March 2017 AAS Member News & Notes

AAS Member Harleen Singh, associate professor at Brandeis University, is the recipient of a Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars. Dr. Singh will spend the 2017-18 academic year in residence at the National Humanities Center working on her research project, “Half an Independence: Women, Violence, and Modern Lives in India.”

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Eight AAS Members are among the 21 new fellows who have been selected by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations for the fifth cohort of its Public Intellectuals Program. Congratulations to Denise Ho (Yale University), Aynne Kokas (University of Virginia), Liu Sida (University of Toronto), John Osburg (University of Rochester), Johanna Ransmeier (University of Chicago), Maria Repnikova (Georgia State University), Shellen Wu (University of Tennessee-Knoxville), and Xu Bin (Emory University).

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Congratulations to the seven AAS Members who have been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities for the following research projects:

  • Amy Borovoy (Princeton University) “Organ Donation and Medical Practices in Modern Japanese Culture”
  • Haydon Cherry (Northwestern University) “Dao Duy Anh (1904–1988), Vietnamese Intellectual: A Biography”
  • Kate Merkel-Hess (Pennsylvania State University) “The Warlords: Familial Relationships and Power in Modern China”
  • Aaron S. Moore (Arizona State University) “Engineering Asian Development: The Cold War and Japan’s Post-Colonial Power in Asia”
  • Dawn Odell (Lewis & Clark College) “Chinese Art in Early Modern Europe and America”
  • Anna Shields (Princeton University) “Construction of the Tang Dynasty Literary Legacy by Scholars in the Five Dynasties and Northern Song”
  • Philip Yampolsky (Independent Scholar) “Documenting Vaihoho, a Form of Sung Poetry in Southeast Asia”

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The Hamako Ito Chaplin Memorial Award is conferred yearly, administered through the Association for Asian Studies. In accordance with the wishes of the Chaplin family, each year a prize of $1,000 is awarded to either a graduate student or a full-time instructor of Japanese for excellence in Japanese language teaching. The selection committee is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient is Dr. Junko Tokuda Simpson (Lecturer of Japanese, University of California, San Diego). Dr. Tokuda Simpson has demonstrated that she is a highly effective teacher and leader in the field of Japanese pedagogy. She has actively participated in numerous professional development courses and workshops that have resulted in successful pedagogical projects such as creation of flipped classrooms and student-centered courses that integrate the development and implementation of the 21st century skills. In addition, she has also been a keen advocate of Japanese language education in the K-16 circuits as well as in the local communities around her. Given Dr. Junko Tokuda Simpson’s solid teaching skills, strong passion and leadership capacity, the committee feels confident that she will make important contributions to the field of Japanese pedagogy. 

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Paul van der Velde, Secretary of the International Convention for Asia Scholars (ICAS), has been named Officer in the Order of Orange Nassau by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Dr. van der Velde has received this honor in recognition of his many efforts to promote scholarly activities and exchanges, which in addition to his work at ICAS include co-founding the journal Historisch Nieuwsblad, participating in the establishment of the International Institute for Asian Studies, and founding the ICAS Book Prize.


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AAS Members who are preparing their first single-authored books for publication are invited to apply for the AAS First Book Subvention Program. Please see the AAS website for eligibility criteria and instructions for applicants; the next application deadline is September 1, 2017.


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Deceased Asianists


James W. Gair (1927-2016), professor emeritus of linguistics at Cornell University. Announcement via Cornell University.


Jeffrey Hadler (1968-2017), associate professor of South & Southeast Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Announcement via UC Berkeley Center for Southeast Asian Studies.


David Keightley (1932-2017), professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Berkeley. Announcement via MCLC.


Elliot Sperling (1951-2017), associate professor emeritus of Tibetan studies at Indiana University. Memorial essay by Tenzin Dorjee published at the Huffington Post.


Jack Wills (1936-2017), professor emeritus of history at the University of Southern California. Announcement via USC; memorial essay by Tonio Andrade published at H-Asia.

In Memoriam


It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Kota Inoue, an assistant professor of Japanese literature at Washington State University at Pullman who died in a car accident on December 14, 2016. Born and raised in Chiba Prefecture, he graduated from Rikkyo University before moving from Japan to the United States to pursue graduate work in American Studies and earning a master’s degree from the University of Alabama. This degree would come in handy as he increasingly recognized that the study of modern Japan meant understanding the full might of pre- and postwar American imperialism. Changing his field of study to Japanese literature at the University of Arizona where he received his M.A., Kota completed his studies with a Ph.D. at UC-Irvine and then secured a tenure-track position at the University of Redlands. His achievements there included winning their Professor of the Year award in 2011.


Professor Inoue’s publications focus largely on Japanese colonialism and literature in work that is distinctive in addressing with erudition and imagination complex state, private, and cultural expressions that converge in the formation of non-Western colonial practices. That Kota excelled in producing both critically informed essays and adroit translations of Japanese works into English reflects a self-conscious effort to situate himself within Western academic protocols while resisting and subverting longstanding racial and culturalist politics that continue to shape the practice of Japanese Studies in the West. Moving to Washington State University in 2012, he continued to teach with distinction while working on the latter stages of a manuscript exploring the relationship of colonialism to suburban space in interwar (1920s and 30s) Japan. His most recent work increasingly addressed the ecological implications of capital and imperialism. Kota was a committed scholar-critic-activist well ahead of the curve in urging fellow faculty and students alike to urgently foreground eco-environmental concerns in their work and in everyday life. The force of his ideas, his unmatched integrity, and his singular dedication to his students earned him the fierce loyalty and appreciation of faculty and especially a large number of students throughout his academic career. He is survived by his partner, Nancy Mcloughlin, family members in Japan, his beloved cat Commie, and a remarkable array of friends ranging from academic colleagues, fellow ecologists, and war resisters, to farmer’s market vendors, co-op members, and a legion of students who mourn the passing of a gentle and profoundly engaged soul. 


James Fujii

East Asian Languages and Literatures, UC Irvine


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The AAS Secretariat is closed on Wednesday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth.