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

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 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.

46th Annual Conference on South Asia Review

Ayesha Jalal

Urvashi Batalia

Nadini Sundar

Hari Krishnan inDANCE

On October 26-28th, the 46th Annual Conference on South Asia was held at the Madison Concourse Hotel and Madison College. We are proud to announce this year’s conference was the largest yet with approximately 900 participants. The 2017 conference featured an open theme, resulting in a wide variety of interesting panels, film screenings, and preconference topics – Film Studies, Performance and Performativity, Religion, Colonialism and Decolonization, Literature and Print Culture, Politics, Queer Studies, Gender Studies, Regional Studies, Identity Politics, Environmental Studies, and Language.

The Keynote Address by Ayesha Jalal, Plenary Addresses by Urvashi Butalia and Nandini Sundar, and Hari Krishnan’s inDANCE performance were all highlights of the weekend and beautifully upheld the academic ideals of the conference.

Already thinking about the 2018 conference? Watch this space for details and deadlines as well as exciting announcements in the coming weeks, including the launch of our new website!


Upcoming Workshops for International Scholarships

Deadlines are approaching for the Critical Language Scholarship (November 15th) and the Boren Scholarship (December 8th). Workshops have been scheduled for applicants to meet with campus representatives and past participants to discuss application tips, program experiences, and career goals. Food will be provided at both workshops. Please contact Rachel Weiss with questions. 

Please note that the November 1st workshop is focused only on Critical Language and Boren Scholarships.


Wednesday, November 1st, 5-6 PM in 206 Ingraham Hall



Tuesday, November 14th, 12-1 PM in 1418 Van Hise Hall



2017 South Asian Book Award Ceremony October 18

The 2017 SABA Awardees will be honored with a ceremony and reception at the Michigan Library Association Annual Meeting on October 18 in Lansing, Michigan. The 2017 SABA books will be available for purchase, and authors Mahak Jain, Elly MacKay and Eric Dinerstein will be present to sign books.

Non-MLA members who wish to attend, please contact Kevin King (kevink@kpl.gov) by October 9th.

For more information on the 2017 awardees, click here.

The Memory Project: Faces of Joy exhibit opens

The Memory Project: Faces of Joy exhibit is currently open in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery (Nancy Nicholas Hall). This is a traveling exhibition featuring seventy handmade portraits based on photographs of Syrian children living in refugee camps in Jordan. The Memory Project initiative, based in Middleton, Wisconsin, invites art teachers and students in the United States to create and donate portraits to youths around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence, and extreme poverty. Since its founding in 2004, the Memory Project has coordinated production of more than 100,000 portraits for children in 43 countries.

The exhibition is sponsored by the School of Human Ecology with the Memory Project and Open Doors for Refugees, two local advocacy groups engaged in refugee support. Click here for more information, gallery times, and directions.