Skip to main content

Congratulations to the Class of 2021

May 12, 2021

A short but loving video from your assorted DAMES faculty offering heartfelt congratulations to the graduating class of 2021! We so enjoyed teaching you the languages and cultures of Asia and the Middle East over the past four years! Please stay in touch and let us know how we can continue to support you. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

DAMES Statement on Anti-Asian Violence and Discrimination

March 17, 2021

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies categorically condemns the attacks on Asian Americans in Atlanta on March 16, 2021, and rejects the rise in anti-Asian violence and discrimination of the past year. These acts are rooted in a long American history of white supremacy, xenophobia, and anti-immigrant racism, and our department exists to oppose such bigotry and bias through education, language learning, international collaboration, and scholarly activism. We stand in solidarity with UNC’s newly established Asian American Center and our long-standing partner the Carolina Asia Center and offer our support to all Asian and Asian American students, faculty, and staff.

Some resources suggested by Professor Heidi Kim, Director of the AAC, among other friends and colleagues:

Asian American Community Organizations

UNC Asian American Center. Asian American Center (unc.edu)

North Carolina Asian Americans Together. North Carolina Asian Americans Together (ncaatogether.org)

  

Counseling and Psychological Services

UNC Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, unc.edu)

Asian American Psychological Association COVID-19 Resources, AAPA COVID-19 Related Resources – Google Docs

Asian Americans and the Movement for Black Lives (Workshop). March 31, 2021 7 p.m.

Meeting Registration – Zoom

Asian Mental Health Collective (online community for Asian mental health support). Asian Mental Health Collective (asianmhc.org)

Asian, Pacific Islander, and South Asian American Therapist Directory

APISAA Therapist Directory — Asian Mental Health Collective (asianmhc.org)

24-Hour Asian LifeNet Hotline. Call 1 (877) 990-8585, Available 24/7. Languages available: Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Fujianese.

 

Resources for Reporting Hate Crimes

At UNC

  1. Report an Incident Form
  2. University Ombuds Office 

External Reporting Resources

  1. Stop AAPI Hate
  2. North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT)
  3. Fair Housing NC – Know Your Rights
  4. NAPABA Hate Crime Resources

 

Readings and Teaching Resources

Ho, Jennifer. “Anti-Asian Racism, Black Lives Matter, and COVID-19.” Japan Forum, DOI

10.1080/09555803.2020.1821749. https://doi.org/10.1080/09555803.2020.1821749.

Hsu, Madeline. Asian American History: A Very Short Introduction.2nd ed. Oxford University

Press, 2016.

Lee, Erika. The Making of Asian America: A History. Simon & Schuster 2015.

Lopez, Ian Haney. White By Law: the Legal Construction of Race. 10th Anniversary edition.

NYU Press 2006.

Maeda, Daryl. Chains of Babylon: the Rise of Asian America. University of Minnesota Press

2009.

Ngai, Mae. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton

University Press 2014.

Schlund-Vials, Cathy, Linda Vo, Scott Wong (eds). Keywords for Asian American Studies. New

York University Press 2015.

 

Other Resources

Virtual Event: Black American Relations with South Koreans

January 31, 2021

Black American Relations with South Koreans: Historical Origins and Present Trajectories

Presentation on February 3, 4 PM by Professor Nadia Kim (Loyola Marymount University), moderated by Morgan Wilson (Ph.D. candidate, UNC Department of History).

Nadia Y. Kim, professor of sociology at Loyola Marymount University, focuses on US race and citizenship inequalities regarding Korean/Asian Americans and South Koreans, race and nativist racism in Los Angeles (e.g., 1992 LA Unrest), immigrant women’s politics of the body and emotions, environmental racism and classism, and comparative racialization of Latinxs, Asian Americans, and Black Americans. Throughout her work, Kim’s approach centers (neo)imperialism, transnationality, and the intersectionality of race, gender, class, and citizenship. Kim is author of the multi-award-winning Imperial Citizens: Koreans and Race from Seoul to LA (Stanford, 2008); of Refusing Death: Immigrant Women Fight for Environmental Justice in LA (Stanford, forthcoming Spring 2021), and of award-winning journal articles on race and assimilation and on racial attitudes.

