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Intercultural interest

Visiting Chinese scholar focuses on Native American studies

Huilin Qiu, an associate professor of English at Sichuan University in China, says that in China, it's rare to find a scholar interested in Native Americans. She explains that Chinese scholars who study America usually focus on politics, diplomacy, African American studies, or education.

Huilin Qiu
Huilin Qiu came to Dartmouth to learn about Native American studies and develop curricula for use in China. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Her interest in Native Americans led her to Dartmouth. In fact, Dartmouth was at the top of her list. She contacted Colin Calloway, the Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies, professor of history, and chair of the Native American studies department. Not only does Dartmouth have a strong program, says Qiu, Calloway's books are well-known. After consulting with his colleagues, Calloway invited Qiu to Dartmouth as a visiting scholar. She will be on campus through March 2007.

"It's been my good fortune to meet these supportive people," says Qiu of the faculty and staff at Dartmouth. "It's a great honor to be here."

During her one-year stay at Dartmouth, funded by the China Scholarship Council, she is learning about Dartmouth's approach to teaching by auditing courses and meeting with faculty and students.

"The teaching style is very warm, and the students have initiative," she says.

Qiu's goal is to get up to speed on the current research and writings in the field of Native American studies. She will also develop curricula to use in China based on her experiences at Dartmouth. She is eager to help her Chinese colleagues recognize and teach the distinctive differences of Native American tribes and clans, which she says can be a good point of reference for studying the various minority populations throughout China. Qiu is also collecting books and writings about Native Americans to take home to China with her, as such items are in short supply there.

"We're very happy to have Chuchu [Qiu's nickname] here," says Calloway. "Dartmouth's library resources, Native faculty, and Native students offer an unparalleled opportunity for the kind of immersion in Native American studies that she is looking for. In just a few short weeks, she has already soaked up a great deal of information to take back to her colleagues and students in China."

By SUSAN KNAPP

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Last Updated: 12/17/08