I am in Beijing, China as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar from January to July, 2012. My host institution is Minzu University of China, which specializes in social science in general and anthropology in particular. My research project, entitled "Dams and Development: The Moral Economy of Water Resource Management in China," is designed to help scientists and policy makers understand the human dimensions of large water resource development projects.
Several aspects of my experience—both professional and personal—have been very rewarding. From a professional standpoint, I have had the opportunity to make many contacts in academic institutions and government agencies here in Beijing. Since most of my research deals with rural development, I spend a fair amount of time in the countryside and don’t often have the chance to interact with so many professionals who share my interests.
From a personal standpoint, the best part of the Fulbright experience thus far is being able to share it with my family, including my wife, Jenna (OSU Faculty Research Associate in the Geosciences Department), son Avery, and daughter Miriam. I come to China quite regularly as part of my work, but this is the first trip for the kids. I am finding that kids open up whole new avenues of Chinese culture that I have yet to explore. People tend to go out of their way to help us out, inviting us into their homes to share a meal or spend time together. I’m also expanding my Chinese lexicon in ways that I never anticipated by signing the kids up for Kung Fu lessons, touring the city’s planetarium, and watching the kids play tag with their friends.