After graduation from Tulane University on Saturday (May 19), Ryan Judd certainly will know what it means to miss New Orleans. The native New Orleanian has received a Fulbright research grant to study gender roles in China for 10 months.
The English/Asian studies major spent 15 months in China and Taiwan during his junior year, where Judd says he made valuable connections. He became fascinated by Chinese culture after watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics on television the summer before he entered college.
Ironically, with the Fulbright grant, Judd plans to study how watching television and other Western influences have had an impact on modernization of traditional gender practices in Chinese rural villages. He will look at romance, dating, marriage and child-rearing traditions among Chinese ethnic minorities.
“There's one ethnicity where they have something they call the walking marriage,” Judd says. “It's a matriarchal culture, in which a woman can have many different husbands. The man will go live at her house for awhile, usually a short period of time, then leave and she takes a new husband.”
Judd is looking forward to becoming immersed in the cultures of these ethnic minorities. “The Chinese government wants them to get with the times and modernize, but at the same time, they're kind of exploiting them. There's a huge ethnic tourism business â¦ there's a tension there that I want to explore.”
In addition, six other Fulbright scholars will be assigned abroad as English teaching assistants after graduation: