Northeast Asia Council Distinguished Speakers Bureau

The Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies (NEAC) solicits applications from American colleges and universities (for Japanese studies) and any U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities (for Korean studies), especially those without well-established programs on East Asia, to invite a distinguished scholar to give a public lecture on their campus virtually, followed by a virtual Q&A with teachers and students.

In 2022, NEAC developed a new component of the DSB: the Speaker’s Program for Early Career Scholars (SPECS). The goal of SPECS is to promote new directions in the study of Japan and Korea and provide opportunities for early career scholars to share their research. With their innovative methodologies, dynamic presentation skills, and social media presence, select up-and-coming scholars may succeed in connecting with a new generation of students, including historically excluded demographics. Faculty at schools with well-established programs on the study of Asia are eligible to invite Early Career speakers to campus and, if relevant, provide feedback on works in progress or other kinds of mentoring. PhD candidate Kaitlyn Ugoretz of the University of California-Santa Barbara will serve as the first speaker in this pilot program.

The NEAC Distinguished Speakers Bureau began in 2011 and is supported by funds generously provided by the Japan-United States Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the Korea Foundation (KF).

Colleges and universities may apply to host one of the distinguished scholars of Japan or Korea on the NEAC Distinguished Speakers Bureau. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these visits will be hosted virtually until further notice. The invited speakers are expected to give one formal, public lecture (chosen from the list below) virtually, as well as meet virtually with classes. NEAC grant monies fund the honorarium for the NEAC Distinguished Speaker, which is set at $500.

NOTE: NEAC DSB speaking engagements and the application process must be initiated by the host university; applications seeking additional funding for already committed speaking engagements will not be considered.

Eligibility and Application Information

Availability of Funds

Currently funds are available for any applications received during the July 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022 award period for a NEAC JAPAN DSB speaker grant.

Currently funds are available for any applications received during the July 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022 award period for a NEAC KOREA DSB speaker grant.

NEAC Distinguished Speakers may be hosted only at colleges and universities, including community colleges. Speakers on Japan will only be supported at institutions in the United States; speakers on Korea will be supported at institutions in the United States and Canada. The NEAC Distinguished Speakers Bureau is intended to serve institutions with small East Asian studies programs, not institutions with large and well-established centers in Japanese or Korean studies.

Due to the popularity of this grant program and the limited grant funds available, institutions may only receive support for one NEAC Distinguished Speakers Bureau program every three years. In addition, a limit has been set on the amount of DSB grant budget funds available to award in each six-month calendar year period so as to ensure that funds are available throughout the duration of our AAS/NEAC 3-year grants with the JUSFC and KF.

NEAC DSB grant applications are considered on a rolling basis. When funds expire for each six-month budgetary period, no further applications will be considered until the next budget period.

Please check back here before submitting your completed NEAC DSB application materials to determine if funding is available. We will post notices whenever funds are fully expended and alert you as to the exact date when applications will again be accepted.

NEAC Distinguished Speaker grant applications may be submitted by individual faculty or staff members, but must be accompanied by a support letter from an administrator (department chair, center director, dean, etc.) confirming the institutional commitment to hosting the NEAC Distinguished Speaker and bearing all the local costs of their visit. Applications from students or student groups will not be accepted.

All publicity for the visit of a NEAC Distinguished Speaker must acknowledge the support of the Distinguished Speakers Bureau of the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies and the respective grant funding agency (JUSFC for Japan speakers; KF for Korea speakers).

A NEAC Distinguished Speaker must present one virtual formal, public lecture (chosen from the list below; either synchronous or recorded) as well as meet with at least one class (undergraduate or graduate) for a virtual synchronous session. The honorarium for a NEAC Distinguished Speaker presenting one virtual public lecture and synchronous session with classes is $500.

Applications for the NEAC Distinguished Speakers Bureau are accepted on a rolling basis in order to allow the most flexibility in scheduling speaking engagements. Applications are only accepted in digital form (via Word or PDF attachment). Complete applications must be submitted at least 4 weeks prior to the anticipated visit of the NEAC Distinguished Speaker.

Host institutions are asked to provide an evaluation of the events featuring the NEAC Distinguished Speaker within 60 days following the speaker’s virtual campus visit (via a short narrative NEAC grant report form).

