1/28 Research Embarkments: MAPH Thesis Proposal Workshop

Time: Friday, Jan 28th, 3-5 pm CT

Zoom Registration Link: 


How does one embark upon a research project? What are the means, ways and parameters by which one defines and engages with an object of study, especially within the realm of area studies? In what way should one go about making their research legible to other scholars, and across disciplinary boundaries?

This winter quarter, APEA is hosting a thesis proposal workshop for MAPH students working on projects related to East Asian area studies. Our goals are to provide a space for students to discuss their work while it is still at a conceptual stage, to facilitate an opportunity to share projects which engage with the themes of APEA, and to encourage collaborative feedback from APEA’s regular attendees, including other graduate students and professors across various disciplines and specialties related to East Asia.

The workshop will begin with informal five-minute presentations from panelists to introduce their research and their goals for the thesis project. We will then move on to a discussion with the panelists. We encourage questions and feedback directed to single presenters, as well as questions for the entire panel to consider. We also hope to engender general discussion among both panelists and attendees about the process of embarking upon research projects, and how to address the specific challenges of area studies work.



Dreams of Women, Not Dreams of Men

Silin Chen, Graduate Student, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities

While some scholars have come to the conclusion that danmei literature is a distorted pastiche reiterating an unequal heterosexual gender dynamic, this thesis is interested in other possible answers to the questions of what women ask from danmei literature, and what danmei literature is able to provide; although the content of danmei literature could be interpreted in countless ways, the process of writing danmei literature itself has already created a space for each “woman” to express her own understanding of society both physically and ideologically.

Speak Mandarin in New World: The Ethnic Chinese in South Korean Cinema

Molly Meng, Graduate Student, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities

I propose to write a thesis on the film New World (Sinsegye, in Hangul:신세계), a 2013 South Korean gangster noir film directed by Park Hoon-jung, with a focus on how the ethnic Chinese living in South Korea are represented throughout characters’ dialogue and the story plot.

Personal Responsibility in Cross Cultural Exchange

Kathryn Savidge, Graduate Student, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities

I will undertake an exploration of the personal responsibilities of those engaging with foreign cultural property by comparing the cases of the adaptation of Buddhist meditation in America and the adaptation of African-American popular music in Kpop.

Hazy Devotion: A Visual Album in Electronic Music, Eastern Instruments, and Sensory Experience

Hilary Ann Yarger, Graduate Student, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities

For my creative thesis, I will produce a visual album, inspired by East Asian music, aesthetics, and nature, which will merge traditional sounds with the vaporwave and slushwave genres to create an entirely new audio and visual sensory experience.


Dr. Philomena Mazza-Hilway is a Teaching Fellow in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities. Focusing on modern Japanese literature, her work engages issues of gender, non-human selfhood, genre fiction & minor literatures, and readership. Her current book project, based on her dissertation, examines modern subjectivity in the works of three early twentieth century women writers, arguing that these writers employed strategies of the ‘feminine grotesque’–at once generative and abject– within the written negotiations of their emergent subjecthood. Her second project traces the evolution of othered literary subjects in women’s postwar literature, utilizing their work to interrogate the nature and notion of a coherent, agential subject in modern Japanese literature.