The U.S State Department has awarded five Colorado State University professors Fulbright U.S. Scholar grants for the 2021-2022 academic year – four in the College of Liberal Arts and one in the College of Health and Human Sciences – to complete research projects at institutions in Bolivia, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. Here’s a snapshot of each recipient’s Fulbright plans for the upcoming year.

Hye Seung Chung

Professor of Film and Media Studies
Department of Communication Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Award: Fulbright Scholar
Project title: “Beyond Anti-Communism and National Propaganda: Reevaluating South Korea’s State Film Censorship of the Cold War Era”
Duration: Fall 2021-Spring 2022
Host institution: Ewha Woman’s University, Seoul, South Korea

CSU Film and Media Studies Professor Hye Seung Chung will spend 10 months in Seoul, South Korea, completing her Fulbright research project at her alma mater Ewha Woman’s University.

Chung said her Fulbright project is timely, providing a revisionist understanding of state film censorship during successive Cold War military regimes in South Korea from 1961-1988.

Drawing upon government censorship documents from the Korean Film Archive’s digital collections and framing South Korean film censorship from a transnational perspective, she said she hopes to reframe discourse around film censorship as a multilayered, dialogical process.

Throughout her Fulbright, Chung will collaborate with Ewha Professor Hyungsook Lee, a fellow film scholar and former classmate, guest-lecturing in his film classes and sharing her findings on U.S. and South Korean film censorship at departmental and interdisciplinary workshops and colloquiums.

Chung also said she intends to engage other scholars to help change negative perceptions some might have about America as a superpower by treating the people impacted by U.S. policy with respect, humility and solidarity – a charge she referred to as the most important educational mission of her career.

Chung’s Fulbright project will culminate with an American university press monograph, which will mark her sixth university press publication to date. She hopes to complete the manuscript by August 2022 and publish by the end of 2023.

“I highly recommend my colleagues and graduate students with American citizenship to pursue Fulbright opportunities,” Chung said. “Fulbright grants give us Americans opportunities to repay our great debts to the world through our ‘soft power’ of research, scholarship and teaching.”

David Scott Diffrient

Professor of Film and Media Studies
Department of Communication Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Award: Fulbright Distinguished Scholar
Project title: “Film, Media, and the Study of Human Rights”
Duration: September 2021-June 2022
Host institution: Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

David Scott Diffrient, professor of film and media studies and director of programming for CSU’s ACT Human Rights Film Festival, was awarded a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar grant to develop and introduce courses into existing curriculum at South Korea’s Yonsei University.

Drawing upon years of professorial experience and a commitment to the prospect of creating positive social change at home and abroad, Diffrient intends to create timely, relevant courses for Yonsei students.

Diffrient said he sees one of his proposed courses, “Contemporary Human Rights Cinema,” as a reflection of his philosophy toward a mode of cinematic praxis that shapes people’s opinions about rights violations. He also views the course as a product of his related scholarly research, including a co-authored manuscript titled Movie Minorities: Transnational Rights Advocacy and South Korean Cinema, slated for publication in August 2021 by Rutgers University Press.

Diffrient said he will strive to incorporate into his courses interviews with social justice-focused documentarians with whom he has developed connections over the years, including Korean filmmaker Seung-jun Yi, so that his students might learn directly from the source about the challenges involved in making films of this nature.

“The value of teaching such a course at Yonsei is that students will be able to utilize resources available at the university’s Human Rights Center,” Diffrient said. “By accessing those materials, students will gain a deeper understanding of the historical contexts in which cinematic texts and other cultural productions were created and distributed, as well as the meanings that audiences attach to works that inspire social and political change.”

Aaron Eakman

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy
Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Health and Human Sciences

Award: Fulbright Scholar
Project title: “Sleep Health through University Student Habits”
Duration: Fall 2021
Host institution: Yamagata Prefectural University of Health Sciences, Yamagata, Japan

Aaron Eakman, associate professor of occupational therapy in the Department of Occupational Therapy at CSU, will complete his Fulbright scholarship work at Japan’s Yamagata Prefectural University of Health Sciences, partnering with the school’s Occupational Therapy Department Head Toshiaki Sato to conduct a pilot study, which aims to determine the prevalence and nature of sleep disturbances in YPUHS occupational therapy students.

“The goal is to develop and test a culturally sensitive sleep improvement program, thereby promoting the sleep health of YPUHS students,” Eakman said.

