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AAS Names Next Executive Director

The Board of Directors of the Association for Asian Studies is pleased to announce that it has appointed Dr. Hilary Vanessa Finchum-Sung as the association’s next Executive Director. Dr. Finchum-Sung will join the AAS on March 1, 2019 and will officially take office on April 1, 2019, following current Executive Director Michael Paschal’s retirement. Hilary Finchum-Sung (Ph.D., Indiana University) is a specialist in Korean music theory and performance practice and has been a member of the AAS for almost twenty years. Her academic training is in both ethnomusicology and East Asian Studies. Finchum-Sung has spent the past decade in the Republic of Korea, where she made history as the first and (to date) only non-Korean to have served as a faculty member in a department of Korean Music. She has published in academic journals such as Ethnomusicology, the world of music (new series), Seoul Journal of Korean Studies, and Acta Koreana. As Associate Professor of Korean Music Theory and Ethnomusi ...

AAS Member Spotlight: Ben Whaley

Ben Whaley is Assistant Professor of Japanese in the School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada). He is a specialist in modern Japanese literature and popular culture. How long have you been a member of AAS? Since 2012, when I was still a master’s student finishing up my thesis on Tezuka Osamu’s manga, though I am now a proud lifetime member. Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues? As a graduate student I wanted to enter our community of scholars and membership in the AAS was a great way to do this. I first presented at the annual conference as an incredibly nervous master’s student and had a great experience, despite unceremoniously tripping over the laptop cord to end my talk. The various travel grants and mixers helped me meet people at various career stages and I always felt welcomed into this community. Later in my graduate career I made use of the job boards and career resour ...

Lhasa’s Departed Past

By David G. Atwill At dusk one evening in June 2012, I found myself staring up at the imposing main gate of Lhasa’s Grand Mosque. I had waited four years to procure the proper travel permit necessary for me to visit Lhasa and witness firsthand the people, places, and spaces I’d previously only been able to read about in my research on Tibetan Muslims (in Tibetan known as Khache). However, I was not the typical tourist and I had not requested the typical itinerary. My local Tibetan guide—a requirement for foreign visitors—was less than impressed. Rolling his eyes and not bothering to conceal his disdain, he asked, “Why are you even interested in Tibetan Muslims?” He went on to explain that in Tibet there were only Chinese Muslims, never Tibetan Muslims. I knew from my research that Lhasa in fact had been home to a Muslim community for over three hundred years and had multiple mosques, and that the Tibetan Muslims had influenced Tibetan literature, culture, and pol ...

October 2018 AAS Member News & Notes

The Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) is pleased to announce that the Usha Mahajani Memorial Prize for 2018 has been awarded to Phianphachong Intarat (University of Hawai’i at Manoa). The prize is a memorial to Professor Usha Mahajani, whose scholarship on Southeast Asia was brought to an abrupt end by her tragic death in 1978. Professor Mahajani, a native of India, received her Ph.D. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University. She was the author of Nationalism in the Philippines and The Role of Indian Minorities in Burma and Malaysia and numerous articles on Southeast Asian politics and international relations. At the time of her death she was professor of political science at Central Washington State University. The prize was established by a gift from her husband to the Association for Asian Studies, and SEASSI administers the competition for the prize on behalf of the Southeast Asia Council of AAS. Phianphachong Intarat, the 2018 recipient of the Usha Mahajani Pr ...

AAS Member Spotlight: James Flowers

James Flowers is a doctoral candidate in the history of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Your discipline and country (or countries) of interest I call myself a historian of East Asia, with a focus on Korea. How long have you been a member of AAS? I joined AAS in 2016. Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues? I am a graduate student. I presented at the AAS Annual Conference in Seattle in 2016. I fell in love with AAS, so I kept up my membership since. I was thrilled to be among so many interesting scholars of Asia. It was my first attendance and I was also astounded by the warm welcome and response I received from many established scholars. Then in 2018, I was lucky to be selected to participate in the AAS dissertation workshop on Science and Medicine in Washington, D.C. I was stunned by how much I enjoyed the three days of activities with faculty and other graduate students. It sounds clichéd but we really did bond by forming clo ...

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