Ethan Barkalow began studying East Asia while an undergraduate student at Bowdoin College where he took courses in Japanese and Chinese history, studied Japanese language, and wrote an honors thesis on environmental history in northern Japan. He majored in History and Environmental Studies and minored in Japanese. After graduating from Bowdoin, his unyielding interest in Japanese language, history, and environmental studies inspired him to move to Japan where he taught English in elementary schools for two years as a Japan Exchange and Teaching Program participant. At Yale, he researched the marine environment in twentieth-century East Asia, with special attention to seaweed cultivation in Tokyo Bay and colonial Korea. He endeavored to highlight linked histories of coastal zones in the Japanese archipelago and the Korean peninsula. He aimed to bring the natural world to the fore in entangled histories of empire, colonial subjectivity, capitalist expansion, and traditional livelihoods. Outside of his academic interests, Ethan enjoys bluegrass, folk, and choral music and is an avid hiker.
Jonathan Chan is interested in the interactions between the East Asian diaspora and East Asia, especially China and Korea, with a particular interest in language, religion, and literature. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore. He received a BA in English from the University of Cambridge where he chaired the Cambridge Chinese Christian Fellowship and Decolonise English Campaign, wrote a column for student newspaper Varsity, and sang in the gospel choir. He spent a summer as an international scholar at Tsinghua University and has acquired professional experience at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an impact investing firm, and various non-profit organizations. He is also active as a writer and editor of essays and poetry. His dissertation on literary depictions of migration within Asia, centered on the poetry of Zakir Hossain Khokan and Shromik Monir and the novels of Min Jin Lee and Tash Aw, was published in Synergy: The Journal of Contemporary Asian Studies.
Chen Jingwen was raised in Hunan Province in China and received her B.A. degree from the University of Hong Kong. She majored in English studies and translation. During her undergraduate studies, she became interested in the translation of Chinese poetry and contemporary Chinese novels. In her free time, she enjoys watching films and singing.
Siming Chen was born and raised in Shenzhen, China, and received her bachelor’s degree at Tufts University with a double major in International Literary & Visual Studies and French. She is interested in topics such as diasporic experience in Chinese modern art and literature, and she wants to explore comparative methods in her future studies of modernism. Siming is also passionate for language studies and is currently striving to improve her proficiency in Japanese. She is an amateur of violin in her spare time.
Jiarong (Vincent) Fan was born and raised in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China. He received his bachelor’s degree at Emory University with double majors in Film & Media and East Asian Studies. He used to be a member of Halle Institute of Global Research at Emory and co-founder of Emory Global China Summit. Currently he is interested in a variety of topics including culture (especially film and media), industry policies and strategies in Japan, transregional diplomatic relations in East Asia, as well as ethnic problems in China. Vincent is also passionate about language studies and is currently striving to improve his fluency in Japanese. In his spare time, he loves watching Japanese and Korean films and TV series, as well as reading scholarly publications related to East Asia. He also enjoys photography and making short films.
Xiaofan Han was born and raised in Wuhan, China. He majored in History and Economics as an undergraduate student at William & Mary. He is interested in communism in the 20th century as well as how historical narratives and collective memories of past events are constructed and contested in contemporary China. He has worked at AidData, a think tank at William & Mary, where he examined the infrastructure projects under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Outside of academics, he likes to think about security issues in East Asia like an armchair admiral. He is a travel enthusiast, a food lover, and a mediocre table tennis player. He likes Wuhan-style Shaomai, and he believes that Cantonese Shumai is for the weak.
Tyler Hayward was born in Emporia, Kansas but grew up in El Paso, Texas and attended the University of Houston for his undergraduate studies. There he majored in Economics and Chinese Studies, and received a minor in Phronêsis (politics and ethics) and a certification in quantitative economics. He completed his junior year in China studying Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture at Peking University in Beijing, China as a recipient of the Chinese Government Scholarship. Despite being interested by all things related to China, he is primarily interested in studying the political economy of China, with a special emphasis on the development of China’s trading relationships, its interregional differences in development, and its form of state capitalism. Outside of school, Tyler enjoys walking, running, and hiking as it allows him to see the world at a slower pace than he would through the window of a plane, train, or automobile.
