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Indiana University


EASC Newsletter


A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

November 2010

Director's Letter

Dear EASC Colleagues, Students, and Friends,

As we reach the final days of the semester, it is my pleasure to bring to you news and holiday greetings from all of us at the East Asian Studies Center.

EASC’s happy re-designation this summer as a U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center began with celebration that quickly turned to the challenge of rolling out new initiatives. While the majority of EASC’s Title VI funding is earmarked for Indiana University programming, activities, and faculty hiring (including a new East Asianist in SPEA), we are also once again partnering with the UIUC Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies to support cross-campus teaching, national dissertation workshops, and symposia under the new consortium theme, “Technology, Culture, and Social Change in East Asia: Linking Research to Pedagogy.” We are also collaborating with other IU area studies centers to enhance K-16 professional development through a variety of workshops, lecture series, curriculum development projects, and study abroad opportunities.  

We have been delighted to see so many of you at our colloquium series and special events. The topics and timing of many of these presentations—for example, associated with the East Asian Developmental State, the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and the Politics of the Korean Peninsula—aligned uncannily with world events and provided us much food for thought. Next semester will bring fresh opportunities for discussion and debate, and we welcome you all to participate.

Speaking of next semester, many of you know that Professor Greg Kasza has generously agreed to serve as EASC’s Interim Director while I am on sabbatical. Professor Kasza, who came to IU in 1985, is a widely published specialist on Japanese politics and business, not to mention a stalwart supporter of EASC. On behalf of all of us at the Center, thank you in advance, Greg, for your leadership and wisdom.

Please make a note on your calendars of two upcoming events. Complementing our diverse set of Friday noon colloquia (a flyer will soon be coming your way) is the annual Title VI-supported Post-communist Workshop on April 8. In addition, a symposium funded by the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute on “Constitutionalism and Difference in Asia” will take place March 4-6. East Asia symposium highlights, to name just a few, include presentations by IU colleagues Joe Hoffmann and Gardner Bovingdon; ANU colleagues Director of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Professor Kent Anderson and Professor Veronica Taylor; and Kurt Campbell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, who will be delivering one of the keynote addresses.

If you have been hankering to see East Asian films in a comfortable setting, then look no further than the new, state of the art IU Cinema. Thanks to colleague Stephanie Deboer, the new and improved EASC Film Series will be opening there in February.

Finally, it is with great sadness that I end this introduction with news about the December 1, 2010 death of one of EASC’s most significant benefactors, Houghton “Buck” Freeman. Born in Peking in 1921, Mr. Freeman was the son of Professor Mansfield Freeman and his wife, Mary Houghton. Mr. Freeman cultivated his engagement and interest in East Asia through his education at the Shanghai American School, Wesleyan University, and the Japanese Language Schools in Berkeley, CA and Boulder, CO. His early career in insurance took him to London, Shanghai, and Tokyo, where in 1956 he became President of AIU Japan. Mr. Freeman remained in Japan for 21 years before becoming President and Chief Operating Officer of American International Group (AIG). From the time he assumed the position of Chairman of the Freeman Foundation in the early 1990s, it is safe to say that, with the exception of the Title VI program, there has been no greater single source of support for enhancing East Asia Studies on U.S. campuses and in public schools. We owe Mr. Freeman and his family an incredible debt of gratitude. Their generosity has not only funded a number of faculty positions at IU but also numerous undergraduate education initiatives. Through the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia alone Freeman Foundation support has provided graduate level training in East Asian Studies to 1,374 Midwestern public school teachers, whose experiences in turn have touched the lives of 720,900 students. Margaret Key and I have had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Freeman and his wife Doreen nearly every year, and we will miss the lovely combination of toughness, insight, wit, and compassion they brought to their life’s mission of cultivating deep intercultural understanding.

Heidi Ross