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Indiana University


Director’s Letter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

December 2014

Letter from the Director

As the fall semester draws to a close, I look back with satisfaction and a sense of awe at all that the Center has accomplished in the past few months.  We have finally settled into our new home in the light and airy Global and International Studies Building, putting us in proximity to our colleagues in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and in the many other area studies centers.  Our long-term Director, Professor Heidi Ross, has enjoyed a much-deserved sabbatical leave this semester.  Under the skillful guidance of Theresa Kang, the Center’s Associate Director, we have kicked off our first official semester in the School of Global and International Studies with an impressive array of cultural performances, scholarly presentations and events, a film festival, and our ever popular Korean Night.


Before our moving boxes were even unpacked, Center staff and volunteers launched into organizing our Sensing Taiwan program with generous support from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago.  Sensing Taiwan introduced university and community members to the rich cultural heritage of Taiwan through a month-long series of musical performances, film screenings, and scholarly presentations.  The program featured Taiwan’s Miao-Li Chen Family Pei-Kuan Pa-Yin Group, virtuoso performers of traditional Hakka opera and pa-yin music, who spent a packed three days in Bloomington performing for the general public, school children, and members of the IU community.  Sensing Taiwan also included a film festival screening the best of contemporary Taiwanese film and a lecture by film scholar Dr. Cindy Chan from the University of Texas at Austin.


In the midst of this flurry of events, Center staff were busy preparing for our Third Annual Korean Night, a celebration of Korean culture, arts, and, most importantly, food.  This year we were honored to receive additional support from the Korean Consulate in Chicago, which generously sponsored performances by prominent Chicago-based Korean musicians, dancers, and singers.  The event attracted nearly seven hundred attendees who participated in traditional Korean crafts and games, watched a fabulous evening of performances, and enjoyed a wonderful meal of Korean delicacies.  A virtual army of volunteers composed of students and community members made the event possible and the Center is grateful for their tireless efforts.   


The fall semester also featured our regular Friday colloquium series with stimulating presentations by IU faculty members and visiting scholars.  Topics ranged from minority education in China’s boarding schools and President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign to the South Korean feminist movement, representations of kimono in modern Japanese fiction, and migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong who become mothers.  EASC collaborated with IU’s Research Center on Chinese Politics and Business to host the annual China Town Hall sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.  Featuring a recently completed study of Chinese foreign direct investment in the U.S., the event included a nationally webcast panel discussion together with local commentary provided by Executive Dean Fu Jun and Professor Zhang Jian of the Peking University School of Government and Indianapolis-based lawyer Russell Menyhart.  In conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center organized a host of activities for Fall 2015 Themester on the theme of @Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet, including films, special lectures, and exhibits of Chinese and Japanese prints at the IU Art Museum.


As should now be obvious, the past several months have offered a whirlwind of Center activities, providing entertainment and intellectual inspiration for diverse audiences.  We look forward to a similarly engaging spring semester with what promises to be an exciting line up of colloquium speakers and special events.  As we pause to catch our collective breath during the winter break, let me wish all of you a happy and peaceful holiday season.