Skip to: search, navigation, or content.

Indiana University


EASC Newsletter


A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

November 2009


East Asia and the Environment Initiative

This fall EASC began an East Asia and the Environment (EAE) initiative under the direction of Scott O’Bryan (EALC and History). Funded by the Freeman Foundation, EAE is a two-year project (2009-11) that will explore in an interdisciplinary manner the intersections between the environmental dilemmas facing Asian societies and modern historical change, including the rise of massively sized cities, changing social patterns, new cultural modes of representing nature, and the shift to cultures of high consumption. This initiative will combine a speaker series (2009-10), development of a new course in the Department of History titled Humans, Environment, and History: The Case of Asia, and an interdisciplinary symposium on pedagogy and the environment in 2011, which will bring together scholars in the humanities and those in the more technical environmental sciences for the sharing of best practices and source materials.

Two guiding principles animate all of these components of the EAE initiative that: 1) Asia must be seen as increasingly at the center of global environmental challenges; and 2) environmental dilemmas need to be recognized in large part as cultural ones, and the sorts of knowledge generated by humanities disciplines are thus critical to deeper understanding of the challenges of the environment, whether global or local. EAE aims to promote consideration of the ways in which research and teaching about the environment and Asia can be deepened by more closely linking the forms of understanding that humanities scholars produce and those of the more technical environmental sciences.

The 2009-10 speaker series, running in conjunction with the EASC Colloquium Series, brings to campus two East Asian specialists per semester. The Fall speaker series included a talk by Gregory Golley (formerly of University of Chicago) on “Charles Darwin, Miyazawa Kenji, and the Ethics of Realism” and one by Robert B. Marks (Richard and Billie Deihl Professor of History, Whittier College) on “Environmental Change and Its Dilemmas in Modern China: A Long-term Historical Perspective.” The Spring speaker series schedule is as follows:

January 29, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. in Ballantine Hall 004
Brett Walker (Department of History and Philosophy, Montana State University)

April 9, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. in Ballantine Hall 004
So-Min Cheong (Department of Geography, University of Kansas)

Return to top of page >

Japanese/English Conversation Tables

The EALC Japanese program and the IU Intensive English Program (IEP) have created a new opportunity for Japanese language learners to converse with fellow learners and native speakers.  Since September the Japanese/English Conversation Table (JECT) has been meeting weekly in the Language Table Room of the Center for Language Technology and Instructional Enrichment (CeLTIE) in Ballantine Hall, room 106. Participants meet for one hour, speaking Japanese for the first 30 minutes and English for the second 30 minutes. The schedule is as follows:

Mondays, 6:00-7:00 p.m.: first- and second-year Japanese students and lower-level IEP students 

Tuesdays, 6:00-7:00 p.m.:  third- and fourth-year Japanese students and upper-level IEP students

Initially organized by Keiko Kuriyama (EALC) and Heidi Vellenga (assistant director, IEP), JECT is facilitated by undergraduate student Lynn Larsen (EALC and Linguistics). All students of Japanese are welcome to join.

Return to top of page >

First Chinese Language Program Established in Bloomington—at New Tech High School

Monroe County Community School Corporation has established its first Chinese language program—at New Technology High School in Bloomington.

Thanks in part to support from EASC and the IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, which helped lay the groundwork for the program by providing Chinese cultural activities and a part-time instructor in 2008-09, the program is off to a running start.  The new instructor, Chen-Lien Hsu, was trained as a Chinese language associate instructor by Jennifer Liu (EALC) and received an M.S. in Language Education from the IU School of Education in 2008.

New Tech uses a teaching model called Project-Based Learning, in which students spend more time working on collaborative projects than in a traditional high school, with an emphasis on developing oral and written communication and critical thinking skills.

EASC will continue to work closely with the New Tech Chinese program by providing cultural programming for the students and professional development opportunities for New Tech faculty interested in learning more about China and East Asia in general.

Return to top of page >

New Cultural Immersion Projects Sites in Japan

Starting this spring, undergraduate students in the School of Education’s Teacher Education program will be able to 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.