Register for the Zoom webinar here.

Part of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies speaker series Blackness in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, supported by the Carolina Asia Center and the Institute for African American Research

 

Virtual Event: Black Americans and U.S.-Japan Relations

January 5, 2021

Paige Cottingham-Streater, ‘Black Americans and US-Japan Relations,’ January 21, 2021, 4 PM ET

PART OF THE 2020-21 SPEAKER SERIES, “BLACKNESS IN ASIAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES”

 

This session will feature Paige Cottingham-Streater, executive director of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, “Black Americans and U.S.-Japan Relations,” and will be moderated by Morgan Pitelka, chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Cottingham-Streater directs the work of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. The Commission is an independent federal government agency that supports research, education, public affairs and exchange with Japan. Its mission is to support reciprocal people-to-people understanding, and promote partnerships that advance common interests between Japan and the United States. Prior to joining the Commission, Cottingham-Streater served as deputy executive director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation where she worked for sixteen years.  In addition to providing strategic leadership for the Mansfield Foundation, she directed the Mike Mansfield Fellowship Program, a Congressionally-established professional exchange for mid-level federal government employees.

Previously, Cottingham-Streater was director for the U.S.-Japan Project at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, DC.  In this capacity, she supervised visiting scholars, conducted research on US-Japan issues, managed the project’s budget and published the project’s newsletter.  And prior to that she served as counsel and legislative assistant in the office of Congressman Donald M. Payne (D-NJ), where she monitored legislative initiatives involving education, civil rights law enforcement, labor, and financial and social policy.  She was also a participant in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET), a staff attorney at the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and a law clerk at U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Marshals Service.

Cottingham-Streater received a J.D. from the National Law Center at George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College in government and Asian studies.

This series is organized by the UNC Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies with support from Carolina Asia Center, the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, and the UNC Institute of African American Research.

Download flyer: Black Americans and US-Japan Relations flyer

Thank you for celebrating with us!

December 19, 2020
In the fall of 2019, our department set out an ambitious goal: to celebrate our fortieth anniversary by producing forty stories about students, faculty, and alumni, and by increasing participation in our modest fundraising efforts by encouraging forty donations over the course of the year. I’m happy to say both efforts were a success, and all of us in the department offer our sincere thanks to the alumni, parents, students, faculty, and retired faculty who donated.
We received a range of gifts small and large, and every one makes a huge difference for our department. One recent donor made a gift in honor of Dr. Larry Kessler, who passed away in August of this year. You can read more about Larry, who played a central role in the growth of Asian Studies at UNC, in a profile written by Professor Emeritus Miles Fletcher. Many thanks to the anonymous donor for honoring a valued colleague who helped build our field at UNC, and had a positive impact on generations of Carolina graduates.
Our “Forty for Forty” campaign is ending, but the reasons to celebrate (and to give) continue. In fact, we just received the wonderful news that Sarah Mackenzie, who graduated in 2020 with degrees in public policy and global studies and a minor in Arabic from DAMES, has won a Rhodes Scholarship, allowing her to study social policy at Oxford University before moving on to law school for a planned career as a public defender.
As always, please stay in touch by checking in our website, following our Twitter account, reaching out to our faculty and staff, and if you able, contributing to our fundraising efforts.
Thank you, and happy holidays!
Morgan
Chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Professor of History and Asian Studies

Video of Professor Timothy Daniels, “Blackness in Malaysia and Indonesia: Stories from the Field” (UNC only)

October 26, 2020

Professor Timothy Daniels (Hofstra University) spoke on the topic of “Blackness in Malaysia and Indonesia: Stories from the Field.” The talk was part of the DAMES 2020-2021 speaker series, “Blackness in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies,” and this event was co-sponsored by the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies and moderated by Dr. Kevin Fogg (Associate Director, Carolina Asia Center, UNC).

Video of the talk (UNC login required)

First Speaker in DAMES “Blackness” Series

September 16, 2020

 

THANK YOU to Professor Troutt Powell and Professor Sturkey for making the event a huge success. The video of the talk can be found here or on YouTube.

