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Morgan Pitelka awarded SECAAS book prize

July 27, 2017

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

Claudia Yaghoobi organizes three innovative events for the Persian Studies program

July 27, 2017

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.

Arabic program hosts calligraphy competition

March 7, 2017

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 helps students find a job in Japan

February 1, 2017

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.


Kathakali, a revered form of South Indian dance-drama, comes to UNC

February 1, 2017

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.

Ashley Rivenbark ’14 publishes article

January 10, 2017

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.


Diversity Statement

December 9, 2016

We, the undersigned faculty and staff in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, welcome Chancellor Folt’s recently published statements on inclusion and diversity.  Likewise, we emphatically reaffirm University policy on discrimination, academic freedom, and social justice.

We are deeply concerned that recent statements and actions by national and international political leaders targeting historically less powerful ethno-racial identities threaten inclusion, diversity, and academic freedom in addition to everyone’s safety and security. We condemn the recent racist incidents—hate speech, physical violence, vandalism, etc.—that have taken place right here on our campus. We encourage administrators at all levels of the University to also publicly condemn such incidents as one important step towards eradicating them.

In response, we pledge to continue to uphold justice and multicultural literacy by insisting that our classes and community include everyone and do not discriminate against anyone.

Dongsoo Bang
Fadi Bardawil
Jan Bardsley
Ash Barnes
Uffe Bergeton
Luoyi Cai
Mark Driscoll
Lini Ge
Zeina Halabi
Lori Harris
Didem Havlioglu
Li-ling Hsiao
Fumi Iwashita
Ji-Yeon Jo
SooJin Lee
Wendan Li
Jia Lin
Pamela Lothspeich
Khalid Shahu
Jing Stimpson
Robin Visser
Claudia Yaghoobi
Nadia Yaqub
Yi Zhou