Professor to study American identity

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Larry Griffin, Ph.D., director of American Studies and College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences research professor, was awarded a scholarship to study in the Netherlands this fall.

Griffin was awarded the Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair in January. The prestigious award is only given to scholars with significant experience and published research in their fields.

“When I found out that I had been awarded a distinguished chair, I was really very pleased and excited,” Griffin said. “It’s a relatively rare accomplishment, and it’s one that I value deeply.”

Being a part of the Fulbright program will also allow Griffin to teach his students more effectively once he returns to GSU after the 2013 fall semester.

“I’m going to have a perspective in the future that I don’t have right now,” Griffin said. “I will have a much better sense of how we are perceived [in the Netherlands] and I can use their perceptions of the U.S. to inform our students here about America’s role in the world and how other folks view us.”

Griffin’s research on the American identity focuses on what American citizens believe to be true American qualities and who they consider to be “real Americans.”

At the Roosevelt Study Center in the Netherlands, Griffin will be able to compare his findings on an international scale and start to understand how other countries perceive Americans.

“I’m really looking forward to being there with these scholars and talking about these ideas, learning about their culture and giving them a sense – or my sense – of my culture or our cultures that make up the American culture,” Griffin said.

The idea of the American identity is an important idea to understand because the U.S. is a now changing country, Griffin said.

By being a Fulbright Scholar, Griffin will gain experience and knowledge that could help the university understand the American identity.

“I think this is really important over academic or theoretical matters,” Griffin said. “I think a lot of Americans, and I suspect a lot of folks in other cultures, are having to make sense out of a world that is very different.”