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Conference on Future of East Asian Studies Offers Variety of Sessions on Strengthening Curricula

Published: September 10, 2012

The upcoming conference on The Future of East Asian Studies at Liberal Arts Colleges will offer 12 sessions on topics ranging from ways to build and strengthen curricula, to nurturing relationships with Japanese universities, to strategies for enhancing "disciplinarity" in the Asian Studies major, to developing short-term travel courses in East Asia.

The conference, sponsored by Japan Study in celebration of the program's 50th Anniversary, will be held on October 5-7 at Earlham College in Richmond, IN. Along with the sessions, it will feature plenary talks by former Earlham presidents Landrum Bolling and Dick Wood, as well as a concert of traditional and contemporary koto music by Yumi Kurosawa.

The Future of East Asian Studies at Liberal Arts Colleges

October 5-7, 2012

Earlham College

Registration Deadline:

September 19

The deadline to register for the conference is September 19. Participants from ACM and GLCA (Great Lakes Colleges Association) colleges will receive partial subsidies for travel expenses, and the $75 registration fee includes meals and lodging for two nights. See the conference website for complete details, including the schedule of sessions and the registration form.

Faculty from nine ACM colleges and nine GLCA colleges will be among the presenters, and Japan Study Director Gary DeCoker expects that a total of 60-70 people from across the disciplines and throughout the two consortia will attend the conference.

"We've structured the conference so people can find various ways to engage both the conference activities and each other," DeCoker said. "A number of the panels include presenters from several campuses, and we've made sure there's time for discussion within the sessions and for informal conversations throughout the three days."

"This should be a chance for faculty to consider what an East Asian studies program might look like in the future," DeCoker noted. "It's not only how you define a major, but how you weave East Asian content into the curriculum at large, how to craft meaningful study abroad experiences, and how you can find support for East Asian studies programs, both within your institution and by using external funding."

At the opening night plenary, former Earlham presidents Landrum Bolling – who was instrumental in starting Japan Study – and Dick Wood will talk about the program's history. Wood started out on the Earlham faculty, according to DeCoker, and after serving as the college's president had a long career related to Japan, including time as director of the Japan Society in New York. He will discuss the way liberal arts colleges approached the study of East Asia in the past and how they may proceed in the future.

The following evening, international touring artist Yumi Kurosawa will perform traditional koto music, as well as her unique contemporary music that incorporates technology and instruments from other cultures. She will will be joined by a guest tabla player.

Funding for the conference is provided through grants from the GLCA Endowment for the Study of Japan and the Japan Study Program at Earlham College.

In the year ahead, said DeCoker, Japan Study is making plans to celebrate the program's 50th Anniversary in Tokyo with its partner, Waseda University. That could include a lecture series, panel discussions bringing together program alumni who live in Japan with Waseda students and faculty, and exploring new initiatives with Waseda.


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