Fall 2018 Graduate Admissions Deadline: February 1, 2018

The Asian Studies Program welcomes applications for Fall Semester 2018! Please note that our admissions deadline is February 1. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered for scholarship funding, so please make sure all of your application materials have been uploaded at the Office of Graduate Education online application portal here. This includes UH Manoa documents and the Supplementary Documents required by the Asian Studies Program; please look at our Graduate Admissions Page for detailed requirements.

We look forward to your applications and hope to welcome you to our program next fall!

Visit the ASP table on October 27!

The Asian Studies Program (ASP) will be part of  the “What’s Next at Manoa?” graduate fair, hosted by the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH).  The goal of the event is to introduce undergraduate students to graduate program opportunities at the university.

ASP will be tabling on Friday, October 27 from 11:00AM – 2:00PM in the Campus Center Courtyard.

Dr. Young-a Park, Graduate Chair of ASP, and other members of the department will be present to meet students and to share information about courses, scholarships, and more!

Recently Released! Singing Across Divides by Dr. Anna Stirr

Dr. Anna Stirr’s book, Singing Across Divides: Music and Intimate Politics in Nepal, was recently released from Oxford University Press.

An ethnographic study of music, performance, migration, and circulation, Singing Across Divides examines how forms of love and intimacy are linked to changing conceptions of political solidarity and forms of belonging, through the lens of Nepali dohori song.

The book describes dohori: improvised, dialogic singing, in which a witty repartee of exchanges is based on poetic couplets with a fixed rhyme scheme, often backed by instrumental music and accompanying dance, performed between men and women, with a primary focus on romantic love. The book tells the story of dohori’s relationship with changing ideas of Nepal as a nation-state, and how different nationalist concepts of unity have incorporated marginality, in the intersectional arenas of caste, indigeneity, class, gender, and regional identity. Dohori gets at the heart of tensions around ethnic, caste, and gender difference, as it promotes potentially destabilizing musical and poetic interactions, love, sex, and marriage across these social divides.

In the aftermath of Nepal’s ten-year civil war, changing political realities, increased migration, and circulation of people, media and practices are redefining concepts of appropriate intimate relationships and their associated systems of exchange. Through multi-sited ethnography of performances, media production, circulation, reception, and the daily lives of performers and fans in Nepal and the UK, Singing Across Divides examines how people use dohori to challenge (and uphold) social categories, while also creating affective solidarities.

Dr. Anna Marie Stirr is a performer and scholar of Nepali folk music, and is Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Solid review for book “Embedded Racism” by the Social Science Japan Journal

Adjunct Faculty Debito Arudou’s book “Embedded Racism:  Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination” (Lexington Books / Rowman & Littlefield 2015) was recently reviewed by the Social Science Japan Journal (SSJJ).  

The reviewer concluded:

“In an anti-globalist era of Trump and ‘Brexit’ there will be many who argue that Japan is right to severely restrict immigration and preserve as much as possible that is unique about its national character. If those who do not ‘look Japanese’ have to suffer some discrimination, then that is just the price that has to be paid. There are also many who believe that the best antidote to racism is to have a nation state where as few people as possible look out of place. Arudou’s reply to this point of view, which acts simultaneously as a challenge to Japan’s leaders, is that if this national narrative is allowed to prevail, it will not only condemn Japan’s aging population to an ever-worsening demographic crisis, it will also have a ‘suffocating and self-strangulating’ effect on society (p. 303).

“There are important academic contributions to the study of racism in Japan in this book, but it is as a must-read text on the crisis facing the shrinking Japanese population and its leaders that it really leaves its mark. Embedded Racism is highly recommended reading to anyone—whether they self-identify as Japanese or foreign or both—who is interested in Japan’s future.”

The entire review is available at https://academic.oup.com/ssjj/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ssjj/jyx012

“Embedded Racism” is available at Hamilton Library and the Richardson Law Library.

Center for Pacific Islands Studies: Annual Student Conference

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies held its annual student conference on March 23 and 24, 2017 at the Campus Center Ballroom. The conference, Expressing Oceania: Pacific Islands Scholarship on the Page, on the Stage, and Beyond, drew approximately 300 people and featured noted Maori scholar Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Master Navigator Larry Reigetal of Yap.

The Center was honored by a visit from Dr. Robert Underwood, President of Unibetsedat Guahan (University of Guam) and remarks by UHM President Dr. David Lassner.

30 students contributed papers, posters, visual arts, and performing arts during the two-day conference, representing UHM, Unibetsedat Guahan, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University.

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies sent a heartfelt mahalo to their sponsors: School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Center for Pacific Islands Studies, Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center, and the Student Activities and Program Fee Board.

IN PRINT! Dr. Aung-Thwin and Dr. Arudou have publications this spring

The School of Pacific and Asian Studies is proud to announce that two of its faculty have publications available to the public this spring!

