#UMFulbright 2017-2018 Cohort: Sam Shuman
U-M Named Fulbright Top Producer
For the thirteenth straight year, the University of Michigan tops public universities for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program (IIE) with 25 students. The 2017-2018 grantees are a diverse cohort, researching a wide range of global issues or serving as assistants to English teachers throughout Europe, South America, East Asia, Latin America, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered on campus by the International Institute. “This year’s outstanding results demonstrate the university’s enduring commitment to international education, and the International Institute is a proud partner in the goal to connect our leaders and best to the world,” said Elizabeth Dutridge-Corp, Fulbright program advisor at the International Institute.
The role of the Fulbright Program advisors at the International Institute is to provide applicants with the resources necessary to put forth a compelling and competitive application. “We hold information sessions and advising throughout the year, but we succeed because of the support from the International Institute and U-M faculty who participate in the campus process, which is a big part of what allows U-M applicants to excel in this competition," explains Dutridge-Corp. The campus deadline for the 2019-2020 competition is August 31, 2018. For more information, please contact a U-M Fulbright advisor: email@example.com.
Fulbright Research Belgium:
Sam Shuman (PhD candidate sociocultural anthropology ’21) has been in Belgium for eight months, researching how the reterritorialization of labor and capital within the global diamond supply chain is shifting how trade is conducted within the industry. “Diamond middlemen or ‘brokers’ are rapidly being cut out of the trade,” he explains, “reflecting a broader economic process called disintermediation.” By focusing on the vanishing brokers, Sam hopes to find clues as to the direction global, supply-chain capitalism is moving.
He’s spending the majority of his time in Antwerp with the Hasidic Jewish community, a workforce in the diamond industry that has been economically displaced by regulations and relocation. Through oral history interviews, Sam can reconstruct the lives and work places of Hasidic cleavers and polishers prior to the 1970s relocation of manufacturing to the global South. Participant-observation gives him a picture of the daily life of trading and the disintermediation of brokerage at this historical juncture.
This fieldwork has also taught Sam that his research can’t exclusively revolve around one city (Antwerp) or even one country (Belgium). “After Fulbright, I’ll be expanding my research to Ramat Gan, Israel, and Bombay, India.” Sam is planning a career in academia, as well as writing an ethnography based on his dissertation research.
"I applied to the Fulbright program because of its commitment to international research and collaboration," he says. And he was drawn to the reciprocity and exchange built into the infrastructure. “Fulbright sends grantees from the United States to countries strewn across the globe, and brings grantees from other countries to the U.S.,” he explains. “I can’t think of a more important exchange in these perilous times.”
His advice for anyone interested in applying to Fulbright is to give genuine thought to the selected country. “It shouldn’t be an afterthought; it should guide your research proposal.”
In addition to being awarded a Fulbright scholarship, Sam has been awarded an International Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and a Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
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