ASP Launches New Director's Speaker Series

The Asian Studies Program invites all students, faculty, and staff to attend our 2016-2017 Director's Speaker Series moderated by ASP Director Dr. Victor Cha. From journalists and ambassadors to noted scholars in the field, the speakers will share their knowledge and insight, discussing today's most critical issues in East, South, and Southeast Asia. Read the biographies below to learn more about our guests for the Fall 2016 semester. Spring 2017 speakers will be announced later this year.

Mr. Evan Ramstad

Friday, September 16
12:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
ICC 302-P


Evan Ramstad has served as one of the leading analysts of the economic and business scene in Korea. A journalist since 1987, he is currently deputy business editor on the business news desk of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Before that, he was chief Korea correspondent for the Wall Street Journal from 2006 to 2013. During that time, he covered the full range of South Korea’s alliance, trade, security, business, social, and political issues. He made numerous appearances in South Korean and international media during that time and gave lectures to university and civic groups around the country. Mr. Ramstad previously wrote for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong and Dallas and for the Associated Press in Dallas, Minneapolis, Washington, and New York. Currently, Mr. Ramstad serves as Distinguished Senior Associate (non-resident) for the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Ambassador derek mitchell

Friday, September 30
12:30 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
ICC 302-P

Ambassador Derek Mitchell served nearly four years as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma), the first in 22 years. Previously, he was appointed as the U.S. Department of State’s first Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, with the rank of ambassador.

Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Mitchell served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs (APSA), in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In that capacity, he spent six months as acting APSA Assistant Secretary of Defense, and was responsible for overseeing the Defense Department’s security policy in Northeast, Southeast, South, and Central Asia. In recognition of his exemplary service, he received the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Distinguished Public Service in August 2011. From 2001 to 2009, Ambassador Mitchell served as Senior Fellow and Director of the Asia Division of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he founded the CSIS Southeast Asia Initiative. From 1997 to 2001, he served as Special Assistant for Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In this role he served alternately as Senior Country Director for China, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Hong Kong, Director for Regional Security Affairs, Country Director for Japan, and Senior Country Director for the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. 

Ambassador Mitchell has authored numerous books, articles, and opinion pieces on Asian security affairs. He is the coauthor of China: The Balance Sheet—What the World Needs to Know Now about the Emerging Superpower.

ambassador robert king

Wednesday, October 19
2:00 P.M. - 3:30 P.M.
ICC 302-P

Ambassador Robert King became the Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues in November 2009 following confirmation by the United States Senate. Ambassador King works under Ambassador Sung Kim and has the lead on human rights and humanitarian affairs.

Prior to his appointment, Ambassador King worked on Capitol Hill for 25 years – 24 of those years as Chief of Staff to Congressman Tom Lantos (D-California). He was concurrently Staff Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U. S. House of Representatives (2007-2008), Democratic Staff Director of the Committee (2001-2007) and held various professional staff positions on the Committee since 1993. Ambassador King holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts. He has authored five books and more than 40 articles on international relations.

Dr. Frances Rosenbluth

Friday, October 28
12:30 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
ICC 302-P

Frances Rosenbluth is a comparative political economist with current research interests in war and constitutions, Japanese politics and political economy, and the political economy of gender. She has received research support from the Fulbright commission, the National Science Foundation, the Council on Foreign Affairs, and the Abe Foundation. Her recent and forthcoming books include Forged Through Fire: Military Conflict and the Democratice Bargain (with John Ferejohn, Norton 2016), Women, Work, and Politics (with Torben Iversen, Yale University Press, 2010), Japan Transformed: Political Change and Economic Reform (with Michael Thies, Princeton University Press, 2010), and The Political Economy of Japan's Low Fertility (edited, Stanford Press, 2007). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

dr. jaeeun kim

Friday, November 11
12:30 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.
ICC 302-P

Jaeeun Kim’s research examines struggles over categorization that unfold in the context of international migration through comparative historical and ethnographic methods. She focuses on the ways in which categories of membership and belonging—especially to states, nations, families/kin, and religious communities—are created, mobilized, contested, and redefined through such struggles.

Her work, generously supported by the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies, has been published in Theory and Society, Law & Social Inquiry, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and European Journal of Sociology (please see my website). Her first monograph, based on her award-winning dissertation (2013 Theda Skocpol Dissertation Award at the American Sociological Association), has recently come out at Stanford University Press (please see below). She is currently working on her second project about the asylum-seeking of undocumented migrants on religious grounds, based on her ongoing ethnographic fieldwork in two metropolitan cities in the U.S. She will be a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study (School of Social Science) during the AY 2016–2017. Before joining the University of Michigan, she received her PhD degree from UCLA, was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton and Stanford, and taught at George Mason University for a year.