Who We Are

Project Directors

Robin Kietlinski : LaGuardia Community College

Robin Kietlinski

LaGuardia Community College

Dr. Robin Kietlinski received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA from the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on East Asia, specifically modern Japan. In 2012, she published her book titled Japanese Women and Sport: Beyond Baseball and Sumo, which examines the history of Japanese women's participation in sport since the 19th century. She has published extensively on other topics related to the intersections of sport and society in modern Japan. Dr. Kietlinski taught history at Fordham University and Baruch College before coming to LaGuardia to teach courses in global and East Asian history in 2012. During the 2020-21 academic year, she will be co-teaching a course at the CUNY Graduate Center titled "Cities and Disaster: Past, Present, and Future" with Dr. Cary Karacas of the College of Staten Island. Dr. Kietlinski is the recipient of a Fulbright Research Grant to carry out research on the Olympics and the environment in modern Japan​ from 2019-2021

Tomonori Nagano : LaGuardia Community College

Tomonori Nagano

LaGuardia Community College

Disciplines: Japanese and Linguistics

Dr. Tomonori Nagano is an Associate Professor of Japanese and Linguistics. He received his Ph.D. and M.Phil. in Linguistics from the CUNY Graduate Center and his MA in TESOL from New York University. His research interests are second language acquisition and Japanese as a heritage language. Dr. Nagano's articles have been published in various linguistics/applied linguistics journals such as Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Modern Language Journal, and Foreign Language Annals (See https://www.t-nagano.com/publications/ for the publication list). He is a recipient of the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC) award from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2019-2020. He is a certified tester and rater  for ACTFL's OPI and AAPPL (Japanese) and is currently serving as an executive board member for the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL) at MLA.



Project Collaborators

Kim J. Hartswick : CUNY BA (Graduate Center)

Kim J. Hartswick

CUNY BA (Graduate Center)

Dr. Kim J. Hartswick earned his PhD in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College and was a professor for twenty years of Classical Art and Archaeology at The George Washington University. For the past fifteen years he has been the Academic Director of CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies (CUNYBA). Offering students individualized degrees, faculty mentors, and cross-campus course offerings, CUNYBA is one of the few CUNY institutions to award bachelor’s degrees in Japanese Studies. ​

Maayan Barkan : Hunter College

Maayan Barkan

Hunter College

Dr. Maayan Barkan is currently serving as the director of the Japanese Program at Hunter College, where she has been teaching Japanese language courses since 2007. She has completed her doctorate in linguistics at the Graduate Center (CUNY) in May, 2018. Most Recent publication and presentation: The important role of pragmatic strategies in L2 Japanese teaching and learning, published in the 24th Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Forum (PJPF)’ proceedings (2018), and Experimental design: Methods for investigating main-clause omission in Japanese and Hebrew, a paper presented at the International Pragmatic Association Conference in Hong Kong (2019). Dr. Barkan is serving as a Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program interviewer at the Consulate General of Japan. She is a recipient of the Innovation in Language Education (ILE) Grant from the CUNY Graduate Centre in 2019-2020.

212-396 6832
Shige (CJ) Suzuki : Baruch College

Shige (CJ) Suzuki

Baruch College

Dr. Shige (CJ) Suzuki is an Associate Professor of Japanese and Comparative Literature at Baruch College, CUNY. He received his Ph.D. in Literature from University of California, Santa Cruz. He specializes in comparative literature, film, and popular culture, teaching courses on Japanese literature, film, and popular culture, as well as the Japanese language. Before coming to Baruch College, he taught Japanese and comparative literature at The University of Colorado at Boulder, Lehigh University, and Elon University. Dr. Suzuki’s current research interests include Japanese speculative fiction in different media forms, examined through the lens of posthumanism, and manga/comics (graphic novels) in conversation with media theories and visual culture studies. Dr. Suzuki’s recent publications can be found at https://baruch-cuny.academia.edu/CJ. At Baruch College, Dr. Suzuki is currently serving as the director of Japanese program and the chair of Asian and Asian American Studies.



