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Councils, Committee, and Institute

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, such as a comparative Canadian and Australian history offering.

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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, 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.

The Council on African Studies has recently launched a revitalization plan to expand its capacity to develop relevant research, learning, and collaborative opportunities at Yale. This renewed focus has emerged at a time when rigorous analysis of contemporary African realities is urgently needed and ripe for innovation. In this revitalizing milieu, the council’s faculty and students are debating and devising novel approaches to the social, political, and cultural dynamics of twenty-first-century Africa.

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 and roundtable discussions. Most events are open to the public.

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Council on East Asian Studies

The formal study of East Asia at Yale dates back to 1878. Since then, for more than a century, 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) promotes education about East Asia both in the college curricula and through lectures, workshops, conferences, film series, cultural events, and educational activities open to faculty, students, and the general public. CEAS coordinates more than one hundred activities each year, providing an important forum for academic exploration and support related to the study of China, Japan, Korea, and transnational issues in East Asia.

With more than thirty core faculty and twenty-three language instructors, East Asian Studies remains one of Yale’s most extensive area studies programs, with faculty members teaching across departments in the social sciences and humanities. National interest and University commitment have contributed to expanded course offerings and rising student enrollments. Approximately 150 courses on East Asia are offered each year.

As part of the University’s continuing mission to offer programs with an international vision and richness, an undergraduate major and a master’s degree program are offered at Yale in East Asian Studies. The interdisciplinary emphasis of CEAS encourages collaborative linkages across fields and departments and contributes to diversity across the curricula and in the classroom. 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 library constitute one of the oldest and largest collections found outside of East Asia.

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. CEAS has been designated as a National Resource Center for the study of East Asian languages and cultures by the U.S. Department of Education.

During the 2013–2014 academic year, in addition to a full calendar of lectures, films, and cultural events, CEAS will sponsor numerous workshops and conferences. CEAS will also welcome to campus visiting scholars and postdoctoral associates to conduct research on such topics as the emergence of urban societies in Central Asia and Xinjiang; Japanese regulatory systems; postwar regionalism and nationalism in Japan; legal history and donation culture in medieval Japan; premodern Korean history and collective memory in East Asia; early modern Chinese history of empire, borderlands, and transnational relations; role of Macau financial systems in economic development of Lusophone nations; history of Korean religion; Chinese cartography; Chinese cinema and modern art; Chinese politics; cultural politics of aid in Asia; and modern Japanese and European intellectual history. In addition to collaborative research, some visiting scholars will offer such courses as Japanese Nationalism in Global Context (N. Hopson); History and Nationalism in East Asia (H. Kim); Asian Environments and Frontiers (K. Kim); Religion and National Identity in Modern Korea (S. Koo); Korean Art and Culture (Y. Kim and S. Koo); Home and Country in Chinese Cinema (M. Liu); Politics of China (J. Wallace); Humanitarianism across Asia (C. Watanabe); and Hiroshima and Global Memory (R. Zwigenberg).

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European Studies Council

As a National Resource Center for European Studies for several years, 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, British Studies, European Union Studies, and Hellenic Studies, which offers instruction in modern Greek language, literature, and culture. The council sponsors dynamic cultural initiatives in Dutch and Polish, as well as six 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.

On October 3–5, 2013, the council will host the Social Science Research Council Eurasia Dissertation Fellows’ Workshop. An international film conference focused on 1961–62, Films from the Year of the Berlin Wall, will take place on January 24–25, 2014. The Berlin Wall went up in August 1961, and that same year the Beatles performed in the Cavern Club, a milestone in their career. The transatlantic world was on the cusp of “the sixties,” when so many conventions of culture, politics, gender politics, and everyday life were challenged and often overturned. The conference will focus on the momentous changes taking place throughout Europe at a time when the East-West border became more rigid and yet many other borders became more porous. On March 13–15, 2014, the council will host the second AABS-SASS joint conference on Baltic and Scandinavian Studies. Throughout the year the council will also host colloquia series on British Historical Studies, Modern Europe, Modern Britain, and the Russia-East Europe Reading Group. The Transitions to Modernity and Transatlantic Political Cultures working groups will be organized in a new Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences.

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Jackson Institute for Global Affairs

The Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, established in 2010, builds on the work of the previous International Affairs Council (IAC) as an interdisciplinary site for innovative teaching and dynamic research. The programmatic interests of the Jackson Institute center on development; strategy and security; global health policy; and the teaching of global issues.

The Jackson Institute houses many important intellectual initiatives, as well as the MacMillan Center’s largest teaching programs, the M.A. in Global Affairs and the B.A. in Global Affairs.

The M.A. Program in Global Affairs, which enrolls some fifty to sixty students, prepares students to impact the global community through an academically rigorous yet flexible interdisciplinary program. Students take three core courses and then pursue an individualized course of study. The Jackson Institute also offers three Graduate Certificates of Concentration, open to all graduate and professional students at Yale, in International Security Studies, Global Health, and Development Studies.

At the undergraduate level, the Jackson Institute is the site of the Global Affairs major. This interdisciplinary major is intended for students who want to better understand and eventually influence the world around them.

Each year the Jackson Institute hosts a group of Senior Fellows, practitioners in international affairs who teach courses and mentor students.

The Jackson Institute Career Services office is a resource for the entire University community, helping Yale students find internships and career placements in public service and other areas of international affairs.

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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. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as one of twenty National Resource Centers for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. 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 seventy-five Yale faculty 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 2013–14 council events will include a colloquium on Sumak Kawsay, Good Living: Visions for Achieving Environmental and Social Justice in Ecuador and the United States; such conferences as We Have Never Been Human: A Caribbean Studies Approach, Rethinking Space in Latin American History, Counter Vitalities: Life at the Edges of Global Health, Tracing Circuits of Transnational Black/Queer Movement and Sociality, and the annual Conference of Andean Archaeology and Ethnohistory; a workshop, Sound Systems of Mexico and Central America; the New England Festival of Ibero American Cinema; meetings of Yale and Nicaraguan medical and public health practitioners to discuss causes and treatment of chronic kidney disease among sugar cane workers in Nicaragua; a yearlong interdisciplinary lecture series on Latin American theater, film, and other cultural events; and professional development programs for educators. Most CLAIS events are open to the public.

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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 North African Studies, Iranian Studies, Turkish Studies, and Arab Gulf 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.

This year CMES is cosponsoring a special exhibition at the Peabody Museum, Echoes of Egypt, curated by Colleen Manassa, that looks at cycles of Egyptianizing themes that have occurred in art and literature, at times in bursts of particular creative ebullience that one might term “Egyptomania.” This examination includes exhibits, language instruction, lecture series, and outreach to the community through January 4, 2014. In November 2013 CMES will also host a junior scholars workshop for young political scientists organized by Ellen Lust and the Project on Middle East Political Science at George Washington University. In spring 2014 CMES will host a conference, Thinking Outside the State, coorganized by Ellen Lust, Sulayman Dib-Hajj, and Jonathan Wyrtzen, which will seek to advance new theoretical and empirical understandings of state and non-state interactions in the greater Middle East; and a workshop, Persianate Studies: A Conceptual Inquiry, organized by Abbas Amanat and Assef Ashraf, which will explore whether Persianate as a concept can be applied beyond language and literature to such areas as habitat, economy, and trade routes.

CMES will host an active visiting scholar program in 2013–2014. Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor Yuval Sinai (Netanya Academic College School of Law) will teach two courses on the role of Jewish law in Israeli law and contemporary multicultural Israeli society. Visiting scholar Sallama Shaker, former deputy minister of foreign affairs of Egypt, will teach two courses at the Divinity School in fall 2013. Visiting fellow Joanna de Groot (The University of York) will conduct research on Iranian studies, and visiting fellow Hassan Barari (University of Jordan) will research the dynamics of instability and lack of reform in Jordan. CMES will also cohost, with Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Gülsüm Canli (Istanbul University) as a foreign language teaching assistant in Turkish.

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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. Dzongkha, 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 in 2013–2014. 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. During 2013–2014, several visiting scholars will be teaching new courses in early modern and modern history, music, literature, cinema, gender and family, politics, and religion, including courses on inter-Asia connections and on Himalayan languages and cultures.

Throughout the academic year the council sponsors lectures, conferences, and cultural events related to South Asia. In 2013–2014 these will include 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, jurists, scholars, environmentalists, 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, eminent scholars of Indian religions from Japan, and researchers from near and far.

In addition to language pedagogy and literature workshops organized by language faculty, the council will host the sixth annual Modern South Asia Workshop for new interdisciplinary work on South Asian history, politics, society, and literatures. It will also organize the seventh 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—Historical Thought and Social Transformation in India’s Twentieth Century—which will bring together noted scholars and public intellectuals from India with eminent European and U.S.-based experts for intensive dialogue on new research and the most important research questions on modern and contemporary India. Several Yale scholars, faculty, and students will participate.

This year the South Asian Studies Council is also cosponsoring numerous other conferences, including the Food Sovereignty Conference in fall 2013, the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies Conference in spring 2014, and the Conference on Liberal Arts Education in India, to be held in Bengaluru, India, in January 2014. 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 new programming on inter-Asia connections at Yale, working with the Council on East Asian Studies and the Social Science Research Council, New York.

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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 Eastern philosophy, peoples and cultures of modern Southeast Asia and postwar Vietnam, 1900s Southeast Asian and earliest Vietnamese history, history of Buddhist art and architecture, gamelan and world music theories, and environmental anthropology of the region. The council supports study of the region’s languages at all levels, including full-time instruction in both Indonesian and Vietnamese, as well as a variety of directed independent language study programs, depending on interest and availability, in Burmese, Khmer, Tagalog, and Thai.

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 and presentations organized by subsidiary consortiums of students and faculty, such as the Yale Indonesia Forum and the Yale Vietnamese Studies Group. In October 2013 the council will sponsor a graduate student conference, New Research in Southeast Asian History. The conference aims to establish a forum at Yale dedicated to the exchange of graduate-level historical work that spans Southeast Asia. Throughout the year, the council also hosts special lectures, film screenings, and cultural programs. In 2013–2014, faculty of the Southeast Asia Language Studies Programs expect to host the twelfth 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.

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