January 2, 2019
Assistant professor Dr. Guangzhi Huang – the newest faculty member to join MCLA’s Department of Interdisciplinary Studies – focuses his research on urban developments in contemporary China, and the interconnection between urbanization in China and Africa.
Urban development, Huang explained, is a racial, political, and global issue.
Involved in the Global Urban History Project – which brings together scholars from around the world who devote their research to the intersection of history and urban studies – he is investigating how a small community of African traders and rural migrants in the city of Guangzhou, China, are caught up in a complicated web of urban politics.
Research with a global scope is important for students to study, he said, because it shows how communities throughout the world are increasingly connected.
“As a scholar with broad interests, I am naturally attracted to fields that allow me the flexibility to explore methodologies and topics in different disciplines,” Huang explained. “I am drawn to interconnectedness of peoples, places, and histories.”
His focus on transnational studies, Huang said, is a perfect fit for him.
“I got to research a topic that straddles two continents, with a methodology that combines history and anthropology. I think having a global awareness and being able to use an interdisciplinary approach to understand social issues are vital to the growth of students, whom we are training so they may become responsible global citizens. Often times, social issues are multifaceted and call for comprehensive solutions.”
Stories that draw attention to how we share both physical and social spaces and ways that we strive to make the most sensible decisions based on our circumstances highlight our commonality as human beings, and de-emphasize our differences, Huang said.
He hopes his students will share his belief in universal humanity, and also become compassionate and responsible global citizens as they learn from his classes and listen to his personal experiences.