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Indiana University


EASC Newsletter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

June 2015


Critical Area Studies Symposium

In April, scholars and students representing IU’s broad array of area studies programs convened on the IU Bloomington campus for the first Critical Area Studies in a Global Era (CASGE) workshop, sponsored by IU’s Center for the Study of Global Change. The event was meant to foster dialogue on new directions in area studies while providing a venue for interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration. Panel presentations by Professor Aziza Khazzoom (Near East Languages and Cultures), Professor Pedro Machado (History), and Professor Vicky Meretsky (SPEA) kicked off the day-long event. Each scholar introduced a different framework through which to understand borderless spaces and sovereignties.


The presentations were followed by break-out sessions in which students and faculty critically reexamined the idea of “area studies” and spent time examining the opportunities availed by inclusion in IU’s new School of Global and International Studies, where area studies departments and centers will physically relocate later this summer. Graduate students Samson Lotven (Linguistics) and Anthony Ross (EALC) acted as representatives for East Asia. After the event, Lotven commented that “it is good to see this type of communication about the challenges that face Area Studies beginning before the move to SGIS. It makes me hopeful that open discussion will continue in the new school and that the diverse centers will strengthen in their unity.”


The event concluded with a student-professionalization session led by professors Heidi Ross (Education) and Kevin Jacques (Islamic Studies). Students gained insights about how to translate their analytical skills, language proficiency, and area studies knowledge into careers outside of the academy.


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EASC Supporting Youngest Learners of Chinese
University Elementary School


Third grade students in Mrs. Abigail Grose’s classroom at University Elementary School in Bloomington, Indiana now have the opportunity to participate in weekly lessons in Chinese language and culture.  Each week, students learn about a different aspect of Chinese culture, such as school life or holidays and celebrations, and are introduced to a new language concept.  Language lessons are taught through songs, games, videos, books, and other engaging materials, many purchased with assistance from the East Asian Studies Center.  Kelley School of Business graduate student Yan Huo volunteers her time to help students perfect their pronunciation and to share stories about her experiences growing up in China.  “We are so grateful to the EASC, not only for providing us with the means to secure materials to facilitate engaging lessons for the students, but also for connecting us with Yan.  The students love to ask her questions, and she offers a unique perspective to their studies,” Grose remarked.  The program aims to give students a better understanding of Chinese culture and spark students’ interest for language learning.

Jackson Creek Middle


The Chinese classes at Monroe County Community School Corporation have just celebrated the second Chinese New Year and are looking forward to an even bigger and better school year in 2015-2016. One of the main focuses that the schools have in the language program is fostering an interest in the language and culture of another country. In the Chinese class, students not only learn the language, but are also immersed in Chinese culture through popular music videos, traditional ethnic foods from all parts of China, and political debates such as Chinese economic growth and environmental concerns. With support from the East Asian Studies Center at Indiana University, Jackson Creek Middle School’s Chinese class teacher David Chen was able to purchase teaching materials to enrich the library and facilitate hands-on cultural activities.“ We are so fortunate to be able to start a language program at the middle school level so that we can give our students an advantage in learning a very difficult language.” Chen said.


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EASC Hosts First Annual Korean Speech Competition

“They told me, ‘Congratulations on being accepted to the top university in North Korea!’ As it turned out, it was the only university in North Korea.” Marina Dmukhovskaya’s (MA EALC) speech on her time as a student in Pyeongyang, North Korea elicited enthusiastic applause not only for its humorous content but also for its surprisingly fluent delivery. Dmukhovskaya, dressed in pink hanbok for the occasion, was awarded first place in the advanced level of IU’s first annual Korean Speech Contest, held this past March on the IU campus.


A total of 11 brave undergraduate and graduate students from various departments at IU participated in the inaugural contest. Participants were asked to compose a short speech on one of three topics: “The US-Korean relationship,”  “A memorable experience in Korea,” or “Why I’m studying Korean.” Anthony Ross (MA EALC), who was master of ceremonies, secured initial funding with a grant from the U.S. Dept. of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. He noted that there were few outlets for Korean speaking students to practice their speaking skills in a meaningful way. “I thought about similar speaking contests for Chinese and Japanese speakers, and felt there was a gap I could fill at IU,” he explained. EASC, EALC, and the Korean Conversation Club (KCC) contributed additional support for the event. Even the local Korean community pitched in its support, with 4th Street’s Korea Restaurant offering meal discounts to winners.


