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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS)

asian studies

Asian Studies Program


P. Sai-wing Ho, Ph.D. Stanford University and B.Soc.Sci. University of Hong Kong, is Professor of Economics. He specializes in trade and development, with a minor focus on East and Southeast Asia. He has published articles in the Cambridge Journal of Economics, Review of Political Economy, Contributions to Political Economy, Œconomia – History/Methodology/Philosophy, Metroeconomica, Journal of Economic Issues, Forum for Social Economics, the UN Chronicle, and has served as a referee for most of these journals. His first book, Rethinking Trade and Commercial Policy Theories: Development Perspectives, was published by Edward Elgar Publishing in 2010. He is completing the manuscript for his second book, Industrial Development and Division of Labour: A History of Analysis. He has taught at the Renmin University in Beijing, and has given talks at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing as well as at several other universities in China and Hong Kong.

Vincent (Yijiang) Huang is a Teaching Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Denver. Vincent received his Interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in Economics and Social Science Consortium at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He particularly enjoys teaching The Asian Economies, Comparative Economic Systems, and Money & Banking. His research interests include the political economy of China/East Asia, comparative economic systems, money and banking, and green job guarantee.

Sarah Magnatta, Ph.D. Ohio State University, is Assistant Professor in the School of Art and Art History specializing in global contemporary art and museum studies. Dr. Magnatta's research concerns issues of place and identity within Tibetan exile communities; her work with Tenzing Rigdol and other contemporary artists is informing her current book, tentatively titled Shangri-la in Exile: Place and Nation in Contemporary Tibetan Art. She teaches courses on contemporary art through global perspectives and is especially interested in challenging art historical and museum hegemonies to further decolonize the field. Sarah's courses related to Asian Studies include Contemporary Art: Asia and its Diasporas, Buddhism(s) in Art, Sacred Art of Asia, Place and Spirituality in Asian Art, Art of India, Art of Tibet, and Tibet on Display (Interterm course in NYC).

Sarah Morelli, Ph.D. Harvard University, is Associate Professor and Chair of the Musicology and Ethnomusicology Department. A specialist in the music and dance traditions of South Asia, she is active as a scholar and performer trained by Hindustani music maestro Ali Akbar Khan (voice and sarod) and renowned kathak dance master Pandit Chitresh Das. Author of A Guru's Journey: Pandit Chitresh Das and Indian Classical Dance in Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, 2019), she is currently co-editing the volume Music and Dance as Everyday South Asia (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Dr. Morelli is founder and artistic director of the Sureela Academy of Kathak in Denver, CO and is a founding member of the Leela Dance Collective; her kathak performances have included full solos and leading roles in productions in U.S. and India at venues such as Mumbai's Royal Opera House, LA's Ford Amphitheatre, and Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. She currently serves on the Boards of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for Asian Music, and the Chhandam Chitresh Das Dance Company.  WEBSITE

Benjamin Nourse is Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department. He is a historian of religion with a particular focus on Buddhism as it developed in Tibet and China. Recently, he has also been active in research on the history of the book in Tibet. He was co-organizer of the Symposium on the Tibetan Bookheld at the University of Virginia in November 2014. Dr. Nourse's article on Tibetan religious publishing in the eighteenth century, "Revolutions of the Dharma Wheel: Uses of Tibetan Printing in the Eighteenth Century," will be published in the forthcoming Brill volume Printing as an Agent of Change in Tibet and Beyond. He is currently at work on a book-length study of the growth of Tibetan religious publishing in the eighteenth century. Most of his other projects are related to the history of Buddhist scriptures. These include a history of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon (the Kangyur and Tengyur) and a study of pre-twelfth-century manuscripts of the Heart Sūtra in Chinese and Tibetan. Dr. Nourse enjoys translating Tibetan literature and has been working for some time on a translation and study of a Tibetan history of the kingdom of Choné, a once thriving polity that straddled the political and cultural spheres of China and Tibet. A portion of his translation of the history of Choné has been published in the Columbia University Press volume Sources of Tibetan Tradition (2013).

