Dear EASC Friends
Happy New Academic Year!!
I know I am. Happy. I am happy to enthusiastically, but cautiously, return to campus, to friends and colleagues, to students and live human voices. But I am also happy that I get to take on a wonderful, new challenge as director of EASC, and I am happy that my predecessor, Dr. Michael Brose, has handed me a very successful and inspiring center with an amazing team of dedicated staff (thanks, Michael!). While the fall semester will be preoccupied with the upcoming Title VI application that will be the financial life blood of the center for the next four years, we will also see a range of new initiatives that I hope you will all embrace and help develop. Remember, we will not be able to do anything without support and involvement from all of you. The overall vision with these initiatives is to think systemically about the activities of the center and to merge public outreach activities, scholarly exchange, and student career development into sustainable and synergetic programs (Admin Speak for “Let’s work together – Go Hoosiers!”). Some of my main priorities moving forward are to have the center play a larger role in developing student learning experiences and facilitating research dissemination and collaboration, as well as including IUB faculty more closely in the work of the center. However, only associate director Theresa Kang, who embodies the living and institutional memory of the Center, has been working for the Center for more than a year, and all the rest of us are quite new in the game. This influx of new blood will of course have its challenges (so have patience with us), but I also believe that it presents us with an opportunity to think about the role of the center in new ways.
The first change that you will experience is with our colloquium speaker series. Starting this September, individual, stand-alone lectures by IU and external experts will be revolving around overarching themes and capped off by an end-of-semester roundtable consisting of IU faculty and PhD students. With this new format, we hope to stimulate collaboration and conversation between people from different disciplines and areas of specialty and showcase the broad range of interests and knowledge of our faculty and students. Each series will furthermore be the topic of individual banner exhibitions that can be lent out to K12 institutions and teachers in our EASC community, and we will work on other ways to bring the wider public into the conversation. The theme of the fall semester will be Indigenous People in East Asia which will be followed by a spring theme on “Popular Protest.”
In spring, we hope to be able to launch a new podcast series designed to showcase EASC affiliated faculty and PhD students through brief interviews. Doing the dishes, walking the dog, and cleaning the bathroom will suddenly become attractive venues for learning about the incredible research that goes on among us. You’re welcome, faculty spouses!
But we have many other ideas for this year. In collaboration with the Walter Center, we are currently working on identifying and inviting EALC alumni to come to IUB and give talks and advice about career paths and opportunities in a post-graduate world. A quarterly newsletter with East Asian related news, featured courses, fun facts from our research, student achievements, internships, student translations etc. is also on the drawing board, as is educational outreach to business and policy communities. Oh, and we will be having a workshop on social innovation and East Asian studies. Wait, did someone mention entrepreneurship and innovation for medievalists and other hardcore humanists? Funny you should ask, because that’s another exciting thing we will be dabbling with. And so, so many other things.
So, in conclusion: I hope we can make EASC into a melting pot for ideas and a true workshop space for tinkering with extra-curricular innovation. Professors, students, local artists (no mimes, they freak me out!), presidential candidates, and NGOs – everyone will be welcome, so swing by the center for a wee chat.
Director of EASC