Council on African Studies
African studies at Yale began in the late eighteenth century with study of African languages. Yale was one of the first universities to incorporate African studies into its mainstream curriculum prior to World War II. Today, the council serves as a National Resource Center for African Studies as well as one of the key U.S. sites for the study of Africa. As the home for the undergraduate major, M.A. in African Studies, Graduate Certificate of Concentration in African Studies, and the Program in African Languages—including programs in Swahili, Wolof, Yorùbá, and Zulu—the Council on African Studies is an interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences program that nurtures a community of Africanist scholars and provides training to individuals who are specializing in African topics.
Students enter the B.A. and M.A. programs with a variety of experiences and backgrounds, and find the curriculum to be an excellent first step toward an academic career or an important supplement to professional training in politics, policy, medicine, public health, or environmental and nongovernmental advocacy work. An important component of the program is its multinational as well as multidisciplinary approach. Students’ interests reflect this diversity, as they focus not only on particular regional zones in Southern, Western, Eastern, or North Africa but on particular thematic topics whose disciplinary homes range from political science to arts and literature, anthropology, economics, and the study of religion.
Annual council events range from general faculty, staff, and student-run events, including the weekly brown bag lunch seminars (a graduate student-run weekly series designed to provide an informal environment in which students, staff, and faculty at all levels at Yale and in the community can present work-in-progress), to the Spring Skit Night sponsored by the Program in African Languages, to conferences, weekly lectures, and roundtable discussions.
Committee on Canadian Studies
Building on three centuries of close ties with Canada, Yale continues to play a significant role in the development of Canadian Studies in the United States and has graduated the second-highest number of Canadians among American universities. The Committee on Canadian Studies annually brings a distinguished Canadian academician to the campus as the Bicentennial Visiting Professor, due to a generous gift from the Canadian government to Yale University in 1976. In addition, the committee offers a number of dynamic conferences, film screenings, and special courses.
Council on East Asian Studies
The formal study of East Asia at Yale dates back to 1878. Since then, East Asian Studies has expanded and evolved into a comprehensive program of study that plays an essential role in the University. Founded in 1961, the Council on East Asian Studies (CEAS) provides an important interdisciplinary forum for academic exploration and support related to the study of China, Japan, and Korea. Its mission is to facilitate the training of undergraduate and graduate students and to foster outstanding education, research and intellectual exchange about East Asia. For more than fifty years, it has promoted education about East Asia both in the Yale curricula and through lectures, workshops, conferences, film series, cultural events, and other educational activities open to students, faculty, K–16 educators, and the general public. With nearly thirty core faculty and twenty language instructors spanning ten departments on campus, East Asian Studies remains one of Yale’s most extensive area studies programs. Its interdisciplinary emphasis encourages collaborative linkages across fields and departments and contributes to diversity across the curricula and in the classroom. Approximately 150 courses on East Asia in the humanities and social sciences are offered each year.
CEAS administers Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) programs. While the B.A. program focuses on the study of either a country or an area within East Asia, the M.A. program focuses on the study of China, Japan, or a transnational region in East Asia. Graduates of both programs have gone on to distinguished careers in the fields of academia, business, nonprofit organizations, and government service.
Study and research in East Asian Studies at Yale are supported by one of the finest library collections in the country. The Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language print resources in the East Asia Library at Sterling Memorial Library constitute one of the oldest and largest collections found outside of East Asia. The Asian Art Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery also supports classroom instruction, faculty research, and community outreach activities.
CEAS is committed to providing leadership in the study and understanding of East Asia on campus and in the region through support of educational and outreach activities with emphasis on joint endeavors across institutions both domestically and internationally.
During the 2016–2017 academic year, CEAS will welcome to campus visiting scholars and postdoctoral associates to conduct research on such topics as Japanese foreign policy; the politics and society of China and of the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia; articulations of identity and difference in literary texts situated in contact zones between modern Japanese and Korean literature; the production of state ideology, culture, and marginal subjectivities in post-Fukushima Japan; the racial politics of “African dance” practices in contemporary South Korea; and multicultural governance in premodern China. CEAS visiting scholars and postdoctoral associates will offer such courses as Japan and the Competition for Influence: Japanese Foreign Policy and Diplomacy in Asia (A. Asplund); Contemporary State Building in Asia (M. Opper); Popular Culture in Motion (C. Textor); Recognition, Shame, and the State in Contemporary Japan (K. Yamamoto-Hammering); and Race, Gender, and Performance in East Asia (S.R. Yoon).
