Faculty Grants

Call for Proposals | Annual Visiting Faculty Awards
Funded by the J. Yang and Family Foundation

The Center for Asian Studies invites UCI faculty to submit proposals to bring visiting faculty from Taiwan through a gift from the J. Yang and Family Foundation. The goal of the visiting faculty program is to build long-term scholarly research and institutional relationships between UCI faculty and departments and their counterparts at the four participating universities in Taiwan.  Visiting faculty awards will be made by invitation only based on the opportunity to develop new or existing academic connections that foster ongoing collaboration.

UCI faculty are invited to submit requests to host a visiting faculty member from Taiwan through this program Two awards will be made each year in Year 2-5 of the five-year program. Proposals are particularly encouraged from the Schools of Social Ecology, Social Sciences and Humanities.

Proposals for Year 3

The Center for Asian Studies will be accepting applications for one visiting faculty award ($6,500) in 2022-23 (Year 3). UCI faculty may invite a faculty member from one of the following universities in Taiwan for a short-term residency:

o National Taiwan University;
o National Chiao Tung University;
o National Tsing Hua University;
o National Cheng Kung University.

The residency may include working on a collaborative research project, participating in a graduate seminar or colloquium, or otherwise engaging with faculty, graduate students, and programs at UCI. The level of activity should correspond to the length of the residency. Invitations to present a single talk or speak at a conference will not be considered.

UCI faculty should not expect to receive funding to invite more than one visiting faculty member during the term of the program.

A faculty committee appointed by the Center for Asian Studies will review the proposals for potential long-term relationships between the researcher/institution and UCI, as well as for visiting faculty awards to a range of disciplines and departments on campus.

Review Committee: Bert Scruggs (Chair), Associate Professor of Taiwanese Literature, Department of East Asian Studies; Qitao Guo, Associate Professor, Department of History; Director, Center for Asian Studies; Yang Su, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology; Yong Chen, Professor, Department of History


Proposals must be submitted by: (the 2022-2023 application date has passed)

The proposal should include the following:

o The name and department of the UCI faculty member issuing the invitation
o The department that will coordinate the visiting faculty member’s activities and contact person with email address and phone number
o Name and affiliation (department, university) of proposed invitee
o Upload a PDF CV of proposed invitee

o Upload a single PDF with:
• A 250-word description of existing or potential long-term relationship with UCI. This may be a collaboration between individual researchers, or it may be part of an institutional partnership.
• A 250-word description of the visiting faculty member’s activities while at UCI and how these activities will contribute to building the long-term relationship described above.
• A proposed budget (max $6,500). Budget must include flight and ground transportation between Taiwan and Irvine, as well as housing, meals, and local transportation while in residency.

Questions? Contact CAS Program Manager at CAS@uci.edu
The Center for Asian Studies is not currently offering grants to faculty.

Graduate Student Grants (Closed)

The Center for Asian Studies is not currently offering grants to graduate students.

Co-Sponsorships (Currently on Hiatus)

The Center for Asian Studies is not currently offering co-sponsorships at this time.

Graduate Student Grant Reports

Scott Jung
Department of Anthropology

I greatly appreciate the financial support granted to me by the Center for Asian Studies as it enabled me to learn Indonesian through an introductory intensive course at the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from June through August 2021. 

The program was eight weeks long and held over Zoom given the COVID-19 pandemic… The course was “intensive” in the sense that the program covered two semesters of content… The instructional style of the course emphasized constant oral communication in bahasa Indonesia: which allowed me to feel ingrained in the language… I also communicated weekly with a partner at the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. I remain grateful for her patience and assistance in helping me as a novice language learner…

This training has prepared me to begin ethnographic fieldwork on my future project in Singapore… I plan to study the politics of autistic advocacy around employment inclusion in Singapore. As part of my research design, I will interview some of the Indonesian and Malaysian care laborers who work with autistic adults as employees of government-funding social service organizations. Although Singapore is primarily English-speaking, I would like to speak the primary language of those who I am interviewing to ensure accessibility and ethical engagement in my research… I will be able to build on the foundation of SEASSI’s program through further language study and practice. My current language skills will certainly facilitate communication and everyday interactions with speakers of bahasa in Singapore…

Additionally, my participation in SEASSI’s introductory Indonesian course has expanded my network of Southeast Asian Studies scholars who I can collaborate with in the near future. SEASSI offered many activities and opportunities for making these connections including a student conference… I look forward to using my network to connect my colleagues at UCI with scholars and academics across North America and Southeast Asia. After I finish fieldwork, I look forward to presenting my work in my department and contributing what I can to the Center for Asian Studies.

