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Chinese Flagship students with Mountain in China

The Chinese Flagship Program: Creating Global Citizens

The Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies has been awarded the renewal of the Chinese Flagship Grant. This federal grant funds the Chinese Flagship Program, which prepares students to be global professionals fluent in Chinese language and culture. Program Director Ning Ma explains how students will benefit from the grant—from intensive Chinese language courses to funded study abroad programs.
Shir Alon poses for a portrait outdoors.

A Common Thread: Using Literature to Connect Larger Ideas

Oil, feminism, minorities, and genies. All of these are the focus of classes taught by new Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Professor Shir Alon. Her classes are rooted in her comparative literature background. “I feel that literature provides us with tools and metaphors to think about our social and political life in ways that are more powerful than anything else that I’ve encountered,” she says.
Photo of student Ray Barney

An Activist in the Making

Ray Barney is a senior at the University of Minnesota double-majoring in gender, women & sexuality studies (GWSS) and Asian languages and literatures (ALL) with a minor in art. They are already doing work informed by feminist, Black, trans, and queer praxis. With the tools and opportunities they’ve gained during their time at the University of Minnesota, Barney hopes to be a part of the shared fight for shared liberation.
Christine Marran

Looking Within to See Beyond

“Humans have long viewed themselves as more special than anything else, and that impedes our ability to think critically about the environment,” says Christine Marran. Marran is the chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and a professor of Japanese literature and cultural studies.
Portrait of Nida Sajid.

Professor Nida Sajid’s Interdisciplinary Approach to South Asian Studies

“I was immediately drawn to the [ALL] department because of the vibrant, dynamic team of scholars,” shares Nida Sajid. With her expertise in the literary and cultural history of South Asia and focus on Islam and human rights in the Indian subcontinent, Professor Sajid offers a unique interdisciplinary approach to South Asia studies.
Jonathan Veracka, Amanda Grant, and Fatima Walji leaning up against a wall decorated with film posters from ALL's studies

On Purpose: Portrait of Asian Languages & Literatures

The Department of Asian Languages and Literatures is committed to the interdisciplinary study of three culturally rich areas of the world: East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East. Our graduates gain a global perspective giving them the conceptual tools to influence the world. Students come to us with an intellectual curiosity about the non-Western world. They leave with a deeper understanding of the languages, social issues, geopolitical histories, and cultural texts of diverse countries and regions.

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