburg illuminated the realities of life under Apartheid rule. The narratives and histories showcased at Constitution Hill, Nelson Mandela’s House, and the Apartheid Museum gave me invaluable knowledge and understanding that will stay with me for life.”

Yunah Jang ‘24 

What Role does Sydney’s Chinatown Play in Shaping the Asian Immigrant Experience?”

Over three weeks, my classmate, Adria Wilson, and I explored Sydney’s Chinatown and its intersection with the city’s tourism industry, conducting a qualitative sociological study. Marked by a large Chinese demographic and a constant flow of tourists to the city, Sydney holds Australia’s largest Chinatown. Interviewing a local tour guide and local Chinese residents, we sought to understand how local Chinese residents understand the space compared to a tourist’s perspective amid rising tourism and changes in immigration trends. We conducted observational field studies in Sydney’s Chinatown, once a significant landing ground for Chinese immigrants, as well as its neighboring suburbs which have become new hubs for the Chinese community. 

Yumi Kang ’24

Addressing the Historiographic Gap in the Scholarly Discourse Regarding the Interplay Between Christian Missionaries and Korean New religious Movements (NRMs)

“This JanPlan, supported by a generous student research grant from the Center of the Arts and Humanities, I had the privilege of embarking on a journey to South Korea to conduct archival research for my honors thesis. The focus of my honors thesis is on the development of new religious movements and Christianity in South Korea, and in Korea, I was able to meet with a leading scholar in the field and access documents/other materials that I would not have had the chance to otherwise. Through this opportunity, I was able to delve into the religious, geopolitical, and sociocultural history of the Republic of Korea, on a scale that I would not have been able to imagine. I am looking forward to applying all the newfound knowledge I have attained to my thesis! Thank you to the Center of the Arts and Humanities!!”

Erica Lee ‘24 

Korean K-Pop and its Profound Influence on South Korea’s Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy

“I’m building a website to share my research. In my trip to South Korea I am exploring how food in South Korea shapes the personal Identities among the Korean community. I have had a chances to interview Koreans, Korean Americans, and an Australian who has lived in South Korea for decades to understand their routine and values when they have daily conversations with their friends and family during meal time.”

Ava Stotz ‘24 

Observation-Based Ecological Research Through Printmaking

“I’m staying at the Watershed Artist Residency in Bushypark, which is just outside of Galway city. The residency’s location is right on the edge of the Corrib River, and is surrounded by fields. I’ve been spending most of my day outside, since the weather has been agreeable, and have been walking a lot (over 12 miles a day usually). Despite it being the winter time, I’ve had the opportunity to observe a huge variety of bird species, as well as small animals and plants. I’ve also been learning about local fishing practices, oyster farming, and relationships between rural farmers and local wild animal species. During my first week here I was privileged enough to see a pair of White Tailed eagles at the edge of the river. This kind of eagle is very rare, and was just recently introduced back into Ireland after the population was depleted. They are the largest bird species in the country. It was incredible!”

I’ve been carving Lino-cut plates from my observations and printing them as well. I’ve had to be resourceful because the studio space here has been too cold to work in, so I’ve learned a lot about utilizing the space that’s available to me (and heated!). I’ve been keeping a regular sketchbook and journal, and can’t wait to utilize the information and inspiration I’m gathering during this trip in my studio at Colby, for my senior exhibition.”

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Daniel Zhang ‘24 

Online dating within the Japanese gay male community

“For this project, I went to Osaka and Tokyo to investigate how gay men in Japan apply linguistic strategies and characteristics to craft their introductory messages on dating apps. These photos are taken at Dōyama-chō in Osaka, which is a place known for the clustering of queer communities. Using the “nearby” function through dating apps near this area enables me to get access to different users’ profiles, because many of them visit here, especially during weekends. It’s common to see rainbow flags here in Dōyama-chō, which is not common in other places in Japan.”