News

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) welcomed Mohamed Wajdi ben Hammed, postdoctoral associate in Arabic Cultural Studies, to its faculty this year. Along with teaching three courses for the academic year, he will also take part in scholarly events and activities, conduct research and work on his publication portfolio. “Ben Hammed brings his thorough knowledge of Arabic literature and thought to Duke," says Shai Ginsburg, chair and associate professor of the department. "He has deep familiarity… read more about AMES Postdoc Juxtaposes Muslim and European Thinkers to Explore Modern Arabic Literature »

The Arts & Sciences Council’s Committee on Undergraduate Teaching has announced this year’s recipients of awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Each recipient was recognized at the council’s Sept. 8 meeting, where Committee Chair Connel Fullenkamp expressed appreciation for the many nominations across all three Trinity divisions that included “creative and inspiring” portfolios. “It made our decision very difficult because there are so many varieties of excellence that we see in our community at Duke,” he… read more about Four Trinity Faculty Honored with 2022 Undergraduate Teaching Awards »

AMES started 2021-22 with an in-person concert exploring the music of mid-20th century Korea. Titled “Korean Music Meets European Avant-Garde,” the Korean Forum concert paid tribute to Korean composers whose careers coincided with some of the most turbulent moments in the country’s history. After World War II, Korean composers faced a twofold problem: the desire to assert their own cultural heritage and the need to respond to the recent developments in what was perceived as the musical center at the time—Western Europe.… read more about Korean Music Meets European Avant-Garde »

The mere mention of public speaking reduces many to tears: sweaty palms and dry mouth, anxiety levels off the charts and the deafening silence that soon follows when the brain refuses to cooperate. Cue the panic attack. Now, imagine not just public speaking, but debating. Now, imagine debating in Arabic and at your first international competition against teams of native speakers in front of an audience of hundreds. Oh, and you are on a team that formed less than a year ago.  This is what the Duke-UNC Arabic debate team… read more about No Arguments: Arabic Debate Team Among the Top Eight »

When Judah Goldin was named Duke’s first chair of Jewish Studies in 1943, the program was housed in the Graduate School. Twenty-nine years later, the Center for Jewish Studies was established—thanks to two visionaries, two universities and a host of generous donors. Today, as the Center for Jewish Studies celebrates its golden anniversary, it has become a world-renowned interdisciplinary program offering an undergraduate certificate in Jewish Studies and supporting master’s and doctoral candidates across Duke. Looking… read more about For 50 Years, the Center for Jewish Studies Has Delivered Interdisciplinary Insight »

On a typical Friday afternoon, my Hindi class gathered to engage with some artists in India. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we were able to practice our Hindi and were challenged out of our comfort zones in the context of acting. I never thought of myself as quite an actor or even an artistic person. These sessions with Kaivalya plays allowed me to challenge myself.  What made this experience so welcoming was how engaging the leader Varoon Ji was as we each entered the zoom room. He would ask each one of us how we… read more about Acting Across the World »

Even now, we could hardly say where in the COVID story we find ourselves, but the academic year that began in August 2021 felt definitively “mid-pandemic” – the vast majority of us transitioning back to campus life and in-person classes and meetings, albeit masked and wary. Some online teaching practices from the previous year bridged over in helpful ways – including allowing those in quarantine for COVID, or those who were still abroad, to be able to join virtually as necessary, and also, for special guest speakers to pop… read more about "The Chinatown Game" »

AY 2021-22 Duke Islamic Studies Center/Jewish Studies/Duke Middle East Studies Center/Asian and Middle East Studies/Romance Studies   The “Convivencia” lecture series over the course in Fall 2021 explored the interaction between Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities in the Iberian peninsula and across the diaspora. The lecture series featured the most prominent scholars working on the topic—but doing so through an interdisciplinary perspective that explored the intersection, overlap, and mutual… read more about Convivencia Lecture Series »

During this pandemic, all educationists became creative and innovative in their teaching pedagogy; they not only connected themselves with the world virtually, but also took their classes to the next level. Online international conferences and networking, along with guest experts talking to students in the classroom, were made possible with Zoom and other technologies. In the field of teaching, we all took a long-jump that will inform our approach for years.  To take the advantage of the momentum of the 'online movement' I… read more about When Covid gives you lemons, make lemonade: Adapting service-learning to an online language course »

