Faculty, Student, and Alumni News

Dr. Emily Rook-Koepsel joins the Asian Studies Center as the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs, replacing Katherine Carlitz, who retired last spring.  After discovering a passion for South Asian history, Emily has pushed herself over the course of her career to learn Hindi and Urdu, earn a Ph.D. in South Asian History, and travel extensively on the Indian subcontinent. She will be advising certificate students as well as the East Asian IDMA students and administering all of our faculty grants and student fellowships.

To build upon the growing interest in South Asia both on the campus and throughout the region, the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh will showcase the university’s new area of strength with three years of thematic programming. These programs will include invited speakers, film screenings, exhibitions, mini-courses, roundtable forums, and much more. Through these programs, the Center hopes to facilitate communication and collaboration between students and faculty and provide opportunities for more active engagement with the local community. Please visit http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/asc/events/southasia for more details.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Pittsburgh welcomed 33 new teachers to Pittsburgh last week! We are delighted to welcome this new batch of teachers to the US. CI-Pitt is a language and culture center dedicated to supporting the learning of Chinese language and culture for the greater public and serves some 4,000 students in the K-16 arena in Pennsylvania and Ohio to create a platform to better understand and learn about China and the Mandarin Language. To learn more, please visit http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/cipitt/discover.

The University of Pittsburgh and Central China Normal University have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote international collaborations in innovative educational research between Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) and the Chinese university’s National Engineering Research Center for E-Learning (NERCEL).

Established by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, NERCEL is China’s only national research center in the field of education. Its strength is the development of digital technology for use across schools in China. Pitt’s LRDC specializes not only in learning technology but also in the sciences of learning and education.

Central China Normal University is located in Wuhan, an industrial base and major hub of transportation and communication in Central China. The university’s chancellor, Ma Min, visited Pitt on May 5 to sign the memorandum with Beeson.

The partnership may enable longer-term international projects and lay the groundwork for joint research with other schools at Central China Normal University such as its School of Psychology.

James Cook, acting director of the Asian Studies Center, played an instrumental role in moving the collaboration forward and will continue to provide his expertise as the collaboration develops.

For the full text of this announcement, please see here.

On April 9, seven undergraduate students from Pitt participated in the Pittsburgh Asia Consortium's 4th Annual Asian Studies Undergraduate Research Conference, hosted at Washington-Jefferson University. A total of 39 undergraduate students from eleven different universities spoke on subjects ranging from the extinction of the Japanese river otter to the effect of sanitation on girls' education in India. Students also enjoyed a keynote address by Dr. Anna Sun, Associate professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at Kenyon College. She spoke about the intellectual journey that led her to become a scholar of Chinese religion and what she has learned from her students about their own intellectual journeys to the East.
At left are the Pitt students who participated in the conference. From left to right: Melanie Marino, Evan Mason, Paul Snyder, Sam Gonzales, Margaret Mallonee, David Gardner, Phil Tannenbaum; at far right is the Acting Director of the Asian Studies Center at Pitt, Professor James Cook. Congratulations and thank you to all these students for presenting!

PITTSBURGH, PA – The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania (JASP) partnered with the University of Pittsburgh’s Asian Studies Center to host the 2016 High School Japanese Speech Contest. The contest was held on Friday, March 4th at the William Pitt Union on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.

This year 110 students from the Western PA registered to compete in this daylong competition. Japanese language students of all levels and students who are involved in Japan-related cultural activities participated in one of four speech levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced and advanced plus) or the poster contest. Participating schools were Butler Area High School, Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, Pittsburgh Obama 6-12, Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12 University Preparatory School, Norwin High School, Shaler Area High School, South Side Area High School, and Upper St. Clair High School.

First place in the Advanced Plus category went to Nick Harn of Shaler Area High School, who also received the grand prize: an electronic Japanese-English dictionary donated by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. First place in the Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner categories went to Maura Kurp of Norwin High School, tied between Michelle Yang of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School and Kaishia Ieraci of Norwin High School, and James Gresos of Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, respectively. First place in the poster competition went to Erin Graham of Upper St. Clair High School.

This event is made possible through the generous support of the Japan Foundation Los Angeles, the Japanese Consulate General of New York, Elliott Group, Temple University Japan Campus, Perryman Company, Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc., University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center, the Japan Iron & Steel Federation and Mitsubishi Endowments at the University of Pittsburgh, and all participating schools and students.

For more information on the Speech Contest or the JASP, please contact Katsuko Shellhammer by phone at 412-433-5010 or via e-mail at kshellhammer@us-japan.org.

About The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania:

Established in 1986, The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania is an association of individuals, corporations and organizations that seek to promote local understanding of and mutually beneficial participation in the changing US-Japan relationship. The Society provides informative, innovative programming in order to encourage a better understanding of the business, cultural, social, educational and political practices and customs of Japan and the United States. More can be learned about the JASP at their website: www.us-japan.org/jasp

In March 2010, Asian Studies Center-affiliated faculty member Gabi Lukacs organzied a conference on Youth, Labor, and Neoliberal Governmentality in East Asia. The results of this conference have been compiled in a special issue of the positions journal (http://positions.dukejournals.org/content/23/3.toc), which offers a fresh approach to Asian studies by employing theoretical and multidisciplinary methods in creating a provocative forum for vigorous debate. Published in August 2015, this issue of positions was edited by Gabi Lukacs, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University oF Pittsburgh, and features articles by Lukacs, Cho Hae-joang, Xia Zhang, and others writing on subjects such as the dead-ending of the human capital regime, emotional and affective labor as new frontiers of capital accumulation, and the production of alternate modes of living.

CI-PITT was one of only 20 to receive this honor of the 500 institutes located in 134 countries, and has won more awards than any other CI worldwide. CI-PITT was previously honored as CI of the Year in 2008, 2010, and 2013. 
This June, Madam Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, visited the Confucius Institute at University of Pittsburgh, where she highly appreciated the institute's achievements in teaching and used the English expression "Only One" to describe its excellence.

For one week - November 14 to 21 - Pitt campus will be alive with international activities, global events and the buzz of the International Week Contest. At universities and colleges across the United States for one week every year, students celebrate and experience the benefits of international education and exchange.  Pitt actively participates in this joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education. International Education Week is just one of the many ways that Pitt prepares students to become global citizens empowered with international knowledge, skills and experiences. Attend events across campus under the themes of Cultural Awareness, Global Classroom, Global Leadership, and International Experience in order to increase your understanding of how Pitt can help you find your place in a global world, and to enter a contest to win a summer study abroad opportunity! Visit http://www.internationalweek.pitt.edu/ to learn more.

Graduating History honors major and Asian Studies Certificate student Mr. Zhibin Yao has been chosen by the History Department of the University of Pittsburgh as the inaugural recipient of the William Stanton Prize for the best honors thesis in History written in the 2014-2015 academic year.
In "From Filial Son to Silent Protestor: A Case Study of the Evolving Role of a Han Literatus in 17th-20th Century China," the honors thesis advised by Professor Evelyn Rawski (now emerita), Zhibin Yao displays a masterful grasp of the oeuvre of Chinese literatus Yang Bin, taking his readers on a journey through the life of an educated scholar whose path to fame suffered because of the political sins of his forbears. Based on in-depth original research in multiple languages, the thesis shows equal skill in its analytical and interpretive achievements. 
The Stanton Prize has been generously established by Pitt alumnus Mr. David Frederick in honor of his mentor William Ragan Stanton, an esteemed American historian who taught in Pitt’s History department from 1962 until 1994.