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Asian & Middle Eastern Studies

Recent Stories

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.
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.
Buddhist guardian figure from the Mary Griggs Burke Collection.

The Art of Giving: ALL Receives $3 Million from the Mary Livingston Griggs and...

Prominent art collector Mary Griggs Burke amassed an extraordinary collection of Japanese art, which is now on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. When ALL Chair Christine Marran accompanied her colleague Professor Maki Isaka’s class to view the collection at Mia in spring 2017, little did she know that a few months later, Mrs. Burke’s name would become a symbol of generosity and advancement for the ALL department.
Portrait of Soo Hyun Lee and Hui Liu

Laughing and Learning: Studying Asian Comedy Film

For some, comedy film is more than just something to watch with friends on a Friday night. Soo Hyun Lee and Hui Liu are PhD candidates in the Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media program studying East Asian comedy cinema. They both cite their gratitude for the world-class ALL department. "I strongly desired to be a part of the department's inclusive and friendly environment," Liu says. "I feel very lucky to be a part of it."
Roy and PJ Hirabayashi drumming.

Drumming to Find a Voice

Japanese Taiko Drumming combines martial arts, dance, and percussion. However, it became much more than that for Roy and PJ Hirabayashi. As Japanese Americans and baby boomers, they struggled to find a sense of identity growing up. Taiko became the form of self-expression they needed. The two paid a visit to campus to share their story.
Professor Ning Ma poses for a picture on campus

Rethinking Narrative History: ALL’s Newest Faculty Member Ning Ma

Ning Ma is ALL’s newest faculty member. Her unique educational background and research activities make her a brilliant addition to the department. “I’m really excited by the expansiveness of her research,” says department chair Christine Marran. “Her discussion of economic globalization in a comparative literary context in her book The Age of Silver drew us to her work.”
Eric Lee-Mader collecting data in a field

On Satoyama: ALL Alumnus Shares Perspective on the Symbiosis of Humans and Nature

Asian languages and literatures alumnus Eric Lee-Mäder recently visited campus and gave a riveting lecture on satoyama, Japan’s rural landscapes that blur the lines between nature and agriculture. His passion for agricultural biodiversity and pollinator conservation has taken him all across the world, and he attributes many of the successes in his career to his time in ALL.
Photo of Sreyashi Ray

From India to the U of M

Asian languages & literatures graduate student Sreyashi Ray ventured all the way from India to pursue a PhD in Asian literatures, cultures, and media. She was drawn to the University of Minnesota by the significant research work being done by the faculty and recommendations from professors at her alma mater.