Jonathan Schroeder ’99, an English and classics double major at Dartmouth College, was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. Jonathan will study English literature and its potential as an expression of Singaporean culture at the National University in Singapore.
During the summer of 2002 Jonathan worked at the National University as a research assistant reading local writing and critical works on Singaporean literature.
As a Fulbright Scholar, Jonathan hopes to expand and build upon his thesis work in preparation for a Ph.D. program in English. His thesis analyzes the attempts by Singaporean poets to create a cultural identity and voice in a country with a complicated history of colonization, modernization and hybrid ethnic and national identities.
Although English has been the language of instruction in Singapore for nearly thirty years, “because the institution of English as a national language is a fairly recent phenomenon, people’s English away from the classroom is not very pure,” Schroeder explained. Rather, Singapore natives speak a hybrid language, called Singlish, which features English words mixed in with unofficial words from various Chinese dialects.
According to Jonathan this hybridity creates challenges for the Singaporean writer. ” Analyzing various works by Singaporean writers and poets, Jonathan will seek to discover “how these works negotiate the tremendous difficulty of establishing a style and a voice where no written equivalent existed before.”
The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship program in international educational exchange, makes grants to U.S. citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities, primarily university lecturing, advanced research, graduate study and teaching in elementary and secondary schools.