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Indiana University

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EASC Newsletter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

December 2013

Student Updates

Aaron Albin (Ph.D. candidate, Linguistics and Second Language Studies) was awarded a Fall 2013 EASC Travel Grant to present his paper titled "Ubiquitous variability in the phonological form of loanwords: Tracing early borrowings into Japanese over five centuries of contact" at the 23rd Japanese/Korean Linguistics conference, held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in October.

Tiphani Dixon (M.A. student, EALC) was named as Japanese Cultural Ambassador for the 2013-14 academic year for the East Asian Studies Center.

Timothy Grose (CEUS) defended his Ph.D. dissertation on Uyghur boarding school students in November. His article "Constructing Uyghur Ethno-National Identity from China's 'Central Plains': Xinjiang Class Students and their Renewed Commitments to Islam" was accepted for publication in the Journal of Contemporary China. Grose also received an Overseas Young Chinese Forum Teaching Fellowship to teach a course at Xinjiang University in May 2014.

Daniel Idziak (M.A. student, EALC) interned at the U.S. Embassy in Brunei during summer 2013.

Lily Li (Ph.D. candidate, Comparative Literature) presented her paper titled "Beyond Chineseness: Gao Xingjian and Ha Jin" at the 2013 IUB-UIUC Joint Doctoral Student Research Seminar, "Reframing Area Studies: An East Asian and Pan Asian Perspective" at IU Bloomington in September. She also presented a paper entitled "Mo Yan’s Dystopic Liquorland:  The Mystery of The Republic of Wine" at "Imagining Alternatives: A Graduate Symposium on Speculative Fictions" at the Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in October. Li was also awarded an EASC travel grant for Fall 2013.

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Student Profile: Marina Dmukhovskaya

M.A., EALC

From Moscow, Russia EALC welcomes new graduate student Marina Dmukhovskaya (M.A. student, EALC). Although she has only been in Bloomington less than half a year, Marina has taken to her new American home and is confident that she has made the right decision to continue her study of Korean language and politics at IU. 

Asked about her initial decision to study Korea, Marina relates that it was rather fortuitous. “My university, Moscow State University of International Relations, looks at embassies all over the world, and sees which staff are insufficient…they just told me ‘oh, congratulations, you’re going to study Korean!’ ” Despite her initial reservations about studying a country she knew little about, Dmukhovskaya quickly took to her new academic vocation, inspired by her excellent professors. As part of her training, she had the rare opportunity to attend Kim Il Sung University in Pyeongyang, North Korea for language study.  This excursion into the hermit kingdom gave her a look into the everyday lives of N. Koreans. She says of her experience there “it was like riding a time machine…reversing time 20 years before.” She related one harrowing incident that took place in a N. Korean market while trying to make change. “I was trying to give a 100 euro bill to the Korean women, and they just looked at the bill…one woman in a uniform came up…she just grabbed us and took us out of the market…I was shocked.” The trip not only motivated her study of the Korean language but also made her realize “how far Russia went in terms of democracy compared to N. Korea.”

Before deciding to continue on to graduate study, Marina had been heavily involved with preparations for the upcoming winter Olympics in Sochi, working as a translator for the Korean Olympic short track team. To hone her skills in simultaneous translation she decided to apply to IU, encouraged by her high school host family who now reside in Bloomington. She has enjoyed both the town and campus thus far. “I really love it...it’s so different from Moscow. It’s just nice not riding a subway with all those people during rush hour,” she laughed. In the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Dmukhovskaya plans to sharpen her language skills while researching the relationship between Olympic games and politics, specifically how the 2018 games might influence the frosty relationship between the two Koreas. “I’m going to pursue my research on the topic of Olympics because the next Olympics are going to be in Pyeongchang [S. Korea]. I think Olympics can actually influence the way the country is viewed in the international arena by other countries,” she noted. Next month, Marina will be heading to back to her home country to act as an interpreter for the South Korean short track team during the Olympics.

Part of the reason Dmukhovskaya chose IU was its generous funding offer. Thanks to the Society of Friends of Korean Studies (SOFOKS) Graduate Fellowship, she will be able to focus her energies on study without having to worry about financial support. She is looking forward to making the most of this year with coursework in language and politics, as well as taking advantage of EASC programming. She is particularly interested in tapping the expertise of Professors Lee and Robinson as she develops her thesis project.

Dmukhovskaya advises other graduate students to focus their energies on language learning while in the program. “Knowing a rare language…makes you unique and more attractive for your future employer. If you know the language well, it will make you stronger and more competitive.” She advises students to travel to the country where the language is spoken. She admits, with a chuckle, to lying about her English fluency when in Korea so that she had more opportunities to speak the language. Marina ends our interview with words of gratitude for the department: “I’m so thankful for the opportunity to come and study and do my research…I’m so happy that I chose the path I want to continue with” Welcome Marina and best of luck with your studies at IU!

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