All views and opinions expressed by a NEAC Distinguished Speaker are the speaker’s alone and do not represent those of the Northeast Asia Council or the Association for Asian Studies.

How to Apply

(1) Look through:

(i) the Thematic Listing of Presentations in Japan and Korean Studies (below); and

(ii) the Lecturers and Presentations linked at the buttons above, and identify a scholar you would like to host at your institution. Please pay particular attention to the number of speaking engagements currently available for your desired speaker in each NEAC DSB term year. Some speakers have no limitations listed. If a speaker’s annual limitation has been reached, no further applications for a speaking engagement planned during that particular NEAC DSB term year will be considered.

(2) Verify that funds currently exist for awarding a DSB grant at this time by looking at the notice box above and by checking again immediately prior to submitting your DSB application, as the grant funding situation is fluid and can change quickly. If you submit an application and funds are currently fully expended for this six month DSB funding round, we will ask you to kindly resubmit your application after the start of the next 6-month funding cycle. In order to be equitable to all applicants, we cannot hold applications in queue.

(3) Contact the scholar directly to determine his/her interest and availability to visit your campus. Agree on tentative dates for the virtual visit.

(4) Complete the NEAC Distinguished Speaker Grant Application Form and submit electronically to grants@asianstudies.org at least four weeks prior to the anticipated visit of the NEAC Distinguished Speaker.

Be sure to include a letter from an administrator (department chair, center director, dean, etc.; the signatory cannot be the grant applicant) confirming the institutional commitment to hosting the NEAC Distinguished Speaker and bearing any local costs and a signed Distinguished Speakers Bureau Waiver on Recording Live Events Form, as well as proof of the speaker’s acceptance of the proposed speaking engagement (PDF of an e-mail communication, e.g.).

(5) Due to the popularity of this grant program and the limited grant funds available, institutions may only receive support for one NEAC Distinguished Speakers Bureau program every three years.

(6) Do not begin publicity for the NEAC Distinguished Speaker’s visit until you have been notified of the success of your application by the AAS Secretariat. NEAC Distinguished Speaker grant application award notification should be received within two weeks, barring any unforeseen circumstances or long holiday periods.

(7) Within 60 days following the speaking engagement, the host institution will submit all requisite reporting and publicity materials to grants@asianstudies.org.

For questions regarding the NEAC Distinguished Speakers Bureau, please contact grants@asianstudies.org

Thematic Listing of Presentations (Japan)
Literature, Art, and Culture

Will Bridges

  • Epistemology of the Violets: Heuristics toward a Sensorium of Afro-Japanese Co-creativity
  • Blackness in Japanese Literature in the Age of Hip Hop—A Mic Check
  • The Tragedy before the Blood Commons and Other Dark Fantasies from the End of Heisei
  • Six Ways to Stand with the Work of Art in the Age of Instagrammatical Reproduction: Tanaka Tatsuya and the Beautiful Plenitude of the Re-Imagination   

Julie Nelson Davis

  • Reappraising Beauty for the Past and the Present: An Utamaro Case Study
  • The Ghost in the Brush: Mastery, Genius, and the Artist Katsushika Ōi
  • The Art World of Ukiyo-e: The “Pictures of the Floating World” in Context

Jennifer Robertson

  • Robot Thespians in Japan: Staging Science Fiction Futures

Satoko Shimazaki

  • Going to the Theater in Early Modern Japan: Kabuki on Stage and in Print
  • Stage Body, Stage Gender: Kabuki Actors and Print Identity in Early Modern Japan
  • Making Voices, Creating Silence: Woodblock Print as Auditory Technology
History

Jennifer Robertson

  • Edible Eugenics: Dietary Reform and Nation-building in Modern Japan

Amy Stanley

  • Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her Worlds
  • After #MeToo: Rewriting the History of Sexual Assault
  • Urban History as Global History: The View from Edo, the Greatest City in the World

Samuel Yamashita

  • Understanding Daily Life in Wartime Japan, 1937–1945
  • Did the War with Japan Have to End as it Did?
  • The Cultural Significance of the “Japanese Turn” in Fine Dining in the United States, 1980–2020
Religions and Philosophies

