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Academics – Graduate

The Triangle Center for Japanese Studies presents many opportunities for graduate students to engage with peers and professors through programming such as the Triangle Japan Forum and cross-institutional research groups. These programs bring together graduate students and faculty to share and present their research and discuss recent publications and developments related to Japan.

The Center further encourages graduate research by providing grants for editorial assistance that are open to both master’s and doctoral students. PhD candidates are also eligible for TCJS funding to cover travel and accommodation expenses incurred while conducting research in Japan.

In addition to these opportunities, graduate students focusing on Japan at UNC may apply for funding to support the study of the study of Japanese language and related area studies through the Foreign Language and Area Studies scholarships from the Carolina Asia Center, while summer fellowships for research in East Asia from the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute are available to students at Duke. Doctoral students at NCSU are eligible to apply for grants to assist in dissertation completion and travel to present their work at international conferences.

Current Graduate Students Focusing on Japan

Jui-An Chao, Literature, Duke
Japanese pop culture, manga/anime, gender and sexuality

Katherine Farley, East Asian Studies, Duke
Japanese social identity, Okinawan literature, gender and sexuality

Christopher Flaherty, East Asian Studies, Duke
“I am generally interested in the effects of occupation and the U.S. Base presence on Japan (specifically Okinawa) and Korea.”

Tessa Handa, East Asian Studies, Duke
Japanese art history, specifically Edo and Meiji period maps and topographical representations

Laurel Foote-Hudson, Comparative Literature, UNC
“I am a second year graduate student in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My current research interests have been influenced by both Spanish and Japanese languages and literature. Over the past few years, I have shifted from a primary/secondary approach to one that is much more comparative in nature. In addition to this change, my research mediums have also expanded to better reflect my interest in the genres of theater and travelogues of 17th century Spain and Japan. I consider both theater and travelogues to be captivating tools for representing the foreign “other”. Framing both of these genres within their respective literary and cultural contexts is my growing interest in Occidental and Orientalist theory. Over the next few years I wish to rely on this emerging theoretical basis as a way to explore the conceptualization of Japan as well as Spain and other Western nations as respective “others” in both a modern and traditional context.”

Patrick Galbraith, Cultural Anthropology, Duke
Japanese media, technology, and youth culture

Sarah Guest, East Asian Studies, Duke
Local Japanese history, especially the Tohuku region

Nadia Hemady, Cultural Anthropology, Duke
Japanese pop culture and masculinity

Magdalena Kolodziej, Art History, Duke
Modern Japanese art and culture

Justin Kuettel, Religion, Duke
Modern Japanese religions

Daniele Lauro, History, UNC
“I am interested in the material culture of early modern Japan. My M.A. thesis examined the history and aesthetics of firearms (teppô) in Japan between the 16th and 19th centuries. I have conducted research at the Smithsonian in the Asian Cultural History Program (National Museum of Natural History), the Oriental Art Museum in Venice, and the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Tokyo, Japan. I have studied at the University of Naples, the University of Paris, and the University of Rome.”

Simiao Liu, East Asian Studies, Duke
Digital media, pop culture, and social networking in Japan and China

Yiqing Liu, East Asian Studies, Duke
Modern Japanese culture and literature

Rebecca Mendelson, Religion, Duke
Japanese Buddhism

Matthew Mitchell, Religion, Duke
Matt Mitchell is a doctoral student in the Asian Religions Track of Duke University’s Religion Department. He focuses on popular religion in Japan’s Early Modern Period, with particular interests in pilgrimage, displays of religious images (kaichō), status marginality (mibunteki shūen), and material culture. His dissertation will focus on the relationships between Zenkōji Temple (a major pilgrimage site in Nagano City) and the residents of its fief. His advisor is Richard Jaffe, and he regularly works with Barbara Ambros (Religion, UNC), Simon Partner (History, Duke), Morgan Pitelka (Asian Studies, UNC), and Daniel Botsman (History, Yale).

Maria Piper, History, NCSU
Public education and the creation of national and gender identities in Japan and the world

Amanda Pruitt, Religion, Duke
Women in Japanese religions, Buddhism, and the Heian period

Michael Quick, Religion, Duke
Buddhism, Japanese secularism

Kim Rogers, Sociology, Duke
Social psychology in Japan

Jeffrey Schroeder, Religion, Duke
Jeff Schroeder is a Ph.D. candidate in religious studies at Duke University. His dissertation examines how a new form of Shin Buddhism (浄土真宗) centered on introspective “religious experience” came to achieve orthodox status over the course of the 20th century. Please take a look at his website:

Michael Smith, History, UNC
“My research examines the crisis of liberalism and the rise of a “neo-mercantilist” school of thought in Japan and the other major industrial powers as a reaction to the appearance of an integrated global economy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”