The award will send him to Nanjing Normal University for the semester, where he will teach early American literature to undergraduate and graduate students. Of the 30 Fulbright Scholars selected for China this year, he is the only one who will teach American Literature and the only professor selected from a university in Alabama.
“I feel privileged to have been selected from a large pool of scholars in a very competitive application process for the Fulbright award, and I’m pleased to have earned this kind of recognition as an Auburn University faculty member,” Ryan said. “During my Fulbright semester I hope to do my small part in advancing mutual understanding between the people of China and the United States, two countries with very substantial obligations on the 21st century world stage.”
Award funding will allow Ryan to visit various parts of the country serving as a visiting lecturer at a number of universities in China. His primary teaching and research fields are in early American Literature and interdisciplinary American Studies. In particular, he has looked at how American writers and literary cultures have been shaped by transformative historical forces like religion, politics, technology and commercial media.
“Having been for many years a student and teacher of American literature and culture, I am very eager to explore key issues from our nation’s past with university students in China,” he said. “I have no doubt that their perspectives will be beneficial for my scholarship and teaching. With my Chinese students, I will be doing everything I can to enrich their understanding of early American literature while learning from them as much as possible about life in China.”
Ryan is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program in 2011-2012. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Ryan is keeping a blog with photos and other commentary in preparation for his trip. The blog can be found here and will feature updates throughout his Fulbright semester in China.
(Written by Carol Nelson.)