In April, EALC celebrated its 50th anniversary by hosting a commemoratory event highlighting its accomplishments and transformation since 1962. The event featured two lectures by Joshua Fogel (History, York University) and EALC alumna Norma Field (East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago) along with presentations by EALC alumni, faculty, and students. The afternoon was filled with reminiscences of EALC’s origins and storied history. From humble beginnings, EALC has developed into one of the most respected East Asian studies programs in the country, offering a full range of courses in East Asian literature, history, politics, religion, and art as well as advanced level language training in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese (Mandarin). Throughout its history, EALC has also been influential in the development of other IU-based East Asian related programs such as the East Asian Summer Language Institute, the Chinese Language Flagship, the Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business, and, of course, EASC. You can read more about EALC’s 50th anniversary in the recent Indiana Daily Student article here and the IU News Room's article here.
In April, IU broke ground on the new Global and International Studies building. Along with EASC, the Global and International Studies Building (GISB) will house approximately 10 academic departments and 19 research centers or programs focused on the study of global cultural processes and foreign languages. The GISB will offer state-of-the-art classrooms, offices, and gathering places for the study of foreign languages and humanistic inquiries into global cultures. Placing all of these units in the GISB will offer exciting possibilities for new collaborations in the four-story 165,000-square-foot building. The GISB will also help alleviate ongoing demands for classroom space as IU’s student population continues to grow. To read more about the ground breaking ceremony and watch video of the ground breaking ceremony, click here.
In April, the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) opened the Ai Wei Wei: According to What? exhibit. The exhibit features some of Ai Wei Wei’s most critically acclaimed work over the last 20 years, including the display of 5,385 names of school children who perished during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The 2008 Sichuan piece also includes a new sculpture made from steel rebar salvaged from schools that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The piece points to the inferior construction that caused the government-built schools to collapse while other buildings remained unscathed. This work along with others in the exhibit embodies Ai Wei Wei’s style of blending art with political activism. In conjunction with the Ai Wei Wei exhibit, EASC held an NCTA event at the IMA featuring Professor Gardner Bovingdon (Central Eurasian Studies; director of Graduate Studies, Indiana University) titled “Love the Future: Ai Wei Wei and Contemporary China”. The IMA will continue to host the exhibit through July 21, 2013. To read more about the exhibit and Ai Wei Wei go here.
The spring 2013 East Asian Film Series at the IU Cinema featured three films representing different genres from Taiwan, Japan, and Korea. The series began in March with Taiwanese romantic comedy Girlfriend Boyfriend (Ya-che Yang, 2012). April featured two films beginning with the Japanese drama A Piece of Our Life (Momoko Ando, 2009) followed by the Korean drama Poetry (Chang-dong Lee, 2010). The East Asian Film Series will continue in the fall with a series of films based on the College of Arts and Sciences 2013 Themester: Networks in a Complex World. Our featured films, representing the theme of networks through co-production, include Hello Goodbye (Titien Wattimena, 2012), which was co-produced between South Korea and Indonesia. The film, set in South Korea, focuses on two Indonesian people who meet by chance in the port city of Busan, South Korea. Unexpected turns of event follow. The second film, Odayaka (Nobuteru Uchida, 2012), was co-produced between Japan and the U.S., and is set in Japan. The film’s context is the catastrophic earthquake and resulting tsunami off the coast of Japan in March 2011, now referred to as “3.11.” For obvious reasons the disaster has become a social and creative touchstone, and the latest filmmaker to tackle the subject is Uchida Nobuteru, best known for his romantic drama Love Addiction. Using a mobile, fluid handheld camera and keeping the story intimately focused on two women in one Tokyo neighborhood, Uchida’s Odayaka addresses the internal devastation wrought by the quake and crafts a moving picture of the psychological impact of the tragedy. Finally, the third film, Beautiful (2012), was co-produced between Hong Kong and China. Beautiful is a set of four short films (two of which were hailed as instant “masterpieces”) commissioned and produced by the Hong Kong Film Festival on the theme “Beautiful 2012” from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. The four short films include You Are More Than Beautiful, by Kim Tae Yong, Tsai Ming-liang’s Walker, Gu Changwei’s brilliant semi-experimental hybrid of documentary and fiction, Long Tou, and My Way by prize-winning director Ann Hui. Screening dates and times will be announced before the fall semester.
