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EASC Newsletter

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A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

December 2012

Student Updates

Susan Blake (Ph.D. candidate, Philosophy) received EASC travel funds to present her paper “A Problem of the Senses in Chinese Thought" in December at the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division in Atlanta, Georgia.

Cheryl Cottine (Ph.D. Candidate, Religious Studies) delivered her paper titled "Virtues and Ideals in Confucian Role Ethics" in July at the conference of the Australasian Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. The conference brought together scholars from eight different countries, and covered diverse topics including papers on Zhuangzi's epistemology, Buddhist ethics of compassion, conceptions of the ruler in early China, and Fengshui, to name only a few. Cheryl’s paper took the 2nd place essay prize for best graduate student paper. She was able to attend this conference due to the generous funding support from The Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, the East Asian Studies Center, the Pan Asia Institute, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Confucius Institute at Indianapolis, and the departments of Religious Studies, and East Asian Languages and Cultures.

Shingo Hamada (Ph.D. candidate, Anthropology) received EASC travel funds to present his paper titled " Co-cultivated Seascape: Linking Cultured Herring, Inshore Fishers and Protected Harbor Seals though Multispecies Ethnography" at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Fransisco, California in November.

Timothy Grose (Ph.D. candidate, Central Eurasian Studies) presented a paper titled "Escaping 'Inseparability': Uyghur Graduates of the 'Xinjiang Class' and Contesting Membership in the Zhonghua Minzu," at the UC Berkeley Haas Junior Scholars Conference: Multi-disciplinary Interrogations of State and Society in China in October.

Chisasto Kojima (Ph.D. student, Linguistics) was awarded an EASC travel grant to deliver her paper titled "Lexical Encoding of Geminate Consonants by Advanced Learners of Japanese" at the upcoming 87th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in Boston, Massachusetts in January.

Yi-Lu Kuo (M.A. student, EALC) received EASC travel funds to present her paper titled "Learning Processes of Flagship Chinese Students - A Longitudinal Case Study" at the 2012 Annual Convention and World Languages Expo by American Council On The Teaching of Foreign Languages in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in November.

In October, Ke Li (Ph.D. candidate, Sociology) received the Young Scholar Award from the China Times Cultural Foundation. She received the award based on her dissertation research.

Travis Selmier II (Ph.D. candidate, Political Science) delivered a paper titled “Transmutation of Financial Goods: Engineering Financial Club Goods and Structures” at the World Finance & Banking Symposium in Shanghai, China in December.

EASC awarded Piin-Shiuan Wu (Ph.D. candidate, Folklore and Ethnomusicology) a travel grant to present a paper titled " The Making of a Taiwanese Music: Language and Other Inaudible Registers of Music Making" at the 110th Annual Conference of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association in Seattle, Washington in October.

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Student Profile: Alex Wald

M.A.  in EALC

Alex Wald (M.A. student, EALC) is a fighter. Literally. As a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) enthusiast with training in kung fu and judo who is also a Chinese Flagship student, Alex has had the unique opportunity to combine a past-time he has enjoyed since childhood with a language he has come to master.

Picture of Alex Wald

Alex’s path to the Middle Kingdom was not always so clear. After leaving West Point in 2004, he decided to visit his brother in China; the journey was transformational. Alex backpacked his way across Asia, Europe, and Africa, but China stood out for its immense diversity of people and landscapes.  Two years later he returned to the US to finish his schooling at Johns Hopkins, where he minored in Chinese. There he learned that he had been awarded a Fulbright for research in Jiangxi Province. “By this point in time, my interest in China was a bit more than an after-hours hobby or pursuit,” noted Alex. Determined to take his Chinese fluency to the next level, Alex applied for and received a David Boren NSEP fellowship for the study of critical languages, leading him to IU’s Chinese Flagship program.  Due to IU’s highly successful Chinese language program, Alex’s NSEP grant limited his grad school enrollment options to just IU. At IU, Alex continued language training while taking advantage of EALC’s broad cultural content offerings. According to Alex “all the professors and staff, as well as my peers, were supportive of both my interest in Chinese and MMA.”

Currently in China, Alex is finishing his M.A. thesis while awaiting placement in the Foreign Service at the U.S. Department of State. “Essentially, my research is a study in the battle for cultural legitimacy that MMA is facing in China from the perspective of the globalization of cultures.” Working on his thesis affords Alex the opportunity to “interact with the country’s most dangerous fighters, the businesses and bureaus that support them, as well as those who are working to stop or mitigate the influence of a sport that has been brought to China by foreign powers.” Besides grad student and State Department employee, this jack-of-all-trades can now add thespian to his long list of credentials: Alex was recently given the opportunity to show-off his acting chops in a new Chinese “micro-film” titled “Love Love Lu Mountain,” which  was directed by a friend he had met during his earlier travels in China. “We only shot for a few days, and it was a blast,” Alex gushed. The film can be seen online with English subtitles here.

When asked for advice to give to students of Chinese language, Alex advises jumping right in. “Give yourself a reason to want to learn Chinese. Getting interested in the martial arts is one way. Exploring Chinese film and music is another.” We wish Alex all the best as he finishes his M.A. degree and heads into a career with the State Department; let’s just hope he leaves the boxing gloves at home.

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