The International Institute (II) is proud to publish this issue of our journal as a reflection of the diverse collection of people and centers that make up the II. The II Journal provides articles that are accessible to everyone interested in topics with regional or global significance. Most of the articles in the journal are written by U-M faculty members affiliated with the II, while others are written by distinguished guests or by U-M students who have had noteworthy international experiences (often made possible with help from the II). The content of this issue conveys a sense of who we are and what we do, with articles on timely issues from around the world, and from a selection of II centers.

Some of the most important centers of learning in international and area studies are located here in the II—we have extraordinary depth and breadth in expertise covering the world. Our area centers, such as those focused on Chinese, Japanese, Russian and East European, and South East Asian studies, are ranked among the best in the country for half a century. The II has in recent years enhanced or created centers or programs in African, Korean, Armenian, Islamic, World Performance, and International and Comparative studies. We have been recognized for excellence across the board, including for Latin American and South Asian studies.

Antigua, Guatemala. Photo by chensiyuan via Wikimedia Commons.
Antigua, Guatemala. Photo by chensiyuan via Wikimedia Commons.

Like the U-M itself, the II is committed to providing exceptional educational experiences to students, and outstanding research. We like to say that the II is “your global crossroads” because the II is a place where people studying different regions of the world from different disciplinary perspectives can cross paths and connect, leading to fruitful collaborations. It is also where the U-M connects to the rest of the world—our centers and programs maintain close connections to institutions and governments across the globe, and provide exchanges of people and ideas with every region of the world.

As the II approaches its 20th anniversary (2013), we renew our commitment to providing funding and a space for excellent international and area studies research and work. We support less commonly taught languages, and host many visitors who bring specialized international expertise to campus. Recently the II has increasingly become the academic home for undergraduates—the international studies major is now in its fourth year and has over 600 students declared. Last year we graduated 165 students, our first large class, whose members are using their knowledge of languages, cultures, economics, politics, and history of world regions to become “Leaders and Best,” by which we mean thinkers, doers, and people with integrity in their careers.

Photo by Ho John Lee via Flickr Creative Commons.
Photo by Ho John Lee via Flickr Creative Commons.

In this issue, in Hallyu 2.0: The New Korean Wave in the Creative Industry Era, Dal Yong Jin (associate professor of communications at Simon Fraser University) describes the recent surge in Korean cultural industries, and the rapid proliferation of online gaming and K-Pop across Asia and the world. He explores the role of advanced digital technologies and widespread use of social media in expanding this phenomenon, and the importance of intellectual property (IP) rights in the future of the industry. His article is based on a paper he presented at a conference sponsored by the Nam Center for Korean Studies entitled Hallyu 2.0: The Korean Wave in the Age of Social Media in April 2012.

Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof, director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) at Michigan, reflects on the relationship between Latin American scholarship and U.S. foreign policy in the region during the rise and demise of the federally-funded National Resource Centers under Title VI legislation in U.S. universities. He considers current challenges and proposes possible models for future area studies programs. This article appears as a chapter in the forthcoming International Institute edited volume, Relevant/Obsolete: Rethinking Area Studies in the U.S. Academy.

Recent Anti-Putin protests in Russia have attracted worldwide media attention and the support of celebrities and prominent political figures due to the arrest of three young women in a feminist punk band, Pussy Riot. Jessica Zychowicz, a PhD candidate in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Michigan, traces the origins of the protests and the incident that led to the arrests. She investigates the intersection of art and feminist activism that has emerged in the context of postcommunist tensions in the region. The Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies and Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) sponsored a panel on this topic in September 2012.

CICS International Security and Development Fellow Yuen Yuen Ang examines conflicting images of local and state government bureaucracies in China which have been characterized as predatory and lacking standards of “good governance.” She argues for contextualizing the meaning of “corruption” and “bad governance” in transitional settings—that is, in countries at different stages of development. Professor Ang will deliver a public lecture on China’s ‘Predatory’ State in Comparative Perspective in winter 2013.

Finally, Dr. Masahito Jimbo, associate professor of family medicine and urology at U-M, in his article Japanese Manga and Smoking: Puffing Away, analyzes the content of comics in Japan and the U.S. to measure the prevalence of depictions of smoking and the possible influence of smoking patterns among teens in both countries. He received a grant from the Center for Japanese Studies (CJS) to conduct this research.

Read on. I hope you find these articles as interesting as I do. By all means, let us know what you think.

Ken Kollman

Director of the International Institute, and Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor and Professor of Political Science