Suiyun Pan, born and raised in Hangzhou, China, earned his B.A. degree with Highest Honors in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During his undergraduate years, Suiyun was fascinated with both Classics (namely, ancient Greek and Roman literature) and classical Chinese literature, evident in his senior thesis that delves into a comparison between Homer’s Helen of Troy and Bai Juyi’s Yang Yuhuan. At Yale, he continued his exploration of classical Chinese poetry, focusing on gender, aesthetics, narrativity, and philosophical thoughts, hopefully from an East-West comparative angle. Meanwhile, Suiyun is passionate about bringing Chinese pop-music to the stage of classical literature studies to build a new bridge between Chinese modernity and tradition. In his spare time, Suiyun enjoys watching movies and TV series, listening to music, singing, cooking, driving around aimlessly, and sometimes playing basketball and soccer as an amateur. His idol is Leslie Cheung, a Hong Kong artist (even a cultural icon of the city) renowned for his splendid songs and formidable films.
Brenda Tan graduated from the London School of Economics, majoring in International Relations. During her undergraduate years, she spent a summer at Peking University and took several classes on East and Southeast Asian international relations, as well as Chinese history. Her graduation thesis examined reasons for the Duterte administration’s polycephalous China foreign policies in the South China Sea. Since graduating in 2020, she has spent her gap year learning Japanese and gaining work experiences at startups and in innovation. She is currently interested in the social history and material cultures of China, and hopes to adopt interdisciplinary approaches to deepen her understanding of the region. In her free time, Brenda enjoys water sports, exploring museums and playing video games.
Sabrina Williams was raised in Northern California and received her B.A. degree from Northwestern University in 2018, where she majored in Political Science. During her undergraduate studies, she became interested in the political activities of minority groups in Japan both contemporarily and historically. In 2016, Sabrina received a research grant and spent the summer in Japan studying the youth protest group S.E.A.L.D.s, Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy. In Tokyo, she interviewed activists, students, professors, journalists, and lobbyists to gain a deeper understanding of the movement, and the circumstances that led to its development. After graduating from Northwestern, Sabrina worked in Federal consulting for three years, developing an in-depth understanding of the business and technical worlds while having the opportunity to travel and teach internationally. At Yale, Sabrina continued to focus her research on the experiences and political developments of minority groups in Japan in the 20th century. In her free time, Sabrina enjoys playing the flute, watching films, and visiting museums.
Xuechen Yang’s research ranges from early to medieval Chinese literature. He has been writing on textual phenomena, such as, as he named, the ‘anonymous character’ in the Zhuzi discourses and historical narratives of early China. He is interested in the vague image, and in particular, image as a way of creating tensions in both narrative and lyrical texts. At Yale, Xuechen studied the vague part of the text exerted an influence on the whole picture and why this “convention” failed to mature into what people call tradition. As a believer in the received text, something he considers as the general “classics”, Xuechen explores the textual structure and its features through religious reading. Xuechen is also the co-founder of Shiretoko Academy. He loves reading Kawabata Yasunari and Marcel Proust.
Chloe Young graduated from the University of Oxford, with a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. In her time at Oxford, she especially enjoyed classes in political theory which allowed her to take a cross-disciplinary approach to real-life problems and wrote her finals thesis on the egalitarian implications of online shaming sanctions. She was also a Director at the Oxford University Asia Pacific Society and President of the Oxford University Malaysian and Singaporean Students’ Association. She spent her year at Yale making the most of the interdisciplinary nature of the MA in East Asan Studies. Her academic interests include Chinese politics and contemporary issues in Asia. Besides academic interests, Chloe is a huge foodie and a casual vinyl record collector. Upon graduation, she will be returning to Singapore to serve in the Singapore Public Service.