Thank you again for supporting this opportunity!

Sean Cho Ayres
Department of Law

I am endlessly grateful for the financial support from the Center for Asian Studies at the University of California Irvine through this grant. Before jumping into exactly how the grant itself helps support my research practices, I think it’s important to provide context to my research practices and the work I have done/been interested in during my time here at UCI.

I am an MFA candidate in English/Creative Writing with an emphasis in Asian American Studies. My thesis project is a full length collection of poetry that focuses on deconstructing the received form of the sonnet. Through the book length sequence of poems the narratives follow a character (a personified sun bear) through his/her/their daily life and attempt to call attention to the often ignored injustices/pitfalls of the contemporary landscape.

With the project currently in the “completed yet seeking publication status” this grant helped fund the submission fees for said manuscripts to multiple first book contests and open reading periods at Presses such as The University of Wisconsin Press and Tupelo Press. Since the economic end of the poetry market is mainly constructed of independent presses, these submission fees not only helped to give a chance for my manuscript to join the poetic literary conversation, but also assisted in funding the vital work of said presses.

The personal importance/impact of this grant cannot be understated. Without the support of the Center for Asian American Studies this project simply could have ended up deep in the digital archives of the library in thesis form. But now through the generous support of the Center, the book project has a chance to make a deeper impact in the literary world.

Xinyue Yuan
Department of Visual Studies

I am writing to repurpose my CAS Graduate Student Small Grant for my dissertation research conducted in Shanghai during winter 2020, which was part of my fourth-year fieldwork in mainland China. My dissertation investigates a global history of art and modern media technologies by examining Chinese artists’ intervention in the industrially-produced book in the early 20th century. Critical analyses devoted to artists and the book in modern China are still scant. My research seeks to reintroduce the overlooked beginnings of modern Chinese artists’ books into the existing narratives of global modern art. It embraces a critical transcultural approach to interrogate the entangled forces of nationalism and transnationalism in shaping modern Chinese artists’ books and their audiences, and how the other—children, women, “folk people”, and the Chinese West—were visualized to mediate the power dynamics between the two.

During my research in Shanghai, I have worked on rare book collections and secondary materials at the Shanghai Municipal Library, such as a series of publications designed and published by artist Lang Jingshan…I was also able to compare the copy of artist Li Yishi’s book with copies in collections of SOAS, University of London and Zhejiang Provincial Library… It contributes to my understanding of the material aspects of artists’ books as well as larger context of their productions. Moreover, I visited various archives, museums, and historic sites including Shanghai Municipal Archives, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Historical Museum, Tushanwan Museum, Shanghai Luxun Memorial Museum, Shanghai Printing Museum, etc. These research experiences greatly support me to contextualize my case studies of artists’ book in the broad history of visual culture in Republican Shanghai.

Together with my archival research in Beijing and Hangzhou during fall 2020 and summer 2021, this research trip was particularly helpful for my dissertation writing and reframing. I have finished the first draft of chapter 4 on Lang Jingshan in Feb 2021, which was presented at the Association for Asian Studies 2021, and a conference paper of chapter 3 on Zhang Guangyu in July 2021.

Jianmin Shao
Department of Psychological Sciences 

I had the privileges to conduct some preliminary fieldwork with the transgender and gender non- conforming community in China during summer 2019. Specifically, I was in Beijing for a month and Shanghai for a week. My project looks at the production of transgender vulnerability across scales and systems in globalizing post-socialist China. I also intend to do some comparative work to map out regional differences between Beijing and Shanghai.

During my fieldwork, I went to a lot of NGO events and parties where I did participant observation. I also conducted in-depth interviews with five transgender and gender non- conforming individuals as well as a health professional and a lawyer, both of whom work with and serve the transgender community in China. Thanks to the CAS grant, I was able to conduct this preliminary fieldwork and compensate my interviewees...

