Liberal Arts Symposium gives students the opportunity to present research they have conducted in their fields and is also required in many senior capstone classes. Senior Ka Ho (Sherman) Wong, a cultural studies and social complexity POE from Sham Tseng, Hong Kong, gave a presentation on human rights in China I asked Sherman some questions regarding his work for the Symposium.
What was your research about?
It was about human rights and social movements in China. I studied two past movements in China – the 1989 student movement in Tiananmen Square, and Charter 08 Movement – as well as human rights and social movement theories. I then applied the new social movement theory and explored the idea of human rights to analyze these past movements, and suggest a new movement in China. The past movements have failed because of their weak universal interests and the reactions of the government. I suggested a new movement that uses human rights as the universal ideology, so that all social classes would agree and have human rights as their common interest. A possible new social movement in China has to be related to Chinese citizens’ identity and on their relations to culture and ideology, for example, human rights.
How did your personal experiences help you with your research?
My experience in Hong Kong helped me to improve my understanding of Chinese culture and social structure. My knowledge in anthropology helped me to recognize the fundamentally holistic nature of humanity and understand the political, economic, and cultural interconnections in a culture.
What was the most interesting part of your research?
I was interested in human rights issues and in the areas of sociocultural anthropology and sociology. China was an interesting case study because it’s a fast developing country; so much of what we use is from China and Chinese culture is unique and fascinating.
What did you learn from your experiences doing this research?
I have taken many Sociology and Anthropology classes in Social Change, Cultures of the World, Collective Behavior, and Human Rights. It opened my mind to Western thoughts and of the needs of humanity. I developed a passion to do justice to people’s feelings and who they are and I know I want to make positive changes in the world. So I wanted to do something for humanity, and that’s what led me to my research – the Chinese culture and human rights issues, and what I could do to enact change for a better world.
What was the most difficult part?
As an international student and the only underage person in the senior class, it was very difficult to do my LAS project and two other projects at the same time. I drank at least two cups of coffee everyday, but the most important thing was time management. For the human rights in China project I also met with Dr. deVries twice a week. Also, English is not my first language; the extensive amount of reading and writing that was required was very demanding. But my professors and advisors helped me a lot and my friends on campus gave me a lot of support. Dr. deVries even offered me rides to State College a few times, so that I could conduct interviews. I am so glad it’s done now, and that I got so much positive feedback from the college community.
~Joyce Eveleth ’11, Online Journalist