Skip to: search, navigation, or content.

Indiana University


EASC Newsletter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

December 2013

Faculty Updates

Michael Dylan Foster (Folklore and Ethnomusicology) is currently on leave in Japan as a Visiting Research Scholar at the International Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto where he is concentrating on a project called “Visiting Strangers: Gods, Ethnographers, and Tourists in Japan.” In summer 2013, his article, “Inviting the Uninvited Guest: Ritual, Festival, Tourism, and the Namahage of Japan” was published in the Journal of American Folklore. Over the last few months he has given numerous research lectures at various venues in Japan, including Jôsai International University, J.F. Oberlin University, Tokyo Metropolitan University, The International Research Center for Japanese Studies and Kyoto University. He gave one of the keynote addresses at a symposium on “Tradition and Creation in the Culture of Yôkai and the Strange” (Kaii, yôkai bunka no dentô to sôzô) this November in Kyoto.

Sara Friedman (EALC; Anthropology; Gender Studies) contributed a chapter titled "Mobilizing Gender in Cross-Strait Marriages: Patrilineal Tensions, Care Work Expectations, and a Dependency Model of Marital Immigration"in Mobile Horizons: Dynamics Across the Taiwan Strait, ed. Wen-hsin Yeh (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies Publication Series, 2013.)

Michael Ing (Religious Studies) was a visiting fellow over the summer at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at National Taiwan University.

Charles Lin (EALC) completed his research project on “Restrictiveness andChinese relative clauses: Perspectives from sentence processing” under the sponsorship of the ChiangChing-Kuo Foundation. He published a book chapter titled “Thematic Templates and theComprehension of Relative Clauses” inLanguage Downthe Garden Path: The Cognitive and Biological Basis of Linguistic Structures, eds.Montserrat Sanz, Itziar Laka, &Michael K. Tanenhaus(OxfordUniversity Press, 2013).He presented his research on “Effects of Syntactic Complexity and Animacy on theInitiation Times for Head-final Relative Clauses”and “Eyetracking evidence for the subject relativeadvantage in Mandarin (collaborating with Jaeger, Vasishth, and Chen)”at the 26th Annual CUNY Sentence Processing Conference inColumbia, South Carolina. He also presented a paper titled "Perception of Mandarin tones andvowels in Zhuyin users” with students Yu-Jung Lin (EALC) and Chung-Lin Yang (EALC; Criminal Justice; Linguistics) at the21st AnnualMeeting of the International Association of ChineseLinguistics (IACL 21) at NationalTaiwan NormalUniversity, Taipei, and a poster titled "Syllableperception and the effect of phonetic orthography in Mandarin Chinese”at the 25th North AmericanConference on ChineseLinguistics (NACCL-25) at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

Osamu James Nakagawa (School of Fine Arts) had his work from the GAMA caves series included in the major traveling exhibition "War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath” at the Brooklyn Museum, open through February 2014. His solo exhibition, Okinawa Trilogy, opened in Kyoto, Japan. Over a decade ofNakagawa’s photographic work, Banta cliffs, GAMA caves, and Remains series from Okinawa, Japan were on view at the Galerie Aube, Kyoto University of Art and Design.
More information can be found here:

Heidi Ross (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies; director, EASC) along with her co-PI, Adam Maltese recently presented on the development and translation of a large-scale survey project, Assessment of Multinational Interest in STEM at a conference on student learning and assessment at Tsinghua University, Beijing partially supported by an IU FRSP grant. Heidi continues her research with numerous past and present doctoral students on transnational student engagement and learning, Chinese vocational education, entrance examination reform, and rural education in China. Their recent book chapters and articles are available in Chinese Education and Society; Sustainable Development in Globalization, International Education Policy and Local Policy Formation (Springer); International and Development Education (Palgrave); and Coates and McCormick, Engaging Students Internationally. Berkshire Publishing recently published her China Handbook, Education in China Educationby Zha, Hayhoe, and Ross which will soon be followed in 2014 by Ross and Lou, Rural Schooling in China (Routledge).

