The Whitman College Magazine Online
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March 2002

 

Gift of $625,000 will strengthen Asian Studies

The Freeman Foundation of New York has awarded Whitman College $625,000 to strengthen its Asian studies program.

The grant, payable over the next four years, is part of The Freeman Foundation Undergraduate Asian Studies Funding Initiative aimed at helping to develop and expand Asian studies programs throughout the country.

Whitman plans to spend $40,000 of the grant to purchase Asia-related books and videos. The remaining $585,000 will be used to launch a one-of-a-kind visiting scholar and travel program. In the proposed program, one or two visiting professors or scholars from Asia will reside on the Whitman campus for one year, teaching courses to both Asian studies majors and non-majors. The following summer, the visiting scholar(s) and a Whitman faculty member will lead a group of students to Asia to conduct intensive study and research. The program will alternate between Japan and China over the four years of the grant.

The College is well on its way to planning next year’s activities, said Patrick Keef, dean of the faculty. Tentatively, scholars knowledgeable in the art and anthropology of the Naxi (an indigenous hill tribe in China) will team teach classes beginning with the 2002-2003 academic year. For three weeks of the following summer, 10 to 15 students will have the added experience of traveling to China to visit the region where the Naxi live. The students will be accompanied by associate professor of anthropology Charles McKhann (who has studied the Naxi) and the visiting scholars.

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