Have you ever been inspired to do an entire summer’s worth of research abroad by simply googling the authors of your art history textbook? For Addison Wang, senior art history major, this was the case that lead her to spend the summer of 2018 traveling across a dozen provinces in China for her Richter Scholar research. The Richter Scholarship is awarded to Wake Forest students to pursue enriching, broadening, and life-changing independent research.
Addison was particularly interested in the unique aesthetic qualities that mosques in China, built between the 14th-17th century, had in comparison to other mosques around the world. During the Google search that inspired her summer abroad, Addison realized that the Chinese mosques were a hybrid of styles, most closely related to traditional Islamic architecture. Her summer consisted of doing fieldwork, talking to people in the area, a massive amount of research, and traveling around and experiencing these beautiful mosques first-hand.
She was primarily guided by a particular article, which was written by three art historians who traveled around China and studied mosques as well. Their work and research were hugely inspiring to Addison, so most of her summer abroad was following in the footsteps of these three art historians. Here is a link to the article.
Addison says that her favorite part of her research was bringing the knowledge and methodologies that the Art History Program gave her so that she could go into a field that had not previously been part of her studies. Addison was able to teach herself how to critically examine Chinese art history with the skills that she learned as a student of the Art History Program in the Wake Forest University Department of Art.
A little about Addison Wang: Addison is a senior art history major from Qingdao, China. Currently, Addison is working on finishing her undergraduate degree but has aspirations to study Islamic art history in graduate school. She says that the Richter Scholarship Program is such an amazing opportunity for WFU undergraduate students, especially those interested in researching humanities and the arts.