News Archive

November, 2013

Chinese Program Announces New Summer Program and Scholarship

New Scholarship for Emory Summer Chinese Studies Program in Nanjing and Beijing

The Chinese program in the Department of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures is very pleased to announce Scholarships to selected students who will participate in the new Emory Summer Chinese Studies Program in Nanjing and Beijing in 2014

Building upon the successes and experiences of the Emory Summer Study Abroad Program in China in the past +10 years, the 2014 Program has been redesigned to include an array of exciting, new features! Offered through the Department of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures (REALC) at Emory University, the 2014 Program will operate in collaboration with both Nanjing University and Beijing Normal University in China, offering two courses on Chinese language and culture studies in Nanjing and Beijing, China's two capital cities and Olympic cities. (Nanjing will be the host city for the Youth Olympic Games in the summer of 2014. The 2008 Olympic Games were held in Beijing.) No knowledge of Mandarin Chinese is required. To apply to this program, CLICK HERE.

Five scholarships will be awarded in the amount of $500-$1,000, depending on students" academic merits and financial needs. The scholarship can be used towards international travel, program fee, or tuition associated with Emory Summer Chinese Studies Program. The selection will be based on financial needs and the following factors:

  • The appropriateness of the student's plan of study to his/her overall academic plan
  • The quality of the match between the student's goals and the opportunities that the program offers, and
  • The strength of the student's preparation at Emory.

To be eligible the scholarship, students must:

  • Be enrolled as an Emory student
  • Have and maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Return to Emory for at least one semester or more after the completion of the program
  • Have applied and been accepted to Emory Summer Chinese Studies Program in Beijing.

To apply, students must complete and submit the following:

  • Cover sheet
  • Resume or C.V.
  • A one page essay explaining reasons, goals and plans for studying abroad in China
  • 1 Letters of recommendation from Emory faculty familiar with you and your work
  • Academic Transcript

The deadline for this scholarship is March 1, 2013. Applications must be received in hard copy by 5 pm on the posted deadline by the REALC office (202 Modern Languages building). Only completed applications will be considered.

For more information, please contact Dr. Hong Li.

Email:, phone: 404 727-2511

August, 2013

A Letter from Interim Chair, Cheryl Crowley

The new academic year brings a change to REALC: department chair Dr. Juliette Stapanian-Apkarian is taking leave to devote herself full-time to research, and I'll be in the chair position for a year. As we get ready to start what I hope will be a great year, I'd like to say hello to everyone, and thank you to Dr. Stapanian-Apkarian for her wise guidance and leadership.

The coming year promises to be filled with hard work and great reward. It is an honor to serve as chair in a department full of so many talented and dedicated people, and to work with so many bright, promising students. The specializations of our faculty are diverse and address languages and cultures that stretch halfway across the world. Still, the remarkable spirit of cooperation and shared purpose that we bring to our work means that the department has been able to grow and to thrive over the many years that we have been together. I look forward to a year in which we continue to benefit from the creative energy that all of our members bring to research, teaching, and service to the community.    

We can't predict what the year will bring. We can expect that Russia will be in the media spotlight because of the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, and that the rapid pace of economic and social change in East Asia will continue to present many challenges and opportunities. We can be certain of one thing, though: the skills and knowledge that we teach in the Department of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures will be more important than ever in preparing our students to understand the world, the world that they soon will inherit. It is a great privilege to be part of that process as a member of the REALC community.


Cheryl Crowley

Interim Chair, REALC and Director of the East Asian Studies Program

A Letter from Outgoing Chair, Juliette Apkarian

Dear Friends,

To navigate an intricate and dynamic world successfully, understanding of diverse perspectives is critical.   Focusing on the languages/cultures/societies of East Asia and East Europe, REALC and its affiliated programs explore global complexities through innovative, cross-disciplinary study. Among initiatives this past year, we contributed to path-breaking scholarship, cohosted a stellar international conference in Japanese Studies, launched a special Peer Mentoring program in Chinese Studies, developed a new interdisciplinary minor in Korean Studies, and highlighted the work of distinguished alumni in Russian Studies.  Our courses this year included activities with digital technologies and cyber-culture, and we offered a new freshman seminar that worked with a refugee center in Clarkston.  This year our faculty and students helped to support Emory's inaugural "Korea Week," "China Day" and "China Summit." Other events included a digital Japanese "Extravaganza," a roundtable on "Putin and Pussy Riot," and discussions on topics ranging from traditional culture to contemporary social change.  Our faculty continue to earn major grants and develop distinctive programs for international teaching-fellowships, "open classrooms," and study abroad.  Our marvelous students do important Honors work and volunteer projects, and their achievements are recognized in such arenas as the international Jiangsu Cup Speech Competition, regional Japanese Speech Contest, and Slavic honor society Dobro Slovo

     While our programs have accomplished much through creative teamwork and collaborative partnerships, we also are eager to look ahead.   As we work together, I warmly welcome my colleagues Dr. Cheryl Crowley to the position of Interim Chair of the department, and Dr. Julia Bullock to the position of Chair in the following year.   I am delighted that Dr. Crowley continues too as director of EAS, Dr. Elena Glazov-Corrigan now assumes the directorship of REEES, and Dr. Rong Cai continues to serve as co-director of Emory's CI.   With immense gratitude to so many for their support and inspiration, I turn excitedly with you toward the future.