[The following is based on a March 27 interview with Dr. Heun Yune, founder of the Society of Friends of Korean Studies (SOFOKS), and Mr. Charles (Chang-Ik) Paik, an instrumental SOFOKS charter member. The interview was conducted by Hye-Seung Kang, associate director of EASC.]
On an “officially spring” day, I drove from Bloomington through an unusually snow-covered landscape to a suburban Indianapolis home. The owner, Heun Yune, had graciously agreed to an interview and greeted me with a big smile. Charles Paik, the retired president of International Hardware Merchants, Inc., and long-time friend of Dr. Yune stood by his side. Though now in his mid-80s, Dr. Yune has a strong, clear voice that still resonates with passion for community service. SOFOKS is marking a milestone: 30 years of promoting Korean studies at Indiana University. I was eager to find out how Dr. Yune ended up in Indiana and why he started the organization.
Heun Yune came to the Unites States from Korea in 1960 to study radiology. He had earned a medical degree from Severance Medical College(precursor to the Yonsei School of Medicine) in 1956 and had just completed his surgical residency at the Presbyterian Medical Center, a mission hospitalin the south-western part of the peninsula. “Each patient floor at Vanderbilt Hospital had four bathrooms,” Yune recalled, “White Gentlemen, White Ladies, Colored Men, and Colored Women. I didn’t know where I was supposed to go.” Vanderbilt offered Dr. Yune an assistant professorship in 1966. He was promoted to associate professor there before being offered a full professorship with tenure at the IU School of Medicine in 1971. “In Nashville people were very kind, but I always felt like a guest,” he said, adding that in Indianapolis he became a full member of society. At that time, there were about 100 families from Korea, he recalled. The Yunes, Paiks and around 30 others attended services together at a church that provided the Koreans a space for worship in the afternoon. “Mrs. Yune was gracious enough to host us all at her home once a month,” Paik added.
A decade later, Dr. Yune’s daughter Jeanny was studying for an MBA at IUBloomington. “One of her classmates was Young-ee Cho [future wife of then EASC Director, Professor Philip West]. She told Jeanny that EALC would have to eliminate Korean studies and was looking for local support,” Yune explained. He invited Professor West and then-EALC Chair Eugene Eoyang to Indianapolis to learn more about the impact of pending Department Of Education budget cuts. He then started appealing to a network of close friends and colleagues that reached all the way back to his high school days in Seoul. “I contacted mostly academics; [Mr. Paik] had ties to the business community, as well.”
Both men expressed surprise at how little Americans knew about Korea – “even high-ranking army officers in the Korean War and college professors.” “When I came here,” Paik recalled, “kids asked me, ‘Are you Japanese?’ No, I’d say. Then, ‘Are you Chinese?’ No. ‘Well, what are you?’” The friends decided that helping EALC train Koreanists was worth the effort. Some of the first awards were given by Mr. Paik in the name of his father, George (Nak Joon) Paik, a past president of Yonsei University and South Korean Minister of Education.
“We didn’t raise much, only $10,000 at first,” Yune recalled, but it was enough: Professor West highlighted the grassroots effort in his 1981 grant proposal to the Department of Education, and the university received enough funds to maintain Korean studies. The support also led to the strong ties that IU Bloomington and Yonsei University still enjoy.