Working with YPUHS collaborators, Eakman will create materials and methods for a brief sleep improvement intervention using findings from a cultural adaptation of an intervention he developed for post-9/11 military veterans experiencing chronic insomnia. The project team then will implement a waitlist control trial of the culturally adapted intervention in a sample of YPUHS students experiencing identified sleep-related difficulties.

Eakman’s ongoing research also addresses resilience and academic success of veterans in college, as well as theoretical and measurement development on meaningful activities and their relationships with human development, health and well-being.

“I am excited to better understand the nature of sleep difficulties in university students,” Eakman said. “Co-creating a sleep improvement program with occupational therapy colleges at Yamagata Prefectural University of Health Sciences will deepen how we all view sleep health.”

Stephen Leisz

Professor of Geography
Department of Anthropology and Geography, College of Liberal Arts

Award: Fulbright Global Scholar
Project title: “Introducing New Pedagogical Experiences: Integrating Research into Teaching about Land-Use Change at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture”
Duration: Spring 2022
Host institution: Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Hanoi, Vietnam

Stephen Leisz, professor of geography and director of the Land Change Science and Remote Sensing Lab at CSU, received a Fulbright Global Scholar grant to complete a semester-long project at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture in Hanoi.

Leisz will spend much of Spring 2022 working directly with university lecturers to develop two new courses, utilizing new and emerging pedological methods. The remainder of his Fulbright stay will involve collaborative fieldwork with VNUA students. Ultimately, he sees his Fulbright project improving VNUA’s capacity for education and research on land-use changes as well as complex socio-ecological drivers in Vietnam’s deltas and uplands.

“Vietnam is one of the most rapidly modernizing countries in the world,” he said. “To address this, the (Vietnamese) government needs a better understanding of the land-use changes taking place, and administrators and rural extension workers need to be trained to understand these changes and their implications.”

Leisz plans to integrate material developed through his Fulbright in Vietnam into his courses at CSU, including a Hanoi-based study abroad course for students in CSU’s Land Change Science Field School, which he hoped to host in Summer 2021 but had to postpone due to Vietnam’s pandemic-related travel restrictions.

At the Land Change Science and Remote Sensing Lab, Leisz collaborates with CSU students to study the use of remote-sensing technologies and GIS to interpret and analyze satellite imagery and aerial photography in order to investigate changes in land-cover, land-use, and the drivers of both. To date, the lab has investigated land-use and land-cover changes in Southeast Asia, Melanesia, Africa, Colorado, Alaska and Canada.

Ernesto Sagas

Professor of Ethnic Studies
Department of Ethnic Studies, College of Liberal Arts

Award: Fulbright Scholar
Project title: “Teaching and Researching about Race, Class, and Gender in Bolivia: An Intersectional Comparative Perspective”
Duration: Spring 2022, Summer 2023
Host institution: Universidad Católica Boliviana (Bolivian Catholic University), La Paz, Bolivia

Ethnic Studies Professor Ernesto Sagás is a political scientist whose research examines the intersections of race and politics, focusing specifically on constructions of citizenship, the extension of political rights, and the creation of dominant ideologies based on racialized others.

Sagás has led numerous alternative spring break trips, enabling CSU students to experience and improve understandings of social and environmental justice issues in the mountains and rainforests of Ecuador, immigration and border issues in Tucson, Arizona, and issues related to human and environmental sustainability in Cuba.

In Spring 2022 and Summer 2023, Sagás will complete his Fulbright scholarship at the Universidad Católica Boliviana – conducting research, lecturing and teaching short-term undergraduate courses in American Studies, including Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, Contemporary Social and Political Issues in American Studies, and Latinx Populations in the United States.

Through his Fulbright project, Sagás will explore dominant mestizaje (race-mixing) ideologies in Bolivian society. He then will contrast the project’s findings with similar case studies, compiled from decades of research in the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations.

Sagás’ Fulbright plans also include delivering public lectures at local institutions, networking and publishing with colleagues from Bolivian universities, and serving as a goodwill ambassador representing CSU and U.S. citizens abroad.

“I’m excited by the possibility of lecturing in Spanish to Bolivian college students on topics related to American society and its political institutions, at a time when the rest of the world is trying to make sense of our changing nation,” said Sagás. “My comparative research in Bolivia will allow me to create new courses at CSU and embark on a new research project for years to come.”