Professor Profile: Dr. Tami Blumenfield

An interview with Dr. Tami Blumenfield, Asian Studies professor.

By Kelsey Lansberry

Where did you attend school?

I graduated from Oberlin College, lived in China for two years, then moved to Seattle to pursue a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology with a focus on China at the University of Washington.

What is your teaching background? What did you do before Furman?

I taught anthropology and Asian Studies courses at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon before coming to Furman.

picture by Margaret Rogers

Where in Asia have you traveled?

I have backpacked through Thailand, visited Japan, and spent time in Hong Kong. I have flown through South Korea but never left the airport. I have also traveled to Israel.

How would you describe your teaching philosophy?

I strive to build learning communities in my courses so that students can learn from one another and develop analytical skills. Whenever possible, I incorporate experiential learning into my courses. Last summer I enjoyed bringing a group of Furman students to China and, with Dr. Kaup, facilitating their learning as we travelled around and interacted with Chinese students from Suzhou University.

What’s your favorite thing about Furman so far?

I’ve really enjoyed the friendly, can-do attitude of the people at Furman. The other faculty have been very welcoming, and I appreciate my students’ perspectives on course material and life in this part of the country. They have already taught me the correct uses of the words ‘Ma’am’ and ‘y’all,’ and what to do if, closer to the coast, an alligator bites your hand.

 What are your hobbies outside of Asian Studies?

I enjoy hiking, biking, singing and swimming. I’m looking forward to exploring the mountains around Greenville.
Do you have any pets?

I have a 6-year-old dog. I brought him back from China with me after completing dissertation research there in 2006. I had to hide him in a train compartment for nearly three days before reaching a city that had international flights and could give us permissions to leave together.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

I am originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I have double-jointed thumbs.

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