University of Minnesota
Asian Languages & Literature

Asian Languages and Literature.

News & Events



  • Kaler Calls Out Kat Klett


    Kat Klett without bees

    In President Kaler's State of the University address on March 6th, he called on only one student for special recognition: Katrina (Kat) Klett--an Asian Languages & Literatures major, focusing in Chinese, with a minor in Sustainability Studies (administered by University's Institute on the Environment). Kat is known for her bees and her Chinese. She grew up in a family that specializes in breeding queen bees for US beekeepers. Chinese came later, after she arrived at the university. Kat loved language study, so why not Chinese? These two skills serve her well in her on-going work with farmers and migratory beekeepers in Yunnan Province, China, where biodiversity has made for a strong apicultural (aka. beekeeping) environment.

    Kat Klett with bees

    Kat plans on changing the world: she is committed to modifying modern agricultural practices to promote biodiversity at home and abroad. And she is well on her way. She is already the recipient of two prestigious national undergraduate awards: the Harry S. Truman Scholarship and the Udall Scholarship. And she was also a winner, placing 2nd, in the U.S. Midwest University Level Chinese Bridge Speech Contest held in spring 2013. The next stage of her work will include graduate studies in Public Affairs and a return to Asia and Africa to continue working with rural populations and bees.

    April 1st, 2014
  • Travis Workman Wins University's Top Award


    Assistant Professor Travis Workman has been named a University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professor, the highest honor the University awards to junior faculty. Travis will hold the title from 2014-16.

    The purpose of the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship program is to advance the careers of the most promising junior faculty members who are at the beginning stages of their professional careers, and who have the potential to make significant contributions to their departments and to their scholarly fields.

    The award will support Travis research on "Melodrama and the Cold War: Ideas and Emotion in Korean Cinemas" that analyzes the melodramatic mode in the cinema cultures on both sides of the Cold War, focusing on the South Korean and North Korean film industries (1945-89). Expanding on his first book on humanism in the Japanese empire, he explores the political, social, and humanist ideas of Cold War melodrama, as well as parodies and critiques of its dominant images of a world split in two.

    March 12th, 2014
  • New Scholarship for Students of Arabic

    K Wilson photo shop.jpg

    Kimberly Wilson checking out some traditional transportation in Fez, Morocco fall 2013

    Thanks to the generosity Prof. Caesar E. Farrah, late professor of Arabic language and history, Asian Languages and Literatures is pleased to announce a new scholarship for students of Arabic. Through the Middle East Outreach Consortium (MEOC) scholarship, students receive support for a year of Arabic language study. This year we have two recipients: Benjamin Eischens and Kimberly Wilson. Benjamin, a Linguistics major and Asian Languages and Literatures minor, focusing in Arabic, is currently working on his second year of Arabic at the University. Beyond the standard language classes, Benjamin also applied his knowledge of Arabic in a research paper for his "Languages of the World" course last fall. He is planning to study abroad next year. Last semester, Kimberly, a Political Science and Global Studies double major, went to the Arabic Language Institute in Fez, Morocco to continue her Arabic studies. In addition to her class work, she used Arabic in her daily interaction with her host family and other people in Fez, including when she volunteered at a shelter for abused young girls. Congratulations to Benjamin and Kimberly.

    February 5th, 2014
  • ALL Hosts Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program Alumni

    The Japanese Language Program invited the JET Alumni Association (JETAA) of Minnesota to hold JET information sessions on October 28 and October 31. The JETAA members gave enthusiastic presentations for an audience of thirty-five interested students. The presenters were: Mario Acito (ALL alumnus, 2010-2013 Kyoto ), Amanda Costello (ALL alumna, 2005-2007 Hyogo), Kate Myer (U of M graduate, currently in U of M grad school and taking 3rd year Japanese, 2006-2010 Nagasaki), and Kate Thersleff (Events Coordinator of JETAA of Minnesota; U of M-Morris graduate, 2005-2008 Wakayama).