Richard Jaffe

  • Japanese Buddhism’s Western Turn: Japan-South Asia Exchange and the Creation of Modern Japanese Buddhism
  • D.T. Suzuki, American Philanthropy, and the Globalization of Zen in the Twentieth Century
  • D.T. Suzuki’s 1952 Columbia University Zen Lectures and the New York Intelligensia

Jin Y. Park

  • Philosophizing and Power: East-West Encounter in the Formation of Buddhist Philosophy in Modern Korea and Japan

Kaitlyn Ugoretz

  • Domesticating the Kami: Exploring Shinto’s Globalization Through Material Culture
  • New Forms of Reverence for Unchanged Prayers? Obstacles and Opportunities for Shinto in the Digital Age
  • Sparking Joy, Selling Spirituality: The Untidy Religion of Marie Kondo
Politics and Society

Jennifer Robertson

  • Robo-Sexism: Gendering AI and Robots in Japan and Beyond
  • Cyborg Able-ism: Critical Insights from the Not So “Uncanny Valley” of Japan
  • Robot Rights vs. Human Rights: Forecasts from Japan
  • “Blood” is a Many-Splendored Thing: Eugenics, Nationality, and Citizenship in Japan
  • Edible Eugenics: Dietary Reform and Nation-building in Modern Japan

John G. Russell

  • Zeno’s Ya?: Static Change and Protest in Japan

Amy Stanley

  • After #MeToo: Rewriting the History of Sexual Assault
Japan in Global Context

Jinsoo An

  • The Question of “Japan” in South Korean Cinema

Amy Stanley

  • Urban History as Global History: The View from Edo, the Greatest City in the World

Kaitlyn Ugoretz

  • Sparking Joy, Selling Spirituality: The Untidy Religion of Marie Kondo
Race and (Anti-)Racism in Japan

Will Bridges

  • Epistemology of the Violets: Heuristics toward a Sensorium of Afro-Japanese Co-creativity
  • Blackness in Japanese Literature in the Age of Hip Hop—A Mic Check

John G. Russell

  • Haafu-Truths: The Anatomy of Japanese Prejudice in the Age of Social Media
  • Anaconda East: Fetishes, Phallic Phantasies, Chimbo Chauvinism, and the Displaced Discourse of Black Male Sexuality in Japan
  • Zeno’s Ya?: Static Change and Protest in Japan
  • Tracing the Rising Sun: The Intersection of Black and Japanese Lives

Michael Sharpe

  • Calling the Nation Home and Contesting National Membership: The Political Incorporation of Latin American Nikkeijin (Japanese Descendants) in Japan 1990-2008
  • Is Japan Becoming a Country of Immigration?: Litmus Test for Liberal Democracy
  • The Myth of Homogeneity and the Realities of Racism in Japan
Thematic Listing of Presentations (Korea)
Modern Korean Culture

Jinsoo An

  • Stupendous Villainy in Recent Korean Popular Films
  • South Korean Cinema under Authoritarianism
  • The Question of “Japan” in South Korean Cinema
Religions and Philosophies

Juhn Y. Ahn

  • King Sejong the Great and the Cultural History of Weather, Religion, and Wealth in Early Chosŏn Korea
History

Juhn Y. Ahn

  • Heavier Than Chains: A Very Brief Economic History of Slavery in Korea
  • King Sejong the Great and the Cultural History of Weather, Religion, and Wealth in Early Chosŏn Korea
  • The Hidden Door, the Unclimbable Stairs, and the Broken Lightbulb: A Cultural History of the City in Korea

Christina Klein

  • Remembering the Korean War: Film and Historical Memory
Literature

Dafna Zur

  • The Story of Data: Science and Fiction in North and South Korea
  • Anne Frank in North Korea and the Politics of Self-Writing
  • Music and Children’s Poetry in Early Modern Korea
Korea in Global Context

Jinsoo An

  • The Question of “Japan” in South Korean Cinema

Alexis Dudden

  • Korea and a Divided Japan
  • A Sea with No Name: The Troubled Waters of East Asia

Ruediger Frank

  • Comparing German and Korean Unification: Challenges and Pitfalls
  • Challenging the Korean Fear of High Costs: German Unification as an Economic Win-Win Situation
  • How Can External Actors Increase the Likelihood of Economic Reforms in North Korea: An Analysis Based on the CRE Model

