In 2021, the Fulbright Program celebrates 75 years of positive impact on the lives of individuals as well as on global and local communities. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program offers more than 400 teaching, research or combination teaching and research awards in over 135 countries. Opportunities are available for college and university faculty and administrators as well as for professionals, artists, journalists, scientists, lawyers, independent scholars and many others. Fulbright has been an exceptional opportunity to enrich education, advance careers, and make meaningful contributions to society through their international fellowships.
In the last weeks before this year’s application deadline of Sept. 15, we will share some of Marquette’s long, rich history with Fulbright by highlighting some stories of our own Fulbrighters.
This week’s highlight is Dr. James Marten, department chair and professor of history.
Dr. Marten held a teaching fellowship at the Northeast Normal University in the People’s Republic of China (1999). Here is a glimpse into his Fulbright experience:
With two significant events — the Clinton impeachment trial and the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade — framing his time in China, Dr. James Marten never ran out of meaningful conversations with his students.
Marten taught two graduate classes in the American Studies program within the history department. His students were split between former history majors and English majors, though a fair number of students attended, without enrolling, just to hear a native English speaker.
Only his second time outside of the country, Marten entered the adventure, along with his wife and two children, with some trepidation but ultimately felt more at home in the world. “We all became more independent and, despite frequent anxiety about our utter cluelessness in some situations, more confident in our own problem-solving.” During that semester, he became much more aware of the complexities of China, “where capitalism and Communism, freedom and authoritarian government were clashing in large and small ways.”
Of his time in China, Marten thinks most of the people he met there: the professor who invited the Marten over to make dumplings; the “young” Mr. C, who created a scroll the students gave as a departure gift; and “Jessie”—some students used their English names when interacting with Marten—who thought America a “miracle.”
This story, and others, can be found on the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Fulbright website along with additional information about applying for the fellowship.