Chair's Newsletter

Spring 2022                                                                 

It’s late spring here in Northern California. Blue ceanothus is in fleeting bloom, and poppies are popping up across the landscape like little bursts of sunlight. Here at Cal, faculty and students float across campus festooned in blue and yellow regalia, on their way to and from the commencement exercises that mark the conclusion of another academic year.

We had a lot to celebrate at our 2022 EALC Commencement. We applauded the achievements and the resilience of our graduating class — who made it through wildfires, an unprecedented global pandemic, the loneliness and anxiety of “Zoom University,” and increasingly uncertain and dangerous times to arrive at this day. Congratulations to Grace Margaret Heidtke (recipient of our Department Citation and class valedictorian), Soyun Park and Jerry Wong (winners of the EALC Book Prize), and to all twenty-seven members of our graduating class!

Daryl Maude was recognized this year as our Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor for his inspiring teaching; and Xiaoyu Xia and Yisheng Tang received the Cyril Birch Award for their academic excellence and service to the department and the graduate student community.


We were also delighted at the commencement ceremony to be able to honor and to thank two members of our EALC community for their years of service and dedication to the department. Yasuko Konno-Baker has been an indispensable presence and beloved teacher in our Japanese Language Program since 1992. Professor Youngmin Kwon, a towering figure in the study of modern Korean literature who has taught at Cal over the course of many years, will be returning to Korea this summer. They will be greatly missed!

Several of our graduate students will also be leaving campus in pursuit of new beginnings. Linda Zhang, a newly minted Ph.D. in Chinese, will be heading to a tenure-track position at Fulbright University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to teach cinema and media culture! Congratulations, Linda! And Alec Fraser, who graduated this year from the Asian Studies MA program, will be heading off this summer to the IUC program in intensive Japanese in Yokohama, Japan (along with his doctoral classmate, Leon Jenkins).

EALC in the World: Courses, Initiatives, and Distinctions

Exciting and progressive new initiatives are afoot in our language programs. Kelvin Chi Leung Chan has been awarded a Berkeley Language Center fellowship to create Mandarin/Cantonese learning materials to enable health professionals to engage better with the local Asian-American community. And Weisi Cai (Chinese Language Program), Kyongmi Park (Korean Language Program), and Kyoko Takahara-Ahn (Japanese Language Program) have won a UC-AFT professional development grant to continue their research on hybrid pedagogies that will make language learning accessible to a wider range of students. 

The Korean Language Program presided over the Korean Literature Essay Contest this spring. Open to all Berkeley students, the contest was supported by the Center for Korean Studies. Participants read the Korean novel Almond by Won-pyung Sohn and submitted critical essays about the work, with seven participants receiving awards for their outstanding efforts. The KLP will continue to hold the essay contest next year.

Linda Zhang’s innovative Chinese 172/Film 145 course, “Contemporary Chinese Language Cinema” challenged her students to delve into the deep history and cultural significance of Chinese cinemas and theaters across the Bay Area. Their research blog documents their adventures and findings: Take a look — their research is inspiring.

Pratiti (of our Asian Studies MA program) also developed a new course, SSEAS R5B, “Detectives in Indian Literature and Cinema” — and was awarded a Center on Contemporary India grant for two projects “The Bizarre in the City: Science, Nature, and Narratibe in Calcutta, and “How Tintin Became Bengali? Hergé’s After-work in India.”

Paula Varsano, who was a senior fellow at the Townsend Center this past academic year, gave a two-part seminar on methods in sinology at the University of Zurich and the University of Pennsylvania.

Andrew Jones was featured on the “Chinese Literature Podcast,” speaking on Lu Xun’s zawen:

Xiaoyu Xia was awarded the Domitor Early Cinema Student Essay Award for her  "Fighting with a Brush: Calligraphic Intertitles and Early Chinese Cinema.”

Jonathan Zwicker was appointed to serve on the International Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Japanese Literature

Translations, Special Issues, Articles, and a Forthcoming Book!