Dr. Yune served as SOFOKS president the first two years, and his secretary at IU’s medical school handled the record keeping until his retirement in 1994. “Since the work was benefiting IU, the chairman allowed her to do this, and I’d give her gifts, as well,” Yune said. “No membership dues were collected. The society had an annual board of directors’ meeting with a dinner hosted by the president at his home,” he added. EASC now supports SOFOKS’ membership maintenance and recruitment needs, and our records show that since 1983 the organization has donated over a quarter of a million dollars to support IU Korean studies. Fellowships, ranging from tuition for a summer Korean course to a year’s tuition and living expenses, have been awarded to 59 undergraduate and graduate students.
The founders’ only regret is that SOFOKS lacks the resources needed for independent administration. They feel that SOFOKS might be able to stimulate Korean studies across the Midwest if it had a staff to review and award funds based on which schools show the strongest commitment. The founders are also hoping that the new SOFOKS president, Soong-hoon Ahn (an Indianapolis doctor in his 40s) shares their sense of the original mission’s importance.
The South Koreans who came to the U.S. to study in the 1990s and later, had come from a country relatively well known as a major producer of cars, ships and high tech goods. Their predecessors in the 1960s came from a country still recovering from a brutal war rising from the ashes. Few had the resources to bring family members along to ease the transition.
Korea today is also a country with well-known cultural products, at least among younger Americans. Dr. Yune and Charles Paik hope the new SOFOKS leader can shake older donors out of “hibernation,” motivate younger ones to get involve and find innovative ways to raise awareness of Korea among Americans. Subsidizing a performance by World Champion figure skater, Yuna Kim, was one suggestion. “How about bringing Psy to do Gangnam Style?” added Yune with a chuckle.I left with a great appreciation for these men’s sense of humor and their dedication to SOFOKS. Unfortunately, Dr. Yune was unable to attend the EALC 50th Anniversary celebration in April where he was to receive a plaque honoring his many years of service to cross-cultural understanding. I feel deeply grateful that Indiana University students have such a warm-hearted donor, and EASC is fortunate to be able to assist SOFOKS in its efforts to help Americans learn more about Korea.
Two distinguished Taiwan scholars recently came to Bloomington to give presentations and meet with IU students. In February, Shelly Rigger (Political Science; Chair of Political Science and Chinese Studies, Davidson College) led a talk on “Why Taiwan Matters,” discussing Taiwan’s worldwide political importance and how the island’s history has shaped its current cultural and political identity. In April, Carlos Rojas (Chinese Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies, and Arts of the Moving Image, Duke University) gave a presentation titled “From Island to Island: Ng Kim Chew and the Language of Diaspora.” Ng Kim Chew, also known as Huang Jinshu, is a literature scholar and creative writer from Johor, West Malaysia, now living in Taiwan. Drawing upon Ng’s short fiction, Rojas examined the implications of the dissemination of Chinese people and culture in the South Seas region. During their visit at IU Bloomington, professors Rigger and Rojas met with graduate students from a variety of disciplines to discuss their research and receive valuable feedback. Professors Rigger and Rojas lectures and graduate students meetings were made possible with the generous funding from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office.
This spring, EASC organized its first Korean Book Workshop for undergraduate and graduate students interested in expanding their knowledge of Korea. The workshop is designed to enable students to choose a Korea related book, read and discuss, and then prepare questions from the reading for the author of the book. For the inaugural February workshop, Professor Michael Robinson (EALC) titled Cultural Nationalism in Colonial Korea was selected. An upcoming book tentatively titled Faceless Things: South Korean Gay Men, the Internet, and Sexual Citizenship by Dr. John Cho’s (International and Area Studies, University of California, Berkeley) was discussed in March. To view Dr. John Cho’s talk with IU students go here. In April, the workshop discussed their third book by Hyaeweol Choi (School of Culture, History, and Language, Australia National University) titled Gender and Mission Encounters in Korea: New Women, Old Ways. Hosted by the Center for the Study of Global Change, IU undergraduate and graduate students participated in the online discussion with the three Koreanist scholars. Dr. Cho provided his manuscript to students participating in the workshop, and each student received free copies of the two other books through funding from EASC and the South Korean government. The Korean Book Workshop will return in the fall. Students interested in the fall Korean Book Workshop can e-mail email@example.com. For better sound and audio quality, Adobe Connect will be used in future author discussions, and when authors approve, they will be available on our website.