One interesting preliminary finding of my fieldwork is that vulnerability and resistance co-exist to shape trans and gender non-conforming experiences in China. I went into the field looking for transgender vulnerability, yet I found myself being blown away by the ways in which transgender individuals in China grapple with struggles not only related to gender subjectivities but also to their lives in general. In the face of precarity, trans and gender non-conforming individuals in China organize events and parties to provide space to each other, make connection with friendly health and legal professionals, and have also made use of global standards and advocacy to backup their shared pursuit of rights and equality in China… Another surprise that I have encountered in fieldwork is the regional difference in terms of doing community building work between Shanghai and Beijing…

Thanks to CAS Grant, I believe that this preliminary fieldwork has made my project more comprehensive; as a result, I aim to incorporate elements of globalization studies and attention to spatiality into my refining of the project. I will also pay attention to the productive tension of vulnerability and resistance in situating my project and my transgender subjects.

Alexandra Yan
Department of Comparative Literature

I used this $500 grant in order to help pay tuition for the Middlebury Language Schools Summer Intensive Korean program, which I attended from mid-June to mid-August of 2020. The Middlebury Language Schools program has been operating 12 intensive language courses every summer since 1915 and is renowned in the area of foreign language teaching. The program was 8 weeks long and was equivalent to 4th year Korean.

I chose this program first because I wanted to improve my Korean skills in order to research Korean language materials for my dissertation. Although my research focuses primarily on Japanese language texts written by authors who lived in Korea and Taiwan when they were colonies of the Japanese Empire, in order to properly understand the contexts in which these texts arose and contemporary and subsequent criticism of them, I needed to learn Korean. Unfortunately, three years of Korean classes was not enough for me to be able to read literature or academic criticism in Korean, and so I needed further instruction. This was the second reason I chose to do a summer intensive program, while the third was that Middlebury has an excellent reputation. Furthermore, Middlebury was also offering their courses online, which allowed me to continue my studies despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now that the program is over, I am returning to preparing for my qualifying exams. Thanks to the Middlebury program, I am now able to research the Korean authors on my exam lists in the original language, which is crucial because there is no information on many of them in either Japanese or English, beyond the literature they produced. This will allow me to read authors I hope to include in my dissertation ahead of time for my exams, which will significantly decrease the time it takes to prepare for my dissertation. I am extremely grateful for this funding from the Center for Asian Studies and am excited to make use of it in my studies going forward.

Ayuko Takeda
Department of History

My research has investigated the military service of Japanese Americans who joined the U.S. military during the Korean War. During WWII, Japanese Americans living on the West Coast experienced internment camps. When the Korean War began, many of those Japanese Americans served in intelligence activities and interrogated North Korean prisoners of war and refugees in the Japanese language. My question here is how the U.S. military mobilized Japanese Americans for its war projects in the Pacific, who were once incarcerated to the camps but now facilitating the incarceration and interrogation in Korea. In order to further examine Japanese Americans’ roles in the combat intelligence, I particularly analyzed intelligence reports archived in the National Archives at College Park, Maryland (NARA II) from September 16th to 20th.

At NARA II, I examined the G-2 record of the 24th Infantry Division, in which many Japanese Americans had already served for intelligence activities in postwar Japan... In addition to the G-2 records of the 24th Infantry Division, I also analyzed records of civilian camps in Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa during WWII... Since there are few military records of these camps, I asked for meetings with archivists working on the Army and Navy records. They kindly helped me locate potential records which contain some documents of those civilian camps. As a result, I was able to gather a variety of textual and visual sources of civilian internees in each camp across the Army and Navy records...

The histories of civil camps in Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa have been ignored and erased in the scholarship on the Asia-Pacific War. Japanese American service members’ roles in those camps, as well as those in the Korean War, have also been little told in Japanese American history and U.S. military history. This archival research trip became a solid preparation for my future dissertation, which aims to elucidate the chains of incarceration in the Pacific from WWII to the Cold War. I hope to contribute to a further understanding of how the U.S. expanded its imperial projects in Asia and the Pacific in the twentieth century.

Jocelyn Lai
Department of Psychological Sciences

In 2019, I applied for and received the Center for Asian Studies Graduate Student Award to support my research project, "Not Here With You But Here For You: An Exploration of Chinese Parents' Psychological Experiences and Relationship with their Child during their Children's College Sojourn Abroad". Our work aims to better understand the parent-child relationship between Chinese international students and their parents as students study abroad for the first time…We received approval from the Institutional Review Board end of 2019. We were able to finalize our study procedures early Winter of 2020; however, the COVID-19 pandemic largely impacted our efforts to collect data and recruit participants…We shifted the direction of the study to also consider how the pandemic may relate to their views on the study abroad experience. Thus, after an e-modification and adjustments to the interview questions and survey items, we started collecting data…

…In addition to the progress in data collection, we have submitted abstracts and were accepted to present some of the qualitative data at two separate conferences. The first conference is the New York Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS) in which we will present on Chinese international student experiences throughout the pandemic. The second conference we will present at is the Asian Education Conference in which we will present our qualitative data examining unique and shared college adjustment experiences of Chinese international students and Chinese domestic students.