With heartfelt appreciation,

Juliette Stapanian Apkarian

Outgoing Chair, Dept. of Russian & East Asian Languages & Cultures (REALC) 

New REALC Appointments Announced

Cheryl Crowley, Assoicate Professor of Japanese and Director of the East Asian Studies Program, has been named the new Interim Chair of REALC. Her appointment will span the Fall 2013 - Spring 2014 academic year. Julia Bullock will begin a three-year appointment as Departmental Chair beginning in the Fall of 2014. Associate Professor of Russian Literature and Culture Elena Glazov-Corrigan was appointed Director of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Program this month as well. Finally, Senior Lecturer in Chinese language Yu Li has been named REALC's Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). We look forward to an exciting new year under their leadership, and extend warm congratulations to all!

May, 2013

Japanese Language Program Launches New Student Website

Senior Lecturer of Japanese Language Noriko Takeda announced the creation of a new website designed to showcase student work at all levels of Japanese language instruction. Rising senior James Lunde was instrumental in the site's creation, and will act as the webmaster throughout the 2013/2014 academic year. The site was organized by REALC's Japanese faculty with the aim of providing current and prospective students with examples of recent assignments and projects, and to honor some of the program's most accomplished students. This project was made possible in part by Masse-Martin funds secured by Noriko Takeda. CLICK HERE to visit the site. 

November, 2012

"A Tale of Two Aviatrixes: A Nashville Flight Instructor and a Soviet War Hero."

Lecture by Emory Distinguished Alumna Kim Green, Nov. 29, 2012

Anna Yegorova

Above: Anna Yegorova

Emory REEES alumna Kim Green couldn't believe she was drinking vodka out of a canteen with a Soviet war hero! As a Russian major-turned-flight instructor-turned NPR journalist, Green's life had taken a number of unexpected turns. Sitting at the dinner table with legendary Russian fighter pilot Anna Yegorova, however, Green realized that her numerous and seemingly disparate passions had found an unlikely union in the story of this most remarkable woman. She shared her journey with a packed house in the hopes of relating a few of the amazing experiences made possible by her degree in Russian.

Following the completion of her Russian studies at Emory, Green joked that she did what most people with a Russian degree do; "I took flying lessons!" Although her fascination with all things Russian persisted, it was not until attending a 2002 conference of women pilots that she would discover a way to put her language skills to professional use. Much to her astonishment, she learned that thousands of women pilots fought for the Soviet Air Force during World War II. To make a long story short, a mutual acquaintance introduced her to Anna Yegorova, a fearless, ambitious, and according to Green, "perversely stubborn" Russian woman whose harrowing experiences as a combat pilot needed to be told.

Born in Russia in 1917, Yegorova was truly a child of the Revolution. Her early years were spent in a quiet rural village, but an aptitude for flying led her down a decidedly more adventurous path. Her story culminates during WWII, when she flew in an otherwise all-male combat regiment, piloting the notorious IL-2 (a.k.a. "Black Death") tank-buster attack plane.  She was shot down and taken prisoner in 1944, suffering for months in a P.O.W. camp. Upon her return to Russia she was initially treated as a traitor by her own country, but was later honored as a war hero. Amazingly, her sense of duty and patriotism through it all was unwavering.

Yegorova had written her memoir in Russian, but dreamed of sharing her story with an English-speaking audience. Green¿s calling was clear. Together with a Russian co-translator, she set about the task of publishing Red Sky, Black Death: A Soviet Airwoman¿s Memoir of Revolution, War, and Betrayal. Though admittedly not the most lucrative of pursuits, it remains one of Green¿s proudest and most fulfilling accomplishments. "If we are to take any lesson from her life," Green offered, "it is that extraordinary circumstances produce extraordinary people." Of course, none of this would have been possible were it not for Green's training in Russian language at Emory. "You don't have to be a professor or a scholar for your Russian major to be rewarding," she told the standing-room-only audience. "It has given me the gift of fascination that will stay with me always." This event was part of the REEES Distinguished Alumni Series and was sponsored by REEES, REALC, the Journalism Program, and the Student Slavic Club.

Hong li

Chinese Senior Lecturer Hong Li has been awarded the Grant for Innovative Teaching from the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence. The grant will enable her to 1) create a digital iBook for her work titled Fun with Chinese Grammar: 35 Humorous Dialogues and Comics (co-author: Jing Paul; illustrator: Eric Reinders); and 2) produce 35 three-to-five minute videos to be included in the digital publication.
Complete with texts, audio, video, and cartoon drawings, Fun with Chinese Grammar: 35 Humorous Dialogues and Comics is a book of Chinese grammar suitable for teachers and learners of beginning and intermediate Chinese. It presents 35 Chinese grammar patterns in humorous conversations featuring the everyday life of college students. It also provides grammar exercises and communicative activities. The former intends to help reinforce understanding of grammatical structures, and the latter aims to promote learning of grammar in meaningful and interactive ways.

