Alexander Benkhart ’11 has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to Japan. He will spend the 2011-12 academic year studying depictions of homosexuality in Japanese popular culture, and the relationship between the concepts expressed in popular culture and the identity politics of the Japanese gay rights movement. As an integral part of his research, he will continue to engage in intensive language study to familiarize himself with the vocabulary and methods of expressing and describing sexuality in the Japanese language.
In 2009 Benkhart spent the fall semester at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan, where he undertook an intensive language program. He also began translating the book Coming Out Letters edited by Hideki Sunagawa and RYOJI. In 2010 Benkhart was the recipient of an Emerson Grant to research the historical foundations and contemporary social significance of anime heroines.
Benkhart, an Asian studies and religious studies major, is a Dean’s List student. He is an intern for the Digital Humanities Project, and has worked on the tech crew and as a video archivist. Benkhart is co-chair of the Asian Cultural Society and is a founding member of the Social Justice Initiative.
Upon his return to the U.S. he will pursue a master’s degree in Japanese studies at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies. As part of this he will continue his work with the digital humanities, using and producing media for educational purposes.
Benkhart, a graduate of Tabor Academy, is the son of Carlyne Benkhart of Middletown, R.I., and Bruce Benkhart of East Woodstock, Conn.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study abroad for one academic year. The purpose of the Fulbright Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. The program is designed to give recent college graduates opportunities for personal development and international experience.
The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by Congress to the Department of State. The U.S. Student Program awards approximately 900 grants annually and currently operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.