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EASC Newsletter

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A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

November 2008

Student Updates

Charles Andrews (Ph.D., EALC) successful defended his dissertation, “From Post Station to Post Office: Communications in Tokugawa and Early Meiji Japan” in September. He is currently an assistant professor of Japanese language and culture in the Department of Modern Languages and the Asian Studies Department at DePauw University where he teaching beginning and intermediate Japanese and a freshman seminar titled Modern Japan in Asia and the World. Andrews is also the acting language coordinator for Japanese this year.

Erik Hammerstrom (Ph.D., Religious Studies) won the Department of Religious Studies’ Dissertation Year Fellowship for 2008–09 and accepted a part-time instructor position in the Department of Religious Studies at DePauw University. He presented two papers this summer: “The Cachet of Kexue: Buddhist Intellectuals and Modern Astronomy in 20th-Century China” at the 15th Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies at Emory University in June and “Chinese Buddhist Strategies for Dealing with Science and Scientism, 1919–1949” at the 12th International Conference of the History of Science in East Asia at Johns Hopkins University in July. Hammerstrom also received three external grants: a Critical Language Enhancement Award from the U.S. Department of State to study Mandarin at the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei from September to December 2007, a full research grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to conduct dissertation research in Taiwan from December 2007 to June 2008, and a dissertation grant from the Sheng-Yen Education Foundation in Taipei from July 2008 to July 2009.

Lanlan Kuang (Ph.D., Folklore and Ethnomusicology) is conducting research in China for ten months on the expressive art forms of China. Kuang is supported by a full research grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Laura Meyer, who completed her M.A. in Japanese in EALC in August, won the Percy Buchanan Graduate Prize from the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs (MCAA) this October. Her prize-winning paper is based on her M.A. thesis of the same name, “The Goryō Unit: Genji, the Kiritsubo Emperor, and the Vengeful Spirit Paradigm in The Tale of Genji.”

Joannah Peterson (Ph.D., EALC) presented “The Eyes and Ears of The Tale of Genji: The Link between Female Spectatorship and Narrative Perspective” at the MCAA conference in October.

Jonathan Pettit (Ph.D., EALC and Religious Studies) received a full research grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to conduct dissertation research on conceptions of sacred space in medieval Daoism at the Institute of History and Philology at Academia Sinica in Taipei. Earlier this summer, he studied Daoist scriptures with Chang Chao-jan (Religious Studies, Fu Jen Catholic University) with funding from a Critical Language Enhancement Award from the U.S. Department of State. In September he taught a course, Daoism and Popular Religion, in Taipei through Long Island University’s Global College. Also, at this fall’s annual American Academy of Religion conference in Chicago, he presented a paper titled “Paper-modeling Daoist Sacred Space: Imaging Emperors as Practitioners in Medieval China.”

Liora Sarfati (Ph.D., Folklore and Ethnomusicology and EALC) filmed and edited a short video about Korean shamanism with her husband Shai Sarfati. They are hoping to produce a full-length documentary. Click here to see the video.

W. Travis Selmier II (Ph.D., Political Science) co-authored a paper, “Expanding International Trade beyond the RTA Border: The Case of ASEAN’s Economic Diplomacy,” which was published in Economics Letters 100:3 (2008).

Liyan Shen (Ph.D., EALC and Comparative Literature) edited a special issue of Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 35:1-2 (2008) titled “Modernity, Folklore, and Transnational Possibilities.” She also wrote two articles that appear in the issue: “Modernity and Folklore from the Perspective of Comparative Literature: An Introduction” and “Folkloric Elements in Avant-garde Fiction: Yu Hua’s ‘One Kind of Reality’ and ‘World Like Mist.’”

Shen is organizing a seminar titled “Visualizing the Self in Early Modern Literature and Arts” for the American Comparative Literature Association’s 2009 Annual Meeting, which will be held at Harvard University in March.

Student Profile: Jamie Barnett
Joint J.D./M.A. in EALC

Jamie BurnettWhen Jamie Burnett set her sights on a career in international law as an undergraduate French major, she decided she ought to learn a language in higher demand than French. Chinese won out over Japanese and Spanish, thanks to a grant from the Freeman Foundation that funded a trip to China, where she became so fascinated by the language and culture that she added Asian studies as a second major. After graduation she studied Chinese in Yantai and Chengdu for two semesters before entering IU this fall as only the second student to pursue a joint J.D./M.A. in EALC. This demanding course of study will require four years to complete instead of the usual three years for a J.D. She will spend her first three years in Bloomington taking classes from the School of Law and EALC and will move to China for her last year to take intensive language courses and law courses in Chinese.

As an academic field of study, Chinese law appeals to Burnett because it is still very dynamic. Areas such as labor rights have had major laws enacted just this past year, and Burnett enjoys both studying the progress already made and anticipating the improvements yet to come. Professionally, Burnett believes that combining the study of law with the language and culture of China will make her a valuable addition to a law firm or a government agency. “Even if I work for a firm that has native Chinese speakers drafting the actual business agreements, the fact that there is an American lawyer working on the agreement who can speak, read, and write the language and has background in the history and culture of the country in which the client is trying to do business will allow them to anticipate problems before they occur and will really benefit the client,” she said.

Burnett has already benefited her fellow students by helping April Wilson (president, International Law Society, IU School of Law) to organize “Doing Business in China,” a forum on Chinese law co-sponsored by EASC in November. The forum included a panel discussion on U.S.-China trade relations featuring Virginia Harper Ho (Law), Ethan Michelson (Sociology and EALC), and Jacqueline Simmons, leader of international practice at the Indianapolis law firm Baker & Daniels, LLP. The panel was followed by a business etiquette dinner at Mark Pi’s China Gate restaurant. Chinese professional students seated at each small table of six instructed their companions on dining dos and don’ts for a meal in China, knowledge that may one day be essential to successfully close a deal. “In China, so much business is based on guanxi, or connections, that business people can meet for dinner or a simple meeting many times before ever actually making a deal,” Burnett explained. “Little things like slurping your tea, sticking your chopsticks up in your rice, or thinking you need to eat all of the [insert unusual dish name here] that your Chinese companion put on your plate can make a dinner awkward, and it is helpful to know in advance what can make or break one of these meetings.” The lessons also touched on important alcohol and tobacco consumption etiquette. “There are tricks to keep from having to drink that sixth glass of baijiu,” she said.

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