Scripps at Hunan Women’s University

In June, a delegation of Scripps faculty and students traveled to Hunan Women’s University in Hunan, China.

Their journey was at the invitation of Hunan’s Women’s University (HWU) President Luo Ting, who had previously visited the Scripps campus to learn more about the College and its unique approach to women’s education. Established in 1985, HWU is the largest women’s college in China and one of only five in the country, serving approximately 9,000 undergraduates who major in subjects ranging from art and literature, to politics and law, to science and information technology. During the weeklong visit, the Scripps delegation found ways to connect with the host school via oneto- one faculty exchanges of expertise, a panel on liberal arts education, rehearsals and performances with HWU musicians, and by teaching classes such as Music by Women Composers and The Development of Social Gender that were open to HWU students and faculty alike.

According to Professor of French Thierry Boucquey, this cross-cultural exchange resulted in “very beneficial outcomes” for both sides. “We gained new insights and methodologies, shared achievements as well as challenges—such as the best ways to nurture student interests—and our discussion fostered a sense of camaraderie.”

One highlight of the visit was the “Second Concert of Women’s Artistic Leadership,” which brought Scripps and HWU together to celebrate music of both cultures and emphasize women’s contributions as composers and performers. The June 10 event followed a smaller program staged at HWU the previous year to mark Associate Professor of Music Anne Harley’s visit; this installment, attended by more than 1,500 people, included performances by Scripps faculty Gayle Blankenburg, Hao Huang, Rachel Vetter Huang, and Harley, as well as a number of HWU faculty and students. “The atmosphere was like a rock concert, with the audience milling around, talking, and cheering,” recalls Blankenburg.

The program featured traditional Chinese and Western art music, such as works by Western composers Felix Mendelssohn, Claude Debussy, and George Gershwin, as well as two movements from Sonata by Amy Beach, the first American woman composer to win significant national and international recognition. For Blankenburg, the opportunity to bring Western art music to China was significant, as it “is quite different from traditional Chinese art music, and Chinese teachers and students do not always have a complete understanding of it.” Trips like these, she says, “help the Chinese faculty and students learn in greater depth about the important facets and nuances of Western art music.”

The success of this Scripps endeavor highlights the need for future international trips. As Huang observes, such visits not only “strengthen ties with sister schools dedicated to higher education for women abroad, but also help raise the international profile of Scripps College as a leader in women’s higher education. In fact, several faculty have already been invited back, which is the best indication of overseas success!”

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SCRIPPS’ CHINA DELEGATION

Anne Harley (Delegation leader)
Associate professor of music;
chair of the Music Department

Gayle Blankenburg
Lecturer in music

Thierry Boucquey
Professor of French

Piya Chatterjee
Dorothy Cruickshank Backstrand
Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies;
chair of the Feminist, Gender,
and Sexuality Studies Department

Hao Huang
Bessie and Cecil Frankel Endowed
Chair in Music; professor of music

Rachel Vetter Huang
Adjunct professor of music

Amy Marcus-Newhall
Professor of psychology; interim president

Yuqing Lei ’18

Moore (Youming) Chen ’17

Rachel (Yinghan) Qi ’17

 

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