Korean Lecturer Dr. Bumyong Choi received an ACTFL Robert Ludwig Scholarship, a competitive award given to foreign language instructors in order to offset travel expenses associated with the upcoming ACTFL Annual Convention.

October 22, 2012

"Visual Perspecties on Russian Classics: Cutting and Editing in Nikolai Gogol's Marraige"

Lecture by Coca-Cola Chair of Visual Studies at the European University in St. Petersburg, Dr. Natalia Mazur


Published in 1842 after nine years of work, Nikolai Gogol's "The Marriage" is one of his most obscure and possibly least understood works. Characterized by his contemporaries as a droll satire on the institution of marriage, the play has received modern critical recognition as a far more complex social commentary. Dr. Natalia Mazur offered an inspired interpretation of one particular passage in which the main character, Agafya Tikhonova, must choose between four would-be husbands. Agafya muses that she would like to combine the best features of each man into one, thereby easing her choice.  Mazur identifies this proposed assemblage of parts as a topos of ancient origin, which was at the same time a reference to the popular study of physiognomy.

The topos of the creation of an ideal out of the best features of a number of subjects dates most famously to the Greek tale of Zeuxis, who selected the most beautiful physical characteristics of several different models for his image of Helen of Troy. Mazur demonstrated a number of recurrences of this theme in art and literature, ending with a poignant example of Dziga Vertov's instructions to his Kino-Glaz group to create a "new man" through the filmic technique of montage. Gogol not only participates in this tradition, he does so in reference to Johann Caspar Lavater's well-known book, Physiognomy, in which human bodily features are presented as having a direct correlation to individual personality traits. Thus, according to Lavater's reasoning, a person's character can be known by his or her outward appearance. Agafya's desire to cut and paste together the most ideal features of her suitors can therefore be viewed as a continuation of Zeuxis' harmonious union and as a satirical reinterpretation of Lavater's work.

September 24, 2012

"The Buddhist Revival in Siberia and Mongolia Since the End of the Cold War."

Lecture by Assistant Professor of History at Wichita State University, Dr. Helen Hundley

Chojin monastery

Above: Chojin Lama Monastery in Ulan-Bator. Photo courtesy of Helen Hundley

Dr. Helen Hundely of Wichita State University kicked off REEES' fall semester programing in a colorful fashion, as she presented her ongoing work documenting the Buddhist revival in Siberia and Mongolia. A leading expert in Siberia studies, Dr. Hundley treated the audience to a collection of photos of revitalized Buddhist monasteries gathered from her numerous excursions throughout Inter-Asia.  Just as Russian Orthodoxy is currently experiencing an upsurge in popularity in much of western Russia, Buddhism is reemerging as the dominant religion in post-Soviet Buryat and Mongolian regions.

According to an 1897 Russian census, 91% of all Buryat men were Buddhist, a statistic that speaks to a long history of Mongolian missionary activity in the area. The religious purges under Stalin proved devastating to Buddhist practitioners, however, as tens of thousands of Lamas were killed and their monasteries destroyed. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, an urgent campaign to rebuild the sacred spaces of Buddhism is now underway.  Hundley's photographs of brightly painted monasteries from Tuva to Kharakorum, stupas dotting the Mongolian landscape, monuments of faith along the roadsides, and even solar-powered dashboard prayer wheels all testify to the success of these efforts. "Buddhism is rolling," Hundley exclaimed! "It is as much a part of the new Russia and Mongolia as are the skyscrapers popping up everywhere you turn." 

This event was sponsored by REEES, REALC, EAS, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of Religion, and the Hershey Fund for Buddhist Studies.

May, 2012

Director of the East Asian Studies Program and Associate Professor of Japanese Cheryl Crowley has been named the interim director of the Emory Writing Center, a position she will hold during the 2012 - 2013 academic year. The center is staffed by a team of undergraduate and graduate students who offer free assistance to their peers as they work to improve the writing skills of Emory's student body. Congratulations Cheryl!

April, 2012

Yu Li

Chinese Lecturer Yu Li has been appointed DUS of Linguistics for the Fall, 2012 semester.

Yu Li earned an MA in Linguistics at PKU and a PhD in Linguistics from UNC Chapel Hill before joining Emory's Chinese faculty in 2007. In addition to language instruction, she regularly offers courses in linguistics such as "Sounds of Human Language" and "Chinese Writing Systems in Asia." Her appointment as DUS will doubtless strengthen the fruitful relationship between REALC and the Program in Linguistics. Congratulations, Yu Li!