The first event in the 2020-2021 “Blackness in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies” speaker series was held on September 22, at 4:30 PM. Eve M. Troutt Powell (Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania) presented “Training Slaves for the Camera: Race and Memory in Representations of Slaves, Khartoum, 1882.” The talk was moderated by UNC’s own Professor William Sturkey. All events will be held virtually through Zoom.

Eve M. Troutt Powell teaches the history of the modern Middle East and the history of slavery in the Nile Valley and the Ottoman Empire. As a cultural historian, she emphasizes the exploration of literature and film in her courses. She is the author of A Different Shade of Colonialism: Egypt, Great Britain and the Mastery of the Sudan (University of California, 2003) and the coeditor, with John Hunwick, of The African Diaspora in the Mediterranean Lands of Islam (Princeton Series on the Middle East, Markus Wiener Press, 2002). Her most recent book is Tell This in My Memory: Stories of Enslavement in Egypt, Sudan and the Late Ottoman Empire (Stanford University Press, 2012). Troutt Powell is now working on a book about the visual culture of slavery in the Middle East which will explore the painting and photography about African and Circassian slavery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Please register here.

Organized by the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, co-sponsored by the UNC Center for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, with support from the Institute of African American Research.

Profile of Alumnus Rashad Hauter

September 10, 2020

Rashad Ahmed Hauter graduated from UNC in 2007 with majors in Biology and Asian Studies, concentrating on Arabic. Professor Nadia Yaqub remembers him well as an enthusiastic student. Rashad was a first-generation college student, the child of Yemeni immigrants who “fled poverty and unrest in pursuit of the American dream” and established a business in Vance County, NC.

After UNC, Rashad attended the Campbell University School of Law and graduated cum laude. He became assistant district attorney for Wake County, trying more than 800 bench trials. Next he took up a role as a state Regional Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, trying more than 700 bench trials and 40 jury trials. In 2017, he founded his own private practice as a criminal defense and immigration attorney.

Most recently, Rashad is running in the special election of the Tenth Judicial District Bar (Wake County) to be a nominee considered by Governor Cooper for appointment to this position, resulting from Judge Denning’s resignation. Rashad is a wonderful reminder that studying Asian and Middle Eastern languages and cultures brings opportunities globally but also locally; in fact Rashad sometimes is able to offer his legal services pro bono for those who need an Arabic-speaking attorney.

 

Professor Mark Driscoll’s forthcoming book

August 24, 2020

The Whites Are Enemies of HeavenProfessor Mark Driscoll’s forthcoming book, The Whites Are Enemies of Heavenconsiders Western imperialism in Asia in the nineteenth century, and proposes a new theory of “climate caucasianism” that links racism with environmental destruction in an innovative matter, demonstrating the close linkage between our current struggles with both racial inequality and climate change and the expansion of Western empires at the outset of the “modern” age.

Professor Driscoll is best known as a scholar of Japanese modernity, a specialist in cultural studies whose publications have ranged from translations of the colonial novels Kannani and Document of Flames, both by Katsuei Yuasa, to his first monograph, Absolute Erotic, Absolute Grotesque: The Living, Dead, and Undead in Japan’s Imperialism, a tour de force of interdisciplinary and theoretically-informed humanistic scholarship.

In his new book, he utilizes primary sources in Chinese, Japanese, and French to re-contextualize the Opium Wars as a key moment in both the emergence of extractive, coal-fed capitalism and the destruction of Qing China’s world leading carbon-neutral economy.

Advance reviews of the book from the website of the publisher, Duke University Press, praise Driscoll’s scholarship:

“Mark Driscoll dazzlingly argues that at the origin of the Anthropocene lies the predatory behavior of European colonialism in East Asia—what he daringly terms “climate caucasianism”, a historically unprecedented assemblage of extraction, coloniality, ecological devastation, commerce, and war. Driscoll’s exquisite and brilliant scholarship demonstrates a simultaneous mastery of Chinese and Japanese languages, cultures, and histories. The Whites Are Enemies of Heaven should be of immediate interest to students in all those fields wishing to understand the multiple entanglements of imperialism, colonialism, ontology, and resistance that underlie the complex assemblage called climate change.” — Arturo Escobar, author of Pluriversal Politics: The Real and the Possible

