Meet Our Program Director: Guangzhi Huang, PhD

Dr. Huang is the director of Interdisciplinary Studies within the College of Humanities and Sciences, as well as an assistant professor within the program. You’ll find him teaching within the Hallmarks Program for General Education.

What do you do here at Jefferson?

I am teaching Topics in American Studies in my first semester, but I will be teaching other interdisciplinary studies and Hallmarks courses in the future. I am currently working on a book proposal on how whiteness informs urbanization in post-socialist China, or a mode of urban growth I term Imaginary White Cultural Space.  Specifically, this project investigates how this mode of urban growth motivated the social control on African communities in the city of Guangzhou.

How long have you been at Jefferson?

I am totally new. Fall 2022 is my first semester.

What is the best part of your job?

Having super friendly, welcoming, and supportive colleagues is just amazing. From my job interviews to working with them over the summer, I felt right at home. I was working with a group of faculty during the summer to develop a new American Vision course and it felt so natural and it was like I had worked with them for a long time.

What’s one piece of advice you give students?

The one piece of advice I would give students is be committed. Over the years, I have worked with students of various backgrounds. Surprisingly, it was not always the smartest students that had the most success, but those that were most committed. You do not have to be a genius to excel in college, but you do have to be consistent in completing different tasks diligently. It could be overwhelming, but being committed does not mean that you are in this battle, so to speak, alone. Being committed also means being proactive, reaching out to people, especially professors and advisers who can help you along the way. The University offers many different resources to help students succeed and students should all take advantage of them. Students rarely fail because of their abilities, but mostly because they have lost the motivation and fail to turn in work or show up in class.

What’s something people would be surprised to find out about you?

I grew up hating reading, especially politics and history. I found it tedious and had a hard time staying focused. I failed many history exams in high school. During college, I increasingly found myself unable to have deep intellectual conversations with my peers. I began to realize the benefits of reading. Although it is not always interesting, reading is perhaps the most rewarding exercise. The knowledge and insight you gain from reading make you a better thinker and person.

Please tell us about any awards or appointments you’ve recently received:

I was recently invited to join an initiative called Global Systemic Racism organized by UC Berkeley. The initiative brings together a group of scholars from various disciplines examining institutional and structural racism within various contexts. We have met two times in the past ear and are currently working on the publication of an edited volume.