Dr. Deborah Martin, Chair and Professor of Theatre
At Berea College, it takes many hands to make a rich and vibrant Asian Studies curriculum happen for our students. While not every department has trained Asianists among its faculty members, some departments work hard to make sure that our students benefit from a multicultural perspective on their field that includes Asia. One such department is Theatre, whose chair, Professor Deborah Martin, has been accepted to participate in the Asian Studies Development Program’s “Infusing Modern China into the Undergraduate Curriculum” Institute. This faculty development program, which originally was scheduled for summer 2020 but now has been postponed to summer 2021 due to pandemic concerns, aims to help educators develop curriculum materials and strategic plans for expanding undergraduate Chinese studies offerings on their campuses through a rich, multidisciplinary exploration of modern Chinese history, art, literature, religion, politics, and contemporary social dynamics.
Dr. Martin’s plans for her engagement with this program include creating a course that focuses on “ghost plays” in Chinese literature and opera. “Using the ghost character will not only introduce our students to contemporary Chinese theatre and opera,” says Dr. Martin, “but it will also allow them to see how this character has been an element of more ancient forms of Chinese theatre and story-telling. Certainly, the political and social changes of 20th century China will also enhance the study, giving our students a fuller context of why this character was so contentious and how it prevailed.” As part of an upcoming theatre season that will feature a number of non-Western plays, Dr. Martin also hopes to direct a production of Gǎn tiān dòng dì Dòu É yuān 感天動地竇娥冤 (The Injustice to Dou E that Touched Heaven and Earth) by “China’s Shakespeare” Guān Hànqīng 關漢卿 (c. 1241-1320), which uses the motif of ghostly visitations to protest social injustice.
Madeline Kujabi ’21
The Asian Studies Department congratulates Madeline Kujabi ’21, whose paper “The Role of Traditional Dance in Cultures Experiencing ‘Compressed Modernity’” has been accepted for presentation at the 60th Annual Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (SEC/AAS). Due to pandemic concerns, the conference will be hosted virtually by the Carolina Asia Center at UNC-Chapel Hill from January 15-17, 2021. Madeline’s presentation will be based on research undertaken for her Asian Studies and General Studies capstones as well as her experiences as a dancer and native of The Gambia. Well done, Madeline!
Ethan Chase ’17
The Asian Studies Department congratulates Ethan Johnson Chase ’17, who recently completed his J.D. at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law and passed the Kentucky Bar Examination! Like so many Berea graduates, Ethan is using his knowledge as power to change the world for the better. Even before receiving his J.D. and passing the bar examination, Ethan was involved with legal efforts to win justice for the family of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March 2020. Recalling the words of the late U.S. Representative John Lewis, who spoke at his Commencement ceremony in May 2017, Ethan says, “I believe Rep. John Lewis when he says it’s up to us to continue the work to which he dedicated his life. It’s up to us to continue the work of this stalwart champion in the on-going struggle to demand respect for the dignity and worth of every human being, to cause good trouble, to redeem the soul of America.” We are very proud of you, Ethan!
Erica Berejnoi ’16
In less than a month, Erica Berejnoi ’16 will defend her Ph.D. dissertation in Sustainability at Arizona State University. This monumental educational achievement is a milestone in a journey of learning that began at Berea College, where she majored in Asian Studies and Business Administration. As a Berea student, Erica spent time in China and discovered a love for Chinese culture that later blossomed into an exploration of holistic spiritual traditions that have informed her work as a scholar of sustainability. “The classes I took on Asian Studies have helped me a lot during my time at the Ph.D. program at ASU,” says Erica, who has authored or co-authored six scholarly articles and one book chapter thus far. Her dissertation, entitled Dancing through the Inner Dimension of Sustainability: An Autoethnography, investigates the connections between sustainability, spirituality, and happiness – research that was supported, in part, by a Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning Award. She writes, “Sustainability goes beyond the numbers: you can see it at the table with the foods you eat (or do not have), on the streets with people and animals passing by (if you are fortunate to live in a place where you interact with animals outside the home), on your ability to get up from bed each day, or how you treat yourself and others…Sustainability is a journey we live every day.” Congratulations, Erica! We are very proud of you!
Video game designer and entrepreneur Tristan Lee Riven ’06 and his Korean collaborator, artist Kim Minho, recently were honored at the 2020 Taipei Game Show in Taiwan. Their company, South Korea-based Devespresso Games, won the “Best Narration” and “Grand Prix” awards for its game The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters. A total of 141 game titles from 17 countries were entered in this year’s competition, of which only 30 games were nominated to compete for awards. Congratulations, Tristan & co.!
Myles Crain ’20
Dominique Jenkins ’20
Rusty Dotson ’20
Jesse Paul ’20
Every year, a handful of Berea seniors and graduates apply for the highly competitive Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Since 1987, more than 70,000 college and university graduates from all around the world have taught their native languages in Japan through the JET Program, which is administered by the Japanese government in cooperation with 38 other national governments. For most of that time, only one applicant from Berea has been successful each year. In 2019, however, six Berea graduates were accepted by the program, setting a new record. This year, all four finalists from Berea – graduating Asian Studies majors Myles Crain ’20, Dominique Jenkins ’20, and Jesse Paul ’20, along with graduating Asian Studies minor (and Computer Science major) Rusty Dotson ’20 – received offers of positions with JET. Myles, Jesse, and Rusty will become Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs), helping to teach English in Japanese K-12 classrooms, while Dominique will take on an assignment as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR), which will entail duties as a translator and interpreter with a local government office in Japan. Myles and Dominique prepared for their JET experiences by completing internships at the Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project (KEEP) in Berea’s sister region of Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, while all four studied in East Asia as part of their Berea careers. Congratulations and おめでとう to all!
Due to the closure of campus on March 15 in response to COVID-19 concerns, the Asian Studies Department’s graduating class of 2020 had to make do with a hurried, informal celebration of their achievements. Fortunately, Noodle Nirvana, a favorite Berea restaurant, was still open for on-site dining at the time and was able to host the farewell dinner. Three graduating seniors – major Jesse Paul ’20 and minors Delaney Anderson ’20 and Sienna Burgess ’20 – also were inducted into Epsilon Alpha Sigma (EAΣ), the honor society for academic achievement in East Asian studies.
Continue reading An Early Farewell to the Class of 2020 →
Our sole December 2019 graduate is Nicole Mangin ’19, who has completed a double major in Asian Studies and Art History. Nicole anticipates going to graduate school for further training as an archivist. During her Berea experience, Nicole managed to spend two summers in Japan — first, as a student with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS) intensive program, primarily in Japan’s Kansai region, and then as an intern at the Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project (KEEP) in Japan’s Kantō region. We wish Nicole every success. 頑張ってください!