Celebrating Asian Studies at UW

The Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC) department hosted a symposium on Friday, April 20, 2018, to highlight Asian studies students and the departments’ new degree program. The symposium brought together members of the UW-Madison community to showcase student opportunities and experiences with Asian Studies offered by the university.

Asian Studies participants showcased the impacts Asia has had on their experiences at UW-Madison through conversation, dance, photography and musical performances. “I want to highlight how important it is to use language and cultural understanding to improve work in any field that you’re in,” Hannah, a student of Hindi and Biomedical Engineering said. “People who are in STEM don’t feel they have the tools to succeed in the humanities or language or cultural studies, but I know, from even this early on in my career how impactful this knowledge is going to be on my career as an engineer,” Hannah continued.

David Burnett, a second year UW-Madison student was one of the performers at this symposium, giving a performance in Chinese. Burnett took 2 years of Japanese at Madison West high school before spending 9 months abroad with a Chinese host family. Burnett will be spending the fall semester of the 2018-2019 school year at National Taiwan University furthering his language and culture studies. A performance was also given by Anaguma Eisa, an Okinawan folk-dance group encouraging people of all ages to develop their full potential through cultural understanding and performing arts.

UW-Madison Professor Rania Huntington is one of the faculty members of this new department. “The Asian Languages and Cultures department’s mission is to increase student understanding of the languages and cultures of Asia, not just learning about these languages and cultures, but learning from them,” Huntington said. “It’s not like this is going to be finished in a 4-year degree, but we want students to graduate with the tools to be lifelong learners in learning about Asian languages and cultures,” Huntington continued.

UW-Madison Professor Steve Ridgley is chair of this new department. He is a scholar of modern Japanese literature whose latest research focuses on the intersection of contemporary ideas of science and math with Japanese fiction.
Rachel Weiss is the department’s undergraduate adviser and graduate coordinator. Rachel is key to helping students navigate this new department.

The new ALC degree will have four concentrations: East Asian studies, South Asian studies, South East Asian studies, and Trans-Asian studies. The department will also continue to offer the Chinese major, Japanese major, Certificate in Japanese Professional Communication, and Certificate in Chinese Professional Communication.

The ALC undergraduate major will become available to students in the fall of 2019. The student symposium will be a capstone requirement for future ALC majors.

-Cade Campbell

South Asia professors recognized for teaching excellence and service

Three South Asia-affiliated faculty were recently recognized for excellence in teaching, contributions to their field, and service.

The Secretary of the Faculty named J. Mark Kenoyer (Anthropology) and Gurindar Sohi (Computer Science) as two of four recipients of the prestigious Hilldale Award.

J. Mark Kenoyer

Gurindar Sohi









Kenoyer is also the recipient of a WARF Named Professorship. Mitra Sharafi (Law) was named as a recipient of the Romnes Faculty Fellowship. Kenoyer and Sharafi are among thirty-three faculty members awarded fellowships for 2018 for their ongoing research.

Mitra Sharafi

Please join us in congratulating them on their outstanding achievements.

Conference Digital Archive now available with new website

The Annual Conference on South Asia recently launched a new website. Our new design includes a “Deadlines At a Glance,” complete with submission guidelines and registration information as well as a redesigned contact information form. Among the many new features is the digital archive, created by our Conference Coordinator. Programs from previous years can be viewed online or downloaded for your reference. Look for additional announcements coming soon about the 47th Annual Conference, scheduled for October 11-13, 2018.

UW-Madison Scholar chosen for 2018 Marshall Scholarship

Phoenix Rice-Johnson was awarded the prestigious Marshall Scholarship this week. Rice-Johnson is among 43 elite students receiving this honor. A former FLAS recipient and Hindi student at UW-Madison, she earned her bachelor’s degree political science and international studies in 2016. Rice-Johnson will begin master’s studies at King’s College London next fall where she plans to pursue research on voting rights and public policy. More…

UW Hosts 2017 Fulbright Pakistan Seminar

November 2-5 marked the second year for UW-Madison and the Center for South Asia to host the Fulbright Pakistan Fall Enrichment Seminar. 150 Pakistani graduate students gathered in Madison for seminars on leadership, academic strategies, activism, politics, and networking. Between seminars, the students enjoyed tours of local Madison attractions and even had the opportunity to visit the Farmer’s Market.

Special guest speakers included Faisal Tirmizi, Consul General of Pakistan; Daniel Rosenblum, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia at the U.S. Department of State; Stephanie Reed, Fulbright Program Officer at the U.S. Department of State; Rita Akhtar, Executive Director, U.S. Educational Foundation in Pakistan; and Joseph Elder, UW Professor Emeritus; Richard Keller, Associate Dean of the International Division at UW; and Lalita du Perron, Program Director, Fulbright Pakistan Orientation Seminar.