USC Upstate News

Two USC Upstate Professors Receive Grants To Pursue Research

08- 27- 2009

Spartanburg, S.C. - The Office of Sponsored Awards and Research Support at the University of South Carolina Upstate announces that Dr. Qiliang He, assistant professor of East Asian history, and Dr. Rachel Snow, assistant professor of art history, have received Research Opportunity Program (ROP) awards from USC Columbia.

The ROP program is an internal funding competition, open to all USC system campuses, designed to encourage faculty to develop individual research projects leading to the pursuit of external funding sources or the promotion of scholarly activities. Both plan to use their awards for travel that will help further their research for their ongoing book projects.

Quilang HeDr. He, who received an award of $9,336, says that his research project will culminate in three chapters of a book manuscript about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) cultural reforms in the latter half of the twentieth century. The three chapters will address such topics as the CCP bureaucrats’ understanding and management of the cultural market and reform, storytellers’ experiences in working for commercial venues and resistance against the government’s attempt to collectivize artists, and the CCP’s censorship (or lack thereof) of classic pingtan stories.

“My preliminary research in 2007 and 2008 has generated an article, Between Bureaucrats and Business: Pingtan Storytelling in Maoist and Post-Maoist China. This article, which has been accepted for publication by Modern China, the leading journal in modern Chinese history, will be expanded into another two chapters. Therefore, this research project will be the final stage of my on-going three-year long research plan to author a book,” says Dr. He. 

Rachel SnowDr. Snow says that she will use the funding for four research trips to gather primary sources that will comprise the content and illustrations for her book on snapshot photography. Her $10,000 award will allow her to travel to see major photographic archives and art museums including The George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y.; The John Hartman Center at Duke University in Durham, N.C.; The TATE Museum in London, England; and the Mass Observation Archive at The University of Sussex in Brighton, England.  She also plans to travel to San Francisco to see collector Barbara Levine’s extensive snapshot holdings.

Of 126 applications submitted, Drs. He and Snow were two of the 31 selected for funding.

Criteria for ROP allow for three award categories. Both Drs. He and Snow were awarded in category II, which is for the general development, expansion or enhancement of faculty research and creative activity. These funds are focused on research contributions that increase academic, intellectual and scholarly activity. Category I is heavy research and category III is for arts projects (performances, etc). 

More information on the ROP is available online at or by contacting Elaine Marshall, director of Sponsored Awards, at (864) 503-5331 or  Dr. He can be reached at (864) 503- 5726 or  Dr. Snow can be reached at (864) 503-5853 or