    JET_Mario cropped.jpg

    Mario Acito, ALL alumnus, with his 5th grade students from Goka Elementary School (Kyotango City, Kyoto) 2013

    Since 1987, the Japanese government has hired over 55,000 young people from around the world to live and work as an assistant language teacher or a coordinator for international relations in Japan. We are very proud that the Japanese Language Program sends several students to Japan through the JET Program every year. We sent seven students to Japan in 2013.

    December 5th, 2013
  • Professor Richard B. Mather Turns 100 Today!


    November 11, 2013 is Richard Mather's one hundredth birthday! Mather was born in Baoding, China and grew up there until he came to United States to go to college, graduating summa cum laude in 1935 from Princeton University. His plans to return to China were interrupted by the war and he instead went on to the University of California, Berkeley to pursue his PhD in Chinese literature, studying with Peter Boodberg and others.

    Mather came to the University of Minnesota in 1949 to found the study of Chinese language and literature. In the following decades, he was a major force in Chinese studies at the university and across the nation. He was central to establishing the field of early medieval Chinese studies with his monumental translation, A New Account of Tales of the World (University of Minnesota Press, 1976). Even after his 1984 retirement Mather was very active, publishing The Poet Shen Yüeh: The Reticent Marquis (Princeton UP, 1988) and the two-volume The Age of Eternal Brilliance: Three Lyric Poets of the Yung-ming Era (Brill, 2003). His New Account was reissued in a revised second edition by U of Michigan Press in 2002.

    His beloved wife Virginia, to whom the Age of Brilliance was simply dedicated as "For Ginny", passed away in 2012. Richard currently lives with his daughter in Northern Minnesota.

    The Department of Asian Languages and Literatures established the Richard B. and Virginia Mather Fellowship in Asian Languages and Literatures to help support graduate students in our new PhD program.

    November 11th, 2013
  • Student Takes the Prize in China

    Anthony Dodge is one of the best students of Chinese in the world. We know that because he won a first prize in the international Chinese language competition, Chinese Bridge: Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students, held in China this summer. One of 123 students from seventy-seven countries, Anthony was the only student from United States to be a top-ten finalist. The month-long competition sponsored by the Chinese government was in four stages, each of which was a nationally broadcast television program. These included speeches, talent contests (Anthony played the cello and the Chinese erhu), acting in short plays, live performances, and even a scavenger hunt in an amusement park (in which Anthony also came in first).

    Anthody Dodge Cello cropped.jpg

    Anthony began his Chinese studies in ALL as a freshman, and completed four years of language instruction with us, including two short study-abroads. He graduated in May and is now studying Chinese literature at Nanjing University with a scholarship from the Confucius Institute. After that he hopes to pursue an MBA at Tsinghua University in Beijing--as a Chinese Bridge first prize winner, he already has a scholarship to do so!

    Ling Wang, Director of Instruction for Chinese program, told Anthony "Your great achievements will inspire all Chinese-language learners at UMN to become enthusiastic and motivated students."

    October 8th, 2013
  • Korean Program: Biggest and Best of its Kind

    Hangtae Cho, PhD, Director of Language Instruction, is internationally renowned for his development of our Korean language program, which features training for non-heritage learners. It is the nation's largest program of this type, and the second largest of any Korean program in the United States. Thus, Hangtae was recently invited to the 23rd International Conference hosted by the International Association for Korean Language Education on August 10-11, 2013 in Seoul, Korea to present on "Case Study of Dealing with Mixed Language Classes for Heritage and Non-Heritage Students".

    Hangtae cropped.jpg

    The conference gathered world renowned Korean language scholars to discuss the theme, "Developing Strategies in Korean Language Classrooms". After attending the conference, Hangtae also gave a special lecture, "Past, Present and Future of Korean Education in US," to graduate students of Korean language education at Korea University (his alma mater) during his visit to Korea.

    Hangtae said that it was a great opportunity to share his ideas in an international academic arena.

