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Indiana University


EASC Newsletter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

Fall 2017

East Asian Studies Center


  • Letter from the Director
  • Reports
  • IU East Asian News
  • Faculty Updates
  • Student Updates
  • Upcoming Events

Dear Center Friends and Alumni,

We are now already well into Spring Semester here in Bloomington and the Center has a full plate of interesting activities that we are sponsoring or co-sponsoring. We anticipate an exciting set of eight guests presenting talks in our Colloquium Series, as well as several book workshops that will give students a rare opportunity to interact directly with some authors of new scholarly publications. Please also look to our special events calendar to check out upcoming screenings of some very interesting films related to East Asia.

We continue to provide workshops for teachers interested to integrate some East Asia content into their curriculum, which have been generously funded by the Freeman Foundation. And don’t miss of our annual marquee events: the hosting of our 5th annual Korea Night in April here on campus: always a fun event.

I would like to extend my personal invitation to you to join us in these events when possible. We love to have our friends and alumni come to these events, or, if you prefer, to simply drop by the Center for a quick “hello.” Finally, we have been transitioning into a new web system, and this has caused some delays in updating our calendar and other online information. Please bear with us as we work to get the needed changes implemented.

My very best wishes for a productive start to 2018.

Sincerely yours,
Michael C. Brose

  • China Town Hall
  • Colloquium Series
  • Poetry Workshop


  • China Town Hall

    The East Asian Studies Center was proud to host a showing of the annual China Town Hall, complete with warm cookies and milk. Ambassador Susan E. Rice was the national webcast speaker for the eleventh annual CHINA Town Hall, held on October 24, 2017. In addition to her foreign policy experience as national security advisor (2013-2017) and U.S. permanent representative to the UN (2009-2013), Ambassador Rice also served as U.S. assistant secretary of state for African Affairs and senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council. Her decades of public service and critical role in developing and executing the Obama administration's policies towards China make her perspective on the relationship especially relevant as we navigate this uncertain time in the bilateral relationship. 86 different locations across the globe simultaneously screened the live broadcast while viewers tweeted in their questions.



    Colloquium Series

    The fall of 2017 saw one of our most successful and topically wide-ranging colloquium series yet. For those that don’t know, each semester the East Asian Studies Center sponsors a series of talks on topics of interest in East Asian Studies. The subjects can vary greatly- from politics and history, to ecology and sociology. First up was Professor Guojun Wang, who spoke on Ming dynasty hair and dress and the interface between theatrical costuming and personhood. This talk drew questions from audience members in attendance not for their connection to East Asian studies, but because of their work in fashion and fashion studies. A productive way to reconnect bodies and clothes dissociated by political turbulence, and thus different types of personhood.

    Next up was Professor Timothy Rich, whose hotly anticipated talk focused on an array of fascinating empirical data. His focus was on Taiwan, and the evolution of public perception of gay marriage. His results were often surprising, and illuminating, and his style enhanced what was inherently already an interesting, and at points, cross-disciplinary topic.

    Professor Rich was followed by Awi Mona, who travelled from Taiwan to deliver his talk on the reinvigoration of indigenous rights in Taiwan. The talk grappled with some heavy questions, including whether the Taiwanese state’s legal system and social transformation actually have a constructive effect on the needs and development of indigenous culture. Two years ago Taiwan’s president delivered a national apology to the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, and the address included forward looking policies designed to foster restoration of indigenous rights. In late October we were joined by Professor Rod Wilson for a truly thoughtful and unique discussion of the ways in which the rivers of Japan have changed and been reconstructed over time. Those dynamics have served as a mirror for cultural dynamics and, in many ways, are indistinguishable from one another, or at the least, difficult to know exactly how to separate.

    Our last speaker of the semester was Eujung Kim, who requested not to be photographed. Professor Kim’s talk shone a light on the role of disability in Korean culture, where it is often seen as so defining to a person’s identity that it is considered a third gender. The concept of cure was reexamined from a position of first principle, its past unfolded, and the course of its future considered. Overall, it was a remarkable and wide-ranging semester. Please do join us for these talks this Spring, each one offers something new and challenges the audience to think carefully about things they may have believed they completely understood.

    Note: Professor Edith Sarra was originally slated to speak during the fall, but her talk had to be rescheduled. Stay tuned for information on that talk, which will now be held on April 4th.

    Poetry Workshop

    Partnering with the Sejong Cultural Society, EASC organized a full-day NCTA East Asian Poetry workshop on October 21, 2017 at Chicago’s Newberry Library. 23 middle and high school educators from 9 states were introduced to Chinese jueju, Japanese haiku, and Korean sijo through a series of lectures and hands-on composition sessions. Presenters included noted poet and Korean translator David McCann (Harvard University); Chinese literature professor Daniel Hsieh (Purdue University); and language arts instructor Liz Jorgensen (Arrowhead Union High School, Wisconsin). To conclude the workshop, participants attended a special series of performances titled “Music Inspired by Korean Poetry: Sijo Poems in Classical, Jazz, and Hip-hop Music” at Chicago’s Poetry Foundation.

    The National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA) is a multi-year initiative of the Freeman Foundation and a premier provider of professional development on East Asia.

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    STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Alessia Cherici
    This year, there are a lot of fresh new faces in the hallways of GISB among the Chinese AI’s, student workers, and familiar staff members. One of those new faces is that of Alessia “Alex” Cherici. Alex hails from Italy, where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. While studying in Venice, she studied East Asian Languages and Cultures, with a strong focus on China.

    That is what brings Alex to Indiana University. During her BA, she went to China for the first time and loved it. Upon receiving her Master’s degree, she spent the next several years living in China as a teacher and a school manager. Her students there were of a comparable age, which is the level at which she would eventually like to teach.

    Chinese was not an immediate passion for Alex. It was initially more of a practical choice. Few people were studying Chinese despite the large number of learning opportunities. She was drawn to the language because of how different it is from her native language and because of the ideographic writing system. Alex says that actually going to China boosted her passion for the language.

    Alex came to Indiana University because of its reputation as a good school for East Asian Studies and Linguistics and because she wanted to study for her PhD in the U.S. The choices in Europe are not as robust as in the U.S., so she made her way here to fulfill her dream.

    In China, Alex lived in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Liaoning. She lived there for almost 9 years, working as a teacher and school manager. In China, Alex taught Italian and English. In China, she fell in love with the “contradiction.” She qualifies this by citing the fact that you can see glorious high-rises on one street and find slums on the next.

    Alex likes living in the rural Chinese areas which are less urbanized. She finds that people’s pace of life and attitudes are generally better. In Chinese, this is called “pusu”.

    Alex’s research is broadly about Chinese linguistics. Her ideal goal is bringing together comparative research in Chinese and Romance languages, specifically conditional clauses. This past semester, Alex enjoyed working with Professor Kitagawa in Linguistics and Professor Tsujimura in EALC. What she likes about studying in the U.S. is all the chances one gets to submit and share individual research.

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