Project Title: Responses to Alienation: Revolution, Refusal, Radicalization
Project Description: I believe alienation, which generally describes a feeling of distance or isolation from the self, one’s culture, meaning, products of one’s labor, community, etc., is a pressing concern in contemporary life. People can often feel as though they lack connection to their culture or cultural knowledge, engage in work which lacks personal meaning, or are isolated from community. How they respond to this feeling is the central question of my project, since resolution of these feelings would deeply support human well-being. I plan to study in China, Taiwan, the U.S., and parts of Latin America using case studies of people or groups who have taken specific steps to end their alienation. For example, I’ll study a commune in China which sought to reconnect people to lost cultural knowledge and the earth to see how this reduced people’s alienation from culture and the environment. The question of how to resolve feelings of alienation is particularly important since alienation is sometimes used by far-right groups as fodder for recruiting and radicalization.
Most Important Accomplishment: Running three half marathons, working on a fourth!
Reflections on the College Scholar Program: This program is academically liberating in a way I didn’t realize was possible as an undergraduate. Rather than being constrained to one major, I have this incredible opportunity to explore my own questions, do research, and fully engage my interests in an incredibly challenging yet rewarding manner. The opportunity to be surrounded by such brilliant and ambitious scholars is an honor.