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Indiana University


EASC Newsletter


A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

June 2010


IL/IN National Dissertation Workshop: Gender and Sexuality in Modern East Asia

The Illinois/Indiana East Asia National Resource Center Consortium held its fourth annual IL/IN National Dissertation Workshop in Bloomington in June. Eight doctoral students from across the country whose dissertations concern gender and sexuality in modern East Asia participated in this event, which provided them a chance to discuss chapters from in-process dissertations or dissertation proposals and receive critical feedback from the faculty leaders and each other. The workshop was led by a multi-disciplinary team of consortium faculty covering the areas of China, Japan, and Korea: Sara Friedman (Anthropology and Gender Studies), Michiko Suzuki (EALC), and Nancy Abelmann (Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

Participants were Howard Hsueh-Hao Chiang (Princeton University), Gabriele Koch (University of Michigan), Eunsung Lee (The State University of Rutgers-New Brunswick), Ju-young Lee (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities), Ke Li (IU), Hannah Saeyoung Lim (University of California, Los Angeles), Jiacheng Liu (Carnegie Mellon University), and Casey Miller (Brandeis University).

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IL/IN Summer Seminar: The Art of Reading Chinese Literature

In May sixteen graduate and advanced undergraduate students from across the Midwest participated in the Illinois/Indiana East Asia National Resource Center Consortium’s fourth annual IL/IN Summer Seminar, “The Art of Reading Chinese Literature,” in Urbana-Champaign. Led by Zong-qi Cai (EALC, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Kevin Tsai (Comparative Literature), this intensive two-day seminar provided a critical introduction to Chinese poetry and fiction, with special attention to the variety of literary forms and to matters of form such as meter, structure, and literary conventions as means for creating meaning, challenging tradition, and bridging the aesthetic and social dimensions of literary works. The seminar included lectures on poetic themes and genres; rhythms, rhymes, and prosody; diction and structure in poetry; theorizing Chinese fiction; the classical tale and the “birth of fiction;” and the golden age of vernacular fiction.

Participants included two students from IU—Jingjing Cai (EALC) and Ahmed Bashi (Comparative Literature); nine students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—Hyungju Hur, Ying Xue, Hongmei Yuan, Huang-Lan Su, Li E, Jing Chen, Lawrence Chang, Yunyoung Hur, and Jung Wook Pyo; and five students from other universities in the Midwest.

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Cultural Immersion Projects Establishes New Site in Japan
school administrators and student teacher
IU student-teacher Guy Wulfing (center) with the governor of Hiroshima Prefecture and school administrators.

Undergraduate students in the School of Education’s Teacher Education program can now complete part of their student teaching experience in Japan, through IU’s Cultural Immersion Projects, the nation’s leading program to place pre-service teachers in overseas practicum experiences. Supported by EASC’s Freeman Foundation Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative II grant, Cultural Projects director Dr. Laura Stachowski established the eight-week student-teacher placement program at two locations in Hiroshima, with student teaching placements in Hiroshima University High School and Mihara High School. The first student-teacher, Guy Wulfing (EALC B.A., 2009) is on-site now teaching English at Hiroshima University High School and living with a host family. It is an ideal placement for Guy, as he is seeking certification to teach Japanese at the secondary level and this provides him the opportunity to further develop not only his language teaching skills but his Japanese skills as well. At least two more IU students are scheduled to do their student teaching in Hiroshima next year.

This is the second Cultural Projects site in East Asia. The first one was established in 2006 in the Shandong city of Zibo, also with EASC support. To date, seven students have participated in the Zibo program. Dr. Stachowski is also working on developing a second Japan site in Okayama for student teachers interested in working with kindergarten-aged children.

For more information about the Cultural Immersion Projects, please contact Laura Stachowski at

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Roundtable on Post-Communism: “Coping with Uncertainty: Individual Challenges and Institutional Change Twenty Years after the Introduction of Market Economies”

April’s Indiana Roundtable on Post-Communism, “Coping with Uncertainty: Individual Challenges and Institutional Change Twenty Years after the Introduction of Market Economies,” featured Ákos Róna-Tas (Sociology, University of California, San Diego), Alya Guseva (Sociology, Boston University), and Li Zhang (Anthropology, University of California, Davis) as speakers. Regina A. Smyth (Political Science) chaired the roundtable and prepared the provocation statement to which the speakers responded. Andrew Barnes (Political Science, Kent State University), Kelly M. McMann (Political Science, Case Western Reserve University), and EASC faculty member Ho-fung Hung (Sociology) served as this year’s discussants. The public roundtable was followed by a faculty-graduate student seminar chaired by Sarah D. Phillips (Anthropology). The annual event is run by the Russian and East European Institute and was cosponsored by EASC, the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, the Center for the Study of Global Change, the Center for International Business Education and Research, and the Department of Economics. For more details, see the Roundtable’s Web page.   

