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Asia-focused research groups thrive with support from APSI

Asian Digital Media Cluster

Over the 2022-23 academic year, three Duke faculty, Guo-Juin Hong, Ralph Litzinger, and Carlos Rojas, organized a multidisciplinary cluster on “Asian Digital Media,” to examine issues of digital culture as they relate to Asia and global Asia. Since digital media is, by its very nature, deterritorializing, the cluster examines the circulation of digital culture and digital practices not only in China, Greater China, and other East Asian nations, but also the global Asian mediasphere. Their first event was a book talk with Marcella Szablewicz (EAS-MA '04) who is now a professor of Communication and Media Studies at Pace University as well as being the co-director of the Pace Dyson Women's Leadership Initiative. She discussed her recent book, Mapping Digital Game Culture in China: From Internet Addicts to Esports Athletes; attendees (in-person or remote) received copies in advance of the discussion.

In the spring, the cluster hosted another event: Podcasting and the Global Sinosphere. This two-day workshop included two online panels with Chinese-language podcasters based in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the United States, and an in-person panel featuring four scholars discussing different topics relating to Chinese-language podcasting, particularly the way it came to assume increased importance during the pandemic. Drawing on the insights gleaned from this event, the organizers will guest-edit a special issue of a journal on the topic in the 2023-24 academic year.

East Asia/Asian Diaspora Studies (EADS) Working Group

Another organization, the East Asia/Asian Diaspora Studies (EADS) Working Group, is a student-led space for humanities and social sciences graduate students working on topics related to East Asia and/or East Asian diaspora at Duke University. PhD and MA students at any stage are invited to share resources, workshop projects, network, and engage in conversations.

Launched in Spring 2022, this working group is committed to an interdisciplinary, transnational, and translingual approach; they seek to rethink the relations between ethnic studies and area studies, challenging the US-centrism in knowledge production and scholarly political engagement. EADS organized several events over the 2022-23 academic year, and two of its organizers led the discussion for one of APSI's Summer Book Club gatherings.

For Fall 2023, EADS is excited about a broad-ranging roster of events happening at Duke, including:

  • Calvin Cheung-Miaw’s Talk on Friday, 9/8, 12pm: History professor Calvin Cheung-Miaw will be giving a talk titled, “Asian Americans and Affirmative Action: An Activist History.” This is talk sponsored by the Asian American & Diaspora Studies (AADS) program.
  • Junting Huang’s Talk on Friday, 9/15, 4pm: A Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University and PhD (Cornell 2021) in Comparative Literature, Junting Huang will give a talk titled “Tongues of Blazing Fire: The Hermeneutics of Glossolalia” that investigates Chinese sounding phrases in Jamaican ska music. This event is part of the Ethnomusicology Colloquium Series at the Department of Music.
  • Darren Byler’s Talk on Thursday, 9/21, 3pm: Anthropologist Darren Byler (Simon Fraser University) will give a talk titled “Capitalist Frontier-Making in Northwest China: Technologies of Muslim Enclosure, Dispossession and Subtraction.” Byler is the author of Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City (Duke University Press 2022). Students interested in obtaining a free copy should contact Jaeyeon Yoo—there are a few books left!
  • Lunchtime Seminar with Darren Byler on Friday. 9/22, 12pm: This is a graduate student-only discussion with Prof. Byler, following his talk “The Colonial Contemporary: Thinking from the operational digital enclosure in Northwest China.” Space is limited, and RSVP is required. Advance reading is required for the seminar; materials will be distributed to those who sign up in advance.
  • Reading Group of Asia as Method, starting mid-September: biweekly reading group where we will read Asia as Method by Chen Kuang-Hsing, discussing one chapter at a time. This group is for students and will take in-person only; EADS has a few free copies left of the book for those interested. Contact Jaeyeon Yoo if you’d like to join! 

Anyone interested in learning more about the group should subscribe to EADS Working Group listserv to receive communications about events and opportunities hosted by this dynamic group of graduate students.