EALC faculty and graduate students continue to produce an impressive outpouring of new research in the East Asian humanities:

Hardy Stewart translated Xu Jianwei's 徐建委 book review of Embellishing the Imperial Order: The Formation of the Hanshu and Its Circulation in Medieval China 潤色鴻業:漢書文本的形成與早期傳播 (a book by Chen Jun 陳君, 2020). His translation will be published in the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture (JCLC) volume 9, issue 2.

Andrew F. Jones’ translation of Fei Ming’s 廢名 1928 short story “Peach Orchard”桃園 will appear in Renditions 97 (Spring 2022).

Paula Varsano co-edited (with Min-hua Wu) a special issue of Wenshan Review on “Literary Translation and the Subjectivity of the Translator.”

Weihong Bao is co-editor of a special issue of Representations 157 (Winter 2022) on “Climate Media”: Weihong has also authored two major new essays: “Hermeneutics of Doubt: Atmospheric Knowing and an Ecology of the Mind,” in Representations 157 (2022), 142-192; and “Archaeology of a Medium: The (Agri)Cultural Techniques of Paddy Farm Films,” in Boundary 2 49.1 (2022), 25-70.

Yifan Zheng’s essay "Institutional Management of Returning the Deceased from Frontiers to their Hometowns and Related Administrative Procedures during the Qin and Han Dynasties" will appear in the  Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica (Taipei), volume 94, number 2.

Ling Hon Lam’s chapter on "The Peony Pavilion: Emotions, Dreams, and Spectatorship," is featured in a new volume called How to Read Chinese Drama, edited by Patricia Sieber and Regina Llamas (New York: Columbia University Press, 2022), 212-34.

Yoko Hasegawa has not one but two forthcoming book chapters:

“Kaishaku-jutsugo to naiyō-jutsugo no shuyōbu-kōtai: Run_risk furēmu ni kakawaru Eigo to Nihongo no bun-kōzō no hikaku-taishō kōsatsu” [Head-switching between interpretation and content predicates: A comparative study of constructions involving the Run-risk frame between English and Japanese] (with Kyoko Hirose Ohara). In Yo Matsumoto and Kyoko Hirose Ohara (eds.), Furēmu imiron no kōken: Dōshi to sono shūhen [Contributions of Frame Semantics: Verbs and related constituents], 20-41. Tokyo: Kaitakusha, 2022.

“The metapragmatic speech-style shift in Japanese: From the telling mode to the showing mode.” In Chris Shei and Saihong Li (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Asian Linguistics. London: Routledge, 2022.

Finally, and with much fanfare, I am happy to announce that Jonathan Zwicker’s new book, Kabuki's Nineteenth Century: Stage and Print in Early Modern Edo, is now forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Fellowships, Leaves, and Visitors

Ling Hon Lam has been awarded a Townsend Fellowship for 2022-23 at the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities. Weihong Bao will be Newhouse External Fellow for 2022-23 at the Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College. And Robert Sharf has been granted a Humanities Research Fellowship from the Division of Arts and Humanities. Mark Csikszentmihalyi and Andrew F. Jones will be on sabbatical leave in the Fall 2022 semester, and back for Spring 2023.

We are excited to announce that we will have two visiting professors in the Fall. Our very own Roy Chan, now associate professor at University of Oregon, will be back in Berkeley to offer a seminar in modern Chinese literature and teach an undergraduate course on popular media in modern China. Dennis Washburn of Dartmouth University, and an eminent scholar of Japanese literature and translator of an acclaimed new edition of The Tale of Genji, will also be on campus, co-teaching our introductory survey in Japanese literature, and offering a variety of public lectures and workshops.


Finally, I will conclude my term as chair at the end of this month. It has been a high honor to work with all of you, and to serve this community for the past three years. The department will be in capable hands as we move onward and upward: Professor Robert Ashmore has agreed to take on the reins. Please help me welcome him!

Warm wishes for a productive and peaceful summer,