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Toshiba Library Grant

In April EASC and project director Wen-ling Liu (Librarian for East Asian Studies) received a $5,000 grant from the Toshiba International Foundation for library acquisitions. Titled “Research on Postwar and Contemporary Japan,” this grant will fund the purchase of primary works and recent studies in areas of strong growth among Japan studies faculty and students: popular literature and culture, environmental issues, and social and economic policy.

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Year 13 NCTA Grant Received

In April EASC received a Freeman Foundation grant of more than $234,000 to fund National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) seminars for an additional year, Year 13 (2010-11) of the NCTA program. EASC will coordinate six seminars in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota in 2010-11 and oversee three seminars run by partner sites in Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. The NCTA program provides introductory, 30-hour Teaching about Asia seminars for middle and high school teachers interested in incorporating East Asia into their curricula. For more information about our seminars, see EASC’s NCTA Web site.

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Literature Workshop Receives Continued Funding

In April the Freeman Foundation approved two additional years of funding for the Teaching East Asian Literature in the High School workshop, now funded through summer 2012. Starting in summer 2011, the workshop will come under the NCTA program umbrella. For more information about the literature workshop, see the Web site.

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IL/IN East Asia Fair: “Wild Talk! Kyogen 狂言”

The fourth annual IL/IN East Asia Fair was held in April at the Japan Information Center in Chicago. Titled “Wild Talk! Kyōgen 狂言,” the event brought together 25 high school students and teachers from three schools in Indiana and Illinois for a day of interactive learning about kyōgen, traditional Japanese comedic plays performed as interludes between noh plays. Originating in the 14th century, the stories acted out in kyōgen still resonate with modern audiences and often contain lots of physical action, similar to Western slapstick.

graduate students perform
Roosevelt University graduate students demonstrate kyōgen.

In the morning sessions Prof. June Compton of the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University provided an overview of Japanese traditional theatre followed by a performance, along with five of her graduate students, of the kyōgen plays “The Cramp” and “Dwarf Tree Thief.” In the afternoon they taught the participants how to perform the music, dance movements, and dialogue techniques of the play “Rabbit.”

This event was organized by EASC and its Title VI consortium partner, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies (EAPS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Geography and History of the World Workshops

To help prepare Indiana high school teachers to incorporate the Geography and History of the World state standards into their classrooms, EASC and IU’s Center for Social Studies and International Education, along with four other IU area studies centers (African Studies Program, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, and Russian and East European Institute), presented six workshops this past winter and spring on the themes of “Conflict and Cooperation” (Standard 7) and “Innovations and Revolutions” (Standard 6) in Bloomington, Indianapolis,  Jasper, and West Lafayette. The East Asian sessions at the workshops were led by Travis Selmier (Ph.D. candidate, Political Science) and also included teaching strategy sessions for each world area, by curriculum specialist and CSSIE associate director Arlene Benitez. For more information on the workshops, see the Web page.

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NCTA Enrichment Event: “Understanding Asian Art”

In March EASC held a day-long enrichment event in Indianapolis, “Understanding Asian Art,” for 25 National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) seminar alumni and other K-12 teachers from Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois.

At the event Dr. John Teramoto, Curator of Asian Art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), provided an introduction to the fundamentals of Asian art, illustrated by selected works from the IMA’s Asian collection. His presentation was followed by a simulcast presentation, titled “Keys to Understanding the Art of Japan,” by Prof. Matthew McKelway, the Atsumi Associate Professor of Japanese Art History at Columbia University. In addition to EASC’s NCTA enrichment event participants, the simulcast presentation technology allowed teachers from Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Texas to participate in the session and interact with Prof. McKelway.

After lunch Dr. Teramoto escorted participants to the IMA for a guided tour of the Asian collection, highlighting works that illustrated aesthetic principles discussed by Prof. McKelway and explaining the artistic and historical relationship between different works and artists.