“Mark Driscoll’s The Whites Are Enemies of Heaven is an ambitious and original study of Japanese and Chinese resistance to Euro-American imperialism. Beyond his compelling focus on race and racism—which rarely get the explicit attention they deserve in East Asian studies—Driscoll turns to Marxism, postcolonial theory, and ecocriticism to analyze global histories of extractive capitalism and drug production in this wide-ranging and thrilling analysis. There is no other book like this!” — Teemu Ruskola, author of Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law

Profile of Professor Nadia Yaqub’s Newest Book

August 21, 2020

Cover of Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution

Professor Nadia Yaqub’s recent book Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution (University of Texas Press, 2018) situates Palestinian cinema squarely within mid-20th century political cinema.

In her introduction, Yaqub writes “Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution is an in-depth study of these films, the filmmakers, and their practices; the political and cultural contexts in which they were created and seen; and the afterlives the films have had with communities of Palestinian refugees and young filmmakers and other cultural actors in the twenty-­first century. This study situates the works within regional and global conversations and practices surrounding the filmmaking and politics of the era. It offers detailed analyses of the films themselves, their coming into being, their distribution and viewership, and the intense interest they have generated during the past decade.”

Diana Allan (McGill University) wrote in a review in International Journal of Middle East Studies, “In six chapters, Yaqub deftly illuminates a series of shifts in the filmic conceptualization and representation of Palestinian resistance over the past fifty years. . . Palestinian Cinema elegantly weaves together a diverse array of sources––correspondence, personal interviews, memoirs, and other vital primary and secondary materials, including key revolutionary journals (al-Hurriya, Filasteen al-Thawra and Shuʾun)––and appends a comprehensive filmography of PLO films produced between 1968 and 1982. . . this book represents an invaluable and compelling contribution to scholarship on Palestinian filmmaking, Palestinian cultural production, and transnational, Tricontinental solidarity. It opens a window to a luminous period of revolutionary production that, until now, has been largely inaccessible to English-language readers, and invites reengagement with these vital, visionary works in a moment where inspiration is urgently needed.”

The process of researching the book involved intensive archival work as well as study of films and related materials collected by relevant cultural organizations. Her subject matter was inherently precarious, and has been undergoing constant erasure. In an interview with Nicholas Baer in Film Quarterly (72:1), Yaqub discusses her approach:

I relied heavily on the research, publications, and programming of others. In particular, the extensive work of the Palestine Film Foundation and its 2014 program “The World Is with Us” was fundamental to the book. Through the screenings and gallery installation of that program, I was able to study more than thirty films by Palestinians and solidarity activists. Some of that material has become available on YouTube, and a few titles can be purchased from distributors, but many others remain very difficult to see. While my book includes discussions of a number of films that were not included in that program (e.g., the Syrian material and the films that Kais al-Zubaidi made in the late 1970s), it would not be an exaggeration to say that the project would not have materialized without “The World Is with Us.” The library of the Institute for Palestinian Studies in Beirut was another crucial resource since it contains copies of almost all publications of the PLO and various Palestinian political organizations.

In the same interview, Yaqub notes that one of her goals was to reevaluate the role of compromise in the creative decisions of filmmakers:

My goal with the book is to contribute to our understanding of political cinema through close readings of films and attention to contextual details that illuminate some of the complexities inherent in this type of engaged creativity. How constraints, contingencies, and opportunities all shaped this film movement and the works that emerged from it expands our understanding of how cultural production works in the real world. Because filmmaking is complex, expensive, and collaborative, it is marked by compromise. This is particularly true of political filmmaking. Film scholars often focus on visionary filmmakers whose primary commitment is to their art. By treating the works of filmmakers who were committed to both filmmaking and a political project, I have attempted to offer an alternative understanding of compromise as a mode of film production. Compromise certainly limits expression, but it is also a necessary force that produces certain types of texts that deserve to be studied seriously and understood on their own terms.

The book was shortlisted for a Palestine Book Award, and in 2018 she was invited by Columbia University to curate a film festival on Gaza.