Li Peters, Ph.D. University of California at Los Angeles, is Professor of Chinese and Coordinator of the Chinese Program in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Her research interests include translation theories and practices in early modern China; modern and contemporary Chinese and Chinese diasporic literature and cinema, with a focus on the representations of gender and historical memory; and, recently, East Asian environmental humanities. She has authored many articles and book chapters, as well as a book entitled Memory, Fluid Identity, and the Politics of Remembering in the Representations of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in English-speaking Countries (Brill, 2016). She has also co-edited, with Rosemary Roberts, a volume of critical essays: The Making and Remaking of China's "Red Classics": Politics, Aesthetics, and Mass Culture (Hong Kong University Press, 2017). Her new project engages in the research on, and study of, East Asian ecocriticism and environmental humanities.

Chiara Piovani (Chinese economy, feminist economics, political economy, environmental economics), Ph.D. University of Utah. Assistant Professor, Department of Economics

Ping Qiu Ph.D. American Studies, Purdue University, is Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Dr. Qiu's teaching and research focus on transnational literary and cultural studies, Asian American studies, Chinese diaspora studies, and the Chinese independent film movement. She is interested in the literary production and cultural imagination cross-pollinated by transnational flow of ideas, people, goods in the historical past and present. Her research centers on how nation-building processes define essentialist ideas of "Chineseness" and "Americanness" in both China and American national history and how transnational movements have consistently challenged it. She regularly offers classes on Chinese literature and films and Asian American studies.

Orna Shaughnessy, Ph.D. Japanese literature, University of California Berkeley, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures.  Dr. Shaughnessy's research focuses on the novel in comparative context, travel literature, translation studies, popular culture and cultural production through time. 

HIlary Smith, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, is Associate Professor in the Department of History. Dr. Smith's teaching and research interests lie at the intersection between Chinese history and the history of science and medicine; she is interested in how people living in very different times and cultures from our own made sense of the natural world, including their own bodies. Her research centers on changing understandings of disease in Chinese society, and on relationships between diet and health as Chinese doctors and patients have understood them. She teaches a wide range of classes, such as imperial and modern Chinese history, comparative history of medicine, and disease in world history. Her book Forgotten Disease: Illnesses Transformed in Chinese Medicine, was published by Stanford University Press in 2017, and she is currently at work on a China-centered history of modern nutritional knowledge. WEBSITE

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.

Dheepa Sundaram (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Hinduism and Hindu Studies in the Religious Studies department. She holds undergraduate degrees in Comparative Literature and Religious Studies from Indiana University (2000) and a MA (2010) and Ph.D. in Comparative and World Literatures from the University of Illinois (2014) with a focus on Sanskrit and Tamil digital culture, performance traditions and intersections of ritual, poetics, and politics in modern Tamil drama. Her teaching and research interests include Hindu ritual and praxis in digital contexts, Sanskrit language/aesthetics/drama, South Asian religious traditions/mythologies/literatures, South Indian performance and ritual traditions, and Postcolonial and Cultural studies. During her postdoctoral work at Columbia University, she worked on developing the SARIT database of Sanskrit texts funded by an NEH grant and now housed at the University of Heidelberg. Recently, she was awarded a Mellon fellowship to attend the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria and fellowship and honorarium through the Wabash College Early Career Teaching Workshop in Theology and Religion to develop an interdisciplinary teaching project. Dr. Sundaram's current book project Globalizing Dharma: Virtual Soteriology and Hindu Branding explores the lucrative world of Hinduism online, considering the ways in which the saleability of Hinduism impacts the growth of ethno-nationalist ideologies within Indian socio-political arenas. Currently, she is co-editing a volume on the Puranas with Deven Patel (University of Pennsylvania). Recent work includes an article titled "Instagram your Durga Puja! Social Media, Hashtags, and State-Sponsored Cultural Marketing" that appeared in an edited volume titled Digital Hinduism. Dr. Sundaram is a member of the American Academy of Religion for which she serves on two steering committees-Religions in South Asia and Religion, Media, and Culture, American Comparative Literature Association, Association of Internet Researchers, and the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture.

Jing Wang (Chinese linguistics), Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh.  Visiting Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures

Yeo Hyub Yoon, Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Amherst, is Assistant Professor of Economics. He specializes in financial macroeconomics. His research interests include Keynesian monetary-finance macroeconomics theories, corporate financialization, financial systems, and the recent socio-economic transformation of East Asia with a focus on post-1980 South Korea.