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Japan Olympiad of Indiana

In March Indiana high school students of Japanese gathered at Valparaiso High School in Valparaiso, IN for the 10th annual Japan Olympiad of Indiana. The Olympiad is a statewide language and culture competition for high school students organized by the Association of Indiana Teachers of Japanese and cosponsored this year by EASC.

More than 150 students from 15 high schools took part in the “Jeopardy”-style competition, in teams of three. Connorsville High School placed first among second-year Japanese teams, and Michigan City High School was the winner among both third-year and fourth-year Japanese teams. Bloomington High School North placed third among third-year teams and second among fourth-year teams. (First-year Japanese students do not compete.) Before and after the competition, students participated in a variety of Japanese cultural activities, including origami, go, and tea ceremony, and viewed Japanese films.

Other participating schools were Bloomington High School South, Center Grove High School, Chesterton High School, Crown Point High School, Elkhart Central High School, Elkhart Memorial High School, Franklin Community High School, Highland High School, Muncie Central High School, Penn High School, Valparaiso High School, and Western High School.

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Benshi Narration of Japanese Sword-Fighting Film Orochi

In January EASC presented a special showing of the 1925 Japanese silent sword-fighting film Orochi (Serpent), featuring Mr. Raiko Sakamoto performing as benshi (silent film narrator). Mr. Sakamoto, one of only a few modern-day benshi, recreated the Japanese practice of accompanying silent films with dramatic narration and music, a form of entertainment that was once hugely popular in Japan. Mr. Sakamoto’s performance was followed by a discussion with Larry Greenberg (CEO, Digital Meme), a leader in the development of a digital achieve of masterpieces from Japanese cinema’s Golden Era. This event, the first of its kind at IU, was attended by more than 200 students, faculty, and members of the community and was cosponsored by EALC, the Department of Communication and Culture, and the Film and Media Studies Program, with assistance from Digital Meme.

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Global Indiana’s “China Wave VI” Trip

In January Global Indiana organized an orientation in Indianapolis for participants of its sixth Key Educational Leaders Trip, also known as the “China Wave VI” trip. Twenty-five principals and teachers from Columbus, Fort Wayne, Hamilton, Indianapolis, Kendallville, Michigantown, Princeton, and South Bend attended the event. EASC assisted with the orientation by providing presentations on Chinese language and culture and the Chinese education system. The China Wave VI trip took place in March 2010 and established partner relationships with schools in Hangzhou that Global Indiana hopes will someday support student and teacher exchanges.

Global Indiana is a non-profit organization based in Indianapolis. By infusing curriculum with a global perspective, promoting the study of global economics, and creating international travel and educational exchange opportunities, it aims to prepare Indiana students to participate successfully in the global community.

K-12 educators interested in participating in future trips should contact Phil Boley, President of Global Indiana, at, or Chris McGrew, President-Elect, at

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IU Japanese Language Students Host Students from Bloomington High School North
students visit IU
IU Japanese language students Brian Inlow, Rian Capshew, and Annakarina Bortner (L-R) hosted Japanese National Honor Society Students from Bloomington High School North.

The Japanese programs at EALC and Bloomington High School North (BHSN) have partnered to provide a new experience for their students each fall. In December 10 IU undergraduate students in second-year Japanese, several of whom are BHSN alumni, volunteered to host 10 Japanese National Honor Society students from BHSN for a day of touring the campus, attending Japanese class together, and sharing experiences studying Japanese.

This IU campus visit was organized by the Japanese language program coordinator, Professor Keiko Kuriyama (EALC), and Molly Jeon, the Japanese teacher at BHSN. They plan to hold the event again this fall.

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Special Lecture by Professor Mark Selden on East Asian Regionalism

In November Professor Mark Selden (East Asia Program, Cornell University), a specialist on the modern and contemporary geopolitics, political economy, and history of East Asia, delivered a public lecture titled “East Asian Regionalism: Longue Durée Perspectives and Contemporary Prospects.” Professor Selden’s talk examined the interplay of geopolitics and political economy in structuring hierarchies of wealth, power, and position both within Asia and in the world order. The talk explored East Asian regional dynamics within a global non-Eurocentric framework throughout the course of three distinct time periods—the China-centered trade era of the 16th to 19th centuries, the transformative war years of 1840-1970, and the current era of dynamic East Asian economic growth that emerged after 1970. Professor Selden, a Senior Research Associate in the East Asia Program at Cornell, is also a coordinator of the online journal, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

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