Students present at conference for Asian Affairs

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

Three Eastern students presented their research at the 66th Annual Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana on Sept. 15.

Kyle Cody and Brittany Dixon, both history graduate students, presented their research along with senior history major Seonghwan Kim.

Dixon said the group met up and left Charleston at 5 a.m. last Friday to get to Notre Dame on time for their 12 p.m. presentation. She jokingly said she was the one who was lucky enough to drive.

There were a lot of people who attended the conference she said.

“A huge ballroom dining room was full of people at the tables,” Dixon said.

People came from farther than the Midwest region, Dixon said, some even came from New York.

She said the conference was well put together and had panels going from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Cody’s panel was titled “Impact of German Medical Exchange on Japan’s Racialized National Discourse.”

Dixon’s research presentation was titled “Gender, Race, and Class in American Mission School Policies in the Japanese Empire.”

“I did connections between American and Japanese imperialism as it is used in education for Korean women,” Dixon said.

She said it was tough for her to get all of her thoughts and ideas together, and mentioned it was difficult to get good information from missionaries.

Kim’s research presentation was called “Imperial Eyes on Empires’ Contact Zone: Interpretations of the Korean Armed Struggles against Japan in Manchuria.”

He said his research subject was on the Korean struggle movement in the 1910s in the northeastern part of China.

Kim said as a Korean, the Korean independence movement is an important part of his country’s history. He said it was difficult for him to find source material in English, and there was little research on the subject.

“I felt American students did not know a lot about the Korean independence movement,” Kim said. “I know a lot of Korean history. I wanted to inform and show American people (Korea’s) effort (to make it an independent country).”

Kim said he spent his summer at Eastern doing the research project, and it took him around two months to complete it.

Dixon said she started her research project during the spring of 2017 for a thesis preparation class she had taught by Lee and worked on it until the middle of summer.

By doing this research and presentation, Dixon said she could see how two types of imperialism intersected.

“I could get a lot of sources in English for it,” she added.

Dixon said her favorite part about her research was being able to prove her theory, which focused on two types of imperialism connecting, correct.

Dixon said one of her favorite presentations was about “Chinese bloggers online and how they interact with the online space.”

Kim said the conference was fun, and each presenter got plenty of time with the audience to answer questions.

He said his advice for future presenters of any sort of research is to be confident.

“I am international, and my English is not good, but I did it anyway. So confidence is the most important thing,” Kim said.

Dixon said being prepared helps with confidence. She said she talked to the audience as if it was their first time learning about the subject matter and that really helped her.

Lee said in an email the presenters are now ready to revise their research papers further and to follow up on networking they established with scholars and graduate students in the history field.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 

581-2812 or [email protected].