The AAAS Institute sponsored over twenty Guest Lectures and Faculty Research Seminars in a clear demonstration of its expanded purview that formally integrated India Studies, continues its engagement with emergent scholarship in Hemispheric/Transnational Studies, and showcases the tremendous complexity and reach of the discipline that transcend the boundaries of yesteryear.
The Asian/Asian American Studies Institute hosted the Faculty and Graduate Seminar led by Lisa Lowe (pictured at right) with required advance readings from her 2015 Duke University Press book The Intimacies of Four Continents. It was filled to capacity and the productive exchanges that ensued illustrated Professor Lowe’s engaging accessibility as well as her capacious command of a wide variety of literary, political and historical archives, and critical theory. Lowe invents a mode of reading which defies accepted national boundaries and disrupts given chronologies and complicates our conceptions of history, politics, economics, and culture, and ultimately, knowledge itself. The seminar was sponsored with the Department of English and the American Studies Program.
The Institute also collaborated with English and American Studies on Peter X. Feng’s multi-media presentation “Power Rangers and Iron Chef’s: Japanese Programs and the Global Television Market” and Sean Metzger’s “MADE IN CHINA? Trinidad and the Case for a Hemispheric Asian American Studies” guest lecture.
The Creative Writing Program provided another rich source for collaboration with invitations to: writer/director Dennis Liu who premiered his RAISING DION comic book; poet Amy Uyematsu (pictured at left) who read from The Yellow Door (Red Hen Press, 2015); and Brandy Lien Worrall who read excerpts from her memoir What Doesn’t Kill Us (co-sponsored by Asian American Cultural Center) and invited a deeper reflection on the generational, physical, and emotional trauma from exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
An additional program about the Vietnam War screened the documentary “The Lucky Few / The USS Kirk and the Fall of Saigon” with historian/filmmaker Jan K. Herman who also conducted a Q&A at the Benton Museum of Art’s East Gallery.
The Benton’s East Gallery also provided the venue for the Keynote Address by Stephen Chan that opened the Bodies Living with Violence Workshop/One Day Conference at the university’s Storrs Campus.
The Opening Reception on September 30 with Curator Heng-gil Han (pictured at left) for the “KOREA. Contemporary Art from South and North Korea” Exhibition at the Jorgensen Gallery that ran through December 11, 2015 was attended by several of the featured artists and also included a Special Performance by Drum Korea, a New-York based Korean Traditional Marching Band.
During Spring 2016 the Institute co-sponsored NY-based Korean artist Jong Oh’s Opening Reception talk for SOTTO VOCE: Site Specific Installation at UConn’s Contemporary Art Galleries. And the panel on Korean Reunification with Korean Consulate General Kim and Tuft’s Fletcher School of Diplomacy Professor Lee Sung-Yoon was held in Oak Hall.
The Institute’s annual programs — Fall Semester’s Ahimsa / Nonviolence 2015 Seminar “Four Fathers, Four Journeys” (generously supported by an endowment initiated by key members of Connecticut’s Jain community and honors Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy) featured four fathers who each lost a child at Sandy Hook; and Spring Semester’s Day of Remembrance 2016 Public Lecture (co-sponsored with Asian American Cultural Center) that examines the World War Two incarceration of Japanese Americans hosted Jack Hasegawa who shared his family’s personal experience with internment — benefited from support from the Honors Program and FYE/Learning Communities.
The Institute also continues its commitment to Comparative Ethnic Studies by collaborating on Guest Lectures offered by Africana Studies “Requiem on Race: Black Politics and the Modern Republican Party” with Leah Wright Rigueur of Harvard (pictured at front seated) which was co-sponsored by co-host Political Science and UConn Reads; and El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies “Deporting Our Souls” with Bill Ong Hing (USF Law) who advocates for due process rights and legal representation in all deportation cases.
The Institute’s continuing collaboration with Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies presented “Queer and Asian Filipinos in Oregon: A Trans*Colonial Approach” with Kale B. Fajardo of Univ. of Minnesota (pictured at back row center) which was also co-sponsored and hosted by the Rainbow Center; and “New Frontiers in Fair Trade Workshop” with Human Rights Institute, featuring Rob Terenzi (founder of Vega Coffee), Tamara Stenn (prof. of Social Entrepreneurism), Sister Ruth Rosenbaum (director of CREA of Hartford, CT), and UConn’s own Shareen Hertel and Timothy Dzurilla.
In this initial year of integrating the India Studies guest lectures that formally began in the Spring, the Institute benefited from the foundation laid by Professor Betty Hanson (Emerita, Political Science) who invited Manu Bhagavan of Hunter College to speak on “Indian Foreign Policy and the UN from Nehru to Modi” and Sonjoy Dutta-Roy of the University of Allahabad (India) to present “Traditional and Experimental Theatre in India”. The Annual Radha Devi Joshi Foundation Lecture was delivered by Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences at Brown University, Ashutosh Varshney (pictured at left) whose “India’s Democracy: Electoral Vibrancy, Liberal Deficits” was also supported by the Office of Global Affairs and provided a reception of light refreshments.