Asian Studies


A truly multidisciplinary concentration, the Asian studies program draws enthusiastic faculty members from the anthropology, art, music, history, government, East Asian languages and literature, literature and theatre departments.

Abhishek Amar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Areas of Expertise: archaeological history of South Asian religions, especially Buddhist and Hindu traditions; research in themes of inter-religious dynamics, syncretism and religious transformation; colonialism and reconfigurations of sacred centers; and religion and water management in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions.
Abhishek S. Amar specializes in the archaeological history of South Asian religions. More >>

After completing his Ph.D. in history from SOAS, University of London, he received a fellowship from Kate Hamburger Kolleg at Ruhr University, Germany, in 2009 to conduct research on inter-religious interactions in early Medieval India. In 2013 Amar received The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award at Hamilton College.

Amar has co-edited Cross-Disciplinary Perspective on a Contested Buddhist Site: Bodhgaya Jataka (2012) and also published articles in leading scholarly journals and edited collections. He is currently working on his monograph, Contextualizing Bodhgaya, which examines the issues of expansion, sustenance and religious transformation of Buddhism at the site of Buddha’s enlightenment.

Amar is also directing a digital research project, Sacred Centers in India, which examines material culture and texts to unravel the multi-layered histories of Hindu and Buddhist cities of Gaya and Bodhgaya respectively.

Lisa Trivedi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History

Areas of Expertise: cultural and social history of modern South Asia, specializing in the history of nationalism, colonialism and women.
Lisa Trivedi, a cultural and social historian of modern South Asia, received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis in 1999. More >>

Her first monograph, Clothing Gandhi's Nation: Homespun and Modern India (Indiana, 2007) was supported by a Fulbright Scholarship to India in 1996. In 2004 Trivedi was a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University's Pembroke College, where she began research on her second monograph project, Bound By Cloth: women textile workers in Bombay and Lancashire, 1890-1940. Research for this project has received support from the American Institute of Indian Studies and the Fulbright Scholars Program. 

Trivedi is working concurrently on a project of 70 photographs taken by an Indian photographer, Pranlal Patel, in 1937. The Jyoti Sangh Series is an extraordinary collection of photographs of ordinary women at work on the streets and in the neighborhoods of Ahmedabad, India. In addition to publishing these photographs for the first time with three critical essays, Trivedi is curating a photographic exhibition for the Wellin Art Museum. 

Trivedi currently serves as co-editor of ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, the premier publication of ASIANetwork, a consortium of 165 liberal arts institutions with Asian Studies programs.

More about Lisa Trivedi >>

Thomas Wilson, Ph.D., Elizabeth J. McCormack Professor of History

Areas of Expertise: Chinese history, culture, and religion; Confucian ritual and the cult of Confucius.
Thomas Wilson, who joined the Hamilton faculty in 1989, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Wilson also studied in Taiwan, at the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (or Stanford Center), and in the graduate department of history at the National Taiwan University. More >>

He returned to Taiwan in 1984 on a Department of Education Fulbright-Hays scholarship to conduct research for his dissertation and in 1992-93 conducted research in the PRC on a Fulbright.

Wilson has been a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J., and he has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

He has written extensively on Confucian ritual and the cult of Confucius and is a board member of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions. Wilson co-authored Lives of Confucius (Doubleday); the Chinese University Press will publish a Chinese translation next year. He also edited On Sacred Grounds: Culture, Society, Politics, and the Formation of the Cult of Confucius (Harvard, 2003), to which he also contributed two chapters.

More about Thomas Wilson >>

Steve Yao, Ph.D., Edmund A. LeFevre Professor of English

Areas of Expertise: 20th century American and British literature, literary translation, Ezra Pound, comparative literature, Asian American literature, especially poetry, global literary modernisms, Asian diasoporas and transpacific literature.
Steven Yao earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Yao taught at Ohio State University from 1997 to 2002. More >>

He is the author of two books, Translation and the Languages of Modernism (Palgrave/St. Martins, 2002) and Foreign Accents: Chinese American Verse from Exclusion to Postethnicity (Oxford, 2010) which was selected by the Association for Asian American Studies for its Book Award in Literary Studies. He is also co-editor of Sinographies: Writing China (Minnesota 2008), Pacific Rim Modernisms (Toronto 2009), and Ezra Pound and Education (2012).

In 2012 he was awarded an ACE Fellowship for the 2012-13 academic year. In 2005 Yao was awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies and he also served as a Stanford Humanities Center External Junior Faculty Fellow for 2005-06.