EASC awards the title of Cultural Ambassador to individuals who promote awareness of East Asian culture, history, art, or philosophy to teachers, students, or other residents of Bloomington and the Midwest. It is the mission of these ambassadors to educate people regarding East Asia through activities such as presentations and workshops, contributing to cultural events and artistic performances, connecting people to East Asian resources, organizing outreach activities, assisting with fundraising, and mentoring inbound international students and students studying East Asia. We are pleased to welcome five new members to the Cultural Ambassadors team, and express our gratitude for their willingness to share their expertise and passion with us.
Helena Cheun, one of our Korean Cultural Ambassadors, has been serving the Bloomington community for over 15 years as a Korean language instructor and coordinator. She regularly participates in Asianfest and other events that introduce Korean culture to the Bloomington community. Ms. Cheun has also served as principal of the Korean Language School of Bloomington and assisted at the Tri-North Middle School of Bloomington, the Crisis Pregnancy Center, and the Bloomington Hospital.
Also joining us as Korean Cultural Ambassador is Kyoung Wan (Cathy) Shin, who is currently a doctoral student of Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana University. She works closely with the Korean School in Bloomington for Culture Day and other events. Before coming to Bloomington, Ms. Shin served as the secretary for a Korean chapter of Soroptimist International, a volunteer organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls, and was involved in Project Sierra, a sustainable program that transforms lives by empowering thousands of young women, families, and children living on the war-torn streets of Sierra Leone.
We would like to welcome Amy Jen as Chinese Cultural Ambassador. In May this year, Ms. Jen participated on behalf of the East Asian Studies Center in a Social Science workshop, where she delivered a highly regarded presentation on Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity and the impact of those beliefs on Chinese culture and education. She has also trained current and future leaders at Indiana Wesleyan University and in Beijing. After being ordained a minister in 2010, she has specialized in cross-cultural counseling, communication, and inter-personal relationships.Finally, James Min-Ching Yang and Jenny S. Yang have also joined the team as Chinese Cultural Ambassadors. After receiving his PhD in English and American Literature from Indiana University, Mr. Yang taught at National Normal University and National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan. Retiring in 2001, he and his wife returned to Bloomington, where their profound cultural insights and knowledge of English have proven tremendous assets. They have taught Chinese language and culture at many events and institutions, including the People’s University, John Waldon Arts Center, IU Art Museum, and EASC-sponsored summer program for K-12 educators. Mr. Yang’s calligraphy and paintings have been featured in several local art galleries and he regularly performs Chinese Erhu music at the Asian Culture Center, IU Auditorium, the Bloomington Farmer’s Market, and many other venues. Ms. Yang’s lectures on Tai-Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, Sword Kung Fu, and other cultural arts have also been highly praised.
In May, 21 K-12 teachers from around the Midwest participated in the 2013 NCTA enrichment event held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The day began with a presentation titled “Love the Future: Ai Wei Weiand Contemporary China” by Gardner Bovingdon (Central Eurasian Studies; director of Graduate Studies, Indiana University). Professor Bovingdon shared his insight into human rights and social change in contemporary China as well as his understanding of Ai Weiwei—one of China’s most provocative and vocal artists—and his artwork. Within the presentation, relevant resources were provided for teachers to use in their classrooms. A guided tour of the special exhibition, “Ai Wei Wei: According to What?” led by museum docents, followed the presentation. Participants were able to get a deeper understanding of the artist’s life and his artistic practice. The Indianapolis Museum of Art is one of only five venues, including the Smithsonian’s Hirshorn Museum, on the North American tour of this exhibition.
