November 2017 AAS Member News & Notes

Congratulations to the AAS Members whose books have been awarded prizes by other organizations:

Sheena Chestnut Greitens (University of Missouri), co-winner of the 2017 Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association Section on Comparative Democratization and co-winner of the 2017 Best Book Award from the International Studies Association for Dictators and Their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence (Cambridge University Press)

Christopher Goscha (Univ. du Québec à Montréal), awarded the John K. Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association for Vietnam: A New History (Basic Books, 2016)

Audrey Truschke (Rutgers University), awarded the John F. Richards Prize from the American Historical Association for Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court (Columbia University Press, 2016)


The Board of Directors of the Association for Asian Studies welcomes this opportunity to recognize KENNETH C. FROEWISS following his recent retirement after 15 years of dedicated service to the Association’s Finance Committee, which he joined in 2002.  

Ken’s contributions extended far beyond routine participation in Finance Committee meetings and discussions. The Association’s financial staff as well as the Finance Committee’s past and current leaders leaned heavily on Ken’s deep knowledge of financial markets and business practices. Ken’s advice was particularly important in guiding the Association’s efforts to resolve complex issues surrounding the deployment and management of our endowment.

Although we will miss Ken’s presence, we are grateful for his generous and wise counsel and wish him a long and fruitful retirement.


Friends of Korea (FOK) presented the second annual Kevin O’Donnell Distinguished Friend of Korea Award to fourteen scholars at its recent annual meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The honorees are all returned Peace Corps Korea volunteers who, after completion of their service, pursued graduate studies in a variety of academic disciplines focused on Korea, then went on to spend their professional careers researching, publishing, and teaching about Korea. Through their pioneering efforts as specialists in Korea, they have made notable contributions to the development and expansion of the field of Korea Studies not only in the United States, but in Europe and even in Korea. The honorees are [current AAS Members in bold]: Donald Baker, Edward Baker, Donald Clark, Bruce Cumings, Carter Eckert, Bruce Fulton, Milan Hejtmanek, Laurel Kendall, Linda Lewis, David McCann, Robert Mowry, David Nemeth, Michael Robinson, and Edward Schultz. 

The Kevin O’Donnell Distinguished Friend of Korea Award recognizes individuals and their accomplishments that further cultural awareness and friendship between Americans and Koreans. This award is a tribute to the ground-breaking contributions made by Kevin O’Donnell, U.S. Peace Corps’ first country director in Korea and the fourth director of the Peace Corps.


The Southwest Conference on Asian Studies (SWCAS) and Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (WCAAS) will hold a joint conference at Southern Methodist University (SMU) November 17-18, 2017. SMU professor Johan Elverskog will deliver the keynote address, “The Buddha’s Footprint: An Environmental History of Asia.” A draft version of the conference program is available here, and information about registration and accommodations is available at the SWCAS website.


The Southeast Conference of the AAS (SEC/AAS) is accepting proposals until November 15, 2017 for its annual conference, which will be held January 12-14, 2018 at the University of South Carolina. SEC/AAS is also soliciting nominations for its undergraduate and graduate student paper prizes, as well as its second annual book and article prize competitions. Nominations for all prizes are due by November 30, 2017; please see the conference website for more details.


AAS Members have until November 7, 2017 to vote in this year’s election. Information about candidates and how to access the electronic ballot is available at the AAS website.


Submit your panel proposal for AAS-in-Asia 2018 by November 15, 2017! The 2018 AAS-in-Asia conference, our fifth, will be co-hosted with Ashoka University and held July 5-8, 2018 at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The keynote speaker will be James Scott of Yale University. For regular updates, please follow the conference on Facebook and Twitter.

AAS 2018 News & Notes

Congratulations to the eight graduate students whose names were drawn in our first-ever graduate student registration lottery for the 2018 AAS conference in Washington, D.C. (Ten winners were selected, but two did not claim their prizes.) The following students will receive complimentary registration for the March 22-25, 2018 conference:

Melissa Brzycki, University of California, Santa Cruz

Wenjiao Cai, Harvard University

Alvin Camba, Johns Hopkins University

Hedda Flatø, University of Oslo

YunYoung Hur, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jeongin Lee, University of Texas, Austin

Hope St. John, University of Washington

Mary Morgan Williamson, Boston University

A reminder to all conference participants that only those registered by December 1, 2017 will have their names printed in the conference program. Graduate student panelists who qualify for the student travel stipend must register by December 1 to receive this grant.

Hotel rooms at the Marriott Wardman Park are going fast! The AAS room block is already half full, so don’t delay—book your room today! Early bird room rates of $219/night (plus tax) are in effect until December 31, 2017.

Deceased Asianists

Fred von der Mehden, political scientist specializing in Southeast Asia and Islam. Obituary via Rice University.

In Memoriam

Roger Fleming Hackett, emeritus professor of history at the University of Michigan and pioneer in the field of Asian Studies, passed away on October 26, 2017 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was 95 years old.

Roger Hackett was born on October 23, 1922 in Kobe, Japan where his father, an educational-administrative missionary, was treasurer of Kobe College. He grew up, alongside his sister Elizabeth and brothers Harold and David, speaking Japanese and learning, through close daily contact, the culture of the family’s Japanese neighbors. He received his early schooling at the Canadian Academy in Kobe. Hackett was always an athlete, basketball and soccer early on, swimming in college, tennis, and squash in later years.

In the fall of 1940, Hackett left Japan to enter Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, he joined the Navy and was among a select group of young men admitted to the U.S. Navy’s Japanese Language School at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Following his graduation in 1943, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and subsequently served as an intelligence officer in the Pacific theater. Following service with the allied occupation force, he returned to Carleton, met and married Caroline Gray, graduated Phi Beta Kappa and went on to Harvard to earn his Ph.D. in history.

Professor Hackett was among a postwar generation of scholars who brought East Asian Studies into the curriculum of American universities. In 1953, he joined the history faculty at Northwestern University where his responsibility was to teach undergraduate courses in the emerging field of East Asian history. Six years later he became the editor of the Journal of Asian Studies through which he nurtured and shaped the emerging field. In 1961, with an opportunity to narrow his focus to Japan and work with graduate students, Hackett joined the history department at the University of Michigan, serving as its chair from 1975 to 1977. As a core member of Michigan’s Center for Japanese Studies, serving twice as its Director, Professor Hackett supervised dozens of Ph.D. theses that contributed to a rapidly expanding scholarship on modern Japan. His particular research interests in the role of the military in Meiji and early Taisho history, the involvement of Americans in modern Japanese history, and the history of the Japanese treaty ports resulted in scholarly contributions to professional journals and books as well as fellowships from various organizations.

After his retirement in 1993, Roger Hackett pursued an active life, offering workshops on Japan to secondary school teachers, taking college classes, participating in Center for Japanese Studies events, volunteering for various causes, attending music concerts, playing and socializing with his tennis friends, traveling abroad, and enveloping his extended family with interest and love.

His survivors include Caroline, his wife of 71 years, their three children, Anne, of Adrian, Michigan; David of Gainesville, Florida; and Brian, of Lake Ridge, Virginia; seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

(Obituary courtesy of the Hackett family.)

We welcome submissions for the AAS Member News & Notes column, so please forward material for consideration to Please note that we do not publish book announcements in this space; new books by AAS Members will be announced on the association’s Twitter feed (@AASAsianStudies) and Facebook page (@AASAsianStudies).

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