Faculty

The Japanese studies faculty of Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University, collaborate in the Triangle Center for Japanese Studies. The Center boasts a team of twenty-six core research faculty members; fourteen at Duke, nine at UNC, and three at NCSU. These are twelve language-teaching faculty, and a number of other faculty members with research interests in Japan.

Japanese studies faculty from each university have enjoyed close relations for many years. Duke and UNC, in particular, have established university-wide relationships that facilitate exchange at both the student and faculty level. In 2008-9, faculty members from each campus developed the Triangle Japan Forum, a monthly seminar uniting scholars and students and featuring presentations of work in progress, celebrations of finished work and lectures by invited scholars.

At UNC and Duke, Japanese studies faculty work with Ph.D. students in Anthropology, Art History, History and Comparative Literature. NCSU offers an M.A. in History that attracts Japan specialists; Duke’s Asia / Pacific Studies Institute offers an M.A. in East Asian Studies, and UNC’s Asian Studies Department is currently developing a graduate program. NCSU and UNC faculty also mentor graduate students and sit on Ph.D. committees at Duke.

Through enhanced collaboration efforts, our collective faculty plays an important role in supporting and promoting Japanese studies throughout the Southeast, while raising its collective profile and attracting top-notch graduate students. Faculty Publications

Anthropology

Anne Allison
Robert O. Keohane Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University
Research Interests: Contemporary and urban Japan, mass and children’s culture, sexuality, globalization, capitalism. Affiliated with Women’s Studies.

Norris Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: Japan; shrine and temple architecture; gardens; premodern history

Chris Nelson
Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: History and memory; everyday life; ethnography; critical theory; storytelling, ritual and performance; Japan and Okinawa

Art & Art History

Gennifer Weisenfeld
Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies; Dean of Humanities, Duke University
Research Interests: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Japanese art history; the impact of Japan’s modern sociopolitical transformations on artistic production and practice; Japanese modernism and commercial design.

Asian Studies

Jan Bardsley
Professor of Japanese Humanities, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: Japanese feminism; Japanese women’s magazines and popular culture; encounters between women in the US and Japan; and icons of the feminine: royal women, geisha, and pageant winners

Leo Ching
Associate Professor of Japanese Literature, Duke University
Research Interests: Modern Japanese literature, theories of imperialism, colonial/postcolonial theories, globalization and cultural formation, popular culture, transnationalism in Asia/America

Mark Driscoll
Associate Professor of Asian Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: Japanese media and cultural studies; colonialism and postcolonialism in East Asia

Nayoung Aimee Kwon
Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University
Research Interests: Korean and Japanese literature, history, and film; theories of empire and nation; translation studies; colonial/postcolonial discourses; Asian-Pacific trans-cultural movements; nexus of Asian and Asian-American studies; global visual cultures

Geological Sciences

Jonathan Lees
Professor of Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: Seismology and volconology, Japan.

Geography

Elizabeth Havice
Associate Professor of Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: Political economy and ecology, international development, commodity studies, agrarian studies environmental politics, natural resources.

History

David Ambaras
Associate Professor of History, North Carolina State University
Research interests: Social problems and urban social history in imperial Japan

Cemil Aydin
Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research interests: Modern Middle Eastern History and Modern Asian history, with an emphasis on the international and intellectual histories of the Ottoman and Japanese Empires

W. Miles Fletcher
Professor Emeritus of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: Modern Japanese history, 1868 to the present; the dynamics of Japan’s industrialization and the relationship between the state and the private sector

Simon Partner
Professor of History, Director of the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute, Duke University
Research Interests: Twentieth-century Japanese history focusing on the growth of consumer markets, technology and social change, and Japanese rural society

Morgan Pitelka
Professor of Asian Studies and History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: history of medieval and early modern Japan, material culture studies. Affiliated with History

Kristina Troost
Head of International Area Studies, Librarian for Japan, Duke University
Research Interests: Language pedagogy, second language acquisition, Japanese linguistics, and oral proficiency testing

Japanese Language

Hitomi Endo
Associate Professor of the Practice of Japanese, Duke University
Research Interests: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Japanese art history; the impact of Japan’s modern sociopolitical transformations on artistic production and practice; Japanese modernism and commercial design

John Mertz
Associate Professor of Japanese, North Carolina State University
Research Interests: Modern Japanese literature

Eika Tai
Professor of Japanese, North Carolina State University
Research Interests: National Identity, multiculturalism, human rights, and colonial education

Linguistics

Jennifer Smith
Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: Japanese linguistics; phonological theory; structure and intonation in the Fukuoka dialect

Literature

Inger Brodey
Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: the history of the novel in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Europe and Meiji Japan. Affiliated with Asian Studies

Political Science

Margaret McKean
Professor Emerita of Political Science and Environmental Policy, Duke University
Research Interests: Japanese politics, particularly institutions, elections, and decision-making; environmental and resource politics, in Japan and elsewhere. Affiliated with the Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences

James White
Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: Comparative politics and collective behavior in East Asia; Japanese politics

Psychology

Reiko Mazuka
Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University
Research Interests: Increasing understanding of human brain development through investigation of language acquisition, specifically in relation to the phonological development of Japanese

Religion/Religious Studies

Barbara Ambros
Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Research Interests: East Asian Buddhism; Shinto; gender, pilgrimage, and sacred space in Japan; ethnicity and religion in Asian diaspora communities in Japan; human-animal relationships; East Asian religions and the environment

Richard Jaffe
Creed C. Black Professor of Religion, Buddhist Studies, Duke University
Research Interests: Japanese Buddhism during the early modern and modern periods, Asian Buddhist modernism, pan-Asianism, nationalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Levi McLaughlin
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, North Carolina State University
Research Interests: Religious traditions of Japan and China, history of modern Asia, theories and methodologies of the study of religion, religion and modernity, religion and politics in Asia, Buddhism in modern society, anthropology of religion.

Sociology

Bai Gao
Professor of Sociology, Duke University
Research Interests: Economic sociology, organizational analysis, comparative historical sociology, political economy, Japanese society, Chinese society, East Asian capitalism

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