UVM Asian Studies Program Updates - 2012/2013
from Prof. Erik Esselstrom, Director

The Asian Studies Program hosted a pair of fascinating guest speakers in 2012 through the Claire M. Lintilhac Seminar and Asian Studies lecture series.  In March, Professor Wendy Doniger, a scholar of Sanskrit and Hinduism at the University of Chicago, visited campus and delivered a lecture entitled “The Magic Ring of memory and Forgetfullness in South Asian and European Folklore.” 

Speaker Gareth Fisher

Our second speaker was Gareth Fisher, Assistant Professor of Religion at Syracuse University, who spoke on “(Dis)organizedChaos: Religious Pluralism at a Beijing Buddhist Temple” in November. 


Prof. Gareth Fisher

Chen TingTing

Asian Studies also supported a visit to UVM by Chen Ting-ting, a Chinese graduate student from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.  Ms. Chen held classroom sessions with students in the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures and the History Department, and she also explored other parts of northern New England during what was her first visit ever to the United States.  The program is currently planning for campus lecture events during the spring 2013 term with Andy Rotman (Religion, Smith College) and Vanessa Fong (Anthropology, Amherst College).

Chen Ting-ting presents lecture in October 2012


Several Asian Studies faculty members spent time with research and teaching activities in various parts of East and South Asian throughout 2012.  With support from a highly competitive Fulbright Foundation award, Professor Jeanne Shea (Anthropology) spent much of the year in China carrying out her research on elder care-giving, while Professors Matthew Carlson (Political Science) and Erik Esselstrom (History) each spent several months in Tokyo Erik Esselstromworking on topics in contemporary Japanese politics and the cultural history of early postwar China-Japan relations respectively. 

Prof. Esselstrom at Hiroshima Castle




Professor Abigail McGowan also established a new summer study program in Nepal which was a great success in its inaugural year.  The program was also pleased to welcome two new faculty members this year: Lecturer Ying Hu (Chinese language) and Assistant Professor Ilyse Morgenstein-Fuerst (South Asian religion).

Sadly, the Asian Studies Program also lost its longtime colleague and dear friend, Peter J. Seybolt, who passed away in August at age 77.  A distinguished scholar of modern Chinese history, Peter spent his entire 38 year career at UVM and created both our interdisciplinary Asian Studies Program and the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures.  That there are now well over 150 undergraduate students pursuing majors and minors in Chinese, Japanese, and Asian Studies at UVM is a proud testament to the lasting legacy of Peter’s life and work at the university.