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Asian & Middle Eastern Studies

Recent Stories

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.
Photo of Dr. Hangtae Cho

A New Way of Exploring Korea

Dr. Hangtae Cho has made it his mission to increase the understanding of Korean culture in the University of Minnesota community. As the founding director of the Korean program in the Asian Languages and Literatures department, Cho has worked tirelessly to expedite the growth of the program, and he played a key role in developing a unique way to teach the language and culture to students at the University of Minnesota. Cho’s efforts include hosting an annual event called “The Story of Korea,” where the community can get a taste of high quality Korean art and culture.
Photograph of associate professor Christine Marran

Ecocriticism and Culture

Inspired by Japanese author Michiko Ishimure's inventive and unforgiving novel on mercury poisoning in Minamata, Japan, Associate Professor Christine Marran has since developed a deep interest in how the biological world is represented in literature and cinema. Her forthcoming book, Ecology without Culture, draws upon texts and films produced by activist authors and filmmakers to show how cultural claims and cultural humanism inhibit environmental thinking.
Photograph of an undergraduate student in Asian Languages and Literature, Andy Shu

Equipped for the Future

Alumnus Andy Shu knew he wanted to go into business, but he chose to study Asian literature and the Chinese language as well because it was his passion. He currently works for the Robins Kaplan law firm in downtown Minneapolis, and he credits a lot of his success to his involvement with ALL: “Those classes prepared me to learn what I needed to know for my job,” he explained.