In addition to a full calendar of nearly thirty lectures, plus films and cultural events, CEAS will sponsor numerous workshops and conferences in 2016–2017. In the fall, Hsing You-tien (University of California, Berkeley) will deliver the 57th Annual Edward H. Hume Memorial Lecture; and Ken Ito (University of Hawaii) will give the 18th Annual John W. Hall Lecture in Japanese Studies. Bernard Faure (Columbia University) will be the McClellan Visiting Fellow in Japanese Studies, a program inaugurated in 2000 in honor of Edwin McClellan, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature. Workshops in 2016–2017 include Reading Edo Period Documents: The Records of the Narazaki Merchant House, organized by Daniel Botsman (History); Meiji Restoration Symposium, also organized by Daniel Botsman; Chinese Script in the Age of the Alphabet, organized by Jing Tsu (CEAS chair; Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages and Literatures); and Japan’s Global Baroque, organized by Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan (History of Art). The fall will also mark year two of Japan at the Crossroads: Yale Project on Japan’s Politics and Diplomacy, a five-year project organized by Frances Rosenbluth (Political Science).
CEAS looks forward to collaborating again with the Yale-China Association and New Haven Museum to coordinate cultural outreach programming for Lunarfest 2017. CEAS will host a visit by Japanese film director Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Japanese actor Tatsuya Nakadai, organized by Aaron Gerow (Film and Media Studies). In addition, CEAS will serve as a local venue for the 10th Annual China Town Hall, sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, featuring national webcast speaker Henry A. Kissinger and a local panel led by Deborah Davis (Sociology).
European Studies Council
The European Studies Council formulates and implements new curricular and research programs on European politics, culture, economy, society, and history. The council builds on existing programmatic strengths at Yale, while serving as a catalyst for the development of new initiatives. It supports individual and group research projects, conferences, film series, symposia, workshops, courses, and community outreach as they relate to the study of Eastern and Western Europe. European Studies offers an undergraduate major in Russian and East European Studies administered by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and a master’s degree program in European and Russian Studies. The council strongly supports the interdisciplinary study of Western Europe, as well as Russia and Eastern Europe, and their interaction. Additionally, the council offers students in the University’s graduate and professional degree programs the opportunity to obtain a Graduate Certificate of Concentration in European Studies. European Studies is also the home of active programs in Baltic Studies, European Union Studies, Russian Studies, and Hellenic Studies, which offers instruction in modern Greek language, literature, and culture. The council sponsors a dynamic cultural initiative in Polish, as well as the Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences (CHESS) and other topic-specific Reading Groups.
The M.A. program is unusual in its embrace of the entire spectrum of European nations and cultures. Students develop a national or thematic focus geared to their interests and language skills relating to East or West Europe, while also acquainting themselves with the traditions and issues associated with the other parts of Europe. In this way, the program translates the political realities and challenges of the post-Cold War era into a flexible and challenging academic experience. M.A. students have the opportunity to gain insight into such diverse topics as labor migration within Europe, the changing role of socialist parties, transnational tendencies in literature and the arts, and Europe’s relations with other world regions. Areas of special focus include the European Union, Poland, Greece, the Balkans, and the states of the former Soviet Union.
In September 2016 the council will host a conference titled The Russian Century: The Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts, 1801–1917, with a grant from the Carnegie Foundation. Also supported by the Carnegie Foundation and cohosted by the New School, the conference Contemporary Russian Politics beyond the Kremlin will take place in early November. In the fall term the council will host the conference Rock Music and the Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. In the spring term the European Cinema Committee will hold its thirteenth annual film conference, focused this year on 1951; this unconventional conference series, juxtaposing films from different countries around a given historical moment, releases these films from their national “silos” and allows them to be discussed in comparative terms. CHESS will host a graduate students’ conference in February and its annual lecture in April, in addition to its biweekly colloquia. A conference titled Rethinking Religion in Early Modern Russia will take place in April 2017, with Carnegie Foundation funding. The council’s new Russian Studies Program will host an ambitious speaker series and a series of Russian films with commentary by area experts. Throughout the year the council will host colloquia series on Russia–East Europe, Europe in/and the World, Early Modern Empires, and a new series of roundtables around the theme of global governance, as well as talks by European Union experts and the council’s Baltic Studies Fellows, arts events organized by the Polish Cultural Initiative, and guest speakers relevant to the council’s M.A. students and faculty.
Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies
Established in 1962, the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS) continues a long tradition of Yale collaborations in Latin America, Spain, and Portugal. The council offers an undergraduate major in Latin American Studies and a Graduate Certificate of Concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies for graduate and professional students at Yale. The council works to strengthen intellectual exchange and innovation through a broad array of courses, cultural events, scholarly lectures, international conferences, and academic research. More than eighty-five Yale faculty conduct research and/or teach courses with substantial Latin American content. Recent years have seen increased collaboration with other Yale departments and professional schools in the areas of forestry and environmental studies, global health, nursing, medicine, law, and human rights. CLAIS offers travel fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students, hosts visiting scholars, and supports faculty curriculum development. CLAIS sponsors an intensive Nahuatl language course in the summer and supports the development of new resources for language teaching in Spanish, Portuguese, Nahuatl, and Quechua. CLAIS promotes linkages with other U.S., Latin American, and Iberian institutions to bolster cooperation and understanding of these interconnected regions. Through a comprehensive outreach program, the council works with local, regional, and national K–16 educators and students and members of Latino community organizations, cultural centers, business, and media to develop and implement programs, services, and resources designed to advance understanding of issues pertaining to Latin America and Iberia.
In 2016–2017 the council will host a conference in the fall on the Cold War, workshops, and public events focusing on the history, literature, politics, and music of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America. It will also inaugurate a Yale Cuba Initiative, which will include speakers, a seminar, and opportunities for undergraduate travel to Cuba. Most CLAIS events are open to the public.
Council on Middle East Studies
As globally significant developments in the Middle East unfold daily, the Council on Middle East Studies (CMES) continues its role as an academic platform in which students and faculty can debate the myriad contemporary, historical, political, and cultural issues of relevance to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and beyond. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies (funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s HEA Title VI), CMES serves as a central resource for the Yale community, the region, and the nation on issues pertaining to MENA. More than fifty Yale faculty members in a wide range of departments and professional schools teach more than 175 Middle East-related courses, including in the four major Middle East languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish, to the advanced level).
The major in Modern Middle East Studies (MMES), offered for the first time in 2008–2009, will have more than thirty-five courses (not including language courses) to choose from this year. CMES also offers a Graduate Certificate in MMES for M.A. and Ph.D. students interested in a regional focus.
CMES has been pivotal in the organization of major international conferences on wide-ranging topics, such as the region’s relations with the United States, the health impacts of violent conflict in the region, changing political regimes in MENA, and Islamic attitudes toward science and technology. CMES also offers a biweekly lecture/luncheon series, a yearlong film program, and many other educational events, all free and open to the public. CMES’s initiative to promote richer understanding of contemporary issues in the Middle East is growing considerably and includes regional initiatives in Iranian Studies, Turkish Studies, and North African Studies. In addition, CMES has strong links with Yale professional schools, particularly Architecture, Divinity, Law, and Public Health. CMES also assists in the acquisition of new materials in the Near Eastern Collection at Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library.
CMES will be host to several symposia, workshops, and conferences in 2016–2017. Throughout the year CMES will host a series of events in celebration of the legacy of Edward E. Salisbury and 175 years of Arabic and Sanskrit at Yale. Highlights include a library exhibition, jointly organized with Sterling Memorial Library, opening in early September; a panel discussion with experts in Arabic and Sanskrit in late September; a yearlong film series, organized jointly with CSAS; and a symposium, Writing/Curating the Middle East, organized by Kishwar Rizvi (History of Art) and Pamela Franks (Yale University Art Gallery) in March. In addition, CMES is cosponsoring the workshop Safe Passages: Palliative and End-of-Life Care in the Middle East and Its Diaspora, organized by Mark Lazenby (School of Nursing) and the 2016 Hebrew Pedagogy Seminar: Assessment as a Means of Enhancing Hebrew Acquisition, organized by Shiri Goren and Dina Roginsky (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations), in October; the workshop Eternal World and God’s Free Will in Islam—A Diachronic Perspective, organized by Frank Griffel (Religious Studies), in March; and in April, the conference Minority, Movement, and Marginalization in Islamic Countries in the Second Millenium, organized by Jonas Elbousty (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations) and Christina Kraus (Classics).
CMES will host an active visiting scholar program in 2016–2017. Scholars in residence will include visiting fellow Naysan Adlparvar (University of York), who is writing a book that discusses the impacts of post-2001 political reconstruction and socioeconomic development upon social organization in the Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan; and postdoctoral associate Salimeh Maghsoudlou (École Pratique des Hautes Études), whose research is on ‘Ayn al-Qud.a-t al-Hamada-nı-’s intellectual system: popularization of Avicenna’s philosophy by Sufis. CMES will cohost, with Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Sidal O˝ner (Bursa Technical University) as a foreign language teaching assistant in Turkish.
South Asian Studies Council
The South Asian Studies Council promotes the University’s teaching and scholarship on all aspects of South Asia and its diasporas. Drawing on faculty from across the University, the council’s members annually offer courses in the humanities, social sciences, professional fields, and the languages of South Asia, including Sanskrit and Hindi. In partnership with Columbia and Cornell universities, using videoconferencing technologies, Bengali, Tamil, and Tibetan are also being offered for Yale College and South Asian Studies credit.