Other first place winners included Megan Vinson (BA Linguistics/Anthropology) in beginner level and Morgan Porter (BA Linguistics) in intermediate. Following the speeches, KCC sponsored a trivia contest about Korea for the audience, covering topics ranging from Korean geography to pop culture. Correct responses were awarded with goody bags full of Korean snacks. MA student David Kendall (EALC), who spent over 20 years in Korea as a teacher and editor, concluded the event with a light-hearted account of intercultural misunderstanding.


KCC President Min Kyu Kim commented that he “was pleasantly delighted to hear a lot of great speeches” and “was also impressed by how speakers were well prepared.” Based on the success of this year’s event, there are plans to incorporate IU’s speech contest into a larger regional preliminary round next year, the winner of which would travel to compete in Toronto’s international Korean speech competition next spring.


EASC again congratulates all of this year’s participants and thanks the judges and supporters who helped make the event a success. 우리 다음해 만나길 바랍니다!


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Japanese Olympiad 2015

The 2015 annual Japanese Olympiad of Indiana (JOI) was held at Purdue University in February. The competition brought together more than 60 students from seven Indiana high schools to test their knowledge of Japanese language, culture, and history in a fast-paced “Jeopardy”-style competition. This year’s event was cosponsored by the Association of Indiana Teachers of Japanese (AITJ), Purdue’s Asian Studies Program and Department of East Asian Languages, the Chicago Consulate General of Japan, the Los Angeles Japan Foundation, and EASC.


Chesterton High School won both the second and fourth year-level Japanese competition and placed third in the third- year Japanese competition. Connersville High School won the third-year level, with Michigan City, Valparaiso, and Highland High Schools also placing. In addition to competing in the Japanese Olympiad, participants took part in a variety of cultural activities, including learning tea ceremony, watching Japanese movies, learning origami, making crafts, and learning Japanese games.


For more information on AITJ and the Japanese Olympiad, visit their homepage.


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East Asian Book Workshop Brings Students, Scholars Together

In spring 2014, EASC began one of its most innovative programs yet, the East Asian Book Workshop. While the workshop originally focused only on Korean studies, as of this past fall it has expanded to include authors who do research on China and Japan. The workshop, held three times a semester, is unique in that it both involves the participation of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, EASC’s consortium partner, and utilizes cutting-edge videoconferencing technology.


Students who register for the workshop read a previously agreed upon work by an author engaged in research related to East Asia. The workshop appeals to both graduate students whose research focuses on the topics of discussion as well as those students who are particularly inquisitive and would like to explore in depth a topic that interests them.


In April, students were given the opportunity to meet with Daniel Gardner of Smith College and Laura Miller of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Students read Professor Gardner’s book Confucianism: A Very Short Introduction, part of Oxford University Press’s Very Short Introduction series. During the workshop, Gardner elaborated on the role of Confucianism in the conceptualization and recording of history and its status as a religion vs. a moral philosophy, and also talked about his forthcoming book on pollution in 21st century China

Professor Miller’s workshop focused on two of her articles: “Elevator Girls,” which examined the history and gendered nature of the elevator girl profession in Japan, and “Cute Masquerade,” which treated the problematic representation of women in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Cool Japan campaign.


In February, students met with anthropologist Sealing Cheng from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, whose monograph, On the Move for Love, looked at the practices and beliefs of migrant Fillipina entertainers in South Korea.


Students interested in participating in the fall East Asian Book Workshop should for more information.


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EASC Gets Animated with Spring Film Series

The 2014-15 East Asian Film Series departed from its standard format to offer three animated films that brought visions of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean society to life. The series kicked off in February with a screening of the dark coming of age film King of Pigs (Yeon Sang-ho, 2011). The film, which won multiple awards at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival, explores issues of bullying, violence, and class stratification in S. Korea through the reminiscences of three high school friends.


The film series continued in March with the lighter Te Wei Animated Shorts, a collection that showcased the range of the animator’s signature drawing style. From the Disney-style character animation of The Conceited General, Te Wei and his collaborators move into a more lyrical, painterly style, culminating in 1988’s Feeling from Mountain and Water, which takes the form of a traditional Chinese shanshui landscape painting come to life.


Kon Satoshi’s Paprika (2006) concluded the series in April. Based on Yasutaka Tsutsui’s novel of the same name, the film follows a young therapist’s plot to recover a stolen machine that allows therapists to enter their patients’ dreams. 


The film series will resume again in fall 2015. Special thanks to Professor Stephanie DeBoer (CMCL) and CMCL graduate students Forrest Greenwood and Amanda Bates for their help in organizing the series.


The East Asian Film Series is cosponsored by the IU Cinema, a world-class facility and program dedicated to the scholarly study and highest standards of exhibition of film in its traditional and modern forms. For more information on the facility or programs, call 812-856-2503 or visit


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