Project Participants

Andrew Lambert : College of Staten Island

Andrew Lambert

College of Staten Island

Disciplines: History and Literature

Andrew Lambert is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at CUNY College of Staten Island. His research focuses primarily on ethics and classical East Asian thought, especially classical Confucianism. He received his PhD from the University of Hawai’i, and was a Mombusho Scholar at Kyoto University, studying the philosophy of the Kyoto School. He has translated several works in contemporary Chinese and Japanese thought, including the book A History of Classical Chinese Thought, by Li Zehou, published by Routledge in 2019.


Cary Karacas : College of Staten Island

Cary Karacas

College of Staten Island

Disciplines: Geography and History


Claudia Orenstein : Hunter College

Claudia Orenstein

Hunter College

Disciplines: Performing Art

Professor of Theatre at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. She has spent nearly two decades writing on contemporary and traditional puppetry in the US and Asia. Recent publications include the co-edited volumes Women and Puppetry: Critical and Historical Investigations and The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance. She worked as dramaturg for Stephen Earnhart’s multi-media production Wind-up Bird Chronicle, based on the novel by Haruki Murakami, and on Tom Lee and kuruma ningyō master, Nishikawa  Koryū V’s, intercultural puppet production Shank’s Mare. She is Board Member of UNIMA-USA, and Associate Editor of Asian Theatre Journal. Current book projects: Thinking Through the Puppet: Essays on Puppet Dramaturgy and two-volume co-edited anthology, Puppet and Spirit: Ritual, Religion, and Performing Objects.


Keiko Miyajima : John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Keiko Miyajima

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Disciplines: Culture, Japanese Language, and Literature

Keiko Miyajima holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center, CUNY. As an adjunct assistant professor, she has taught Japanese language, literature, culture, and manga/anime at Adelphi University, Hofstra University, CUNY Queens College, and CUNY John Jay College. Her current research interest is gender and sexuality in manga and modern literature. Her publications include “XX, XY, and XXY: Genderqueer Bodies in Hagio Moto’s Science Fiction Manga,” in LGBTQ Comics Studies Reader (forthcoming), “I–Thou Relationships in Tourism: The Case of Cross-Cultural Interaction between Okinawan Locals and Japanese Tourists,” (co-authored), “Spatializing the Self: Places of Experience in Henry James, William James, and Kitaro Nishida,” and the Japanese translation of Are Leaders Born or Made?: The Case of Alexander the Great by Manfred F. R. Kets De Vries.


Lara Netting : The City College of New York

Lara Netting

The City College of New York

Disciplines: Art, Culture, and History

Lara Netting is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at the City College of New York, teaching Contemporary East Asia, Contemporary China, and Asian Peoples and Cultures. She received her PhD in East Asian Studies at Princeton University, and has been a Fellow at Asia Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her first book, A Perpetual Fire (2013) explored the life of pioneering Chinese art collector, John C. Ferguson. Her current research explores the significance of East Asian antiquities and aesthetics to modern American culture. She is a Trustee at the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden, established in North Salem, NY in 1957. She is project manager for the 2021 “Hammond Japanese Stroll Garden Revitalization,” funded by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

Mari Fujimoto : Queens College

Mari Fujimoto

Queens College

Disciplines: Culture, Japanese Language, and Linguistics

Mari Fujimoto is a doctoral lecturer and the Director of Japanese Studies at Queens College, CUNY.  She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Graduate Center, CUNY.  She teaches all levels of Japanese, Japanese linguistics, culture and translation theory.  For the past two years, she has been a part of Queens College’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) cohort and has incorporated COIL into her courses.  She is the author of Ikigai & Other Japanese Words to Live by (Modern books: 2019) and the co-author of NipponGo! An Introduction to Elementary Modern Japanese Language (Kendall Hunt: 2017).


