On April 18, Peter Cooke, a major in Arab Cultures, was awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, one of two prestigious Chancellor’s Awards honoring humanitarian work by undergraduates each year.
The Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (SECAAS) awarded two book prizes for 2016, announcing these at the SECAAS annual meeting, January 13-15, 2017 in Oxford, MS. Morgan Pitelka, Professor of Asian Studies and Director of the Carolina Asia Center, won one of these awards for his book, Spectacular Accumulation: Material Culture, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Samurai Sociability (University of Hawaii Press).
“In Spectacular Accumulation, Pitelka investigates the significance of material culture and sociability in late sixteenth-century Japan, focusing in particular on the career and afterlife of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. The story of Ieyasu illustrates the close ties between people, things, and politics and offers us insight into the role of material culture in the shift from medieval to early modern Japan and in shaping our knowledge of history.” –University of Hawai’i Press
On January 24, two Asian Studies faculty were involved in a panel on “Middle Eastern Women Writers and their Impacts.” Assistant Professor Claudia Yaghoobi organized the event, while Associate Professor and Chair of Asian Studies Nadia Yaqub served as a moderator. Two scholars were invited to give talks on the topic. Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh (UC Irvine) discussed the flourishing of Iranian women’s writing in the wake of the 1979 revolution and questioned whether this phenomenon is a reflection or byproduct of the revolution and what it might reveal about the conditions of women’s belonging to the national imaginary. Dr. Nesreen Akhtarkhavari (DePaul University) discussed Jordanian women writers and their contributions to the local and regional literary scene with a focus on the award-winning writer Samiha Kharis and her ability to breathe life into her work creating a range of Arab women protagonists, unrestrained and faithful to their social and cultural fabrics. Around 50 people both from the campus and the public community were in attendance.
On February 20, Dr. Yaghoobi organized a book reading for Dr. Mateo Mohammad Farzaneh (Northeastern Illinois University) who discussed his book The Iranian Constitutional Revolution and the Clerical Leadership of Khurasani (Syracuse University Press, 2015), and the role of Islamic jurisprudence and political reform in Iran. Dr. Yaghoobi also organized a panel on the topic of the Iran-Iraq (1980-1988) war. Dr. Mateo Mohammad Farzaneh (Northeastern Illinois University) and Dr. Amir Khadem (University of Alberta) were featured scholars who spoke on the war and its aftermath.
Dr. Fadi Bardawil recently published an essay on the Metropolitan Left’s abandonment of the Syrian struggle for emancipation in the Syrian electronic magazine, aljumhuriyya. Read it here.
Arabic lecturer Khalid Shahu took students to Apex Mosque to learn about Muslim culture. Read about it in the Daily Tar Heel.
Sarah Muscutt ’15 is an Asian studies major, Carolina Covenant scholar, and first-generation college student who has pursued study and work opportunities in South Korea through a Critical Language Scholarship and Fulbright award. Read all about it here.
Arabic Lecturer Farida Badr developed the idea and organized this event held December 1st, 2016, to showcase Arabic students’ facility and artistry with the Arabic script. Around eleven current and former students in Asian Studies’ Arabic classes participated in this event, most of them as competitors. Winners were selected from the first- and second-year levels of Arabic, and these included Anna Kathryn (first-year) and Deanna Fayed (second-year), pictured below with their winning calligraphy.
Japanese Lecturer Katsu Sawamura organized an event to help UNC students find employment in Japan after graduation. About thirty current UNC students and two alumni participated in this event. Maura McCarthy (class of 2012) talked about her experiences working as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) on the JET Program, in public schools in Ehime, Japan. Gabe Allen (class of 2016) talked about his experiences utilizing the Boston Career Forum and the process of gaining employment at the cosmetics company Shiseido. The event concluded with video messages from two other UNC alumni—Andrew Hartsell (class of 2006), who is currently working at Microsoft Japan, and Elizabeth Anne Nunley (class of 2011), who is working as a travel writer in Kyoto. Due to the success of this event, faculty in the Japanese program plan to repeat it next year.
An esteemed trio from the state of Kerala in South India—artists Viswanath Kaladharan and Kalamandalam Manoj, and makeup artist Kalamandalam Sukumaran—came to Chapel Hill to present Kathakali, a revered form of devotional dance-drama, to the UNC community on September 23, 2016. This event entailed an educational lecture-demonstration in Hyde Hall (Institute for the Arts and Humanities), and a recital at the Mandela Auditorium in the Global Education Center. At the recital, Kalamandalam Manoj depicted the character Hanuman from the epic Ramayana. Dr. Pamela Lothspeich organized this event, with generous funding from Departments of Asian Studies, Religious Studies, and Dramatic Art, as well as the South Asia Faculty Working Group, the Carolina Asia Center, and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.
An alumna of the Department of Asian Studies, Ashley Rivenbark, who earned a B.A. with a concentration in Chinese, recently published an article, “Of Art and Cultural Revolution,” in China Hands Magazine. Her article explores the cultural politics of remembrance and forgetfulness of the Cultural Revolution through popular artwork of that turbulent era. Ashley is now a Risk and Compliance Consultant at Protiviti.