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Indiana University

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EASC Newsletter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

December 2013

Alumni Updates

Xin Fan (History Ph.D., 2013) is currently working as assistant professor of East Asian History at the State University of New York - Fredonia. From November 22 to 24, 2013, he attended a conference on "Questioning Modernity: Critical Engagement with Western Knowledge in Late Imperial and Republican China" at the University of Goettingen in Germany, and presented the paper "Questioning Modernity through History: How Chinese Historians Reflected on the Concept of Antiquity in the Early Twentieth Century."

Christopher Frey (EALC M.A., 2006), spent the summer at Hokkaido University continuing his research on Ainu history. He serves as the program coordinator for the MA in Cross-Cultural and International Education at Bowling Green State University, and is coordinating a Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) grant from the US Department of State in the spring. That project will bring 18 high school teachers from 18 different countries to BGSU for six weeks to improve pedagogy, technology integration, and reduce barriers to girls' education.

Kimberly Gaughler (EALC M.A., 2012) came to Beijing to work with American Councils for International Education as their China rep and also as their coordinator for the NSLI-Y program (National Security Language Initiative for Youth sponsored by the State Department). She worked for American Councils for one year as resident director for high school students and in August 2012 began teaching in the International Department at Beijing Number 80 Middle School. She currently teaches literature, writing, and ESL to middle school students from nearly two dozen different countries. Gaughler also works part-time as a freelance editor for People's Education Press, which publishes English textbooks and other English language learning materials.

Dylan Kwapy (EALC B.A., 2009) has been living in Shanghai for the past 3 years, working in market research. He currently works for Nielsen’s Retail Measurement division, which includes consulting consumer goods’ clients on product, distribution and pricing strategy. Students with questions about careers at Nielsen can contact Dylan at dkwapy@gmail.com.

After graduating this past spring and finishing up a lectureship in Daoist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Jonathan Pettit (EALC Ph.D., 2013) moved to Taiwan to conduct field research on Yiguan Dao temples. In January 2014, Jonathan will begin a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica. He will work on a project analyzing the therapeutic function of poetry in medieval Daoism.

Peter Zhang (CMCL Ph.D., 2008 ) is the author of many recent publications, including “A Note on Photography in a Zen Key” in China Media Research 9, No. 3 (2013); and “Sophistic Illustrated: Two Couplets for the Year of the Snake,” ETC 70, No. 1 (2013).

 

Alumnus Profile: Matthew Winter

Chinese Pedagogy M.A., 2012

Matthew Winter’s (Chinese Pedagogy M.A., 2012) cosmopolitan upbringing had much to do with his interests in world cultures. As the grandson of missionaries to Brazil, he grew up hearing Portuguese in the household, and went on to study Spanish in high school. In college, he was exposed to German and Korean while living in a diverse dormitory community. It was during this time that Matthew also first encountered Chinese, which would become central to his academic career. Practicing during his lunch break, Winter was able to learn the language from a Chinese student in exchange for helping her with English. “I loved writing Chinese characters and trying to mimic my friend’s pronunciation of them!” he exclaims. The visceral connection he felt to the language through its characters inspired Matthew to major in Chinese Language and Literature during his undergraduate career. Craving more exposure to the language, he decided to continue on to IU’s department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.

The focus of Matthew’s studies was his interest in Chinese characters, or 汉字. He sees the Chinese writing system as one of the unique aspects of Chinese that makes it both an interesting and difficult language to study. As he began learning Chinese, he realized that the stroke orders and techniques used to write the characters “properly” were usually not utilized by native speakers writing in cursive script. He realized that given the prolific usage of cursive in arts, media, and culture in China, this might prove to be a barrier to those seeking to learn Chinese. Thus, Matthew developed the topic of his thesis, Materials for Teaching the Recognition of Chinese Cursive Script. Winter especially thanks EALC Professors Jennifer Liu and Natsuko Tsujimura, both of whom guided him as he worked on his thesis.

As an Associate Instructor of Chinese language, Matthew worked with other teachers in the Chinese program.  He described the experience as “intense.” Nonetheless, he felt that being an AI was an important and valuable experience, allowing him to engage in the realm of academic instruction.  The most significant aspect of teaching was becoming involved with the teaching community. He never felt alone and he felt that the camaraderie among the teachers helped him to deal with the problems he encountered as a neophyte instructor. Besides teaching, Matthew greatly enjoyed the events sponsored by both EASC and EALC. He noted that programs like the East Asian Film Series, Chinese table talks, and Chinese Tidings Lecture Series enriched his academic career immensely.

After receiving his M.A. in Chinese Pedagogy at IU, Matthew has continued his academic training by pursuing an Education Master’s degree at Columbia University. Because of the knowledge he acquired in his AI position while at IU, he was able to become part of Columbia University’s Community Language Program as a Chinese instructor. He says, “At IU I gained the practical pedagogical basics for language teaching.  At Columbia I feel like I’m broadening my understanding and practice to other aspects of language teaching and working in the educational field. “

As for new graduate students, Matthew advises them to first manage their time well. Pursuing an M.A. requires an enormous amount of time given the workload. He feels that it is necessary to manage one’s time in order to avoid potentially stressful situations. On that note, his second piece of advice is to take time out for oneself.  IU offers much to students and the larger Bloomington community, such as the many free events at the Jacobs School of Music and the forests and state parks in the surrounding area. Taking time to take care of oneself is important, even if it’s only for one day or one afternoon out of the week. Best of luck with your teaching career Matt!

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