For all inquires about the Asian Studies program, please contact director, Dr. Corinne Dempsey.
Corinne G. Dempsey
Associate Professor, Program Director
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Teaching and Research Interests: Dr. Dempsey studies and teaches Hindu traditions, global Christianity, gender/political and religion, comparative religion, and mysticism.
"The aspect of religion that most fascinates me has to do with the ways religious practices and culture intertwine and inform one another. This has led me to conduct long-term field research on religious practices conventionally thought to be “out of place,” such as Christian pilgrimage and saint devotion in south India and Hindu temple worship in North America. My experiences with Indian Christianity, American Hinduism, and Hindu-Christian relations have introduced me to the joys and challenges of comparison, a process that looms large in many of my courses and in my recent adventures with Icelandic trance mediums and spirit healers. My main areas of teaching are in the Hindu traditions, global Christianity, gender/politics and religion, and mysticism."
GAC - 461
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Teaching and Research Interests - 20th Century Chinese Social and Cultural History; Christianity in East Asia; Revolution and War in Asia.
"I have been at Nazareth since 2005 and have assisted in the development of the Asian Studies program and in the creation of the College’s China Initiatives. My research interests include Chinese Christianity, Chinese intellectual and social history, and Chinese ethnic minority studies. I have lived in China or Taiwan for more than four years and speak Mandarin Chinese, returning nearly every year for further research and travel."
Suhail M. Islam
GAC - 485
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Teaching and Research Interests - Suhail Islam teaches comparative world literature, linguistics, rhetoric and communication, South and South Asian media studies, post-colonial literature of other continents, Asian literature, linguistics and communication, and freshman English. A native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, he has taught literature, linguistics, and communication in South Asia, North Africa, and Canada, as well as at a number of colleges and universities in the United States.
Research interests and publications include comparative analysis of Irish and Indian colonization by the British and its impact on national language and literature; Islam and post-colonialism, language policy and canon formation in South Asia; third world media and communication with special emphasis on South Asia; human rights and genocide studies with special focus on Bangladesh; Bengal Famine and South Asian literature and media; as well as cross-cultural communication, postcolonial discourse analysis, critical linguistic,; sociolinguistics, World Englishes, contact linguistics and literature, rhetoric and technical communication, contrastive rhetoric, rhetoric of the subaltern, and literature of the oppressed.
Professor - History and Political Science, Director of the International Studies Program
GAC - 457
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Teaching and Research Interests - "I have been studying Islamic political thought over the last few years, being most interested in theorists who espouse ijtihad, such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Sayyid Qutb. My attention is now increasingly drawn to the development of Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Arabian peninsula.
I also have a strong affection for, and interest in, Rwanda, where I spent my last sabbatical. My focus is not the genocide, but the history of the formation of the community. Most people don’t realize that in earlier times, the designations of Hutu and Tutsi referred to two socio-economic groups, not ethnic groups. A Hutu could become a Tutsi if he was able to save enough money to buy some cows. Think about it: Rwanda is rare in Africa because the people speak one African language: Kinyarwandan. This is another fact that shows that ethnicity was not part of the picture early on."
Professor of English
GAC - 471
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Areas of Academic Interest - "I pursued graduate degrees in comparative literature because of my passion for reading literature from all over the world. I have two primary interest areas in my teaching and research.
One of the most important courses that I teach is my comparative mythology course, one in which I changed the content from just Greek mythology to an exploration of mythologies from around the world (Europe, Asia, Africa, Native America, Middle East, etc.). The students and I explore more comprehensively the role of myth in helping us more fully understand the human condition; in a nutshell, together we make a journey to discover different ways of knowing ourselves and the world from the collective voices of our most distant past.
Experimental fiction is my other love, especially as it diverged from Realism in countries from around the world. What are the external and internal forces, what are the changes, what are the discoveries that lead to experimentation? Of recent interest in exploring these questions is the literature of Japan and Korea."
Associate Professor of Economics
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Teaching and Research Interests - Rochelle Ruffer loves teaching and finding ways to make economics more interesting to the student. She is involved in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and was a scholar in the CASTL (Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) program at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching from 2001–2002. As part of her SoTL research, she has been involved in four National Science Foundation (NSF) funded grants. She has presented four posters at the American Economic Association meetings and a paper at the first National Conference on Teaching Economics. Ruffer teaches International Business Economics every semester and incorporates real-world data and real-world events into the classroom whenever possible. While the course is not specific to Asian countries, there is an emphasis on the top-fifteen trading partners of the U.S., including China.
Professor in Religious Studies
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Teaching and Research Interests - Muhammad Shafiq’s thesis was on religion and politics in South Asia, a case study of Pakistan constitutional history. He studies and teaches comparative religion, theory, and method in religious studies, Islamic studies, interfaith studies, and Malcolm and Martin [needs fact checking]. He directs the interdisciplinary minor in interfaith studies. His research interests are mainly in the area of Islam and interfaith studies.
Visiting Assistant Professor in Foreign Languages and Literatures
GAC - 390
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Teaching and Research Interests - Twentieth century Chinese literature and film, modern Chinese intellectual history, and contemporary Chinese social and intellectual issues.
"My teaching and research interests focus on two independent yet interrelated areas: modern and contemporary Chinese literature and film and contemporary Chinese intellectuals and social issues. For the first area, I am especially interested in literary trends in post-Mao China, modernism and postmodernist in Chinese literature and film, Chinese avant-garde fiction, and modern Chinese women writers. As far as the second area is concerned, my major preoccupations are the dominant intellectual trends in contemporary China; the establishment of a “public sphere” in contemporary China and the role that Chinese intellectuals should play in it; and pressing intellectual, political, and social issues in contemporary China."
Professor - Theatre Arts
GAC - 355 (temp)
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Areas of Academic Interest - Chinese Theatre and Performance; Costume Design.
"I am originally from China and finished my undergraduate education and taught several years of college in Jinan, China. Theatre has always been part of my life. After graduating from the University of Arizona, I came to Nazareth College and have been here since. My primary focus is costume design and technology. I have designed costumes or supervised student costume-designers for more than 60 Nazareth productions, as well as for Geva Theatre Center, Rochester City Ballet, and other local theatres. I also want to use my knowledge of Chinese theatre to provoke students’ interests in the art of both traditional and modern Chinese theatre."