Valérie Gelézeau

  • Deciphering the Gangnamscape – Apartments and the Vertical City in South Korea
  • The Korean Meta-Nation and the Archipelago of Korean Capital Cities
  • The Korean Meta-Border, Schizo-Koreanology, and the Cycles of Geopolitical Crisis in the Peninsula
  • Beyond Fieldwork, a Field to Work : Theory, Praxis and Ethics for Researching (in) North Korea

Eleana J. Kim

  • Adoptions from South Korea: How an Emergency Situation Became a Permanent Solution
  • Cold War’s Nature: The Korean Demilitarized Zone and Mid-Century American Science
  • In the Meantime of Division: Multispecies Encounters in the Korean DMZ

Christina Klein

  • Parasite, Squid Game, BTS: The Globalization of Korean Popular Culture

Dafna Zur

  • Anne Frank in North Korea and the Politics of Self-Writing
Race, Gender, and Politics in Korea

Ji-Hyun Ahn

  • Watching Race: Mixed-Race Koreans and Multiculturalism in Contemporary South Korean TV
  • Anti-Korean Sentiment and (Online) Hate Culture in East Asia
  • What does the “K” Stand for in K-pop?: Deconstructing Koreanness in K-pop

Ju Hui Judy Han

  • Not Now, Not Yet: the Politics of Postponement and LGBTQ+ Activism in Korea
  • Beyond Mass Rallies and Candlelight Protests: Protest Repertoires in Precarious Times
  • The Queer Thresholds of Heresy
  • A Contentious History of Feminisms in Korea

Christina Klein

  • The Feminine 1950s: Social Change and Popular Culture in the Postwar Period
Economics

Ruediger Frank

  • Growth or Decline of North Korea’s Economy? A Discussion Based on the Annual SPA Budget Reports
  • Comparing German and Korean Unification: Challenges and Pitfalls
  • Challenging the Korean Fear of High Costs: German Unification as an Economic Win-Win Situation
  • How Can External Actors Increase the Likelihood of Economic Reforms in North Korea: An Analysis Based on the CRE Model

*Until the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control and campus visits are allowed, the invited speaker gives lectures online and engages with students and the host faculty virtually. Thus, host institutions do not incur airfare and local expenses; however, NEAC will continue to provide the speaker’s honorarium. This situation will be updated as the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

*In response to the larger national and international discussions regarding race and racism, NEAC has expanded the topics of the Distinguished Speakers Bureau and included three new speakers. This newly added cohort of DSB speakers are those whose research concerns issues of race and racism in Japanese and Korean studies and those who can speak to the Asian American experience in the United States. These new speakers are listed in the Distinguished Speakers lists on our website (please see here for Japanese studies speakers and here for Korean studies). Institutions are welcome to apply to invite one of the expanded list of speakers to visit their campus through the same process as that on the website. During the current pandemic this will be in a virtual setting, with a variety of options, including a synchronous presentation followed by a Q&A, or a recorded presentation to be viewed at the convenience of the institution, followed by a Q&A with a particular class or a wider audience.

Note on Virtual Visits

Due to complications related to the COVID-19 health crisis, campus visits will be virtual until further notice. Please note that the list of speakers includes a preference from the speakers regarding the nature of their visit: via live interactions through the host institution’s digital platform (Zoom, Webex, or other similar platform), pre-recorded only, or a mixture of both.

Security of student and faculty data has become a concern as we increasingly live our lives and work on digital platforms. AAS has released a statement on online scholarship, safety, and academic freedom and, in alignment with that statement, request all participating institutions comply with the following:

  • Live lectures and classroom visits must not be recorded.
  • Institutions must sign a waiver indicating that they understand this commitment to not record the web event.
  • Some lecturers have indicated pre-recorded lectures as a preference. If an institution chooses to invite a lecturer who has indicated this preference, please note the following:
    1. Institutions must provide a waiver that the speaker will sign indicating the use of the recording and the length of time the recording will be kept.
    2. The host institution does not have the right to reproduce, transcribe, edit, or distribute the content of pre-recorded lectures.
    3. The host institution must agree to a time limit on the storage of the recorded lecture.