Overall, this has been a largely rewarding experience, as I have not only been able to take advanced coursework to be a more skilled researcher (e.g., qualitative methods and using a mixed-methods approach), but I have also widened my understanding of how to conduct cross-cultural research. Working with our international collaborators has been a unique experience. Additionally, understanding our specific sample and navigating the challenges of recruiting such a sample has been a tough, but great learning experience. I am thankful for the funding through the Center for Asian Studies that allowed me the opportunity to gain so many rich research experiences.

Kaitlyn Rabach
Department of Anthropology

Last summer, I received a $300 grant from the Center of Asian Studies to support my preliminary research in Myanmar. My budget last summer included flights to and from Southeast Asia, rent for a 28-day period in Yangon, living expenses, and tutoring in intermediate Burmese (writing and speaking). The $300 helped contribute to this budget and helped me reconceptualize and add to my findings from my 2017 Masters dissertation from SOAS, University of London.

Because of this time in Myanmar, I was able to rethink this dissertation with new primary evidence, allowing me to use various anthropological literatures, especially on secrecy, imaginaries, and enchantment to further explore how imaginaries of Myanmar as a pure and Buddhist nation in its tourist industry, were weaponized by the tatmadaw, Burmese military, and other political offices for the purposes of Buddhist extremism in Myanmar... My work at SOAS, continued with the work from this additional grant, crystallized—if even for a brief moment—some of the imaginaries that contribute to the touristic image of Myanmar. This work attempts to understand how modes of “enchantment” are produced, specifically through means of performance, embodiment, and encounter. In the same vein, too, it works to expose some of the secrets of this magical image. Ultimately, my work within the context of Myanmar problematizes the image and heritage of Myanmar as both a strictly Bamar and Buddhist nation.

This fieldwork in both 2017 and continued in the summer of 2019, was amidst a backdrop of a rise in Buddhist extremism movements throughout the country and this movement heavily influenced my current study on populist movements in Europe and more precisely in the Republic of Ireland. It also allowed me to see the intersecting theological trends that are often involved and included in various populist movements. This grant, then, contributed not only research in the field of Southeast Asian studies, but also led to conceptualizing research questions that will hopefully add to literatures on the anthropology of populism, the anthropology of Europe, and interdisciplinary studies on the rise of the alt-Right across the globe.
Monish Borah
Department of History

As a direct result of the generous Center for Asian Studies Graduate Student Grant, I was able to spend over one month (24th June 2019 to 30th July 2019) in London, UK carrying out archival research in the British Library. I work on the Bengal Famine of 1769-70 so I spent my time examining archival materials from the revenue, commerce, administrative, military and naval Departments of the East India Company.

The two broad objectives that I had while carrying out my research there were to find material to supplement the ideas present in my first year research paper as a way to further my research by collecting sufficient material to write my second year research papers. To that effect, some of my important findings and activities were as follows: I recorded significant climate related data from journals of ships visiting Bengal during the famine. I actively sought out and recorded data from the military records which proved to be a great source of information on the economy especially for someone like me who is interested in how the entire economy operated in contrast to just being fixated with the European dominated coastal economy.

Despite the destruction of almost all the ship manifests belonging to the British East India Company, I managed to piece together enough material to conclusively determine how much bullion was being exported to India and China (separately) during the second half of the eighteenth century. I also managed to get a hold of the first botanical and zoological survey that was carried out in Bengal during the late eighteenth century. Additionally, I went through substantial anthropometric and correspondence records, hydrological surveys, and maps germane to my research interests. In London, I also consulted leading experts in South Asian History and Economic History like Prof. Robert Travers (Cornell University), Prof. Jon Wilson and Prof. Peter J. Marshal (King’s College London), Prof. Mrinalini Sinha (University of Michigan) and Prof. Albrecht Ritschl (London School of Economics and Political Science).

Phoebe Moon
Department of Political Science

I was awarded $300 from the Center for Asian Studies last academic year (2019-2020). In my grant application, I indicated that I would be using the funding to cover my expenses traveling to the International Studies Association annual meeting, including airfare to Honolulu, HI. However, the conference was canceled at the last minute due to COVID 19, and I was unable to present my paper or travel as I planned. I asked CAS for an extension to use my funding, and I am very grateful that I was able to keep the grant.