Michael Sharpe : York College

Michael Sharpe

York College

Disciplines: Political Science


Midori Yamamura : Kingsborough Community College

Midori Yamamura

Kingsborough Community College

Disciplines: Art History

Midori Yamamura is a modern and contemporary art history specialist with a focus on feminism and post-WWII Asian, Asian Diaspora, and non-Western art. She is the author of Yayoi Kusama: Inventing the Singular (MIT Press: 2015), a chapter contributor to Eco-Art in Southeast and East Asia (Cambridge Scholars Press: 2019) and Women in the Art and Archaeology of Asia (WT) (Gainesville: The University of Florida, 2021), currently working on her second book, Japanese Contemporary Art Since 1989: Emergence of the Local in the Age of Globalization and co-editing a volume, Visual Representation and the Cold War: Art in East and Southeast Asian and Postcolonial Struggles (Routledge: 2021). Her interest is in critical investigation of social and political issues from a peripheral position and engage community college students in critical thinking for social change. Together with Prof. Thomas Mintz, Yamamura runs a public humanities project, UnHomeless NYC, which will become an exhibition at the Kingsborough Art Museum in Fall, 2021 (https://homelessnyc.commons.gc.cuny.edu). She is a recipient of the ACLS/Mellon Foundation 2020-’21 Community College Faculty Fellowship and part of the CUNY-wide Art and Social Justice group. She serves as a current field editor of the College Art Association internet platform, CAAReview, and is a member of AICA-USA, International Association of Art Critics. Among various distinctions, Yamamura was the recipient the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the Terra Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, NEH, the Center for Place Culture and Politics at CUNY, the Terumo Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. Her essays were published in major museum catalogues, including Tate Modern and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She served as an adviser to the film, Kusama-Infinity (2918). She taught art history at Okayama University, Fordham University, Hunter College, The Museum of Modern Art, and Pratt Institute.


Peter Eckersall : CUNY Graduate Center

Peter Eckersall

CUNY Graduate Center

Disciplines: Art, Culture, Performing Art, and Theater

Peter Eckersall is professor and executive officer in the PhD program in theatre and performance at the Graduate Center, City University of New York and is a Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne. Publications include: Machine Made Silence (ed. with Kristof van Baarle, 2020), The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics (ed. with Helena Grehan, 2019), New Media Dramaturgy (co-authored with Helena Grehan and Ed Scheer, 2017), Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan (2013) and We’re People Who Do Shows, Back to Back Theatre: Performance, Politics, Visibility (co-edited with Helena Grehan, 2013).  He was co-founder/dramaturg of Not Yet It’s Difficult.  Recent dramaturgy includes: Everything Starts from a Dot (Sachiyo Takahashi, LaMama), Phantom Sun/Northern Drift (Alexis Destoop, Beursschouwburg, Riga Biennial).


Zhijian Qian : New York City College of Technology

Zhijian Qian

New York City College of Technology

Disciplines: Art History

Dr. Zhijian Qian is an Associate Professor of Art History at New York City College of Technology, CUNY, where he teaches Asian Art. He specializes in modern and contemporary Chinese art, with research interests in contemporary Chinese art in the era of globalization, and issues of cultural identity and transnationalism in the works of artists in the Chinese diaspora. He is the author of Here and Now: Chinese Artists in New York, and a contributing author of such books as Chinese Art at the End of the Millennium and Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. He is also a curator who has organized a number of exhibitions, including “Cross-Cultural Practice: Recent Works by Chinese Artists in New York” (2019), “Open Books: A New Dialogue” (2017-2018), “Blurred Boundaries” (2018), “Abstract Art in Dialogue” (2017), “Cross-Cultural Dialogue – Exhibitions of China-America Young Artists and Art Students” (2016-2018), “Ink Flows with Mind” (2016), “Here and Now: Chinese Artists in New York” (2009-2010),  “East Transplanted West” (2006),  and “Travelers Between Cultures” (2006). His Chinese translation works include H. H. Arnason’s History of Modern Art (2020).




Graduate Assistant

Joanna Smolenski : Doctoral candidate in Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center

Joanna Smolenski

Doctoral candidate in Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center

Joanna Smolenski is a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center focusing on ethics, applied ethics (especially bioethics), and moral psychology. Her dissertation examines the theoretical underpinnings of informed consent, as well as its applications in two salient 'case studies' - consent in psychiatrically ill populations, and consent to research that involves modification of the genetic germline. She is also currently an Ethics Fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) and a member of the inaugural cohort of the Bioethics in Biopharma Fellows Program at the GE2P2 Global Foundation. Previously, she attended Columbia University as a John Jay Scholar, majoring in Philosophy and concentrating in Political Science. She graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors in Philosophy, where her thesis addressed the paradox of fatalism and self-creation in Nietzsche and its implications for Nietzschean exceptionalism. In Fall 2020, she will be teaching in the Philosophy Department at Hunter College.