FLAS spotlight: Nancy J. Hamilton
East Asian studies master's student Nancy J. Hamilton received a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship from the Center for East Asian Studies to study Japanese. Read more about her experience below.
I applied for the FLAS scholarship to bring my Japanese language capability up to the level of skill required to accomplish research in my field of Japanese literature. My interest in Japanese literature, specifically poetry, stems from my experience in chanoyu, or traditional Japanese tea practice, in which the associative affordances of poetry are employed to relay richly nuanced levels of meaning. From this starting point, I wanted to explore the social, political, and aesthetic history of the poetic form as it appears in works of literature. This led me to the study of Yosano Akiko’s 1928 travelogue, which documents her journey through Manchuria in both prose and poetry.
With my FLAS fellowship, I have pursued language study in Japanese as well as courses in Japanese literature, poetry, translation, and text mining. In addition to my language study on campus, I also was able to participate in an intensive summer program of Japanese language study geared toward graduate students at the Inter-University Center in Yokohama, Japan. This past February, I presented my research at the Harvard East Asia Society Graduate Student Conference in a talk entitled, “The Poetics of Travel in Yosano Akiko’s Man-Mō Yuki.” I was also fortunate to receive a travel grant from Stanford Global Studies, which allowed me to travel to Japan over spring break to conduct research. I was able to employ my language skills in a variety of ways that were immensely beneficial to my research: consulting with Japanese scholars, attending lectures in Japanese, conversing with librarians, and reading through archival materials.