Funded by the Freeman Foundation, the goal of EASC’s annual NCTA enrichment event is to enhance teaching and learning about East Asia for K-12 teachers, including alumni of our NCTA Teaching about Asia seminars.
This April, in collaboration with the Association of Indiana Teachers of Japanese, EASC held a one-day workshop for elementary, secondary, and college teachers of Japanese titled “How to Teach Writing in Japanese using the Genre Approach” in Indianapolis. Seven high school instructors and eleven university instructors from Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin participated in the workshop.
Organized by Keiko Kuriyama (EALC) and Allen Kidd (President, Association of Indiana Teachers of Japanese), the workshop was a response to the growing need among Japanese language teachers to know how to teach writing in Japanese within the K-16 education system. Dr. Kazumi Matsumoto (Modern Languages and Classics, Ball State University) guided the discussion of approaches to teaching Japanese writing skills. Tomoe Nakamura (Japanese, North Central High School, Indianapolis), Hiroko Chiba (Associate Professor of Japanese at DePauw University), and Molly Jeon (Japanese and ENL, Bloomington High School North) led hands-on sessions that focused on topics such as activities that comprise the Genre Approach, effective group collaboration writing exercises and practical lesson plans based on the Genre Approach.
In March, the thirteenth annual Japanese Olympiad of Indiana was held at Ball State University, cosponsored by EASC, the Association of Indiana Teachers of Japanese, Consulate General of Japan at Chicago, Department of Modern Languages and Classics at Ball State University, and The Japan Foundation. This competition brought together more than 150 students of Japanese from 16 Indiana high schools to test their knowledge of Japanese language, culture, and history in a fast-paced “Jeopardy”-style competition. Students were split into separate divisions based on their years of experience in the study of Japanese (second-year, third- year, and fourth year Japanese).
Chesterton High School won both the second-year and third-year levels and placed second in the fourth- year level at the competition. North Central High School won the fourth-year level. In addition to competing in the Japanese Olympiad, participants watched performances of traditional Japanese instruments by Japanese musicians and also took part in a variety of modern and traditional Japanese cultural activities, including watching Japanese movies, learning origami, making crafts, and learning Japanese games.
This spring EASC received a $289,750 grant from the Freeman Foundation to fund National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) activities for an additional year, Year 16 (2013-14) of the NCTA program. The NCTA program provides for middle and high school teachers interested in incorporating East Asia into their curricula face-to-face seminars, Web-based courses, and other professional development programs on East Asia. For more information about our seminars, see EASC's NCTA Web site.
The East Asian Studies Center’s Outreach program has been providing K-12 teachers in America with lesson plans and items indicative of Chinese and Japanese culture for nearly a decade. Interested teachers request one or more of the plastic boxes of toys, books, clothing and occasional surprise inside, such as vacuum-sealed chicken feet, to help their students better understand the cultures of East Asia.
To kick off the incorporation of Mandarin Chinese courses into their curriculum in 2013, Jackson Creak Middle School (JCMS) in Bloomington, Indiana, celebrated the Chinese and Korean New Year with cultural displays and entertainment at an assembly in February. The assembly started off with a piece by the JCMS band followed by EASC volunteers, Minhwa and Minae Choi, in a thrilling performance on traditional Korean drums. The rest of the assembly was comprised of EASC volunteers, Li Xuan, from Jacobs Music School, her two friends Jue and Yu Wang, who sang a popular Chinese song, and Tracy Zhu, IU School of Education, who performed a traditional Chinese fan dance. While the performances were occurring, onstage, members from IU’s Chinese Calligraphy Club, Lucia Zhu and Qindan Nie, created sheets of calligraphy to be displayed in the school. 540 students, 50 teachers and staff members, and 10 guests and parents attended the assembly and enjoyed the performances.