Masaaki Kamiya, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Japanese

Areas of Expertise: syntax, semantics, language acquisition, pragmatics, and Japanese linguistics.
Masaaki Kamiya has a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Maryland at College Park. His research interests are syntax, semantics and language acquisition. More >>

Kamiya's recent articles include ‘Passivization, Reconstruction and Edge Phenomena: connecting English and Japanese Nominalizations,’ Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 31 (with van Hout and Roeper), ‘Lexical vs. Pragmatically Derived Interpretations of Numerals,’ Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 15 (with Matsuya), ‘Two Types of Movement in Japanese Nominalizations and Edge Phenomena,’ Japanese/Korean Linguistics 17, ‘Movement of Arguments and Negative Feature,’ Explorations of Phase Theory: Features and Arguments, ‘Verbal Nouns in Japanese Are So Called for Good Reasons,’ Formal Approaches to Japanese Linguistics 4, MITWPL 55 (with Ayano), ‘Syntactic Categories and Argument Structures of Verbal Nouns in Japanese Light Verb Construction,’ Journal of Japanese Linguistics 21, ‘Negation, Quantifiers, and A-movement in Nominalization in Japanese,’ Linguistic Analysis 35, among others.

Kyoko Omori, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Japanese

Areas of Expertise: modern Japanese literature, especially modernism and youth magazine culture; early 20th century media, especially cinema and radio; and censorship and the Occupation Era, 1945-52.
Kyoko Omori earned her doctorate from Ohio State University in 2003. Her research focuses on 20th-century literary and popular culture, with an emphasis on mass media. More >>

Omori is currently completing a book titled Detecting Modanizumu: New Youth Magazine, Tantei Shôsetsu, and The Culture of Japanese Vernacular Modernism. In addition, her recently published articles and book chapters include “The Art of the Bluff: Youth Migrancy in the Pacific Rim, Interlingualism, and Japanese Vernacular Modernism” (2009), “Narrating the Detective: Nansensu, Benshi’s Oral Performance, and the Absurdist Detective Fiction of Tokugawa Musei” (2009), “Rajio hôsô no sengo: ‘Hanashi no izumi’ to ‘Nichiyô goraku-ban’” (The Allied Powers’ Education and Censorship Strategies in Post-WWII Japan: Radio Broadcasting in the late 1940s: 2008), “‘Finding Our Own English’: Migrancy, Identity, and Language(s) in Itô Hiromi’s Recent Prose” (2007).

She has been awarded research grants from The Miller Center for Historical Studies and the McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland, as well as postdoctoral fellowships from SSRC/JSPS, the Japan Foundation, and the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. Omori was also trained in language pedagogy and is a recipient of the Hamako Ito Chaplin Award, a national award recognizing excellence in teaching Japanese.

Zhuoyi Wang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures

Areas of Expertise: Chinese cinema.
Zhuoyi Wang received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Washington at Seattle. His research interest is in Chinese film history. More >>

Wang has taught at various institutions, including the Summer Chinese School at Middlebury College, the Department of Modern Languages and Literature at Kenyon College and the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Washington. His teaching interests include Chinese history, film, literature and language.

Steve Goldberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Art History

Areas of Expertise: Chinese art, Japanese art, and aesthetics.
Goldberg specializes in the history of Chinese art. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. More >>

Since the early 90s, he has participated as instructor and director of numerous summer institutes and region conferences of the Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP), a joint program of the University of Hawai'i and the East-West Center that was initiated to infuse Asian content and perspectives into the core curriculum at U.S. colleges and universities.

His current research interests include globalization and the “transcultural imagination” and a cognitive approach to the study of Chinese calligraphy. He has published numerous articles and chapters in books on Chinese art and philosophy, with a particular interest in Chinese calligraphy. Publications include “Oh Father, Where Art Thou? A Bakhtinian Reading of Luo Zhongli’s Father,” in Contemporary Chinese Art and Film: Theory Applied and Resisted. New Academia Publishing, Washington, D.C., 2012; “On the Contemporary Art of Chinese Calligraphy” with André Kneib, in Bider weden geschrieban The Art of Writing: Contemporary art from three cultures, Heidelberg and Berlin: Kehrer Verlag, 2011; “Philosophical Reflection and Visual Art in Traditional China,” in Asian Texts-Asian Contexts: Encountering the Philosophies and Religions of Asia, Albany: SUNY Press, 2010; “The Gestural Imagination: Toward a Phenomenology of Duration in the Art of Chinese Writing,” in Comparative and Continental Philosophy, 1.2 (2009), 211-221;  “Modern Woodcuts and the Rise of a Chinese Avant-garde,” in Modern China, 1937-2008: Towards a Universal Pictorial Language (Hamilton, NY: Picker Art Gallery at Colgate University, 2009; “Art and the Authority of Excellence in Traditional China,” in La question de l’art en Asia orientale, (Paris: Presses de l’Universite Paris-Sorbonne, 2008).

Andrea Murray, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian Studies and Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Andrea Murray completed her bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology and women’s studies at Duke University, and her Ph.D. in social anthropology at Harvard University. More >>

Her research explores the intersections of sustainable tourism development and environmental issues on Pacific Islands, Okinawa, and the Japanese archipelago. Murray’s forthcoming book manuscript is titled Footprints in Paradise: Ethnography of Ecotourism, Local Knowledge, and Nature Therapy in Okinawa