Kjell Ericson is a historian of Japan with interests in science, law, and oceans. Kjell received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. His current research project examines the intertwined twentieth century histories of marine pearl cultivation in the Japanese empire and machine-mediated methods for telling “natural” pearls apart from “cultured” or “cultivated” ones in post-WWI Europe. Amid dramatic transformations in Japan’s patent and fisheries laws, marine entrepreneurs began to raise and surgically manipulate living shellfish in order to produce pearls on a massive scale. Pearl and precious stone wholesalers in England and France sought to create distinctions between their own pearls and new ones from Japan that looked virtually identical on the surface. Making use of archival materials on four continents, this project reconstructs the global activities of Mikimoto Kōkichi, a man whose pearl business was at the center of multiple contests over the meaning of cultivation on land and sea. During his time at Yale, Kjell revised his dissertation for publication and taught an undergraduate seminar called “Japan and the Ocean, 1600-Present.” Starting in the Fall of 2016, he will be teaching at Connecticut College in New London.
Rebecca Shuang Fu focuses on Chinese literature and textual culture in the 1st millennium, particularly Turfan and Dunhuang manuscripts (200–1000). At the same time, she also has a broad range of interests in social history, art history, popular religion and culture, current archaeology, history of writing, and women’s and gender studies. Her current book project, Women’s Literacy Practices in Late Medieval China, traces women’s engagement and involvement in text-based activities back to the second half of the 1st millennium, a period during which the written word played an ever-increasing role in people’s day-to-day lives. Drawing on certain types of primary materials underutilized in the field of medieval Chinese literature, such as Turfan and Dunhuang manuscripts, this book’s interdisciplinary approach brings into focus the generally overlooked category of non-elite women. Rebecca received her Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania in 2015. While at Yale, she revised her dissertation into a book manuscript, frequented the libraries, deciphered manuscripts, and taught an undergraduate seminar, “Writing and Textual Culture in China and Beyond.”
Woo Chang Kang received his Ph.D from New York University in 2015. His research focuses on political economy and political behavior in East Asia. His dissertation, Who Gets What, When: Electoral Cycles in Pork Barrel Politics, develops a dynamic theory of distributive politics where incumbents target marginal voters before an election but cater to core supporters after an election. He tests this theory in three developed democracies: South Korea, Japan and the United States. Beyond his dissertation work, his scholarly interests range widely from exploring the long-term effects of historical events such as the Korean War to understanding public attitudes and voting behaviors in contemporary politics. While at Yale, he will team-taught an undergraduate seminar with Professor Frances Rosenbluth, “The Politics and Political Economy of East Asia.” Starting in Fall 2016, he will be a lecturer at Australia National University’s School of Politics & International Relations.
Dima Mironenko is a film and cultural historian of North Korea. His research focuses on the history of everyday. His dissertation, “A Jester with Chameleon Faces: Laughter and Comedy in North Korea, 1954-1969,” looks at how laughter functioned in North Korean culture, examining its effects on society and cultural policy during the postwar decade. Dima received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 2014. Before coming to Yale, he spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University. While at Yale, Dima worked on his book manuscript and taught an undergraduate seminar, “North Korea through Film.” For the next academic year he will hold the Louis Frieberg Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center of East Asian Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.