March, 2012

New Chinese Position Filled

Maria Sibau

After an exhaustive search, Dr. Maria Sibau of Seton Hall University has accepted REALC's Assistant Professor of Chinese position! Sibau is a scholar of traditional Chinese literature and culture, with a particular interest in seventeenth-century vernacular fiction. She earned a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Venice University, an M.A. in East Asian Studies from UCLA, and a PhD in traditional Chinese literature from Harvard. Her dissertation, "Reading for the Moral: Exemplarity and Heroism in Xingshi yan and the 'Fiction of Moral Duty,'" is a study of the ways in which traditional moral virtues such as filial piety, loyalty, and chastity are represented in short story collections from the mid-seventeenth century. At Seaton Hall she offered courses in traditional and late imperial Chinese civilization, advanced Classical Chinese language, and research methodology for Asian Studies. At Emory, Sibau looks forward to teaching courses on specific genres and topics in Ming and Qing literature and culture, and to interdisciplinary work within as well as outside of the Department of REALC. She will be teaching CHN 272: Literature in Early and Imperial China in the fall. We are very excited to welcome her to Emory!

"Reflections on the 2011 - 2012 Elections in Russia"

Lecture by Havighurst Postdoctoral Fellow at Miami University and REEES Distintuished Alumnus, Dr. John Reuter, March 9, 2012


Dr. John Reuter timed his lecture at Emory to coincide with the contentious - but by all accounts predictable - Russian presidential elections of March 4, 2012. Having been awarded the Robert C. Tucker/Stephen F. Cohen Dissertation Prize for his work in the areas of historical political science and political history of Russia and the Soviet Union, Reuter's insights into the political drama abruptly unfolding in Russia were particularly insightful. What had thrust Russian politics back into the global consciousness was the sudden and largely unexpected explosion of protests following the State Duma elections of December, 2011 - the largest mass protest activity in the country since the fall of the Soviet Union. Allegations of voter fraud and intimidation were rampant leading up to Vladimir Putin's victory, and protests were ongoing at the time of Reuter's talk, albeit lessening in strength. The question at hand was two-fold: What had caused the United Russia party to lose so much of its seemingly unlimited popularity, and why was there such shock over the result of an election that everyone already knew was rigged?

Reuter proposed four pillars of regime stability: economic performance, intrinsic popularity, repression, and elite unity. Reuter described the fourth of these as, "the least sexy but perhaps the most important...a coalition of powerful elites who had proven successful at mobilizing the people." A slow decline in economic approval and the loss of some middle class support certainly contributed to United Russia's decreasing popularity, but it seems that the tactics used to combat this trend backfired. Surveys conducted by Reuter and his colleagues at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow reveal that 15% of the Russian electorate believed that their jobs were likely to be effected by their vote. Outrage over this type of voter intimidation, as well as ballot box stuffing, were the proximate catalysts for the protests.

Despite the best efforts of the Russian protestors, Putin secured a relatively easy victory in the presidential elections, to the surprise of no one. Reuter maintains, however, that the future of United Russia may be less certain. "Repression is costly in an environment where information is cheap," he explains, citing the widespread use of social media and the Internet as mechanisms of public mobilization in Russia. Simply put, authoritarian regimes cannot continue to flourish in the Internet age.

This event was sponsored by the Russian, East European, and Eurasian program as part of its Brown Bag Friday lecture series.

Japanese Lecturer Accepts Job at University of Iowa

Dr. Yumiko Nishi, Lecturer in Japanese Language and Linguistics at Emory since 2008, has accepted an exciting new job at the University of Iowa as the Assistant Professor of Japanese Linguistics.  There she will have the opportunity to teach courses in Japanese linguistics, second language acquisition, and language pedagogy, and to further her own research in those areas. She will additionally serve as the coordinator of the Japanese language program, overseeing curriculum development and outcomes assessment. The move from Atlanta to the rural community of Iowa City is something she takes in stride. "I am looking forward to doing research with undergraduate and graduate students, exploring the local farmers markets, and expanding my repertoire of corn dishes," she laughs. She adds, however, that she will very much miss  her beautiful office,  the talented people in our Language Center, and her many students and colleagues. The feeling is, of course, mutual. Yumiko will be missed for her unwavering dedication to her students and for her commitment to excellence within the Japanese language program at Emory. Most of all, however, she will be missed for her generosity, endless good humor, and infections smile! Our loss is definitely Iowa's gain. We wish her the best of luck in her new home and much success in her career! Congratulations, Yumi!

February, 2012

Professor Mikhail Epstein Appointed to 3-Year Position at Durham University

Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Cultural Theory and Russian Literature, Dr. Mikhail Epstein, has accepted an appointment to direct the newly formed Center for Humanities Innovation at Durham University in the U.K. The goal of the center is to develop highly creative new branches of the humanities that are capable of engaging with the rapidly changing intellectual climate of the twenty-first century. The Center will focus in particular on the transformative potential of the humanities and their capacity to change the objects of their study. The Center is intended to act as a point of mediation between existing disciplines, seeking to initiate interactions between traditional scholarship and humanistic technologies in ways that will enhance intellectual creativity and foster academic cross-fertilisation. In addition to his work with The Center, Dr. Epstein will hold a chair in Russian and cultural theory at the university. The appointment will begin in October of 2012, and while he will be dearly missed by his students and colleagues, he is confident that his work with the Center will ultimately benefit Emory. He explains, "I believe that my Durham appointment may enrich my research and teaching in ways that will be useful to my department." The Department of REALC wishes him much success in this exciting and challenging endeavor.