In lieu of traveling to attend a conference, I used my CAS graduate student grant to purchase academic books that I needed for my current projects. My first project examines the interaction between South Korea and North Korea through the lens of emotions. Rather than focusing on material factors such as military and economic relations, I look into how emotional motivations such as feelings of brotherhood, betrayal, and anticipation influence the inter-Korean relationship. The books I purchased with CAS funding helped me develop the theoretical framework using emotions as main variables. My second project connects economic interaction and interstate conflict in Northeast Asia. More specifically, I look into the global value chain between South Korea, Japan, and China to analyze how their relative position within shared value chains affects their decision to escalate conflicts with one another. With CAS funding, I was able to purchase books that helped me gain a broader perspective on global business and trade’s working mechanisms.

While both projects are in their developmental stages, the first one is for conference presentations and eventually a publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and the second one will be turned into a Ph.D. dissertation. I, again, am very grateful for the financial support I’ve received from CAS and their accommodation to my request to extend the funding period. I hope to further develop these projects in the future and potentially get a chance to share them with the CAS community.

Rong Kong
Department of History

I travelled to mainland China and Taiwan to collect archival documents from June to December 2019. This was a productive trip for my research. First of all, I found a lot of original records related to my project from both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Given that most of those documents are fragmented in different archives, I examined them in different locations (Jining, Jinan, Shanghai, and Nanjing) instead of staying Qufu as I planned in my proposal... Second, the oral project I have conducted during this trip provides additional details and stories to these written records. It is high time to interview those people who experienced the two campaigns respectively when not all of them still keep a good memory in their 70s and 80s (in some cases, 90s). Last but not least, I got the chance to communicate with scholars on two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Their comments and suggestions are very helpful for my understanding of the studies of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and Chinese Renaissance.

The UCI Center for Asian Studies (CAS) grant is helpful to me mentally and physically. In the first place, the award is an encouragement to me to continue my project. In contrast to previous studies, which tend to look at all of the mainland or all of Taiwan, I focus on two specific locales: Qufu and Taipei. While both the Chinese Cultural Revolution and Chinese Renaissance have been studied independently, little or no research has asked how the modern reception of Confucianism may form concrete historical links between the two campaigns. In the second place, the archival records I collected in this research trip are of great importance to my dissertation... I will compare how Chiang’s propaganda in the Chinese Cultural Renaissance to that of Mao’s Chinese Cultural Revolution in one chapter of my dissertation. With the support of 2019-2020 CAS graduate student research grant, I was able to conduct this trip. Therefore, I am grateful for all the sponsorship by the CAS.
Shiqi Lin
Department of Comparative Literature

I would love to thank the Center for Asian Studies for providing a summer grant to assist with my language study at the Middlebury Japanese school in the summer of 2019. This grant, along with other funding sources, allowed me to attend eight-week intensive language training and greatly improved my Japanese language skills. At Middlebury, I took intermediate-level classes, participated in cultural clubs and events, and obeyed a language pledge which required us to use Japanese in a 7/24 setting during the entire program. By the end of this program, I achieved basic reading and writing proficiency in Japanese and gained a more systemic understanding of the current sociocultural issues pertinent to Japanese society...

In the long term, although the focus of my research is on contemporary Chinese media culture, I consider Japanese culture and social experience as an important counterpart of my cultural comparison. I am looking forward to incorporating my study of Japanese language and culture in the following fields of my research:

• Cultural politics in post-Fukushima Japan: With the coupling of nuclear disasters, socioeconomic precarities and unresolved postwar traumas in the post-Fukushima period, Japan today seems to have provided me with a cultural site to learn how the people there have formed communities to bring each other life in crises...

• Japanese media ecology: Media studies is usually a highly Euro-American centric field, but the study of Japanese media cultures has arguably provided some of the richest thoughts and approaches outside Euro-American models. To this end, as I situate my research within the burgeoning field of Chinese media studies, I am hoping to delve more into Japanese references on media theory.

• Imperialist thinking and infrastructures in the formation of Japanese empire in the early twentieth century: ... As China today is also shifting its role in global economy and politics, I am hoping to engage with an archival and theoretical research on the imperialization of twentieth-century Japan to study what experience can be drawn from history and what forms of decolonial politics may be possible for China without embarking on the road of hegemony and empire.