Asian and Middleastern Studies

Department Home | ORC Entry

amel1

Daniel Briggs ‘ 11
F09-S10 D-plan:  F09:  R-R-L
Japanese modified with Comparative Literature, Minor in Geography

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

The best and worst thing about the Japanese department is its size.  It is very small, so there are not a huge number of courses offered, and you may have to plan your schedule around the courses you have to take.  The good news, however, is that you get to know all of the professors very well, and they’re interesting, amazing, and fun.  I strongly recommend taking a course or two, even if you don’t think you’d be interested – let the professors change your mind!

The language courses are challenging, but you progress at an amazing rate, and the professors are there if you need support, every step of the way.

Important info for potential majors:

If you think you would like to major, I would suggest taking Japanese 1, 2, and 3 your first year, so that you can go on the LSA+ in Tokyo during your first summer.  It’s a incredible experience, and it gives you enough time to complete your major without stress.  If you wait until your Sophomore Summer to go on the LSA, not only will you miss your Sophomore Summer, you’ll have to scramble to make up for lost time.

Talk to me if:

Talk to me if you’re interested in modern and postmodern Japanese culture, history, and literature.

Most valuable academic info learned:

Dartmouth may seem like a small school, but there is an unbelievable breadth of resources available to you.  These resources are not just departments like Career Services or Off Campus Programs, they include your professors and your peers.  Get to know people, and you can discover and assemble a body of knowledge you’ve never thought about or even heard of.

Favorite class and professor:    Japanese 81, “The Art of War,” with Professor Dorsey.  In this small, discussion-based course, we explored the propaganda, mythology, and history of World War II from the Japanese perspective.  Learning about World War II from a the Japanese point-of-view was especially interesting because it is a topic seldom covered in American and World History classes, one with which I was entirely unfamiliar.

Major classes taken:

JAPN 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 22, 23, 32, 59, 62, 81; COLT 10, 19

Major journey:

I came to Dartmouth intending to major in Chemistry and eventually go on to do something with Pharmacology, but that didn’t last long.  I had been interested in Japanese culture, but as soon as I took a class and began to talk with professors in the department, I knew that it was the place for me.  The LSA+ erased any thoughts I had of just minoring in Japanese – I was hooked.

Major-specific activities:

Drill Instructor.

Thesis status:

I intend to write a thesis on self-representation in postmodern and contemporary Japanese literature, with either Professor Washburn or Professor Dorsey.

Other activities:

Telluride Association, associate, interviewer; AGORA; Club Frisbee; Club Table Tennis.

Off-campus program:

Japanese LSA+ in Tokyo, 08X

Internship experience:

James Snidle Fine Arts & Appraisals, Executive Associate, 08F

slider

Frances Dales ‘10 amel-frances
F09-S10 D-plan:  R-R-R
AMELL – concentration in Chinese major / Spanish Literature minor

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

My favorite thing about the department are the professors, who genuinely care very much about their students and want them to learn, and the very small class sizes (especially in upper level courses). My least favorite thing is the greater emphasis on literature over language, in the sense that upper level courses are taught in English and I lack practice conversing in Chinese.

Important info for potential majors:

Beyond Chinese 33, you will not speak Chinese in class. You will continue to read in Chinese and learn vast amounts about the culture, but you won’t practice speaking/listening.

Talk to me if:

Talk to me if you feel behind because you came to Dartmouth without any experience in Chinese.

Most valuable academic info learned:

The more engaged you are with your professors, inside or outside of the class, the more engaged you will become with the course material, the more enamoured of it you will become, and the more you’ll learn.

Favorite class and professor:

My favorite class was Spanish 37 with Annabel Martín. It was a class on Basque literature and society from the end of the Spanish Civil War through the present. We read great books and she was such a wonderful professor that the entire class wanted to please her enormously, leading to interesting class discussions and more exceptional work.

Major classes taken:

CHIN 10, 11, 31, 33, 41, 51, 52; LING 1

Major journey:

I came into Dartmouth wanting to take Arabic and Italian, but changed my mind during fall course selection to Chinese and Spanish. Foreign literature courses combine my interests of reading and different cultures, and these cultures in particular engage me intellectually.

Thesis status:

I intend to research and write a thesis during Fall ’09 and Winter ’10 with Susan Blader as my advisor. I recently submitted a proposal detailing that I will write on reading the effect of globalization on Chinese identity in the sensuality of contemporary Chinese female literature.