Richard Rubinger (EALC; History; Education) published "The Search for Siebold's Daughter: Fact and Fiction in the Work of Yoshimura Akira" in the September issue of the Australian Journal of Japanese Studies, published in September.

Beth Lewis Samuelson (Education) will co-present a paper entitled "Peer Assessment of English Oral Performance in a Taiwanese Elementary School" at the annual American Association of Applied Linguistics Conference in Portland, OR. The co-presenters are Yu-Ju Hung (National Chiayi University) and Shu-Cheng Freda Chen (Chiayi City, Taiwan).

Aaron Stalnaker (EALC; Religious Studies) was awarded grants from the IU College Arts and Humanities Institute for his current book project, "Mastery, Dependence, and the Ethics of Authority.”  In May, he was once again awarded the IU Trustees Teaching Award. He contributed two pieces, one on "Comparative Religious Ethics" and another on the early Confucian figure "Xunzi" for theInternational Encyclopedia of Ethics(Wiley Blackwell, 2013). He also published an article, "Confucianism, Democracy, and the Virtue of Deference" inDao: a Journal of Comparative Philosophy. In July, he presented on“Dependence and Autonomy in EarlyConfucian Teaching Relationships”at the 18thannual meeting of theInternational Society for ChinesePhilosophy. In October, he oversaw a Wabash Center-funded conference on graduate pedagogy.

Michiko Suzuki (EALC) gave a talk titled "The Science of Sexual Difference: Havelock Ellis, Ogura Seizaburo and Early Twentieth Century Japanese Feminism" in July at Dartmouth College for the Humanities Institute: Towards a Global History of Sexual Science, 1880-1950. With funding from an EASC travel grant, she presented a paper on Edward Carpenter in September titled, "Remade in Japan: Early Taisho Translations of British Sexology" at the European Association for Japanese Studies Japan Conference held at Kyoto University. She also gave a talk for the Kyoto Lecture series sponsored by the European Consortium for Asian Field Study, titled "Writing Kimono in Koda Aya" at Kyoto University in November.

Sue M.C. Tuohy (EALC; Folklore and Ethnomusicology) presented her paper “Patterns in Representations of a Northwest China ‘Minority’ Song Form and Its Singers:Sounds, Images, and Discourses of Multiculturalism, Ethnicity, and Place” at the 42nd conference of the International Council for Traditional Music held in Shanghai in August 2013. Also in August, she traveled to Geermu in western Qinghai to participate in an international conference on Kunlun Culture, where she presented a paper titled “Cultural Tourism at the Intersections of Folklore and Heritage.” In October, she received an EASC travel grant to attend the American Folklore Society conference, where she served as the discussant for a panel titled, “Faces of Tradition: The Role of the Individual in Chinese Performing Arts” and also presented her paper “Histories of Promoting Culture, the Arts, and Heritage in China: A Local and Regional Case” for a double panel on “The Interests of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Issues of Cultural Sustainability in China.”

Regional Faculty Self Introduction
Yuri Obata, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Communications Studies, IUSB

I am an associate professor at Department of Communication Studies at IU South Bend. I was born and raised in Matsue city, Shimane Prefecture in Japan, and came to the United States to study violin performance at University of Michigan. Once I had obtained a music degree there, I moved forward to study mass communication. I received a Ph.D. degree in media studies in University of Colorado at Boulder, and joined the IUSB community in 2006.

My research interest is in media law and ethics, in addition to international media and public service broadcasting. I am particularly interested in the analysis of regulations of sexual expression in comparative manner among different nations. The overall goal of my research is to acquire a better understanding of the responsibility of mass media, corresponding to each nation’s cultural and historical experience. Over the last few years, I have published articles regarding obscenity laws in Japan and the United States. These publications include Re-reading the Chatterley Decision: The Analysis of Japanese Obscenity Decisions from 1889 to 1957 in the Australian Journal of Asian Law, and Public Welfare, Artistic Values and the State Ideology: The analysis of the 2008 Japanese Supreme Court Obscenity Decision on Robert Mapplethorpe in  Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal.

At IUSB, I teach courses including Media Law, Ethics and Public Interest, Comparative Media Systems, and Process and Effects of Mass Communication. My teaching interest in East Asian Studies includes media and culture in Japan, North Korea and Bhutan.