In May, Dr. Michael Aung-Thwin’s book Myanmar in the Fifteenth Century: A Tale of Two Kingdoms will be released via University of Hawai’i Press.

About the Book: When the great kingdom of Pagan declined politically in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, its territory devolved into three centers of power and a period of transition occurred. Then two new kingdoms arose: the First Ava Dynasty in Upper Myanmar and the First Pegu Dynasty in Lower Myanmar. Both originated around the second half of the fourteenth century, reached their pinnacles in the fifteenth, and declined before the first half of the sixteenth century was over. Their story is the only missing piece in Myanmar’s mainstream historiography, a gap this book is designed to fill.

Original in conception and impressive in scope, this well written book not only fills in the history of early modern Myanmar but places it in a broad interpretive context based on years of familiarity with a wealth of primary sources. Full of arresting anecdotes and colorful personalities, it represents an important contribution to Myanmar studies that will not easily be superseded.

Dr. Debito Arudou has just had a chapter published in Jeff Kingston, Ed., “Press Freedom in Contemporary Japan” (Routledge, 2017). Entitled “Media Marginalization and Vilification of Minorities in Japan”, the chapter talks about the disempowering effects of Japan’s foreign residents being shut out from mainstream media, leaving them not only unable to counter stereotyping and hate speech, but also vulnerable to public denigration by Japan’s police forces as the latter fabricates “foreign crime waves”.

The chapter was adapted from his book “Embedded Racism” (Lexington Books, 2015). Both books are available at Hamilton Library, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and online.

SPAS Lecturer Debito Arudou published in The Japan Times

On March 5, 2017, SPAS Lecturer Debito Arudou had a column published in Japan’s largest English-language newspaper, The Japan Times, entitled “Government of Japan, survey thyself”.

The article talked about the Ministry of Justice’s first nationwide survey of discrimination against Non-Japanese residents in Japan. This unprecedented survey mailed 18,500 registered foreigners, was comprehensive in scope and well-intentioned in purpose, but Debito pointed out that it had one huge blind spot (aside from calling the issue “foreigner discrimination”, not “racial discrimination”): no questions were asked on how government policies and bureaucratic actions were also part of the cause.

Read it at:  http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2017/03/05/issues/government-japan-survey-thyself/

28th Annual Graduate Student Conference: March 22-24, 2017

Bridging the Gaps: Conceptualizing Asia Through An
Interdisciplinary Lens

Attend the School of Pacific and Asian Studies 28th annual graduate student conference, March 22-24, at the Center for Korean Studies. The conference will include performances, posters, presentations, and panels that “critically address and/or contest disciplinary and regional approaches to the studies of Asia”.

Presentations will highlight: 1) Original research in any area of Asia and Asian Studies; 2) Interdisciplinary methods and frameworks; 3) Comparative studies or transnational issues; 4) New and emerging trends in Asian Studies; 5) Critical re-examinations of existing methodologies and frameworks; and 6) Current Asian performance practices.

The full program can be found here.

This event is free and open to the public.

Support and Solidarity for Muslim and Jewish Communities

In response to and strong condemnation of recent expressions of hate directed at Muslim and Jewish communities in Hawaii, we endorse the following statement:

Over the past weeks the Manoa Mosque has been the target of multiple hate messages via social media, email, and voicemail. Individual Muslims have been harassed in public, including children. Also, Temple Emanu-El was targeted with a bomb threat against its Jewish pre-school.

We stand together with our Muslim and Jewish communities and any individuals who are subjected to harassment based on religion, immigration status, national origin, race, gender, LGBTQ+ status or disability. No one should go through this experience alone.

We urge you to add your signature using this form, which also sends this statement to Senator Brian Schatz. Your email address will remain private.

Support and Solidarity for Muslim and Jewish Communities

  

Aloha

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In addition, our UH Manoa President, David Lassner, has sent the following message to our community:

Aloha colleagues and friends,

I have written several messages to the University of Hawai’i community stressing our commitment to non-discrimination and working together to overcome intolerance and prohibit harassment based on religion, immigration status, national origin, race, gender, LGBTQ+ status or disability. This commitment has been and remains clear and firm, and I am proud that our UH Board of Regents has publicly reaffirmed its support of these core values.

Over the past weeks we have been alerted to multiple incidents of hate messages and threats in Honolulu. The Muslim Association of Hawai’i, one of the neighbors of UH Manoa, has been the target of hate messages via social media, email and voicemail. Individual Muslims have been harassed in public. Temple Emanu-el was targeted with a bomb threat against its Jewish pre-school.

These incidents did not occur on any of our campuses and have become a matter for law enforcement. But they directly and deeply impact many within the UH community. UH campuses have been ranked as the most diverse higher education institutions in the nation, and we all benefit when each of us is safe and secure.

So as we head into the weekend it is a great time for each of us to reach out to others to celebrate and support our UH commitment to diversity, tolerance and safety for all.

Sincerely,

David Lassner