AB Sociology, 2021

From Tbilisi, Georgia

“I remember studying world history in high school and feeling a sense of protest inside: although the subject itself was one of my favorites, the textbook was so Eurocentric—as expected in a European country—that it had literally only three pages devoted to China, one of the world’s most ancient civilizations and biggest countries. When I expressed my disappointment, my teacher proposed that I visit China and explore the country’s history, culture, and the modern condition myself. Until I came to Princeton this seemed like a mid-career goal to me just as my teacher had implied, but through the Global Seminars program it can become a reality. A curious individual, I did not just keep waiting, though, until life would have decided to give me a chance to travel to China—I started to immerse myself in the books on Chinese history I found in my local library. After reading about various dynasties and even acquiring the Art of War, I felt equipped for dissecting contemporary China firsthand whenever possible. Soon my personal motivation was complemented with academic motivation as well. Realizing that my interest in the functioning of society and its institutions, patterns of individual relationships, effects of culture and economy on quotidian lives, as well as political dynamics between the government and people and among different states on a global scale, was pushing me into the discipline of sociology, I decided to devote my summer to exercising my sociologist muscles outside of classroom walls. The Global Seminar in China provides an invaluable opportunity to this end, especially through its multi-dimensional approach to contemporary Chinese society from religion to the juxtaposition of urban and rural areas.”