Welcome back to another academic year at the Center for Asian Studies! While August brought the exciting news that we had received Federal Title VI National Resource Center and FLAS funding, we are also excited to welcome (and welcome back) some new and not so new faces to the Center. Our former Faculty Director Tim Oakes joins us for another year as Interim Director while Rachel Rinaldo enjoys a sabbatical in Indonesia. This year brings a new Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant to our Indonesian language program. Ida Fauziya joins us from the University of Muhammadiaya Malang in Indonesia. In addition to being an experienced language teacher, Ida is a story teller and accomplished cook. We are excited to have her with us for the year, and hope that she can also inspire interest among our students in our exchange program with Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. Look for her drop-in Indonesian language table on our calendar during the year. And we hope we can convince her to share some of her cooking skills for an Indonesian pot-luck!
Also new to our language program this year is Nabin Shrestha, who teaches our Nepali language classes. In addition to teaching Nepali, Nabin is an accomplished musician. He has taught at Colorado College and in Kathmandu, and holds degrees from Gandharv University (MA in Music) and Prayag Sangit Samiti (BA in Music). Our language program is also supported by Tenzin Tsepak, who returns to teach 1st and 2nd year Tibetan. For more about Tsepak, you can return to last year’s post about him.
While she is not a new face at CAS, we are so happy to welcome back our Asian Studies Program Director Lauren Collins. Lauren joined the Center last year on a one-year appointment, jumping into a full-time teaching appointment left vacant by Lauren Yapp, who left us for Brown University at the end of Spring Semester last year. Happily Lauren is now our permanent Program Director and we are lucky to have her back! Lauren is a CU alum with advanced degrees from the University of Denver (PhD, Higher Education) and the University of Washington (MA, China Studies). She is a cultural anthropologist whose work explores the relationship between the United States status as a global power and the practice of global education. As Program Director, Lauren oversees the curricular aspects of the Asian Studies major and minor, teaching both introductory lecture courses and in-depth seminars exploring topics such as urbanization, sustainable development, and the politics of memory in Asia. Lauren is a tireless advocate for Asian Studies and brings a lot of energy to her classroom. She’ll also be leading a Tang Global Seminar to Taiwan during Summer 2023.
This year brings a new programming theme to the Center. With Asia, Empire, Social Justice: Home and Abroad we hope to draw attention to how Asian societies and diasporas have been shaped by empire. With the theme we seek to explore questions such as how Western colonialism and imperialism have influenced politics, culture, economics, and social relations in Asian societies and diasporas; how unequal global and local power relations continue to matter for transnational solidarities and struggles for social justice in Asia and in the United States and how non-western empires matter within Asia. Look for information later in the year regarding our Annual Symposium, which will feature both local and invited scholars discussing what we might learn about the ways current climate change risks and vulnerabilities in Asia are better understood by exploring how the historical and spatial contexts of empire, colonialism, power, and justice shape local communities.