Every semester in our Hindi class, we have sessions where we interact and work alongside an NGO in Delhi. I’ve met with this particular NGO several times over 3 semesters. We focus on different topics in each one. For example, last year we discussed Covid-19 and how it was affecting people in India. The girls from the NGO told us about the support they give to the community such as making and handing out masks, distributing food, among other things. This semester, along with the main conversations we had with everyone… read more about Service-Learning in Hindi Classes »

Kusum Ji’s Hindi classes not only incorporate learning about the scripture and language itself, but also various activities that immerse her students in the Indian culture. This is my second class with Kusum Ji (I took Hindi 101 last semester and I am taking Hindi 102 this semester), and in both classes she has done an incredible job of exposing us to multiple facets of Indian culture through both workshops and activities. Last semester, we did a dance class, an acting workshop, and a poetry workshop. This semester, we have… read more about Haiku in Hindi »

Whether it be taking a yoga class in the Duke gardens or learning how to cook an Indian dish with your peers in a communal kitchen, Kusum-ji makes sure to switch up the weekly routine by adding a variety of excursions to keep the class engaging throughout the semester. One of our many excursions involved a class trip to the Nasher Museum of Art, where we were able to enjoy the diverse exhibits, as well as bond with our fellow classmates. Before the visit, we studied and discussed many paintings and arts from Indian artists… read more about Colors of Revolution: Dalit and Black Lives Movements Through Paintings in Hindi Classes »

On Saturday, April 2, Raia Lockerman, Kerry Rork and Anna Greenleaf all had the same two fears: presenting their undergraduate research at a big conference and being away for the Duke vs. UNC game. They were the three Trinity students selected to participate in the 2022 ACC Meeting of the Minds conference, hosted by the University of Virginia between April 1 and 3. The nomination and selection process are extremely competitive, and only five students represented Duke: Lockerman, Rork and Greenleaf from Trinity, as well as… read more about Trinity Students Go on the Road to the ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference »

The Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina invites applications for several Postdoctoral Associate positions including: Arabic Cultural Studies Israeli/Hebrew Cultural Studies Japanese/East Asian Cultural Studies read more about Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Job Opportunities »

Each year, Duke Service-Learning recognizes students, faculty, and community partners with the Betsy Alden Outstanding Service-Learning Awards. Betsy Alden was a pioneer in service-learning, beginning her work at Duke during the 1980s. Read more about the legacy of Betsy Alden HERE. Recipients are chosen because they represent an exceptional commitment to the ideals of service‐learning. Each winner receives $150 to further develop his/her community-building and leadership skills.   Recipients will be recognized in a… read more about 2022 Alden Award Winners Represent the Best of Service-Learning »

It was a sunny March afternoon, relatively warm for Durham standards. Colorful butterflies made their rounds between green grass and fresh spring blossoms, and families brought their kids and dogs to the garden to enjoy nature. The scent of new life was in their air. Slightly out of breath, I arrived at our meeting spot just in time before class started. I greeted our Hindi professor, Kusum Ji, and my classmates. Shortly after arrived our instructor, Subhas Ji. An elderly Indian man with a bright smile, Subhas Ji appeared… read more about Discovering a New Way of Life - A Yoga Class with Subhash Mitthal Ji »

It’s one thing to learn about a language in a classroom setting. It’s another to fully immerse yourself in the culture, not just from a spoken word, but through all five senses. Cooking food is one of the only activities, where we as students, can engage all five of our senses, from tasting delicious mango lassi, to hearing the sizzle of dosa batter on a hot stove, to smelling the alluring aroma of samosa chaat. Cooking class day is my favorite class of the year. On one hand, I love food, especially Indian food. Therefore… read more about Hindi Cooking Class - Immersion through Taste! »

After decades of advocacy and a unanimous vote from the Arts & Sciences Council in February, Duke undergraduates have a new option to consider when registering for fall 2022 classes: a minor in Asian American & Diaspora Studies. The Asian American & Diaspora Studies Program (AADS) has partnered with the Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) to offer the thematic minor, which will be housed in AMES and administered by AADS. “AMES really was the natural choice,” said AADS Director Esther Kim… read more about After Student Activism, Duke Launches Asian American & Diaspora Studies Minor »

When Michaeline Crichlow moved from her native St. Lucia to upstate New York, she had a lot to learn — and not just in the graduate program she attended at Binghamton University. “I became a Black person not in the Caribbean, but in the United States,” said the professor and interim chair of African & African American Studies. Race wasn’t often discussed in St. Lucia, where the vast majority of the population is Black. The rare times it was, the conversation wasn’t about Black and white, but the Indo-Caribbean peoples… read more about What Decolonization Means »