Korean Speech Contest & Spike in Korean Language Enrolment


Learn about the history of the Korean Speech Contest at the University of Toronto.

Also, EAS’s spike in enrolment in Korean language courses has recently been covered by the Metro newspaper: http://www.metronews.ca/news/toronto/2017/03/09/spike-in-korean-language-at-uoft-credited-to-kpop.html

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Curie Virag’s New Book Released

9780190498818Oxford University Press recently released Professor Curie Virag’s new book,
The Emotions in Early Chinese Philosophy. The EAS Department congratulates Prof. Virag on this first book-length study of conception of emotions in early Chinese philosophical tradition.


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Students Get Creative in EAS103H

Last fall, students of EAS103H1 Premodern East Asia were encouraged to explore and spend some time in the Asia collection in the Royal Ontario Museum (free to university students on Tuesdays). As part of this activity, EAS students made drawings of figures in the collection that they thought were worth lingering over. Here is a sample of these works, produced by our talented undergrads!


By William Chen


By Jiahong Song


By Shennice Knight

By Tsz Ching (Jackie) Yip

20170117140045147By Sunita Mundi


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Yoneyama’s Cold War Ruins released

The Department of East Asian Studies congratulates Professor Lisa Yoneyama on the release of her third single-authored book, Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War CrimesIn the book, Lisa Yoneyama argues that the efforts intensifying since the 1990s to bring justice to the victims of Japanese military and colonial violence have generated what she calls a “transborder redress culture.” A product of failed post-World War II transitional justice that left manyyoneyama-book-cover colonial legacies intact, this culture both contests and reiterates the complex transwar and transpacific entanglements that have sustained the Cold War unredressability and illegibility of certain violences. By linking justice to the effects of American geopolitical hegemony, and by deploying a conjunctive cultural critique of “comfort women” redress efforts, state-sponsored apologies and amnesties, Asian American involvement in redress cases, the ongoing effects of the U.S. occupation of Japan and Okinawa, Japanese atrocities in China, and battles over WWII memories Yoneyama helps illuminate how redress culture across Asia and the Pacific has the potential to bring powerful new and challenging perspectives on American exceptionalism, militarized security, justice, sovereignty, forgiveness, and decolonization.”

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EAS a member of Japan Foundation’s Sakura Network


On September 20, 2016, the Director of Toronto’s Japanese Foundation, Ms. Emi Iwanaga, presented EAS Chair Professor Andre Schmid  with a certificate of membership in “The JF Nihongo Network,” also known as the Sakura Network. The Sakura Network is a network of language education institutions worldwide.

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Professor Janet Poole’s book awarded MSA Book Prize

October, 2015
Professor Janet Poole’s book, When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea, won the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize. Congratulations!


In the words of the MSA’s prize committee: “When the Future Disappears is both a remarkable work of literary history and a groundbreaking meditation on modernisms across temporal and political regimes and transnational contexts. Poole accounts with striking range and fluency for the complex field of literary production in Korea during the final decade of its colonial occupation by Japan. In that fraught moment, she argues, a distinctive but broadly consequential modernism took shape. Faced with the colonial suppression of their native language and state control of publication and literary institutions, Korean writers were compelled to represent the loss of their language, their past, and their sense of the future, mobilizing modes of irony, paradox, abstraction, and silence to represent the lived experience of being and becoming modern as colonial subjects of Japan. Even for readers with no knowledge of Korean language or literature, Poole’s readings of key texts and figures makes a richly detailed case that Korea’s literary project, taking shape in the moment of global fascism, offers some of the most ambitious and provocative works of twentieth-century modernism across the globe. Her analysis not only creates a powerful framework for constituting Korean modernism as such. It repeatedly moves through Anglo-European modernism, and takes on the broader problem of accounting for temporal rupture, state violence, and the experience of colonization as generative conditions of cultural production. Deftly braiding literary history and textual readings with cultural and intellectual history, Poole has produced a work that models new, bracing possibilities for global and transnational modernist study, and for bold rethinking of the paradigms that shape our account of the relationship between aesthetic and political forms.”

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Prof. Kyoungrok Ko and PhD student Yanfei Li receive Teaching Awards

April, 2016
Congratulations to Professor Kyoungrok Ko, the recipient of a Faculty of Arts & Science Outstanding Teaching Award. The department also congratulates PhD student Yanfei Li on being awarded a Superior Graduate Course Instructor Teaching Award.

In Dean David kyoungrok-ko-300x300Cameron’s words, “Kyoungrok Ko is a specialist in language education with an unquenchable zeal for teaching Korean. Since joining U of T in 2010, he has taught all four levels of Korean language and completely transformed the language program. Ko revised the curriculum, adapted the inverted-classroom model, created extracurricular activities like the Korean Speech Contest, instituted a TA-training program and interviewed every student seeking to enroll in first-year Korean. While Ko credits the recent increase in demand for Korean language instruction at U of T to a growing interest in K-pop and Korean pop culture generally, his colleagues and students place much of the credit closer to home.”

yanfei-li-300x300Dean Cameron also had very high praise for ABD PhD student Yanfei Li’s teaching: “Yanfei Li is a scholar and teacher of Chinese literature and culture. Her course evaluations for “Modern Chinese Cities,” which she has taught twice, are stellar, with one student calling the course material “very inspiring.” Others lauded her for being “very enthusiastic, understanding and accommodating.” Her department is confident that Li will not only become an outstanding researcher in her field, but continue to grow as an incredible student-centered professor.”

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