New Korean Faculty Position Filled!

Sun-Chul Kim

Thanks to a special grant from Korea Foundation to establish a professorship in Modern Korean Society we will be welcoming Dr. Sun-Chul Kim to Emory as an Assistant Professor.  Sun-chul is a graduate of Columbia University, where he completed his PhD in 2008  under the tutelage of the late Charles Tilly.  He taught in the East Asian Studies program at Barnard College, and joined Emory in Fall of 2011 as our Korea Foundation Visiting Assistant Professor.  A scholar who works at the interface between the humanities and social sciences, he teaches coursework in the areas of Korean politics, history, and sociology.  Sun-Chul has consistently displayed an unwavering dedication to his students and to the development and promotion of Korean studies at Emory.   His highly interdisciplinary work will be invaluable to programming in REALC and East Asian Studies.  His tenure-stream appointment will formally begin Fall 2012.

REALC Encouraged Students to Love Their Majors on Valentine's Day

Calligraphy demo

February 14, 2012: As part of Emory College's first annual "Love Your Majors" week REALC hosted the Silk Road Cafe, an event designed to showcase the best of our four main departmental areas. StudentsKorean prizes were treated to food, poetry, calligraphy, riddles, games, and prizes from China, Japan, Korea, and Russia. Oleg Proskurin delivered a rousing recitiation of Russian poetry, while Bumyong Choi treated students to Korean board games and tea. Cheryl Crowley set up a calligraphy demonstration, allowing many students to experiment with the art form for the first time, while Wan-Li Ho challenged her audience to guess a number of Chinese riddles. The Russian poppy cake, or """"""" """"", was a crowd favorite, and the Chinese bean cakes disappeared without a trace! In the end, students and faculty alike experienced a bit of the cultural treasures of REALC's diverse programs, and a good time was had by all!Poppy cake

Russian-Speaking Tour Director Externship

Go! Productions is organizing an event in Las Vegas March 14 - 16, 2012 for which they need approximately 10 Russian-speaking students to act as tour guides. GO! Productions is an Atlanta company that specializes in Corporate Theatrical events and multi-media services.  This specific conference will be for a major automotive company (name will be released once participants are chosen). Staff will be escorting a group of 180 guests during their stay in Las Vegas. This client group is from Russia and are all associated with the automotive industry. Most are not English-speaking. The primary function of the selected applicants will be to provide translation and direction for the clients. For more information about this PAID externship, please send resume and cover letter to Stephanie Richards.

"The Popular Culture of Modern Japan: Kami-shibai and Tsunami"

Lecture by Jumonji University Professor of Japanese Literature, Dr. Shoko Azuma

Azuma flier

Professor Shoko Azuma addressed a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday, February 28, displaying what she described as "fantastic and beautiful kami-shibai" for the enthusiastic audience. Originating in the 17th century, kami-shibai is an early form of Japanese narrative performance combining dramatic storytelling with colorful imagery. The art form experienced its greatest flourishing in the 1930s, when as many as 30,000 storytellers peddaled through the Tokyo streets with illustrated kami-shibai boards strapped  to their bicycles. These mobile art performances were conceived primarily as educational entertainment for children, relating historical or moral lessons through a series of story boards displayed on small, wooden stages.

Dr. Azuma shared a set of kami-shibai pictures from her personal collection with the audience. They depicted a popular story titled "Fire on the Stacks of Rice," the subject of which was especially poignient given the recent devastation of the Great Tohoku Earthquake of March 11, 2011. East Asian Studies Program Director Dr. Cheryl Crowley treated the crowd to a spirited performance of the story, as images of a terrifying tsunami advanced in time with the narrative. Based on the legendary heroism of Hamaguchi Goryo in 1854, the kami-shibai illustrated a tale of self-sacrifice in the face of natural disaster, underscoring the importance of education and preparedness in the event of a tsunami. In that it requires little energy to produce and disseminate, Dr. Azuma maintained that kami-shibai is "the artistic embodiment of the values of sustainability," and should be recognized not only for the enduring appeal of its design, but for its role as a precursor of modern-day animation. This event was sponsored by the Halle Institute for Global Learning, REALC, EASP, Environmental Studies, and the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence.

February 24, 2012

"Why China, Not Russia?: A Question of Emerging Global Economic Power"

Lecture by Georgetown University Professor of Government Harley Balzer

Harley Balzer

"The BRIC is really a BIC," announced Dr. Harley Balzer as he began his presentation. Armed with statistics compiled over much of the past decade, Balzer set out to explain what he called the "mind-boggling reversal" of modernization theory, which would have clearly favored Russia in the global economic race. While it is difficult to argue with the data (China is in far better shape economically than Russia), how things ended up that way is less easy to pinpoint. Balzer shot down a number of popular theories, ultimately focusing  a good deal of the blame on Putin's policies and referring to his time in power as "a lost decade." China, he maintained, has embraced globalization in a way that Russia, espousing a dismissive and rather belligerent attitude toward the benefits of foreign influence, has not. Perhaps the most unfortunate manifestation of this belief is Putin's willingness to abandon Russia's intellectual and creative resources when they challenge his claim to power. This has resulted in a brain drain of near-epic proportions, further isolating Russia from the global community in which China has firmly established itself.