In 2007, I was given a chance to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture at Cornell Law School. From September 2013 to June 2014, I am working as a visiting scholar at Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London during my sabbatical leave.

Return to top of page >

Faculty Profile
Morten Oxenboell
Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages & Cultures

“I’m not trying to teach them names and dates, I think that’s extremely irrelevant.”

This is the outlook of Assistant Professor Morten Oxenboell, who feels that the traits of society and the undercurrents are what can help us understand Japanese history and culture. Professor Oxenboell is one of the new faculty members EALC welcomed this past fall, specializing in Japanese history in EALC. Oxenboell claims that he doesn’t know where exactly his interest in Japan and Japanese history began but knows that he was always interested in foreign cultures and languages.  As an undergraduate at the University of Copenhagen, Oxenboell followed his instincts and began studying Japan. His initial interest in Early Modern Japanese history and the events leading to this era drove Oxenboell to seek answers in the past.  As he traveled further and further back in time, he came upon medieval studies and decided it was a good place to stop.

For his Ph.D, Oxenboell decided that he needed to take a historical approach, a decision which he feels was a good move. One of Oxenboell’s key sources of inspiration was one of his professors at Leiden University, Professor Boot. He felt that his professor’s enthusiastic support of his studies have given him the drive to work through even the most frustrating parts of his early academic career. Coming from Copenhagen, Denmark Oxenboell says that getting used to the American academic system is a new experience for him.  The presence of the campus is strong at IU and he enjoys being part of a “vibrant, intellectual community.” At Indiana University, he feels respected and in fact, recounted an incident in which his daughter laughed at the idea of her father being referred to as a doctor, something that is usually considered formal in his native Denmark.

One of several aspects that drew professor Oxenboell to Indiana was its auspicious location for his field of study.  With Peter Shapinksy, one of his colleagues in Japanese history, in Illinois and Professor Tonomura Hitomi, another colleague, in Michigan, Oxenboell feels that his proximity to others establishes a strong network among scholars in his field. To Oxenboell, Bloomington is also a great place to raise children.  He likes its strong cultural setting and mentions the cohesion between the city’s metropolitan features and its idyllic location as one of its most attractive features.  Growing up on an island farm outside of Copenhagen, Oxenboell considers himself a “nature boy,” and plans to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that one can find living in a place like Bloomington. So far, Oxenboell has gone to Lake Monroe, has taken his daughter hiking, and plans to go fishing.

During Oxenboell’s first semester at IU, he taught a Japanese history course and an 8-week Ritual Suicide course. This spring he will teach a course on the aesthetics of violence in Medieval Japanese narratives. Oxenboell would also like to translate one of the courses he taught in Denmark on “banditry,” examining how society comes to label certain individuals in such a way, and the ambiguous portrayal of their relationships with society. Oxenboell’s hope for his students is that they realize that medieval history can be used is a mirror to reflect on our culture and attitudes today. He mentions that givens to us are not the givens for people in another epoch or society. By studying medieval societies, we are able to grasp the unique features of modern society and analyze ourselves.

Return to top of page >

Faculty Profile
George Wilson
Emeritus, History and EALC

Professor Emeritus George Wilson’s (History and EALC) expertise on modern Japan is matched only by his knowledge of the institutional history concerning IU’s East Asian Studies Center, where he served as director from 1987-2002. We had the chance to sit down with Professor Wilson this past October as he reflected on his long professional career as both scholar and administrator at IU. Wilson’s genuine passion for and commitment to the development of East Asian Studies at Indiana University was evident throughout the nearly 90 minutes he talked with us. We are indebted to much of his early trailblazing for making IU’s program as strong as it is today, and offer this sketch of a man who has done so much to make IU one of the premier institutions for the study of China, Japan, and Korea.

