Congratulations to Amy Zhang and Annie Hui for receiving 2019 Summer Research Fellowships from George Mason University Office of the Provost. Read below to learn more about their research and their plans to use their grants.
Amy Zhang: Legitimacy and Museums of Fine Art in the Arabian Peninsula
My dissertation asks why are large-scale fine art museums sought by states in the Arabian Peninsula, and why is the legitimacy of these museums challenged? This project applies content and discourse analysis to western journalism and commentary about art museums in the Arabian Peninsula. Using these museums and their reception as cases, she explores the construction and maintenance of legitimacy in the contemporary fine art world and investigates the possibility of "globalization of art" with particular attention to shared dynamics experienced by relatively new and non-western actors and institutions in the global fine arts world.
Annie Hui: Appropriating Resistance: The Politics of Mass Cultural Symbols in Sites of Protest
My proposed dissertation will examine appropriations of mass cultural symbols in contemporary social protest movements in order to understand the potentials of popular culture in affecting political change. My research specifically explores the three-finger salute from The Hunger Games as first seen in 2014 pro-democracy protests in Thailand as a primary international site that highlights the counterhegemonic potential of mass culture and the use of popular culture to exert a collective identity to demand social change. The three-finger salute in Thai protests is a defining and lasting symbol of the pro-democracy movement, with protestors and activists drawing comparisons between the narrative of The Hunger Games and the current military rule of Thailand. The 2019 Summer Research Fellowship would allow me to research the political uses of the three-finger salute through primary and secondary sources, to draft an outline of the three main chapters of my dissertation, and to create a foundation for my research dataset.
March 14, 2019