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Indiana University


Director’s Letter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

December 2014

Letter from the Director

With greenery and ribbons adorning buildings across campus and the Nutcracker standing at stern attention in the MAC lobby, it is past time that we send you this newsletter with our holiday greetings from the East Asian Studies Center. We hope that you enjoy our snapshot of Fall 2014 at EASC.

The semester commenced with our annual EASC/EALC welcome back party, at which we took the College 2014 Themester theme, “eat, drink, think,” (at least eat and drink) very seriously.  From this auspicious beginning, the weeks flowed by, punctuated by grant and report writing; visiting delegations; films; pedagogy workshops; seminars and conferences, including the First International Symposium on Chinese Language Teaching and Learning; webinars; our “meet the author” East Asian Book Workshop for graduate students; and provocative colloquia and special lectures that brought us Dam Close, Good Mourning, the Fragrant and Bedazzling.  The second annual Korean Night extravaganza packed the School of Education with nearly 500 people, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations China Town Hall reminded us, through the wisdom of live-streamed 90 year young President Jimmy Carter, guest speaker Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch, and IU’s own Gardner Bovingdon, of the critical role of bearing witness to good governance.

Each and every one of these activities was made possible by the dedication of EASC staff.  Please join me in thanking Theresa Kang, Associate Director; Melissa Berry, Database/Office Services Coordinator; Kayleigh Burgess and Young Hwang, Outreach Assistants; Cathy Gao, Outreach Coordinator; David Nolan, Accounting Services Coordinator, Joshua Owens, Program Assistant; Anthony Ross, Program Assistant; Samson Lotven, Program Assistant; and JC Wamsley, Grants Assistant.

In the following articles and reports, we are delighted to share with you some of the accomplishments of our affiliated faculty, students, and alumni, who, after all, are our primary reason for being.  How we will miss one of our strongest EASC supporters, Professor Scott Kennedy, who is D.C.-bound to assume the position of Deputy Director of China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  So many congratulations are in order, but I can’t help noting Hope School of Fine Arts faculty member, Rowland Ricketts, just named one of ten 2014 Martha Stewart American Made winners, an accolade we don’t see on too many faculty resumes!

Finally, we have begun rolling out initiatives and activities supported by funds associated with our recent and hard-won re-designation as a 2014-2018 Title VI National Resource Center, in collaboration with our consortium partner, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at UIUC.  This fall the U.S. Department of Education awarded $22,743,107 to NRCs in 100 institutions of higher education; lists of all awardees are available here. We are fortunate to number among this prestigious group, and the reason we do is because of the strengths and educational outcomes of our East Asian Studies faculty and programs: from 2010 to 2013, UIUC and IU have issued 872 B.A.s, 63 M.A.s, and 147 Ph.D.s to students pursuing East Asian Studies degrees.

Title VI funding will allow us to support on-going programs such as the EASC Colloquium Series; a new incarnation of the annual Post-communist Workshop, titled “China, Russia and the World: Focus on Africa;” faculty and graduate student conference participation grants; and an expanded version of our annual National Dissertation Workshops that will partner the UIUC-IU consortium with its USC-UCLA counterpart. The focus of the four workshops, “EA Societies in the Globalizing World: Medieval to Contemporary,” is linked to our larger consortium theme, “Cultures of Global Learning and Citizenship in the Pacific Century: East Asian Studies for Campuses of the Future.” This theme animates a number of Title VI activities, including at UIUC a strong emphasis on study abroad and at IU an ambitious joint NRC initiative, Critical Area Studies for a Global Era, which will engage graduate students and faculty in re-considering the significance of our missions to liberal studies and the education of the next generation of area and global scholars.

What’s up for next semester?  Read on for previews.  One of our major tasks will be planning for EASC’s role in SGIS and the Center’s eventual move to the Global and International Studies Building.  I have donned a hard hat and clambered through the GISB construction zone, and I came away impressed by the expansive and challenging possibilities of that space for anchoring international studies for IU students in deep engagement with languages, cultures, and the humanities. 

Thank you all for your continued support, your suggestions for helping us do our job better—and Happy Holidays!