During an EASC-funded program development trip to Japan this fall, Laura Stachowski, the director of Cultural Immersion Projects, visited several schools in Hiroshima and Okayama, where she met with educators and administrators committed to hosting IU student teachers who would provide support for English programs and be involved in the schools’ extracurricular activities. Stachowski also secured homestay opportunities so that students will be able to live out their eight-week teaching practicum experience in a true “immersion” setting. Being placed in a Japanese school, living with a Japanese family, and becoming involved in the local community will give student teachers the opportunity to build connections with Japanese teachers and community members and forge relationships that will follow them into their own classrooms for years to come.

This is the second Cultural Immersion site in East Asia. The first one was established in 2006 in the Shandong city of Zibo. To date, seven students have participated in the Zibo program.

Return to top of page >

Photographs from the Cultural Revolution: Li Zhensheng’s Red-Color News Soldier exhibit

Sponsored by EASC and the School of Journalism, a collection of photographs from photojournalist Li Zhensheng’s Red-Color News Soldier exhibit was on display in the lobby of the School of Journalism for three weeks in September and October.  The only known existing photographic documentation of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Red-Color News Soldier collection was taken by Li as a party-approved photographer for the Heilongjiang Daily.  At great personal risk, he managed to hide and preserve more than 30,000 negatives during the 10-year period of the Cultural Revolution and only made them public in 1999. They have since been presented worldwide and turned into a book.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Li gave a lecture on the photographs on October 6, attended by more than 250 people.  On October 7 he also delivered a talk on his personal experiences of sexual repression during the Cultural Revolution, sharing photographs of his girlfriend (now wife) and of young Chinese couples courting, marrying, and working during the Cultural Revolution.  Due to the great interest in the exhibit and lectures, plans are currently underway to bring to campus a larger selection of the Red-Color News Soldier photographs in the next several years.

These events were cosponsored by the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, the Robert and Avis Burke Lecture Series, the Department of the History of Art, the IU Art Museum, and the Department of Communication and Culture.

To view photos from the exhibition, see the Red-Color News Soldier Web site. To read more about the IU events, see the EASC Web page and the IU news release.

Return to top of page >

Global Indiana’s “China Wave V” Trip

In October Global Indiana led its fifth Key Educational Leaders Trip, also known as the “China Wave V” trip, taking thirty-one educators—both principals and teachers—from Greenwood, Indianapolis, Michigantown, North Judson, and West Lafayette to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou. EASC assisted with the pre-departure orientation in September by providing presentations on Chinese language and culture and the Chinese education system. In addition, EASC contributed reading materials to help the participants prepare for the trip. At the orientation session, participants met with six principals from the Shangcheng Education District in Hangzhou, who later hosted them during their visit to Hangzhou.

The purpose of the China Wave trips is to set up school-to-school partnerships which will lead to more opportunities for travel and educational exchanges for teachers and students. Global Indiana has been organizing Key Educational Leaders Trips to China (China Wave trips) for K-12 educators in Indiana since 2006. To date, more than 100 Indiana educators have participated, and 49 partnerships have been formed between Indiana schools and schools in Anshan, Dalian, Beijing, Hainan, Shenyang, Shanghai, and Zhejiang.

The China Wave VI Trip will take place in March 2010. Interested K-12 educators should contact Phil Boley, President of Global Indiana, at, or Chris McGrew, President-Elect, at by mid-December.

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.

Return to top of page >

Administrator Shadowing Project in Indiana

In September EASC assisted with the “Next Steps” meeting for the China Exchange Initiative’s (CEI) Administrator Shadowing Project, which took place at the Indiana Association of School Principals’ office in Indianapolis. Eight superintendents and principals from Crawfordsville, Fort Wayne, Granger, New Carlisle, Pendleton, Portland, Sheridan, and South Bend who had participated in past projects shared their experiences with the teacher and student exchanges that have followed their own exchanges with China discussed their plans for promoting education about China in their schools.

The Administrator Shadowing Project, offered to school principals and superintendents, provides a unique opportunity for Chinese and American school administrators to learn about and observe one another's educational systems from close up. The school partner visits provide a chance to discuss future opportunities for student and faculty exchanges and joint educational projects.