Ultimately, Balzer argued that it was the enthusiastic, and often viscious, competition brought about by a partial opening of China's economy that launched it into the world economic stage. "The key is a partial loss of control," he explained. Russia has either exerted too much or not enough control over its own economy, and has thus not yet achieved its full potential. The good news, Balzer insists, is that the incentive structures and competition currently driving China's markets are options for Russia as well - if only Russia would be willing to learn from China's example.

This event was part of the REEES Brown Bag Lecture Series, and was co-sponsored by the East Asian Studies Program and the Halle Institute for Global Learning.

February 21, 2012

"Song Byeok: At the Crossroads of Propaganda and Pop Art."

Lecture by North Korean artist Song Byeok

Song Byeok

In conjunction with the Atlanta leg of his traveling art exhibit, "Departure," former North Korean propaganda artist, Song Byeok, lectured in front of a packed house Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Emory University. The previous evening, Song treated a group of Emory students to a private tour of his artwork at the Goat Farm as an accompaniment to his lecture, "Song Byeok: At the Crossroads of Propaganda and Pop Art." Identified at an early age as a talended artist, Song was employed as a state propagandist during the regime of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Governed by rigid stylistic and thematic standards, artists were not recognized as unique or creative individuals as they are in much of the world today. "In North Korea, it was impossible to distinguish one artist from another by looking at his work," Song explained. He escaped to South Korea in 2002 after having witnessed the death of his father, who drowned while attempting to swim across the North Korean border in search of food. The shock of the modern South Korean way of life was overwhelming. Modern Byeok paintingconveniences such as refrigerators, cell phones, and multiple television chanels made Song feel like he had "arrived on another planet." Bombarded by a steady stream of misinformation from birth, the North Korean people find themselves isolated from their South Korean neighbors. "It is unfortunate that although we share a common anscestry and a common language, we remain a devided people," Song observed.

His artwork today is a satirical and often disturbing play on his former propaganda pieces, with Kim Jong Il remaining a favorite subject. The painting that helped cement his new artistic career, an iconic image of Marilyn Monroe with the grinning visage of the Dear Leader, was also his most controversial. "I was afraid I would be assassinated," he laughed! While some of his friends cautioned him against displaying the piece in his exhibit, Song embraced his newfound freedom of expression and proceded with the opening as planned. "I went my own way;" he explained with pride, "that is the artist's way." This event was sponsored by REALC, the East Asian Studies Program, The Center for Ethics and Institute for Human Rights, the Visual Arts Department, and the Korean Undergraduate Student Association.

Above - Song Byeok, photo courtesy of MoonYoung Jung.

Right -  Song Byeok, "Take Off Your Clothes," 2010.

Click here for a video of the lecture, featuring translation by Emory student Se Hwan Youn and Assistant Professor Sun-Chul Kim.

January, 2012

Korean Lecturer Awarded FellowshipBumyong Choi

Korean Language Lecturer, Dr. Bumyong Choi, was awarded this year's ECLC Curriculum Development Fellowship! Dr. Choi joined the Dept. of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures in July 2011 and has worked tirelessly to expand the newly founded Korean program. The Curriculum Development Fellowship aims to provide support to foreign language faculty who plan to develop teaching materials, assessment tools, and/or research designs that will benefit foreign language programs at Emory.This prestigious and richly deserved award will permit Dr. Choi to continue his efforts to accommodate the increasingly high demand for Korean language courses at Emory. Congratulations Bumyong!

December, 2011

Professor Mikhail Epstein quoted in Washington Post

Russian Professor Mikhail Epstein was quoted at length in Will Englund's Dec. 12 Washington Post article, "In Russia, Words Then Deeds." Englund examines recent protests in Russia as a manifestation of the introduction (or popularization) of new words into the public lexicon.  Epstein argues that for the first time since Brezhnev, "The linguistic initiative is being taken away from the authorities." An expert in semiotics and linguistics, Epstein has organized the Russian Word of the Year Action since 2007, and this year's choice, """""" (RosPil - the name of a popular Russian blog), is especially pertinent given the current political climate. Click here to read the entire article.

Beinecke Scholarship Program

The application for the Beinecke Scholarship Program is now available. Students who plan to pursue a graduate degree in the arts, humanities, or social sciences may apply for an award of up to $34,000 towards graduate tuition and expenses. This is a highly competitive award. Successful candidates must have an outstanding GPA, a commitment to the academic project and to graduate school, as well as other indicators of substantive intellectual accomplishment beyond good grades, such as departmental awards or publications. The deadline for applications is Wedneseday, January 25. For more information and the application please visit

November, 2011

Columbia University Libraries Grant Opportunity

The Columbia University Libraries (CUL) invites applications from scholars and researchers to a new program designed to facilitate access to Columbia's special and unique collections.  CUL will award ten (10) grants of $2500 each on a competitive basis to researchers who can demonstrate a compelling need to consult CUL holdings for their work.  Participating Columbia libraries and collections include those located on the Morningside Heights campus: the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Butler Library, the Lehman Social Sciences Library, the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, and the Libraries' Area Studies Collections

Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2012.  Awards will be made by April 1, 2012 for research at Columbia during the period July 1, 2012 " June 30, 2013.