Other activities:

SAPA; Sigma Delta – Social Chair; the Tabard; babysitting (since January ’09)

Off-campus program:

Chinese FSP in Beijing, 07X

Internship experience:

Georgia Ports Authority, intern in Trade Development, 08W, Savannah, GA

slider

Sam Rashkovich ‘10AMEL-Sam-Rashkovich
F09-S10 D-plan:  R-R-R
Major/Minor: Japanese and Biology double major

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

The professors are without a doubt the heart and soul of the department; they are all fantastic and, furthermore, very different, so they complement each other perfectly. You’ll get to know them really well, which is a huge plus, as they are always available and willing to have a conversation about anything. The language classes are superbly taught, and you’ll meet some of your best friends in the first-year classes. Aside from the language classes, from my experience there is not enough variety when in comes to the culture/literature courses, but this may simply have been a result of one of the professors being on sabbatical. Also, you won’t get much beyond LITs when it comes to fulfilling distributive requirements.

Important info for potential majors:

Japanese is the largest major at Dartmouth (in terms of the number of classes you have to take—including prerequisites), and so you really have to plan ahead as to what you’re going to take when, when your off-terms will be, etc. Especially if you’re thinking of double majoring (or more). Knowing the requirements thoroughly is an important first step. Also, the major is more flexible than you might think from reading the ORC!

Talk to me if:

Talk to me if you’re having trouble with any of the language classes, or if you’re interested in Japanese dramas, anime, or kanji!

Most valuable academic info learned:

Just pursue what you enjoy! Don’t feel compelled to go pre-med (for example), unless you have a genuine passion for medicine. Don’t be afraid to pursue majors that you don’t intend or foresee extending into careers; in other words, studying something simply because you like learning about it can be an end unto itself.

Favorite class and professor:

First year courses in Japanese (JAPN 1, 2, 3) with Professors Ishida and Watanabe!! They have really different teaching styles and personalities, but you’ll benefit from the different approaches. Most importantly, they both really know how to teach the material and how to make the classes FUN!! The classes are also really rewarding, and you’ll realize after the end of spring term how much Japanese you’ve learned since the fall.

Major classes taken:

AMELL 17; AMES 11; JAPN 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 22, 23, 31, 32, 33, 41, 61, 62; REL 19

Major journey:

I knew that I would be a Japanese major before entering college, as I had a long history of association with Japanese culture ranging from martial arts training to a liking for anime. When I first consciously listened to spoken Japanese, I fell in love with the language and decided to study it. Since then, my interest in the language and culture of Japan has only grown as I have become more familiar with them.

Major-specific activities:

Drill Instructor, Director’s Assistant for the Japanese LSA+, Presidential Scholars research assistant to Professor Washburn

Thesis status:

Intended, with Professor Washburn. The topic is still to be determined, but it will have something to do with anime and/or Japanese dramas and/or video games.

Other activities:

Dartmouth Japan Society – President; Dartmouth Table Tennis Club – President; Dartmouth Animal Welfare Group

Off-campus program:

Japanese LSA+ in Tokyo, 07X

Internship experience:

Nikko Asset Management Americas, Inc., Summer Intern, 08X, New York, NY

slider

Adrian Wood-Smith ’10amel4-adrian
F09-S10 D-plan: L-R-R
Arabic Languages & Literatures; Linguistics minor

Favorite and least favorite thing about department:

The small number of students who maintain an interest in Asian and Middle Eastern studies means that there are great opportunities for individual faculty interaction within the department. However, the relatively low demand means a smaller faculty, and working your D-plan around the terms in which interesting classes are offered can limit other opportunities.

Important info for potential majors:

Though some of the required classes for the major are offered only once every year or every two years, you can get credit for most of them through study-abroad opportunities.

Talk to me if:

you want to study abroad anywhere in the Middle East.

Most valuable academic information learned:
Developing individual relationships with professors helps them to understand you better and increases your chances of receiving extensions and outside help from them.

Favorite class and professor:

Arabic 61: Modern Arabic Fiction with Professor Jonathan Smolin gave me an excellent introduction to contemporary issues and writings from the Middle East, and was one of the most engaging discussion-based classes I have taken at Dartmouth.

Major classes taken:

ARAB 1-3, 10, 31-33, 61, 62; JAPN 62; LING 1; AMES 17/LING 50; HEBREW 10.

Major journey:

I have known my major since my Junior year of high school. I started studying the Arabic alphabet at that time and the more I learned about the language, the more I fell in love with it. Any disappointments or frustrations I have had with the Arabic department at Dartmouth have been quite minor.

Major specific activities:

Arabic drill instructor.

Thesis status:

Intended, with Professor Hussein Kadhim, though I am not sure exactly what area yet.

Off-campus program:

Intensive Arabic program in Jordan (through UVA), 07X; intensive Arabic program in Alexandria, Egypt (through Middlebury), 08F.

Other activities:

Al-Nur Muslim Student Association—President; upperclass & freshman UGA; Chamber Singers; individual piano lessons.

Internship experience:

Marhaba Volunteers in the Middle East: volunteer children’s teacher, Cairo, 08X.