In the Spring of 2021, Chinese students will learn about American history and the Cold War from the unique perspective of a Ball State University history professor who is originally from the Soviet Union.
Sergei Zhuk has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to People’s Republic of China and will lecture at Guangzhou University of Foreign Studies as part of a project called “Teaching Chinese Students of American Colonial History and Cultural Cold War in Comparative Historical Perspective.”
Zhuk served as a professor of U.S. history in the 1980s and 1990s in the Soviet Union and then in post-Soviet Ukraine. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1997 and this is his first trip to China.
“I understand very well the teaching requirements and expectations, and college students’ mentality in socialist countries, such as China,” Zhuk said.
Recently, Zhuk has been researching KGB operations against the U.S. and Canada during the Cold War and Soviet “meddling” in American politics. He plans on incorporating his research into his teaching in China and getting feedback from Chinese students. That Chinese perspective could become another angle of scholarship in future publications and teaching at Ball State.
Zhuk plans on teaching a comparative history of colonization and religion in the United States and Eastern Europe since 1600; a history of popular culture, cultural consumption and identity formation during the Cold War; and a special seminar, called “Soviet Americana,” about American cultural influences in Eastern Europe since the 19th century.
He also will teach a seminar for Chinese upper-level undergraduate and graduate students, devoted to a comparative cultural history of the United States and Eastern Europe in the Cold War, focusing on various media, such as feature films, popular music and literature.
“I also plan public lectures for faculty, students and the general public, not only about a history of espionage and the KGB operations against ‘capitalist America,’ but also about the recent economic, political and cultural developments in the United States,” Zhuk said.
Fulbright Programs are an initiative within the U.S. Department of State to foster international goodwill and the exchange of ideas in education, culture, and science between the United States and more than 160 other countries.