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Japanese Language Students Shine at 12th Annual Tennessee Area Japanese Speech Contest

JAPN StudentsOn April 6th, 2019, Vanderbilt students from JAPN 1102, 2202, 3302, and 3891 competed in the Twelfth Annual Tennessee Area Japanese Speech Contest held at  Middle Tennessee State  University. The contest consisted of thirty-six students from seven universities. Several Vanderbilt students were recognized including: Rongyu Xin (Second Place, Advanced Level), Yejin Jeong (First Place, Intermediate Level), Yeeun Paik (Second Place, Intermediate Level), Kai-Wen Chiang (Honorable Mention, Intermediate Level), and Chang Kyu Jung (Honorable Mention, Beginner Level).

Farhan Momin, of Master Chef Fame, Shares Stories of Growing Up and Cooking as a South Asian in the South

Farhan Momin

Chef Momin, a dental student at Midwestern University in Chicago and food enthusiast, shared his stories with an overflow crowd in Buttrick 102 on January 10, kicking off the new year in Asian Studies. With his former Emory University and our current Vanderbilt University Hindi-Urdu teacher Dr. Elliott McCarter as interviewer, Chef Momin captivated the audience of mostly students with engaging tales of how he has navigated multiple identities as a Muslim of South Asian descent growing up "brown in the South" in suburban Atlanta. Food has been a medium of expression for his negotiation of cultures and identities, cooking "thoughtfully blended" original dishes that draw from his mother's beloved South Asian home-cooking and from the typical Southern food that he also grew up loving. The conversation went well beyond food, as the chef and aspiring dentist related taking risks while finding practical balance, encouraging students who might feel caught between paths, cultures, and identities to do the same. A delicious reception followed in Buttrick Atrium where attendees had the opportunity to taste several examples of his culinary creativity, South x South Asian.

Director Kim Jee-woon, Vanguard of New Korean Cinema, Visits Vanderbilt and Discusses His Craft

Kim Jee-woon

Supported by a grant from the Korea Foundation, Asian Studies, Cinema & Media Arts, and International Lens co-hosted internationally acclaimed film director Kim Jee-woon for three days of activities on campus and around Nashville. Within hours of touching down from Seoul, Director Kim and interpreter Dr. Areum Jeong showed no signs of fatigue during the Q&A held after the well-attended screening of the 2005 neo-noir gangster film A Bittersweet Life at Sarratt Cinema the evening of October 25. He expressed appreciation for the lively range of questions from the audience. Known for working within while stretching the limits of genre film, Kim has written and directed masterful works of horror, comedy, sci-fi, noir, and western. In the run up to his arrival ILens screened his "Manchurian western" The Good, The Bad, The Weird to a packed house.

On the second day of his visit, Kim held a workshop with Professor We Jung Yi's Korean popular culture class and then later participated in a roundtable discussion on "Aesthetics of New Korean Film" with Vanderbilt faculty. He spent his final day getting a taste of Nashville, from Martin's BBQ and Barista Parlor to the Country Music Hall of Fame and McKay's Used Books and Records. He ended his stay walking Lower Broadway on a raucous pre-Halloween Saturday night—filming much of the scene along the way. We'd like to think he was scouting locations for a Nashville-based Southern Noir.

For those who missed these events, you can catch an interview with Director Kim in the Nashville Scene.

Asian Studies Program Awarded Korea Foundation Grant,
Adds New Korean Culture and Language Faculty Members

Assistant Professor We Jung Yi and Senior Lecturer Seok Bae Jang join Asian Studies Faculty.

The Asian Studies Program is proud to announce its successful application for a Korea Foundation Grant and subsequent hiring of faculty to establish a foundation for Korean Studies at Vanderbilt. This grant supports a tenure-track position in Korean Studies, and in conjunction, Vanderbilt has initiated Korean language instruction from fall 2018. The new faculty hired in Korean studies and language realize a growing demand among students and faculty—inaugural courses in Korean culture and language are fully enrolled. Read more here.


Hindi Student Sarah Robinson Featured on MyVU

Sarah Robinson

Sarah, a Frances Hampton Currey Scholar and Critical Language Scholarship recipient for Urdu, was recently chosen as one of 14 seniors to be profiled for the Class of 2018. Sarah discusses the relationship between her interests, including ethnomusicology and languages, and how learning Hindi and Urdu has impacted her goals for the future. Please find the full feature here.



South Asian Minor Farah Arif Meets Joe Biden

Student Accomplishments

Farah Arif is a junior in the College of Arts and Science with majors in Public Policy and Spanish. She has engaged with the Asian Studies department through her minor in South Asian Language and Culture, primarily taking Hindi and Urdu language classes with Dr. McCarter. Farah aspires to work as an immigration lawyer and recognizes that language barriers often inhibit the ability of many immigrants to attain citizenship. In such, her studies in advanced Hindi have helped her become more confident in advocating for people of her own background in their own language.

Farah has previously interned for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) on Capitol Hill and Mayor David Briley’s Office in Nashville, along with advocacy work with Tennessee Justice For Our Neighbors. She will be returning to DC this summer for a full-time internship. Farah’s skills and experience working with South Asian populations has helped her stand out in many applicant pools as a dedicated and well-rounded individual. Additionally, the support of Dr. McCarter has empowered her to reach for further prestigious internships in public service.

Asian Studies Seniors Win Prestigious National Fellowships

Jami Cox Is Vanderbilt's Newest Schwarzman Scholar

Jami Cox

 Jami is majoring in Public Policy Studies and minoring in Chinese Language and Culture. She was selected as one of 142 Schwarzman Scholars out of more than 4,000 applicants.  Follow this link to read more about the Schwarzman Scholars Program and her plans to pursue a master's degree in global affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing.  Congratulations Jami, for this highly prestigious honor, and best of luck!





 Adedeji Adeniyi Adds Fulbright Scholarship to List of Achievements

A.AdeniyiAdedeji Adeniyi (Deji)’18, born in Lagos, Nigeria, is an Asian Studies and Molecular & Cellular Biology double major with a minor in Chemistry. Deji has been studying Mandarin throughout college, having previously been awarded the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS). As a recipient, he spent more than two months in Suzhou, China studying Mandarin at Soochow University. Before that, Deji had participated in a scholarship-funded Maymester course in Beijing, China that expanded his knowledge of the political, cultural, and economic climate present in modern-day Asia. Recently, he has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship for a year of study in Taiwan. Long term, Deji plans to become a pediatric doctor and hopes to apply his Mandarin proficiency in the medical field by becoming certified to conduct physician care in Mandarin, especially for children whose English may be limited.

Luce Scholar Fellowship Awarded to Phillip McGloin

Phillip McGloin

Vanderbilt senior Phillip McGloin, a double major in economics and political science and a double minor in Chinese and financial economics, has been named to the 2018-19 class of Luce Scholars. He was one of 18 students chosen from a competitive nationwide pool of applicants. While reflecting on his future as a Luce Scholar, Phillip comments, "I look forward to learning what it means to live, work and have unfettered exposure to Asia." While at Vanderbilt, Phillip immersed himself in academics, international and professional experiences, and athletics. To learn more about Phillip McGloin and the Luce Scholar Program, click here.