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The Department of Asian Studies statement on the Confederate monument at McCorkle Place

August 30, 2018

The staff and faculty of the Department of Asian Studies express their abhorrence for the toppled Confederate monument that formerly stood at McCorkle Place, and their support for the students and community members who performed the ethical act of civil disobedience that brought down the statue, a hateful symbol of white supremacy on our campus, on August 20, 2018. We further urge Chancellor Folt, the UNC Board of Governors, the North Carolina Legislature, and the district attorney to refrain from levelling charges against any of the protesters of the monument. We also register our support for Maya Little, a former teaching assistant in Asian Studies, who has played a prominent role in sustaining the protests against Silent Sam.

 The faculty of Asian Studies teach students to understand and respect other cultures and perspectives. We also routinely teach and research the relationship between power and the right to write history and create knowledge. Many of the regions and cultures of Asia and the Middle East have suffered from a history of colonialism and its legacies. Among those legacies is an ongoing racialized imbalance of power between the Global North and the Global South, which manifests itself in an imbalance in the power to name, to narrate, and to represent. What we do in our classrooms is not divorced from events outside the classroom, including the types of monuments that stand on the UNC campus. For more than 100 years Silent Sam celebrated bigotry and valorized the racism that made both slavery and colonialism possible. Its removal facilitates our work, as well as that of UNC as a whole, whose mission “to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society” we share.


Olivia Holder named 2018 Yenching Scholar

July 19, 2018

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumna Olivia Holder will join the fourth cohort at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China, as a Yenching scholar. A Yenching Academy scholarship offers a fully funded interdisciplinary master’s degree in China studies. Holder will enter the program in fall 2018 with a concentration in history and archeology. She is Carolina’s first Yenching scholar.

Holder, from Greenville, North Carolina, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in history, concentrating on modern European history, with minors in Chinese and comparative literature. Additionally, Holder was awarded a William D. Weir Honors Fellowship in Asian studies to travel to China for intensive language study and a summer internship experience, during which Holder interned for the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center and the LanYuan ChaShi tea house. Holder also interned at Eastern Leaves, a tea company that owns a wild tea plantation, as a student.

A Carolina Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa, Holder was awarded a Class of 1938 Fellowship to study Chinese tea ritual and a Hogan Fellowship to research tea in London in preparation for her senior honors thesis. Her activities on campus included Honor Court and the Ackland Student Guide program.

“I am honored to join the fourth cohort of scholars and take part in a dynamic program that uses a unique, interdisciplinary approach to understanding China and our global world,” said Holder. “At Yenching Academy, each scholar designs her course of study. I plan to design a course of study that discovers the threads that connect China’s history to her present and will weave China’s future.”

“Our office just initiated the partnership with the Yenching Academy so that UNC-Chapel Hill can nominate and endorse talented students interested in the broad, interdisciplinary master’s program that Yenching offers. We are delighted that Olivia Holder will be the first representative of this new partnership,” said Professor Inger Brodey, director of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships.

The English-taught Yenching Academy program emphasizes interdisciplinary education and studying China’s development from both Chinese and international perspectives. During their twelve-month fellowships, international Yenching scholars complete coursework and a thesis. Scholars design their study experience by choosing one of six academic concentrations that direct their electives and field studies. Complementing academic courses are Chinese language training and career-focused workshops, consultations and seminars.

Silent Sam

July 19, 2018

The faculty and staff of the Department of Asian Studies urge the officers of UNC and other state officials to pursue every avenue to remove the “Silent Sam” monument.

Students present at Celebration of Undergraduate Research

April 21, 2018

A group of students in Assistant Professor Claudia Yaghoobi’s “Gender and Sexuality in Middle Eastern Literature” class presented their findings at UNC’s Celebration of Undergraduate research. Dhalia Mohamed, Stephanie Cales, Michael Myers, Gregory Sanders, and Jessica Glass won an award for the presentation of their topic, “Modernity Versus Tradition in Fatima Mernissi’s Dreams of Trespass.”


Jasmyn Thomas wins study abroad scholarship

April 21, 2018

One of Associate Professor Gang Yue’s students, Jasmyn Thomas, has been awarded the Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship. The award aims provide access to education abroad by providing scholarships to US students that are consistently underrepresented in study abroad, from a variety of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Jasmyn was selected among a pool of over 2,300 students from across the country

Arabic Program Announces Moroccan Night

March 27, 2018

The Arabic Program at UNC is pleased to announce a Moroccan Night on Thursday, April 5th, from 6-8pm, at New West Building, Room 219. The event will be an opportunity for our students to learn and experience some aspects of the Moroccan culture. The program includes story sharing of students who went to study abroad in Morocco, singing by singer Abul-Bishr Kasmi, Moroccan tea and cookies and much more. Join us. 

Persian Studies program announces award winner

March 22, 2018

The Persian Studies program and the University Libraries at UNC-Chapel Hill launch the inaugural Ferdowsi Tusi Graduate Paper Award. The winner of the inaugural Ferdowsi Tusi Award is Maziyar Faridi who presents his award-winning paper, “Férydoun Rahnéma’s Inappropriable Specters: Critique of Self-Identity and the Emergence of Iranian New Wave Cinema” on Monday, March 26, 2018, at 3:30 in room 504 at Wilson Library.

23 Carolina Students to Participate in Kakehashi Project in Japan

March 8, 2018

Original story care of UNC Global

This spring, the Carolina Asia Center and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School will participate in the Kakehashi Project, a fully funded youth exchange program between Japan and the United States. The program is designed to promote deeper cultural understanding among youth, create networking opportunities for future leaders of Japan-U.S exchanges and encourage future international work by broadening student perspectives. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received funding to support 15 business majors from UNC Kenan-Flagler, eight Asian studies majors and two faculty members who will spend a week in Japan over spring break.

Students will be joined by Sharon Cannon, clinical associate professor of management and corporate communication at UNC Kenan-Flagler, and Yuki Aratake, teaching associate professor in Japanese in the Asian studies department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“This is a generous opportunity for our students to visit Japan largely cost-free,” said Carolina Asia Center director Morgan Pitelka, who applied for the opportunity through the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta. “It also represents an exciting collaboration between the College and UNC Kenan-Flagler, one that will bring many of these students their first global experience.”

In Japan, Carolina students and faculty will join a large group of program participants from other business schools around the U.S. While the program focuses on business, students will also learn about Japanese politics, society, culture, history, diplomatic policy, economics and much more.

After arriving in Tokyo, students will travel to Tochigi Prefecture, where they will visit leading Japanese companies and industries, see important landmarks in Japanese history and culture and travel to Nikko Futarasan Shrine.

Program experiences range from visiting high-tech companies across industries and attending a lecture at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to learning about tea ceremonies and other cultural traditions.

Students will also have a home stay, giving them the opportunity to meet and stay with a Japanese family for a day and night.

At the end of the trip, the students will share a group presentation on their experiences and discuss post-program action plans for their return home.