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Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies

Center for the Americas

$1.9 Million Freeman Foundation Grant Will Support Study of Asia and the Asian Diaspora

student at computerWesleyan has received a four-year, $1.9 million grant from the Freeman Foundation to support the study of Asia and the Asian Diaspora - the study of people of Asian heritage outside the geographical boundaries of Asia. The grant will optimize the resources of the Center for East Asian Studies and the Center for the Americas and will allow the University to offer significant opportunities for academic and cultural enrichment.

In addition to bringing distinguished Asian American studies scholars to campus for teaching and research residencies, the grant will support funding for a two-year post-doctoral fellows program; a year-long course for 15 undergraduates in Chinese (and, later, in Japanese or Korean) language and culture with a summer research project carried out in Asia or in the United States on Asian American topics; and need-based scholarships for students to spend a summer studying in Asia.

Other planned initiatives include sponsoring a conference aimed at integrating the study of the Asian Diaspora into the undergraduate curriculum; enhancing language instruction by hiring Asian graduate students as teaching fellows; and offering educational and cultural seminars, public lectures, and performances on Asian and Asian American themes.

Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the Social Sciences Brian Fay says that emphasizing learning about Asia that is not limited to the geographic boundaries of Asia is a fairly recent development in ethnic studies. "The whole way Asian Studies has evolved," he says, "is now informed by the concepts of globalization and boundary crossing." Dr. Fay believes the Freeman grant will provide an excellent opportunity to create a bridge between the Center for East Asian Studies and the Center for the Americas.

Carla Antonaccio, the Dean of Arts and Humanities, says "the grant will also enrich and further contextualize the study of Asian languages and literatures and give undergraduate students funding for directed study abroad."