By Maia Gabriel
A WSU professor of Chinese will travel to Canada on a scholarship to pursue research for his first book.
Professor Christopher Lupke was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship, which is only awarded to only 40 U.S. researchers or lecturers a year.
Lupke will travel to the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada in August to continue to write a book about filiality, Lupke said.
Filality is an ancient Chinese philosophical notion that stems from the ancestral belief system that people had to do certain things to please celestial beings, such as following morals and treating living elders with respect, he said.
This is the fourth time Lupke has won the Fulbright scholarship, he said.
University of Calgary invited Lupke to apply for the scholarship to conduct research at the university, he said. University of Calgary has a large Chinese studies department, a strong library connection, and a large native Chinese Canadian population.
Each time Lupke was awarded the scholarship he spent a year in Taiwan and two months in main land China, he said. There he worked on his dissertation and went back to continue his research.
“Not one day during my life since I’ve started Chinese studies have I woken up in the morning and said to myself, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore,’” he said. “I’ve always felt that it was extraordinarily rewarding.”
In May he will return to Henan University in Henan, China, he said. Lupke returns once a year to the university to lecture and interact with the faculty and students as part of a stipend.
“China is an important country,” he said. “It’s very different from us—socially and the way people think. Filiality is very big component of it. Most Americans don’t even know what it is. How can we understand China, how can we deal with them economically and politically if we don’t know something that’s a cornerstone to their civilization?”
Lupke encourages his students to study abroad to learn Chinese culture and language.
Anna Breigenzer, a math and Chinese senior, said Lupke encouraged her to study abroad as a freshman.
Although Breigenzer thought studying abroad would be too expensive, Lupke told Breigenzer to apply for a prestigious scholarship, she said. She went on to win the scholarship and studied abroad in China during her junior year.
“He’s always been that teacher that’s pushing me a little bit beyond what I initially want to do, but in the end it always turns out great, I’m happy with the results and it’s exactly what I want,” Breigenzer said.
Lucas Grisham, a Chinese and philosophy senior, said Lupke convinced him to study abroad in Harbin, China. Grisham will also study abroad in Taiwan this summer.
Lupke said he enjoys his role as a researcher, but finds joy in educating students.
“There’s no substitute for being able to take a group of college students who know nothing about a subject like this one—filiality—and to work with them for a semester and at the end they really know the ins and outs of the issue,” he said. “It’s just exhilarating.”