Wilson, whose father was part of the American occupation of Germany, spent much of his childhood and teenage years growing up there. Living in blockaded Berlin, he became interested in studying Russian. “No one else seemed to be doing it…we were involved in a heavy competition with the Russians for ideological influence, all around the world,” Wilson noted. He continued with the language at Princeton which, as Wilson explains, did not offer East Asian languages in the 1950s. However, the opportunity arose to study Chinese right before graduation, and Wilson leapt on it. “I ended up thinking I was going to study Chinese history because I knew I wanted to be a history teacher,” he says, but things would turn out differently: during his time as a graduate student at Harvard, Wilson switched tracks yet again, this time to Japanese. He received his PhD in history in 1965, and after a brief stint teaching at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Wilson made his way to Bloomington. He has worked at IU in a variety of capacities—Dean of International Programs, Professor of Japanese History, Director of EASC—for more than 40 years.

Back in the present, Wilson scans the Center’s conference room and notes that it was a dorm room before it was cut in two to make a library, party venue, and meeting space for the East Asian Studies Center.  Delving back into the Center’s history, we arrive at the year 1979, when Indiana won its first Title VI grant. Amid the celebrations a problem soon arose: the Department of Education asked for the name of the administrating center before transferring the funds. “Well,” we said, “we’re not set up that way…” To solve this dilemma, the East Asian Studies Center was born. Originally headed by EALC Chair Irving Lo, leadership of the two entities was eventually separated.  Professor Emeritus Philip West, who passed away last year, was selected as the first Director. These early years saw expansive growth of faculty membership and, surprisingly, the near inclusion of Thai into the department’s language offerings. SOFOKS (1983), a private group of Korean-American donors that support Korean Studies at IU, was also founded during this time.

But it was under Wilson’s 15 year stewardship that EASC underwent transformative growth. Among the most important achievements were the Korean Studies effort in both EASC and EALC, aided through the addition of professors Kenneth Wells, Michael Robinson and Hyo Sang Lee. This momentum was amplified by the creation of the East Asian Summer Language Institute, which offered intensive training in the three East Asian languages to both undergrads and grad students from around the country until its close in 1985, the same year that IU also lost its Title VI grant. It was re-won in the 1991 cycle and held for the next 10 years. Wilson was instrumental in attracting money to sustain the center in the lean years between Title VI awards. He helped secure million-dollar grants from the Freeman Foundation for development of undergraduate studies and the summer East Asian Literature workshop. These funds also allowed the hiring of more EA-related faculty, among them current EASC Director Heidi Ross.

Retirement in 2002 did not dampen Wilson’s eagerness to be in the classroom. He has taught at the University of Kentucky and as a visiting professor at Michigan in 2006, and since then has been teaching a regular course for the Hutton Honors College, which he plans to continue in the upcoming spring semester. These range from a course entitled “The Atom Bomb and Japan in WWII” to a course called “Enemies and Allies,” in which he traces the fraught relationship between the U.S. and Japan in modern times. Wilson is amazed at the quality of his students in Hutton. “They are the best undergraduate students I’ve ever taught, anywhere, including my days as a Harvard summer school teacher.” 

As we wind down the interview, we return to Professor Wilson’s academic interests in Meiji Japan. Asked about the causes of the Restoration, he answers “It happened because the world was changing too fast for Japan to remain divided.” But he also muses about how much things have stayed the same in Japan, despite the huge social and economic upheavals throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. “Economics is pretty new-fashioned, politics is pretty old-fashioned… it still works a lot like it did during Meiji,” he said referring to Japan’s long-surviving political factions. Other interesting historical asides he shared included a reference to a small community of Japanese Christians that kept their faith hidden for centuries. Their descendants emerged in the late 19th century eager to discuss the Bible with religious leaders accompanying occupying forces, but no one could understand their terminology, which eventually turned out to be a form of 16th century Latin carried over by the original missionaries.

Shortly after this interview, Professor Wilson had to enter the hospital and did not recover in time to give a scheduled November 10 lecture “Rotgut Culture: Notes on the ‘Successful’ U.S. Occupation of Japan.” His children David and Elizabeth who were visiting him were gracious enough to deliver the talk on his behalf. Professor Wilson is currently convalescing and has expressed a desire to continue teaching his Hutton Honors courses as long as he is able. We wish Professor Wilson a robust recovery and hope he can soon return to campus to share his knowledge of Japan with the IU community once more.


Return to top of page >