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April 2010 CEAS Newsletter


Daoist Ritual Performances Conclude Year-long
Supernatural Series

    Zhang Clan dance

    Supernatural Presences in East Asia” was a year-long series of public lectures, film screenings, reading groups that focused on supernatural elements in East Asia. The series involved faculty from East Asian Languages and Literatures, the Center for East Asian Studies, Art History, the Chazen Museum, and the Madison Public Library, and was supported by generous funding for the Center for the Humanities, the Evjue Foundation, and the Anonymous Fund.

    Zhang Clan theatreThe series culminated in two Daoist ritual performances (Apr. 29th and May 1st) on the UW-Madison campus by masters of the Zhang Clan, who traveled all the way from Hunan Province, China. These performances were a rare opportunity for our community to witness Daoist ritual music, dance, and theatre performances. For the Thursday performance the masters called the local gods to the Library Mall, entertained them with some theatre and dance, and Zhang Clan callimplored them to grant farmers here a bountiful harvest. On Saturday, they entertained the Earth God with more music, theatre, and dance. The significances of the performance were explained and elaborated on by East Asian Languages and Literature’s Professor Mark Meulenbeld, who was instrumental in bringing the group to Madison.

2010 Japanese Language Workshop

    2010 Japanese Language Workshop

    On Saturday, April 10th, the Center for East Asian Studies collaborated with Professor Naomi Geyer and the Wisconsin Association of Teachers of Japanese (WIATJ) to host a workshop entitled “Content-Community Based Instruction in Japanese: How can we expand our learning community beyond language classroom?” Participants came from around the state, with some coming from as far away as New York. Among the workshop’s distinguished speakers were: Nobuko Chikamatsu, Associate Professor of Modern Languages at DePaul University, Keiko Kuriyama, Assistant Professor and Japanese program coordinator in the EALC department at Indiana University in Bloomington, and Yuki Miyamoto, Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at DePaul University. The workshop was also funded with support from the Japan Foundation.

CEAS Student Profile: Jonathan Letko

    Jon Letko

    Jonathan Letko is a CEAS senior planning to graduate in December of 2010. In addition to majoring in East Asian Studies, Jon is also majoring in Japanese, Microbiology, and General Biology. In addition to majoring in East Asian Studies, is also majoring in Japanese, Microbiology, and General Biology. While his interest for science was fostered in a classroom, Jon’s interest in Japanese developed at home. When he was starting school at UW-Whitewater, Jon’s uncle met and married a Japanese woman while travelling with the military. She brought to John’s family a new language, new cuisine, and a new culture; Jon was fascinated. After his freshman year, Jon pursued his interest in this new culture, by travelling to Japan for two weeks to visit a Japanese friend he’d met at UW Whitewater. In order to better communicate with his new friends and his five cousins who were raised in Japan, Jon took a course in Japanese. Before long that became two courses, and then a year-long study abroad program in Japan and majors in Japanese and East Asian Studies at UW Madison.

    After transferring to UW Madison, Jon has had the opportunity to take a variety of East Asia-related classes in addition to his microbiology coursework. Some of his favorite classes are Professor Steve Ridgely’s Introduction to Japanese Culture and Civilization and Professor Junko Mori’s Language in Japanese Society. Professor Ridgely’s class delved into the history of Japanese culture, specifically a multitude of Japanese subcultures, and how American stereotypes developed out of them. Jon describes Professor Mori as a “sensational teacher.” Professor Mori could galvanize debate topics and conversation in a way that Jon has never seen before in a language class. Topics in the class included Japanese dialects, honorifics, and gender roles in language.

    “These classes gave me a deeper understanding of Japanese society and a better appreciation for Japan as a country as a whole.”

    In addition to taking East Asian Studies and Japanese, Jon is currently finishing up his Microbiology major, working part-time as a lab technician for food microbiology, leading the UWPD First Responders as the Training Officer and co-founder, and is the president of the UW Madison Student Emergency Medical Services. Despite balancing a very busy schedule, Jon loves gaining new and diverse experiences, and has found the time to begin planning his post-college career. This year Jon applied to the JET Program in Japan.

    After graduating, Jon hopes to work in Japan for two years as a Coordinator for International Relations through JET to enhance his fluency and immerse himself in Japanese language and culture. After participating in the JET program, Jon plans on returning to UW Madison to go to medical school and ultimately become a doctor. Jon has found that his East Asian Studies played an important role in shaping him and giving him a better understanding of human interactions, the diversity of cultures, and the world around him in which he someday hopes to become a doctor.  

This newsletter is sent out monthly from the
Center for East Asian Studies
at the UW Madison.
Center for East Asian Studies, International Institute,
333 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive,
Madison, WI 53706-1397 tel:(608)262-3643
You can email us at: email: eas@intl-institute.wisc.edu

To see past newsletters, check our newsletter archive.




Copyright © 2008 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
Center for East Asian Studies, International Institute, 333 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive,
Madison, WI 53706-1397 email: eas@eastasia.wisc.edu tel:(608)262-3643 fax:(608)265-2919