AAS Member Spotlight: Charlotte Eubanks

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Dr. Charlotte Eubanks, Penn State, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Japanese, and Asian Studies
Associate Editor of Verge: Studies in Global Asias
 
Comparative Literature; Japan and Buddhist East Asia

 
How long have you been a member of AAS?

Since 2001
 
Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues?

I joined AAS as a graduate student because I wanted to attend the annual convention, both to hear about others' research and to learn how to craft and present my own. I've stayed a member ever since, even throughout grad school and that frightening visiting lecturer year just after the PhD when money was tight, because the perks of membership -- the publications, newsletters, fellowship offerings, and annual conventions -- are one of the best ways to stay abreast of what's happening intellectually.
 
How did you first become involved in Asian Studies?

As a 16 year-old, I took my first paycheck to the local used book store, where I happened upon a newly-arrived box full to the brim with Asian literary classics. I bought them, read them, and was hooked. I went to college at University of Georgia, where I majored in Japanese and Comparative Literature, and have been on that road ever since.
 
What do you enjoy most or what have been your most rewarding experiences involving your work in Asian Studies?

Over the last several years, I've been part of an evolving collective which has been busy imagining, and then creating, a new journal, designed to bring the fields of Asian Studies and Asian American Studies into conversation with one another. That's been an amazing experience, and tons of work, but continues to be an exciting intellectual adventure.
 
Tell us about your current or past research. (Please limit to 250 words).

I do most of my research and teaching in three areas: Japanese literature, transnational Buddhism, and visual culture. My first book Miracles of Book and Body: Buddhist Textual Culture and Medieval Japan (U of California P, 2011) examines the relationship between human body and sacred text in the Buddhist literary tradition, focusing on reading as a performance-based act which bridges the text-flesh barrier. I’m now at work on a second book project that moves to the modern period to examine links between visual art, human rights discourse and testimonial literature. The working title for this new project is Crossing the Red Line: Akamatsu Toshiko/ Maruki Toshi and the Visual Cultures of Transwar Japan. After that, I’m likely back to the medieval Buddhist world with a project on the literary corpus of the Zen master Dōgen.
 
What advice or recommendation do you have for students interested in a career in Asian Studies?

Know your languages, and know them well. That's the foundation. Pick a good journal in your field and read it regularly, more or less cover-to-cover. When you write, try to write with these people as your notional audience.
 
Outside of Asian Studies, tell us some interesting facts about yourself.

I grew up in rural South Carolina where one of my earliest paid jobs was as the milk maid on a goat dairy. Now I live in semi-rural Pennsylvania, with my wife and daughter, where we enjoy ice cold glasses of organic, chocolate milk, courtesy of local farmer Mr. Byler's herd of Toggenburgs.

Eubanks, Charlotte636028113814191341


"I joined AAS as a graduate student because I wanted to attend the annual convention, both to hear about others' research and to learn how to craft and present my own. I've stayed a member ever since, even throughout grad school and that frightening visiting lecturer year just after the PhD when money was tight, because of the perks of membership."

— Charlotte Eubanks