Application forms and additional information are available at:

Dr. Elena Glazov-Corrigan to present paper

Associate Professor of Russian Literature and Culture, Elena Glazov-Corrigan, will be presenting a paper titled "Child Development: Rewriting the Transition from Semiotic to Symbolic with Boris Pasternak," Wednesday, November 9 at 4:15 in White Hall, 103. This event is organized by the Psychoanalytic Studies Program of the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts. Pasternak's short story, The Childhood of Zhenya Luvers," is available here.

November 10, 2011

"Chinese Painting and Calligraphy in Contemporary Society"

Lecture and painting demonstration by Mr. Zhang Jingyao


Chinese landscape artist Zhang Jingyao treated a standing-room-only crowd to a discussion of art in modern-day China and a demonstration of his watercolor painting technique. Growing up in China during the period of the White Terror, Jingyao was forced to learn about art in secret, visiting his instructor in his home where he could avoid suspicion. Today the art market in China is thriving, but Jingyao cautioned that there is much work yet to be done. "The death of a people begins with the extinction of its culture," he explained. "We must elevate our culture to a new level, or face extinction." Jingyao proceeded to unroll a sheet of rice paper and create a freehand painting of sailboats drifting along a winding, picturesque river. He has never forgotten the words of his instructor who insisted, "In order to learn to paint, one must first master calligraphy." Using a variety of traditional Chinese painting strokes, Jingyao evoked his favorite subject, the Yellow River, which he described as "Chinese culture's essence, energy, and spirit." This event was co-sponsored by Emory University's departments of REALC and Visual Arts, and the East Asian Studies Program.

Photo courtesy of Fu Wei Pang.

October, 2011

"A Wayward Youth's Coming-of-Age and His writing"

Lecture by Mr. Hwang Chunming, October 27, 2011

White Hall, 207

Chunming lecture

Pioneering Taiwanese author Huang Chunming captivated a packed auditorium in Emory's White Hall with tales of his life as a self-confessed "wayward youth." He shared his tumultous journey across Taiwan as he drifted in and out of school, earning money repairing electric fans in brothels and dreaming of becoming a pilot, or even a firefighter! "Problems are homework given by life," he mused, reflecting upon the rocky path that eventually let him to international fame as a leading figure in the Taiwanese nativist literary movement. He credited a chance discovery of a cache of banned books at a local library with shaping his interest in social realism. "Books that were not banned had no interest for me," he joked, citing Chekhov, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky as major influences on his own work as a writer. This event was jointly sponsored by Emory University and Morehouse College, with the additional invaluable assistance of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta.

Photo courtesy of Ing Shaw/NACWA

Wharton Asia Economic Review - CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

The Wharton Asia Economic Review is seeking submissions for its Fall 2011 issue. WAER is an undergraduate academic journal of the Wharton China Business Society at the University of Pennsylvania. Students who have written papers or theses in the areas of social, economic, political, and international changes and their effects on business and commerce in Asia are encouraged to submit. The deadline for submission is November 18, 2011. Submissions should be emailed as Word documents and citations should be formatted in APA style. Email submissions to

Japanese Study Abroad Information Session

Next Tuesday, October 18th, at 5:30 PM, we will hold a study abroad information session for all Japanese programs in the Modern Languages Building, room 201. CIPA advisors for both summer and semester/year programs will be there to explain the features of the various programs and answer your questions about the application process, financial aid, and other administrative aspects of these programs. Dr. Julia Bullock will be there to answer academic questions, and we will also have a few past program participants to describe their experiences from the student's point of view.

If you are unable to attend but are interested in Japanese study abroad opportunities, please contact Julia Bullock.

Volunteer Opportunities with the Dekalb County Solicitor's Office

The Office of the DeKalb County Solicitor-General seeks volunteers to assist with Chinese and Korean translation for participants in their Diversion and Community Alternative Programs. Offering an alternative to prosecution, the Diversion Program is designed to rehabilitate non-violent misdemeanor offenders with little or no criminal history. Participants may be required to take life skills classes or perform community service. Some of the participants have only limited proficiency in English, and have difficulty reading the required forms or understanding class content. Chinese and Korean-speaking volunteers are needed for approximately one hour per week to help with translation so that participants may successfully complete the program. This is a fantastic volunteer opportunity that will undoubtedly make a significant difference in the lives of those in need.
For more information please contact Lisa Bobb at 404-371-2939 or

REALC is co-sponsoring a lecture by Professor and Chair of the Department of Spainsh of U.C. Davis, Cecilia Colombi. Her lecture titled "Linguistic Explorations into the Longitudinal Studyof the Advanced Capacities: The Case of Spanish Heritage Language Learners," will take place Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 in the Modern Languages Building, room 201 at 4:00 p.m. Click here for the flier.

