College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Home
  • One professor's quest to explore the languages of Chinese Inner Asia, from Tibetan to Uyghur

One professor's quest to explore the languages of Chinese Inner Asia, from Tibetan to Uyghur

Friday, April 18, 2014

LAWRENCE – A University of Kansas professor who studies Chinese Inner Asia as an area of linguistic and social convergence was named a 2014 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Arienne Dwyer, a professor of anthropology and co-director of the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, received a prestigious 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship. Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. Dwyer’s fellowship was one of 177 awarded out of a pool of about 3,000.

She will take the fellowship during the 2015-’16 academic year to work on a book on Inner Asian “convergence,” which argues for an areal grammar, in which the dominant languages, Tibetan and Chinese, both influenced and were influenced by nondominant languages of the area.

This is the second prestigious fellowship Dwyer has received this academic year. She was also awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Arienne Dwyer has achieved a feat that few researchers can match. It’s an outstanding achievement in itself to receive either a Guggenheim or an NEH fellowship in one year. That she has been selected for both awards in one year speaks volumes to the importance and integrity of her work,” said Danny Anderson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

“The Guggenheim is primus inter pares among fellowships in the humanities, arts and social sciences,” said Victor Bailey, director of the Hall Center for the Humanities. “Professor Dwyer is to be unrestrainedly commended for attracting an award that will add prestige and luster to her own career, and to the university she serves.”

Dwyer is known for identifying Chinese Inner Asia as a language convergence area (Sprachbund), and for her work in Uyghur language and cultural studies. Her work bridges linguistic typology and ethnography, critical discourse analysis, indigenous advocacy and digital humanities.

During her Guggenheim Fellowship, she will apply text-mining techniques to the languages of Inner Asia in order to assess similarity and difference in linguistic, literary and historical aspects of the area. She has extensively studied the mutual influence of languages in contact in previous work. For example, she discovered that Chinese caused a Mongolic language to develop tonal contrasts.

The upcoming Guggenheim book project, “Inner Asian Convergence,” will connect with other work, including her current NEH Fellowship. That book project, "Camel Spring: Narratives and Meta-Narratives of the Silk Road," explores the stories told by and about Central Asians. Much of Dwyer’s collaborative work can also be studied and accessed through the Interactive Inner Asia and Uyghur Light Verbs web sites. The audiovisual and transcription materials of oral arts and everyday life in the region that she and colleagues have collected are preserved and easily accessible for future generations of Inner Asians and researchers.

Dwyer has won 12 major external grants and fellowships since joining KU in 2002, including several major research grants from the National Science Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship and a joint NEH/National Science Foundation Fellowship. These grants have supported and trained about 50 KU students.

This is the 90th year of Guggenheim Fellowships. Since 1925, the foundation has granted more than $315 million to almost 17,700 individuals, including recipients of Nobel and Pulitzer awards, and other significant international honors. 


Events
Sep 10
Study Abroad Fair
10:30 am
Oct 09
Tea and Talk Lecture: Benjamin Uchiyama
04:00 pm
View events: Upcoming
SWCAS & MCAA Joint Conference, 2014

CEAS will host a joint conference of the Southwest Conference of Asian Studies (SWCAS) &
the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs (MCAA) in Lawrence, KS on October 3-5, 2014

Please click here for registration, or follow this link for more information.

Program Chair: J. Megan Greene, mgreene@ku.edu

New M.A. Program

The Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) at The University of Kansas is offering a new M.A. program in Contemporary East Asian Studies, beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year. Full-time students with prior East Asian language training will be able to complete the degree within 12 months. For more information about this M.A. program including specific requirements for admission, visit www.ceas.ku.edu/degrees, or contact Ayako Mizumura, Assistant Director of CEAS, by email (ceasma@ku.edu) or call 785-864-1478. You can also download our program flyer (PDF) Please share this information with your friends, colleagues and students! We are looking forward to hearing from you.

New CEAS Study Abroad Program

The University of Kansas recently participated in the Kakehashi Project-Bridge for Tomorrow, a 10-day study abroad trip to Japan for 23 students from Kansas universities. In the 2014-15 school year CEAS will host a group of students from Japan.

The world would be full of peace and love if all military aircraft and fighter jets are replaced with these paper planes. How many more paper airplanes does he have to make?
People's Daily, China
Xu Shuquan, a 70-year-old retired teacher shows mini-size airplanes he made with wastepaper at his home in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province on September 17. Xu has made over 10,000 paper airplanes of different types in the past 60 years. He hoped to host an exhibition for all of his origami items to promote Chinese paper folding art.

KU Goldwater Scholar to research Huntingon’s, Alzheimer’s diseases Ryan Limbocker, KU’s 56th Goldwater Scholar, plans to focus his research at KU on such neurodegenerative disorders as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (see more at http://bit.ly/1nIP2bL). Limbocker, a senior majoring in chemistry, is from Overland Park, Kansas, and plans to pursue a doctorate in analytical chemistry. The Goldwater Scholarships are the nation’s premier undergraduate awards to honor academically gifted students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Home to 50+ departments, centers, and programs, the School of the Arts, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration
KU offers courses in 40 languages
Graduates of the College have won Emmys, discovered new species, and been named to Forbes' "most powerful women" lists
No. 1 ranking in city management and urban policy —U.S. News and World Report
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined