I began studying after arriving in Japan to teach English about 10 years ago. Living there without being able to read anything or ask for help was a great motivator for study. Thanks to opportunities to continue studying provided UCLA’s wonderful department of Asian Languages and Cultures, I have developed into an excellent speaker and reader of contemporary Japanese.

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Japanese as it is written today is quite different from the way it was written 150 years ago. Kanbun is a form of classical Chinese writing which at one point was the shared language of learning across much of East Asia. It was used for important or scholarly works in Japan until the late 19th century. In order to read some of the translations that my dissertation deals with, I studied Classical Japanese grammar at UCLA, and then participated in the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language summer intensive Kanbun course in Yokohama Japan.

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I studied French at Washington State University, and then during my year as a visiting scholar at the Institute d’Etudes Politiques in Bordeaux. I benefitted greatly from being immersed in lectures and scholarly reading in French, and from excellent language training from the instructors there. I have found the ability to read French to be an invaluable asset in the study of political theory.

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I majored in Russian language for my second bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University. In addition to studying in the classroom during my time at MSU, I spent my Junior year studying at St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University’s institute for international education. I then stayed for another 6 months to work as a bartender in Russia. My initial interest in the relationship between language and politics grew out of my experiences in the former Soviet Union.

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