The ten students of the International Scholars Class of 2020 accompanied by Professors Blake Stevens and Bryan Ganaway completed their Mayaway to China this summer. The students took at course at Suzhou University in southern China on traditional Chinese music and modern Chinese national identity. They learned that the Communist Party first suppressed traditional musicians in the 1950s as part of their effort to totally remake people’s identity. Starting in the 1980s, however, the Party slowly redefined itself as more Confucian than Communist and they rehabilitated traditional music and musicians as markers of Chinese cultural greatness. The ten students had the opportunity to see a Chinese opera and to see live performances by graduate students and faculty performing with traditional instruments. After completing the course portion of the trip, the students and their faculty took high speed trains to Shanghai and Beijing where they explored the Bund, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall. In her thank you letter to the Samuel Freeman Trust, one of the students wrote, “This has experience has opened my mind and change my outlook on the world…I [will work] to use my experiences in China as a way to enhance my studies and make the College of Charleston proud.”
In May of 2018 the next International Scholars Mayaway will be to Ghana. The students will take a class on issues of development and democratization in post-colonial societies. This trip will be led by Associate Provost Andrew Sobiesuo and Professor Bryan Ganaway.