Recent News

Thai temple in Phuket
The members of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature regret to announce that we will suspend instruction in Thai. In order to accommodate students previously enrolled in First-Year Thai, we are offering Second-Year Thai only during AY 2017-18.  Further courses in Thai will not be offered after Spring 2018, and we do not anticipate reviving the curriculum in the near future. This decision was not taken lightly, as we have offered instruction in Thai for the past fifty years.  It was necessitated by an austere budget outlook and justified by low enrollments and a paucity of UW... Continue reading
Indonesia: Past, Present, and Future flyer
October 10th 2017, Odegaard Library 220, UW Seattle, 10 AM – 3:30 pm For the second year in a row, the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in San Francisco has partnered with the Southeast Asia Center’s Language Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, Pauli Sandjaja, to present a one-day symposium on topics that cut across regional boundaries and affect broad communities. This year’s symposium brings together scholars working across many disciplines to share their research about “Indonesia: Past, Present, and Future.” Registration and... Continue reading
A growing number of students are majoring in an Asian language and pursuing a career in the health sciences.
As an undergraduate, Bang Zheng spent his nights doing what most future medical students do: running through flashcards, memorizing new and unfamiliar terms, learning to diagnose and navigate complex systems one part at a time. Only Bang wasn’t learning the clinical features of tuberous sclerosis or a slew of anatomical terminology. Bang was studying Japanese Kanji, the logographic characters that form part of the Japanese writing system. “Every day I would set apart a few hours for science and Japanese classes,” Bang said. “I would probably study about five hours a day while alternating... Continue reading
Carol Salomon interviewing a Baul guru in Bangladesh
At the time of her passing in March 2009, former Asian Languages and Literature faculty member Carol Goldberg Salomon had been working for many years on an annotated translation of the songs of Lālan Sai, the renowned Baul poet who lived in what is now Bangladesh in the late nineteenth century. The Bauls are the modern inheritors of the centuries-old syncretic tradition of Bengali mysticism, incorporating and combining elements of tantric spiritual practice from Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic traditions. Carol’s work involved examining the surviving manuscripts of the songs, attending and... Continue reading
Hirokazu Koreeda visited the University of Washington in May
On May 18, critically acclaimed film director Hirokazu Koreeda and Davinder Bhowmik, professor of Japanese literature, spoke before an audience of nearly 100 in the Walker-Ames Room about the director’s prior films and the US debut of his film, “After the Storm,” screened to capacity crowds in the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival.  Koreeda, who had originally planned to become a novelist, began his career as an assistant director of television documentaries. He eventually went on to direct feature films in which his penchant for documentary style is evident.  Known for films such as “... Continue reading
UW Fulbright Scholars, 2017-18
Of the 11 University of Washington students to receive the Fulbright Scholarship in 2017-2018, two come from the Department of Asian Languages & Literature. Benjamin Lee (’15, Chinese) and Christopher Diamond (current graduate student in South Asian Languages & Literature) both received the prestigious award to pursue research projects overseas. Administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the Department of State, the Fulbright Scholarship provides resources for students to pursue graduate study, advanced research, and teaching opportunities abroad. Benjamin and... Continue reading
Seen Not Heard conference group photo
In early March, Professor Zev Handel was invited to participate in the Thirteenth Annual Oriental Institute Symposium, titled Seen Not Heard: Composition, Iconicity, and the Classifier Systems of Logosyllabic Scripts. The symposium brought together over a dozen scholars in the fields of Egyptology, Sinology, Hittitology, and Mesoamerican, Cuneiform, and Sign Language studies to explore the communicative and cognitive role of visual aspects of linguistic communication systems. Professor Handel presented on the role of “classifiers” (also called “radicals” or “signifiers”), which are... Continue reading
Invited researchers at the literacy and education panel in Beijing.
Dr. Chan Lü, Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Linguistics at the University of Washington’s Department of Asian Languages and Literature, was invited to join a panel of reading researchers from US institutions and participated in week-long events in Beijing on Chinese literacy in education from June 3 to June 10, 2017.  Though China enjoys a long tradition of emphasizing reading and writing skills as indicators of one’s overall educational attainment, promoting literacy instruction across different disciplines, focusing on components of reading other than rote memorization and... Continue reading
Samuel Shepherd
On June 9, 2017, the annual Asian Languages & Literature convocation and awards ceremony marked the passing of another successful year for the department. Featured front and center were the accomplishments of the department’s graduating students, including the conferral of the Bachelor of Arts degree upon 14 Chinese majors, 25 Japanese majors, 7 Korean majors and 3 South Asian majors. In addition, a large group of graduate students earned their degrees in Japanese, Chinese, and South Asian languages and literature. The Master of Arts degree was conferred upon Ross Henderson, Harumi Maeda... Continue reading
2016-2017 new graduate students
The 2016-2017 Academic Year saw the Department of Asian Languages & Literature welcoming four new graduate students. Benjamin DeTora graduated with a B.A. in Japanese Language & Literature from Boston University and continued on to work as an ALT in the JET Programme in Shikokuchūō City, Ehime, Japan. Prior to arriving at UW, Ben received his M.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and attended the Inter-University-Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, Japan. His research focus is modern literature and Japanese-language literature of minorities,... Continue reading