Western Washington University Associate Professor of Journalism Brian J. Bowe has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to Jordan and will be traveling there in January to begin teaching for five months. Bowe is one of 800 U.S. citizens selected who will teach, conduct research or provide expertise abroad for the upcoming academic year.
The Fulbright program is an international educational exchange program that is sponsored by the U.S. government. Its premise is to build long lasting connections between the U.S. and other countries.
“This has been a lifelong goal of mine,” Bowe said. “I was thrilled when I got this because I really believe in what the Fulbright stands for, this idea of person-to-person diplomacy, which I think has the potential to be really powerful.”
Bowe will teach mass communication theory to graduate students under the University of Jordan’s American Studies program in Amman. The American Studies program is located in the Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II School of International Studies
“I think studying mass communication is an amazing way of getting to know a place because mass communication does help shape our world, but it's also shaped by the media system and by the local culture,” Bowe said.
His students will learn about American culture through the mass communication landscape and conduct comparisons on how U.S. media is different than Jordanian media. As a result, Bowe will in turn learn about the Jordanian media system and culture.
“It is going to be a really exciting exchange being able to strike a balance between what I can offer and what I am going to take away,” he said.
Bowe applied for the Jordan Fulbright because it aligns with his research interests including media representation of Muslims and his related interest in the Arabic language.
He has been preparing for his trip by taking Arabic courses at Western. One of his summer projects is to continue learning the language through self-taught methods, and his goal is to be able to read and communicate on a basic level in Arabic.
Bowe looks forward to pushing himself in his Arabic speaking, making friends, creating contacts and expanding his community.
“There is something about the program. It really sounds transformative on a personal level,” Bowe said. “I am walking into this experience intellectually open and ready for the experience to tell me what I need to take away from it.”
He has conducted extensive research in his areas of interest, but he is excited to be academically inspired by his new experiences in Jordan.
“I am not going to Jordan with a particular research project in mind, but I definitely want to come back with an idea, and hopefully new collaborators with whom I can work,” Bowe said.
Bowe also has a background in music journalism and is looking forward to experiencing Jordan’s music culture
“I am excited about trying to merge my professional background in music journalism with academic research and see what that looks like in this cultural context,” Bowe said.
Along with receiving the Fulbright award, Bowe has two books that will be published in January 2019 as part of Enslow Publishing’s “Bands that Rock” series of biographies for young adults. Bowe wrote books about punk rock innovators The Clash and The Ramones. He will also receive the second place Promising Professor award at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual conference in August.
For more information about his upcoming Fulbright to Jordan, contact Bowe at firstname.lastname@example.org.