A variety of directed independent language study programs are possible, depending on interest and availability. Limbu, Nepali, Punjabi, Telugu, and Urdu were among the languages taught in the past three years. The council will continue to support directed independent study of these languages and any others that students may request. Travel fellowships awarded by the council allow Yale College students to engage in intensive study of languages, conduct research, undertake internships, or perform social service in South Asia. Fellowships also support graduate students in attending professional meetings and conferences to present their research on South Asia, and in traveling to South Asia for research and advanced language study.
Yale undergraduate students have the opportunity to elect South Asian Studies as a second major. The major combines the study of premodern, modern, and contemporary South Asia and emphasizes the study of South Asian languages. Each year, visiting scholars typically teach new courses in music, literature, cinema, gender and family, politics, and religion.
Throughout the academic year the council sponsors lectures, conferences, and cultural events related to South Asia, including a number of performances showing and teaching the classical and modern arts of India, as well as numerous talks and special events featuring public figures, scholars, and creative artists. The council will host a series of presentations by postdoctoral scholars and other visitors in residence at the council, as well as the weekly South Asian Studies Colloquium. The South Asian Brown Bag series, which is coordinated by graduate students, will include distinguished visitors from India and researchers from near and far.
In addition to language pedagogy and literature workshops organized by language faculty, the council will host the eighth annual Modern South Asia Workshop for new interdisciplinary work on South Asian history, politics, society, and literatures. It will also organize the tenth annual Hindi Debate, an increasingly popular, and now intercollegiate, event featuring participants from top universities across the eastern seaboard. The year will culminate with an international conference—Entanglements of Law and Religion in South Asia—which will bring together noted scholars and public intellectuals from India with eminent European and U.S.-based experts. Several Yale scholars, faculty, and students will participate.
Delegations of Yale faculty, researchers, and expert staff from different parts of the University will also travel to India to participate in a growing number of collaborations between Yale and Indian counterparts, ranging across libraries and museums and the fields of art history, industrial ecology, urban studies, law, environmental studies, politics, and modern history. The South Asian Studies Council is also cosponsor of the InterAsia Initiative, working with the Council on East Asian Studies and the Social Science Research Council.
Council on Southeast Asia Studies
Yale established its Southeast Asia Studies Program in 1947, the first area studies program in the United States to embark on the study of Southeast Asia in all disciplines. Southeast Asia Studies at Yale became an endowed program in 1961 and today helps to maintain one of the most extensive library collections in the country. Students with interests in the countries of Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam may turn to the Council on Southeast Asia Studies, whose mission is to promote research, education, and intellectual exchange on the politics, cultures, and economies of the region, both historical and contemporary.
In addition to teaching courses relevant to the region, faculty members of the council representing a range of academic disciplines and departments are available to advise students on their curricula and research concentrations or projects. Council faculty will this year teach courses on politics and cultures of modern Southeast Asia and postwar Vietnam, Southeast Asian and Vietnamese history, gamelan performance, and environmental anthropology of the region. The council supports study of the region’s languages, including courses in both Indonesian and Vietnamese at all levels, as well as a variety of directed independent language study programs, depending on interest and availability, in Burmese, Khmer, Tagalog, and Thai.
Summer fellowships in research and language study are provided by the council to eligible Yale graduate and undergraduate students with a demonstrated commitment to the field of Southeast Asia Studies. Fellowship assistance may be awarded for predissertation or master’s thesis fieldwork, supplemental language training, or other academically relevant projects as merited.
The Council on Southeast Asia Studies helped to launch the Cambodian Genocide Project at Yale and currently supports programs of the new Indo-Pacific Art department at the Yale University Art Gallery. The council regularly cosponsors numerous activities in association with related organizations throughout the University and works with the student board of ALSEAS (Alliance for Southeast Asia Students) to coordinate support for activities of the various Southeast Asian student groups on campus.
The council continues to edit and publish its long-running Monograph Series, the first volume of which was printed in 1961. This series is comprised of books on the history, cultures, and politics of Southeast Asia, as well as economic and anthropological subjects relevant to the region.
The council coordinates and sponsors a wide variety of annual activities, including a yearlong Southeast Asia seminar series, featuring an eclectic range of speakers and topics chosen to contribute to discussions of the ongoing research and general interests of Yale students and faculty, as well as workshops, conferences, and presentations organized by subsidiary consortiums of students and faculty, such as the Yale Indonesia Forum and the Yale Vietnamese Studies Group. Throughout the year, the council also hosts special lectures, film screenings, and cultural programs. In spring 2017, faculty of the Southeast Asia Language Studies Programs expect to host the fifteenth annual SEA Spring Cultural Festival, featuring displays and performances of regional arts, crafts, music, and dance by students and members of the local Southeast Asian community.