Senior Jay Buchanan finds his passion for politics in every aspect of the world. A student who is deeply passionate about theater, education reform, travel and politics, he is able to justify finding an intersection between everything he pursues.
“I am of the belief that everything is political,” he said. “Even the act of being is political, in terms of thinking about theory. We all perform who we are and that’s a big part of life. Our identities shape our experiences and all of that relates back to politics.”
Though a dedicated student in the politics and international affairs major, Buchanan is also Presidential Scholar in his second major: theater. On campus, he has been a performer, a director, a dramaturgy and worked on design for many theatrical productions. However, his passion for the theater has also carried him across seas, as he was a Mullens Scholar in London where he had an internship with a local organization that works to help individuals gain access to the theater.
Originally hesitant to pursue a future in theater when he came to college, Buchanan eventually decided to overcome his fear and embrace his passion for performance. Relating to his interest in everything political, Buchanan easily recognizes the intersection between politics and the theater.
“Thinking about performativity of identity, the coordination between politics and theater is huge,” Buchanan said. “Theater means thinking about how I can get what I want from other actors on stage, which is also a deeply political act. ”
Further, the origins of the theater themselves lie in the political world, as do most things according to Buchanan.
“Going back to the origins of theater in Greece, the development of theater and development of democracy go hand-in-hand.,” he said. “Think about Plato and Socrates and the ways they communicated their earliest philosophies are through the theater.”
As a politics student, Buchanan has had a lot of time to reflect on his life experiences and how he has personally seen the world change. His sense of intuitiveness has taught him to see trends outside of those taught in the classroom. Through his two trips to London, Buchanan has witnessed global trends form a first-person perspective.
“I have determined that there are major forces of globalization happening in the world right now that drive most of human political activity, and always have, but in a digital age are hyperactive,” Buchanan said. “Seeing the way that urban development has worked out, globalization is definitely a major key in global frameworks as well as fiscal, diplomatic and military aspects.”
After graduating, Buchanan will progress his interest in art and remain in Winston-Salem to work at the START Gallery in Reynolda Village. With this position, he hopes to foster arts development on campus and around the Winston-Salem community. Following this one-year position, Buchanan will re-apply for the Fullbright Scholarship, as he was one of the finalists this year. He hopes to continue his theatrical studies by pursuing a masters, and potentially a doctoral degree, in performance practices and studies.
Though initially hesitant about where he would fit into campus as a freshman, Buchanan has grown to love the unique community of Wake Forest.
“I came in as a Presidential Scholar in the theater department and from a very strong high school, so I was pretty snobby,” he said. “I have since found that there are still certain issues that I recognized as a first year student, but it is a much better place full of better people than I ever imagined it would be.”