For more information about CEI or the Administrator Shadowing Project, contact Charlotte Mason at

Return to top of page >

East Asian Career Night

In September EASC cosponsored the third annual East Asian Career night at the Career Development Center.  Attended by more than 40 students, the event featured four panelists with professional experience in East Asia.  Jim Walsh (former English instructor and musician in China) shared tips on finding English teaching jobs and working in the popular music industry in China. Kara Abramson (Advocacy Director, Congressional-Executive Commission on China) discussed job search strategies for those pursuing careers in the government.  The IU Flagship Chinese Institute’s Assistant Director, John Howe, presented an overview of the new Flagship program, which provides Chinese language and area studies training for undergraduates planning professional careers in business, law, policy, and academia.  Jen Pearl (M.P.A. student, Public and Environmental Affairs; M.A. student, EALC) concluded the panel by describing how networking helped her obtain a summer internship in public relations in Beijing.  The panel discussion was followed by Q & A and an informal networking session with the presenters. 

Return to top of page >

IL/IN National Dissertation Workshop: Korean Culture and Society

The Title VI IL/IN East Asia NRC Consortium held its third annual IL/IN National Dissertation Workshop in Champaign in July. Five doctoral students writing dissertations on Korean culture and society participated in this event, which provided them a chance to discuss a chapter from in-process dissertations and receive critical feedback from the faculty leaders and each other. The workshop was led by a multi-disciplinary team:  Nancy Abelmann (Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Shin-Kap Han (Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), and historian Michael Robinson (EALC, IU).

Return to top of page >

NCTA Study Tour to China

Picture 287.jpgThis summer EASC led 20 middle- and high-school teachers, all alumni of EASC’s National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) Teaching about Asia seminars, on a three-week study tour of the People’s Republic of China. Dubbed the “Shangri-La Tour,” the teachers visited Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Zhongdian in addition to Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai. The group was led by Qiong Jiang (outreach coordinator, EASC), faculty expert Richard Bohr (Professor, St. Benedict/St. John’s University), curriculum consultant John Frank (history teacher, Center Grove High School, Greenwood, IN), and Cathy Gao (outreach assistant, EASC).

The tour included visits to cultural landmarks such as the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta Warriors, museums such as the Shanxi Provincial Historical Museum and Shanghai Museum, the Beijing hutong, an old-style neighborhood of narrow streets, and the home of a Tibetan family in Yunnan. The highlight of the trip was a visit to Xi’an Aizhi Middle School, where the group observed classes and student activities and exchanged ideas about education in China and the United States with school administrators, teachers, and students. In addition, teachers were given free time to pursue individual research interests and develop curriculum projects and outreach strategies for their local communities.

The trip was a great success, as evidenced by one participant’s comment: “This was the best experience I have ever had! It was life changing and I can’t wait to explore even more about China and East Asia. Teaching others about China will be my mission once I return!”

Return to top of page >

Teaching East Asian Literature in the High School Workshop

EASC hosted its eleventh annual workshop on Teaching East Asian Literature in the High School this past July, funded by the Freeman Foundation.  Twenty-three high school English and world literature teachers from around the country participated in this intensive week of lectures, discussions, and hands-on activities, led by Chinese literature specialist Gary Xu (EALC and Comparative Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), China historian Klaus Mühlhahn (History),  Japanese literature specialist Andra Alvis (independent scholar), Japan historian Scott O’Bryan (History and EALC), and Korean literature and history specialist Sean Kim (History and Anthropology, University of Central Missouri). Teaching strategy sessions were led by curriculum consultant Cecilia Boyce (English, Hillsborough High School, Tampa, FL). Upon completing the workshop, the participants developed lesson plans designed to make works such as Li Bo’s “Bring the Wine,” The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon, and Yi Mun-Yŏl’s Our Twisted Hero come alive to high school students.  The 2010 workshop will be held July 11th through the 16th. Information is available here.

