Faculty, Student, and Alumni News

Now you can keep up with ASC on our brand new blog! Visit pittasia.wordpress.com/ to read about what ASC is up to. This blog will include contributions from our new Undergraduate Advisory Council, but we welcome submissions of reviews of Asian media and overviews of local Asia-related events from other contributors as well!

 Echo Strategies has recently partnered with the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures to offer a local internship to Japanese language majors. This internship involves pilot-testing questionnaires targeted at Japanese audiences and translating responses into English. Jessica Shilling and Emma Lurye are the first two Japanese majors to serve as interns for Echo Strategies.

On November 10-12, the University of Pittsburgh was honored to host Riva Ganguly Das, the India Consul General of New York. Consul General Das and Consul Trade Sreenivasa Rao met with senior University administration, the School of Medicine, the Innovation Institute, the Swanson School of Engineering, and others, gaining a broad understanding of the University’s strengths and its ties to India. They also attended a reception in their honor and met with members of the local Indian community. We hope that this visit will strengthen the University’s connections to the local and academic South Asian community.

On October 7-8, the Asian Studies Center, the China Council, and the Film Studies Program will host a workshop on the Everyday Politics of Digital Life in China. Professor Guobin Yang (Sociology, University of Pennsylvania) will present a keynote lecture titled "Enchantment and Disenchantment in the Everyday Politics" on Friday at 5 p.m. in Conference Room A of the University Club; on Saturday, a series of panels will address subjects such as networks and power, digital virality and volatility, and eco-media. The full program and description can be viewed here.

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