    Conference website:

    August 28th, 2013
  • ALL Students Walk Away with the Prizes

    Upon invitation of the Chinese Consulate General of Chicago, the University of Minnesota hosted the annual U. S. Midwest Chinese Bridge Speech Contest. Organized by the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, with support from College of Liberal Arts, Confucius Institute and Institute of Global Studies, the event brought nearly sixty students from seventeen universities and colleges across the region, including University of Iowa, University of Kansas, University of Wisconsin, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. The all-day event included speech and talent contest at six language levels. Judging was organized by Professor Gu Licheng of Northwestern, implementing a double-blind process.

    Ling Wang, Director of Chinese Language and her colleagues, especially Chi-ping Li, worked long hours to organize the whole event and to train our students. We were kind and considerate hosts, but also fierce competitors. Our students in ALL secured a majority of the prizes, including eight of twelve first place awards! The day ended with an awards banquet that also featured professional local performers.

    Chinese Speech Contest Winners

    Back row (left to right): Peter Williams, Emily Atchison, Joshua Quinn, Alex Renner
    Front row (left to right): Anthony Dodge, Grace Polverari, Molly Himsel, Allison Malmsten

    August 5th, 2013
  • 1894: The Sino-Japanese War at Sea -- Screening and Conversation with the Filmmaker

    Meet director Feng Xiaoning 冯小宁, one of China's most popular filmmakers, watch his most recent blockbuster 1894: The Sino-Japanese War at Sea, which was named Best Picture in 2012 by the China Movie Channel, and engage in a dialogue with the filmmaker himself, who will conduct a Q & A following the screening.

    This epic war drama is set in the late 19th century and aims to reinterpret the historical facts of the War of Jiawu between China's Manchurian Qing Empire and Japan. In light of the recent
    Sino-Japanese island dispute in the South China Sea, this film provides important historical context for current events.


    This event is free and open to the public.
    October 23, 2012, 6:00PM - 8:30PM
    100 Rapson Hall Auditorium, East Bank, U of Minnesota

    This event is co-sponsored by Department of Asian Languages and Literatures, the University of Minnesota and US-China Cultural Media Group.

    October 23rd, 2012
  • ALL Students Rule. Really Rule.

    Students in our Chinese Program walked away with almost all the first and second prizes in the regional Midwest Chinese Bridge Speech Contest at Northwestern University this May. In fact, every ALL student sent to the competition placed either first or second. There were fifty-five contestants from nine Midwest universities in the competition. Joel Brown, first prize winner in the third level, will be one of the two representatives from our region sent to compete in the world-wide speech contest in Beijing, China later this year.

    Each contestant presented a short prepared speech (without referring to notes), and then performed a Chinese cultural talent. The students in our program presented a variety of talents such as: singing, dancing, performing a short play, and acting out a talk show. Each competitor's final score was based on their weighted combination of the speech (80%) and the talent (20%). The competition was judged by high-school teachers from the Chicago, IL, area.


    Pictured left to right: Joshua Quinn, Luke Jerviss, Ling Wang, Chi-ping Li, Yefei Jin, James Thomas Lein, Joseph Carl, Joel Brown

    The winners are:

    • Joshua Quinn (first prize)

    • Joseph Carl (first prize)

    • James Thomas Lein (second prize)


    • Luke Jerviss (first prize)

    • Joel Brown (first prize)

      4th-year heritage student:
    • Yefei Jin (second prize)

    This is the third consecutive year ALL Chinese Program students have been successful in the Midwest Regional Chinese Bridge competition and sending a representative to participate in Worldwide Chinese Bridge competition in China. This continued success is due to the students' talents and hard work, as well as the leadership of the Chinese Program's Director Dr. Ling Wang and the continuous dedication of Chi-ping Li and the rest of the team of Chinese language instructors teaching at the University of Minnesota.

    Arrangements for trip to Northwestern University were supported by the Confucius Institute and the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures.

    May 24th, 2012