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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (AHSS)

asian studies

Asian Studies Program


Michael Gibbs, Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, is Associate Professor in the History Department, specializing in the history of Japan, with strong interests in the comparative history of modern East Asia. His monograph, Struggle and Purpose in Postwar Japanese Unionism, studies the ideology of unionists in the Japanese steel industry.  His second book, Film and Popular Culture in Postwar Japan, focuses on the culture of pacifism in contemporary Japan.  A Fulbright-Hays fellowship recipient, Dr. Gibbs has lived in Japan for over nine years, carrying out his research in labor archives in Japan. He speaks and reads Japanese fluently.

P. Sai-wing Ho, Ph.D. Stanford University and B.Soc.Sci. University of Hong Kong, is Associate Professor of Economics.  He specializes in trade and development, with a minor focus on East and Southeast Asia. His dissertation, which combined theoretical analysis and a case study, is entitled "Essays on Ricardo's Trade-Growth Analysis, with an Application to the Postwar Growth Experience in Hong Kong."  Dr. Ho has published articles in the Cambridge Journal of Economics, Review of Political Economy, Metroeconomica, Journal of Economic Issues, Forum for Social Economics, and Contributions to Political Economy, and has served as a referee for most of these journals.  His book, Rethinking Trade and Commercial Policy Theories: Development Perspectives, was published by Edward Elgar Publishing in 2010.  He gave a talk at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing in 2013 and at several other universities in China and Hong Kong, and has taught at Renmin University in Beijing.

Ginni Ishimatsu, Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley. Associate Professor of Religious Studies, specializing in Hindu religious and ritual traditions.  She is the director of the Asian Studies program.   She is the author of a book manuscript, Between Text and Tradition:  Hindu Ritual and Politics in South India, and has co-authored a translation of the Kriyakramadyotika, a medieval Sanskrit text used in modern Hindu temple worship (Chennai, India:  KSRI, forthcoming in 2014).  She has published articles in Oxford Bibliographies Online, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Journal of Oriental Research and has served on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion.  In 2006 she received DU's William T. Driscoll Master Educator award.

Sarah Morelli, Ph.D. Harvard University,is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Denver's Lamont School of Music. A specialist in classical music and dance of North India, she teaches courses on world musics, leads a North Indian classical performance ensemble, and coordinates the Expanding Horizons Initiative at Lamont. Dr. Morelli has studied Hindustani vocal music and the sarod with the legendary musician, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and continues to learn from his disciples Pandit Rajeev Taranath, Dr. George Ruckert, and Steve Oda. Dr. Morelli also has trained with virtuosic Kathak master, Pandit Chitresh Das and his senior disciple Gretchen Hayden. Her forthcoming book, Tales of a Modern Guru: Pandit Chitresh Das and Indian Classical Dance in Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming) is an ethnographic account of Pandit Das's dance company and school, his contributions to kathak dance, and processes of culture-change in artistic diasporas. These issues also inform her earlier work on hip hop and youth culture in South Korea.  WEBSITE

Li Peters, Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, is Associate Professor of Chinese and Coordinator of the Chinese Program in the Department of Languages and Literatures. Her research interests include translation theories and practices in early modern China; modern Chinese literature and cinema; and gender studies. Having translated and compiled anthologies of translations of English language poetry in her earlier career, she has published, in recent years, articles on modern and contemporary Chinese literature, popular culture and media studies. Her forthcoming book, entitled Memory, Fluid Identity, and the Politics of Remembering in the Representations of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in English-speaking Countries examines the politics of remembering and representing the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She is currently co-editing a collection of critical essays on Chinese socialist culture/literature and its many intriguing incarnations in the post-socialist era. 

Jing Sun, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin–Madison, is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. His areas of expertise are Japanese politics, Chinese politics, and East Asian international relations.  Dr. Sun, a native of Beijing, received his B.A. in journalism from Fudan University in Shanghai. Upon graduation, he worked as a journalist for Xinhua, China's state news agency, from 1997 to 1999. He also worked for China Central Television, the People's Daily, and Beijing Youth Daily while he was a student at the School of Journalism of Fudan University. Dr. Sun came to the United States in 1999. He has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the Japan Foundation, and was a visiting fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Tokyo from 2003 to 2004 and from 2008-2009, at Shanghai International Studies University in 2013, and at Jilin University (China) in 2014. He is the author of Japan and China as Charm Rivals: Soft Power in Regional Diplomacy (University of Michigan Press, 2012). His articles have appeared in Current History, Asian Survey, Asia Policy, and Diplomat, among others, and he has received interviews from American, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian media outlets. Dr. Sun speaks English, Mandarin, and Japanese fluently.


Michiko Croft (Japanese), Senior Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Literatures

Chiara Piovani,Ph.D. University of Utah. Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics

Orna Shaughnessy (Japanese), Instructor in the Department of Languages and Literatures

Nicole Willock, Ph.D. Indiana University at Bloomington.  Postdoctoral Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies

Hui-jie Zhang (Mandarin), Department of Languages and Literatures