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Asian Studies Students & Faculty Recognized for their Contributions

Candid photo of Professor Richard Jaffe surrounded by books in Japan
Prof. Richard Jaffe
(courtesy of Richard Jaffe)

Prof. Richard Jaffe was named one of 35 National Humanities Fellows for 2023–2024. Chosen from among 541 applicants, Prof. Jaffe joins a cohort of scholars from 17 US states as well as Canada, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. His project, Spreading Indra’s Net: A Biography of D. T. Suzuki, is also the basis of a Fulbright award for Japan research in 2024.

His extensive research on the life and work of D. T. Suzuki is the reason he has been named the 4th recipient of the Kanazawa University International Award in commemoration of Daisetz T. Suzuki and Kitaro Nishida. The award ceremony and commemorative lecture are being scheduled for early August 2023.





An audience looks at a projected slide and people talking
Attendees and speakers at
"Solidarity with Ürümchi" event
(courtesy of teach-in organizers)

The 2022-2023 “Multicultural Collaboration of the Year Award” from Duke’s Center for Multicultural Affairs will be given to a coalition of students from the Chinese Queer Feminist Group, Asian American Studies Working Group and Muslim Students Association. The contributions of students from the Black Muslim Coalition and Graduate Student Association of Iranians at Duke (GSAID) will also be recognized. In December 2022, with support from APSI, the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (CSGD), and other institutions around Duke’s campus, these students rapidly put together a teach-in event called “Solidarity with Ürümchi: Voices in Our Community,” which drew over 70 attendees.

The project was partially a response to, inspired by, and part of a cross-national wave of spontaneous vigils and protests that took place across Chinese cities and diasporic Chinese communities. These events transpired following the deaths of at least 10 Uyghurs after a massive fire in a high-rise apartment building in Ürümqi, Xinjiang. Invited student speakers shared personal anecdotes and perspectives on topics such as struggles against dictatorship, addressing and confronting gender- and ethnic-based oppression, the plight of workers at Foxconn, international student organizing, Islamophobia and Sinophobia. Attendees were invited to ask questions, share their thoughts, and explore the convergence of their own stories, histories, and experiences. As one of the organizers noted, the event, which was organized with care and intentionality, showed “how relational building among students can carry our communities through and even bring us closer during moments of crises.”

APSI is glad to share the news that a Chinese international student at Duke, Huiyin Zhou, is also being recognized by the CMA with an award for Excellence in Service due to their proven dedication to community building both at Duke and beyond. A native of Dongguan, China, Huiyin is currently a junior. Her passion for studying the intersections of gender, ethnicity, race, class, and the environment are reflected in her fields of study: Cultural Anthropology; Asian American and Diaspora Studies; and Documentary Studies.

Huiyin has been a Sirena WuDunn Scholar, Kenan Summer Fellow, Story+ researcher and Global Fellow and is actively involved in both the Asian American Studies Working Group (AASWG) and last year, in Mobilizing Asian Students Together (MAST) while it was still active. Outside of Duke, they are a co-founder of the Chinese Artists and Organizers Collective (CAO, 离离草). They will receive the award from the CMA during the multicultural graduation ceremony on April 11 at the Karsh Alumni Center.