Return to top of page >

IL/IN Summer Seminar: Interpreting Technology and Race in East Asia

Fourteen graduate and advanced undergraduate students from around the Midwest participated in the Illinois/Indiana East Asia National Resource Center Consortium’s third annual IL/IN Summer Seminar, “Interpreting Technology and Race in East Asia,” in Bloomington in May.  Led by Rayvon Fouché (History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), David Hakken (Informatics, IU), and Lisa Nakamura (Asian American Studies and Institute of Communication Research and Media Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), this intensive two-day seminar looked closely at the ways in which technology influences and is influenced by cultural identity and social interactions in East Asia, using the lens of race to explore historical, contemporary, and emerging interpretations of the connections between technology and human existence. Among the topics examined were “techno-orientalism,” technology transfer, and Chinese and Korean “gold farming.”

Participants included eight students from IU:  Aleena Chia (Ph.D. in Communication and Culture), Abraham Gerber (B.A. in EALC), Mack Hagood (Ph.D. in Communication and Culture), Erik Hammerstrom (Ph.D. in Religious Studies), Yu-Ying Hu (Ph.D. in Gender Studies), Tim Kelley (Ph.D. in Informatics), Jocelyn Miller (B.A. in EALC), and Kate Schramm (M.A. in Folklore and Ethnomusicology); three students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:  (Ryuta Komaki, Jungmin Kwon, and Robert Mejia; Roberto Padilla (Ohio State University); and Joseph Simons (University of Michigan).

The annual IL/IN Summer Seminar gives graduate and advanced undergraduate students in the Midwest the opportunity to intensively study with some of IL/IN’s leading scholars and to create continuing networks for collaboration and exchange. Next summer’s seminar will be hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Return to top of page >

EALC/Education Study Tour to Japan and China

Heidi and the study tour participants jumping for joy on top of the great wallIn May EASC sponsored a 12-day study tour to Kyoto and Beijing for 16 undergraduate students, led by Heidi Ross (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and director, EASC) and Yasuko Ito Watt, EALC professor emerita. The study tour was the culmination of a spring semester course offered through EALC and the School of Education, E497/F401 Challenges of World-Class Schooling in Japan and China, which was taught by Ross, a specialist in Chinese education, and Richard Rubinger (EALC), a specialist in the history of Japanese education.

Although the students covered tremendous ground in both cities, sought out many gardens and temples, and climbed the Great Wall, the purpose of the trip was not sightseeing but to observe schools in both countries and to compare the academic literature on schooling for the 21st century with the reality on the ground. Students visited 11 schools during the trip and Chinese Middle School Classspoke with a wide variety of educators and students from the priest/principal of a Japanese pre-school in a beautiful garden that happened on the day of their arrival to be celebrating the birth of the Buddha to a rabble-rousing activist/principal of a migrant school in Beijing, struggling students and teachers in Hebei’s rural countryside, and high-flying high school students at one of Japan’s “super science” high schools.

The trip was life-changing for many students, who now understand in a deeply embodied way the value of studying foreign languages and who now consider international education in East Asia as a viable career path. An educational studies major who will be teaching on a Navajo Reservation in the fall wrote in her evaluation, “This trip has truly changed my future. Having experienced schools internationally, now I know how and where I want to begin my teaching career and the challenges I will face ahead as I bring the world to my students’ classroom. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me this opportunity.”

This study tour was funded by EASC’s Freeman Foundation Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative II grant.

Return to top of page >

1st Annual SOFOKS Golf Tournament Fundraiser

On May 2 EASC and the Society of Friends of Korean Studies (SOFOKS) held its first annual golf tournament fundraiser at Southern Dunes Golf Course in Indianapolis. Thirty-five SOFOKS members participated and nearly $1,000 was raised to support Korean Studies at IU.  Look for details on next tournament in the spring 2010 newsletter. 

A private fundraising organization founded 25 years ago under the leadership of Heun Y. Yune, M.D., now Professor Emeritus of Radiology at the IU School of Medicine, SOFOKS is a committed union between community and higher education ensuring continued support for Korean studies and young Korean studies scholars at IU. Since its founding, SOFOKS members have donated more than $200,000 to support students and faculty engaged in studying Korean language and culture. These donations have provided for, among other things, an annual fellowship for graduate students and an annual Excellence in Korean Studies award for undergraduates.

Return to top of page >