My name is Alison Roy-Ting, and I am a sophomore studying Chemistry at Stanford. Though I enjoy Chemistry, it represents only a small corner of my academic interests and I love to study history, economics, philosophy, etc. To satisfy one of my interests, I worked in Political Science over the summer, researching foreign direct investment. Outside of my studies, I like to practice karate, play basketball, dabble in tennis, attempt to wakeboard, and spend time with friends.
I am half-Caucasian and half-Taiwanese, and spent five years of my childhood in Hong Kong. Having grown up constantly reminded of my Asian heritage, I am now fascinated by China, and have chosen to examine the rhetoric of Mao Zedong for my research project. Mao represents a leader who, for all intents and purposes, achieved the status of demigod among the people of China. I’m curious how he was able to so successfully create a virtual religion (a Cult of Mao, if you will) in an atheistic nation. Specifically, I want to examine how Mao reinvented the ancient heritage of China to draw the people under his novel banner. On top of that, I want to consider how Mao balanced indirect propaganda strategies with his direct, ruthless tactics to control the country. How did these methods complement each other, and what did each accomplish individually?
I’m excited to see what I may find in these areas. More importantly, I look forward to our pending discussions on broader topics of modern leadership and international relations strategies, particularly as our world becomes more and more interconnected.
~ Alison Roy-Ting, Stanford University