Conference celebrates Yale’s leadership in ethnic studies

Yale celebrated its legacy of ethnic studies in a Nov. 3-4 conference sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM) and the Asian American Cultural Center. The conference honored the late Don Nakanishi ’71, a Yale graduate who was a pioneer in the fields of ethnic and Asian-American studies and an inspiration for generations of young scholars.

Janelle Wong ’01 Ph.D., professor of American studies and director of the American Studies Program at the University of Maryland, offered the keynote address the evening of Nov. 3. Her remarks, titled “Race and Politics from Don Nakanishi to Donald Trump,” considered what we learn about race and politics by “looking at them through an Asian-American lens.”

A Q&A with Tshering Dukpa, Visiting Scholar from Bhutan

Tshering Dukpa

Since 2012, The Bhutan Foundation has sponsored semester-long traineeships for Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan public health faculty at the Yale School of Public Health. In 2015, the partnership was formalized to provide ongoing collaboration between the two institutions. KGUMSB trainees take YSPH classes with the goal of expanding their teaching skills and working on independent research with Yale scientists. To date, five Bhutanese faculty members have completed semester-long traineeships. Tshering Dukpa, the most recent visiting scholar from Bhutan, is now studying at YSPH. “We are delighted that Tshering is spending the fall 2016 term with us at YSPH and excited about the continuation of our work in Bhutan,” said Kaveh Khoshnood, M.P.H. ’89, Ph.D. ’95, associate professor and director of the program.

Africa’s Population Growth Could Undermine Sustainability Goals

If the world’s fertility rates remain constant, global population would more than triple and reach 26 billion by the end of the century. However, many demographers assume fertility rates will ease. The most commonly used projection assumes that global fertility rates decline to 2 births per women from the present global average of 2.5 births – suggesting that the world’s population will climb to 11 billion just before the end of the century. In either scenario, Africa is rapidly growing with 20 African nations posting fertility rates in excess of five children per woman. Demographer Joseph Chamie argues that stabilization of world population is the paramount issue of the 21st century, and he urges policymakers to aim for this goal: “To do otherwise jeopardizes efforts to achieve universally adopted sustainable development goals, including ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.”

‘Bulgaria! Revolt!’ — a new musical is staged by School of Drama students

Can one small person or nation change the great tide of history? That question is explored in the Yale School of Drama’s next production, “Bulgaria! Revolt!”

From a Bulgarian village on the eve of revolution to the fantastical capitalist paradise of America, a condemned poet travels through time and space in this tragicomic new musical inspired by Geo Milev’s epic poem, “September.” Performances run Dec. 9-15 at the Iseman Theater, 1156 Chapel St.

“Bulgaria! Revolt!” was created by Elizabeth Dinkova and Miranda Rose Hall, with book and lyrics by Hall and music by Michael Costagliola. Dinkova will direct the production.

The Yale Young African Scholars Program Celebrates a Successful Summer

After an outstanding summer in Rwanda, Ghana, and Zimbabwe, the Yale Young African Scholars program (YYAS) welcomed 300 of Africa’s most talented high school students to its growing alumni network. The 2016 cohort represented 25 African countries and brought together students from various socio-economic backgrounds. YYAS is an academic and leadership program that seeks to provide the next generation of Africa’s leaders with the skills and mentorship needed to navigate the U.S. college admissions process. The program is made possible through a partnership with the HigherLife Foundation, and run in close collaboration with the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area studies at Yale. YYAS is the flagship student program of the Yale Africa Initiative.

Hooked on Spanish Literature

Edwin Stewart Atkins (Spanish & Portuguese) recently published an article in Bulletin of the Comediantes about “ambiguity, bias, and visual deceit” in the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega’s 1631 masterpiece El castigo sin venganza (Justice without Revenge). “I propose a new reading for the apparently minor character of Aurora and claim that she is actually central in affecting the play’s outcome and thematic ambiguity,” he says. In addition to a close reading of the play itself, he analyzes Lope’s main source – a story by Italian writer Matteo Bandello (c. 1480–1562), and the “tachaduras” (words crossed out in Lope’s manuscript revisions).

Atkins didn’t set out to be a scholar of Spanish literature. He was interested in Spanish culture and earned a master’s degree from Aalborg University (Denmark) in “Spanish Culture, Communication, and Globalization.” He also studied at the Official Language School of Madrid. But he didn’t take his first course in Spanish literature until about ten years after he graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in psychology.


Preparing for Difficult Reforms, Chinese Party Leaders Consolidate Power

China’s Xi Jinping is the second leader of the People’s Republic of China to be designated “core” of party leadership. Deng Xiaoping “invented the title ‘core,’ bestowing it on Jiang Zemin, whom he chose as the party leader after the tumult of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 and the downfall of General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, who had sympathized with protesting students,” explains journalist Frank Ching. Power consolidation, demonstrated by Xi’s new title, leaves no excuse for delaying needed reforms. The country’s challenges are many including an aging population and rising middle class with high expectations, slowing job growth and rising inequality, along with worries about corruption, growing debt and environmental degradation. Speculation abounds over Xi’s next steps as leaders prepare for the difficult task of expecting a billion people to accept reforms. Xi alone is in charge and, as Ching suggests, his title could serve as armor or target. – YaleGlobal