Celebrated Taiwanese writer Huang Chunming, hailed as a representative of xiangtu wenxue, the "Nativist Literature movement," will be speaking at Emory Thursday, October 27 at 4:00 in White Hall, room 207. Chunming will lecture about his work and field audience questions. The event is open to the public. Click here for the flier.

September, 2011

Dr. Wan-Li Ho, Senior Lecturer in Chinese, will speak at the Emory College Language Center Lunch Lecture Series on Collegiate Foreign Language, Tuesday, September 27. Her lecture titled, "Techno Boost: Using Podcasts to Enhance Content-based Language Education," will take place 11:45 - 1:15 in room 201 of the Modern Languages Building. For more information please contact Sarah Shortt at

September 1, 2011

White Hall, 110

REALC's fall semester was inaugurated in an extraordinary fashion, as beloved Russian author Vladimir Voinovich visited Emory for an intimate Q & A session. Voinovich fielded audience questions ranging from his methods as a writer to his experineces as a dissident in Soviet Russia and his predictions about the future of Russian politics. Known for his searing wit and devastating humor, Voinovich held his audience transfixed by his comedic - if often disturbing - tales of his life and work, asserting that "pessimists write funnier stories." With a sagatious grin he explained, "Looking at life with humor frees you from the darkest reality." The Department of REALC and the REES Program, as well as the Halle Institute for Global Learning and the Student Slavic Club all contributed to the event.


The United States Department of State is pleased to announce the scholarship competition for the 2012 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program for overseas intensive summer language institutes in thirteen critical need foreign languages. CLS institutes provide fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to ten weeks for U.S. citizen undergraduate and graduate students. Students may apply for one language, and will be placed at institute sites based on language evaluations after selection.

Languages offered: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi,
Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu.

Click Here for more information and an online application.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - Michigan Journal of Asian Studies

The peer-reviewed Michigan Jouranl of Asian Studies aims to provide undergraduate students with a venue for submissions of original research and /or analytical papers on Asian Studies. The deadline for submissions is October 10! Click Here for more information.

August, 2011


Due to airport cancellations in the wake of Hurricane Irene, Vladimir Voinovich will not be visiting Emory Tuesday, Aug. 30. He will now be speaking Thursday, Sep. 1 in room 110 of White Hall at 4:00 p.m.

Vera Proskurina, Lecturer in Russian Language and Literature at Emory, has been appointed Associate Director of the Kathryn Wasserman Davis School of Russian at Middlebury College! Vera has been teaching at Middlebury's Russian language summer program since 2004. Congratulations, Vera!

REALC welcomes renowned Russian author Vladimir Voinovich as our first official speaker of the semester! His lecture will take place Tuesday, August 30 in the Modern Languages Building, room 201 at 3:30, and will be followed by Russian refreshments. All are welcome to attend!

The Department of REALC is thrilled to welcome new faculty! In our pursuit of academic excellence and diversity, REALC invites international scholars to teach a wide variety of courses in their areas of specialty at Emory. This year we are excited to introduce six new members of our temporary and permanent faculty:

Xin Chen, Chinese Language Instructor

Xin Chen joins us from Yanbian University via the Hanban Teacher's Program. She has a background in Chinese linguistics and English language education and will be teaching Elementary Chinese this Fall.

Bumyong Choi, Lecturer in Korean Language and Linguistics

Dr. Choi has accepted a permanent position as REALC's new Lecturer in Korean Language and Linguistics. He recently completed his PhD in Korean Linguistics from the Dept. of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu.  He has taught at the elite Korean Language Flagship Center at the University of Hawaii, and was awarded the Korean Honor Scholarship from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in 2010. His chapter on Korean religion and philosophy will appear in Essentials of Korean Language and Culture, ed. Sohn & Cheon, U. of Hawaii Press.

Kaori Harada, Japanese Graduate Student Instructor

Kaori Harada is the recipient of the Emory Kansai University Teaching Fellowship in Language and Linguistics. She will be instructing students in Elementary Japanese courses this Fall.

Sun-Chul Kim, Visiting Assistant Professor, Korean Culture and History

Dr. Kim joins Emory from Columbia University's Barnard College, where he is a Term Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Culture. He holds four degrees in Sociology, and his interests include social movements, politics, and historical sociology in Korea and East Asia. He will be teaching Modern Korean History and Political Change and Democracy in South Korea at Emory this Fall. His appointment was made possible in part by a grant from the Korea Foundation.

Xiaoqin Lin, Chinese Language Instructor

Xiaoqin Lin comes to Emory through the Hanban Teacher's Program from the International College of Chinese Studies at East China Normal University where she has taught Chinese language courses since 1986. She will be teaching Elementary and Intermediate Chinese at Emory this Fall.

Dongfeng Xu, Chinese Instructor, Chinese Literature and Culture

Dongfeng Xu recently successfully defended his PhD dissertation, "The Concept of Friendship and the Culture of Hospitality: The Encounter Between the Jesuits and Late Ming China" at the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Chicago. He has taught a variety of courses in Chinese and East Asian civilization, religion, and language at the Unviersities of Chicago and Alberta. He is offering lectures in Chinese literature and culture this Fall.