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Asian Studies

Affiliated Faculty


Program Director

Yi Sun

Yi Sun

Chair and Associate Professor, History
Director, Asian Studies Program
(619) 260-6811

Office: KIPJ 270

Yi Sun, PhD,  has been a member of the History Department at USD since fall 1997.  She teaches a number of undergraduate courses on East Asian history and U.S.-East Asia Relations.  Currently she also serves as the coordinator for the Asian Studies Minor program.  Her research interests include Chinese women and modernization, Sino-American relations, and globalization.  She has served on the executive board of several academic organizations, including the AsiaNetwork, Chinese Historians in the United States and the Association of Third World Studies, and presently is the associate editor of the Asian section for the Journal of Third World Studies.

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Christopher Adler

Christopher Adler, PhD

Professor, Music
(619) 260-7502

Office: Camino Hall / C161D

Christopher Adler, PhD, is a composer, performer and improviser. His music draws upon over a decade of research into the traditional musics of Thailand and Laos and a background in mathematics. He is a foremost performer of new and traditional music for the khaen, a free-reed mouth organ from Laos and Northeast Thailand. As Director of Composition for the nief-norf Summer Festival, pianist for the nief-norf Project and the ensemble NOISE, and co-founder of the soundON Festival of Modern Music, he is active in commissioning and performing new works, and he performs and records as an improviser on piano in many ensembles.

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Bahar Davary

Bahar Davary

Associate Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
(619) 260-6864

Office: Maher Hall 287

Office Hours: T: 9:30am-10:30am, 4:00pm-5:30pm TH: 9:30am-10:30am, 4:00pm-5:30pm, W: 11:00am-12:00pm

Bahar Davary, PhD, has been a member of the faculty at USD since 2005. She is an associate professor of Religious Studies and an affiliate member of the Ethnic Studies program. Davary offers undergraduate courses on world religions, Islamic faith and practice, diversity courses and Honors courses, as well as preceptorials. She has team-taught a study abroad course Negotiating Religious Diversity in India. At the graduate level she has taught Comparative Religious Ethics at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. She will be team-teaching an Honors course, Women in Confucianism and Islam.

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Kokila  Doshi

Kokila Doshi, PhD

(619) 260-4843

Office: Olin Hall 110

Kokila Doshi is professor of Economics in the School of Business Administration. She joined the USD in 1988. Professor Doshi has developed two new international courses in the area of Asia-Pacific Business and Development. Recently, she also introduced another course in Tourism and Travel Economics. Professor Doshi's interest in applied economics and regional development is reflected in her economic impact studies. She conducted regional economic impact analysis of the X Games, the Rock 'n' Roll marathon, and the PGA International Golf Championship. Professor Doshi has published several scholary articles in economics and business journals. Her research interests focus on the privatization of public enterprises saving rates and economic policies of the Asian-Pacific countries. Professor Doshi has served on committees and task forces administering Irvine Grants for Cultural Diversity and Improvement of Statistical Instruction.

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David Harnish

David Harnish, PhD

Professor and Department Chair
(619) 260-4128

Office: Camino Hall - C161A

David Harnish, PhD, is ethnomusicologist, co-director of the Gamelan Ensemble, and Chair of the Music Department at USD, with former affiliations with Bowling Green State University, (professor, dean), Skidmore College and Colorado College (professor), and Semester at Sea (professor). He also serves as Academic Liaison to the Kyoto Prize Committee and has worked with renowned onnagata Tamasaburo Bando, postcolonial critic Gayatri Spivak, free jazz impresario Cecil Taylor, and foremost ballet choreographer John Neumeier.

As a scholar, he has researched music in Asia, Africa, and the United States, and is particularly interested in religion, festival, hybridity, pedagogy, composition, popular culture, sustainability and politics in music. In support of research, he has received grants from Fulbright-Hayes, National Foundation, Freeman Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Ohio Arts Council, United States-Indonesia Society, MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, and Partnerships for Community Action. As a musician, he has extensively performed Indonesian gamelan, North Indian music, Japanese music, Tejano conjunto music, Latin rock, and jazz, rock, blues, bluegrass, and country musics.

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Louis Komjathy

Louis Komjathy

Associate Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
Program Director, Contemplative Studies
(619) 260-4009

Office: Maher Hall 282

Office Hours: On Sabbatical 2015-2016 academic year.

A member of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies since 2009, Louis Komjathy, PhD, is a teacher-scholar of Daoism, Chinese religions, and comparative religious studies with an emphasis on contemplative practice and mystical experience. In addition to his departmental and university commitments, he is founding co-director of the Center for Daoist Studies, founding co-chair of the Daoist Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, and founding co-chair of the Contemplative Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion.


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Judith Liu

Judith Liu, PhD

Professor, Sociology
(619) 260-4025

Office: Serra Hall 228

Office Hours: Mon: 2:00pm-5:00pm, other times by appointment only. Mulvaney Center (CASA), SLP 320, Tues: by appointment only; Wed: 1:00pm-3:00pm, other times by appointment only.

Judith Liu has been a member of the sociology faculty since 1982. She is a Professor of Sociology, Affiliated faculty in the Ethnic Studies Program, and the Faculty Liaison for the Center for Community Service Learning.  Professor Liu has taught classical and contemporary theory, culture courses, contemporary social issues, and community organizing.  Her research focus is multicultural education, education in the People’s Republic of China, women and HIV/AIDS, political and civic responsibility, and community service-learning.

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Lance E. Nelson

Lance E. Nelson

Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
(619) 260-4054

Office: Maher Hall 277

Office Hours: M: 1:00pm-2:00pm (In Aromas) MTWTh: 2:15pm-3:30pm, immediately after class, or by appointment.

Lance E. Nelson, PhD, is professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.  He teaches courses in world religions and religious traditions of Asia.  Nelson’s research specialization is in Hindu religious history, focusing on classical systems of Hindu theology and the relation between Hindu religious practice and environmental concern.

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Lee Ann Otto

Lee Ann Otto

Associate Dean, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
(619) 260-7921

Office: KIPJ Suite 113, Rm 117

Office Hours: Mon- 10:00a-12:00p Th-2:30p-4:00p Fri-10:30a-12:00p or by appointment

Lee Ann Otto, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1984. She is a professor in the department of Political Science and International Relations and has served as the associate dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies since its inauguration in 2007. Otto is also the director of USD’s Masters Program in Peace and Justice Studies. She teaches courses on Chinese politics, Japanese politics, revolutionary change, and the law of the sea at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Her research focuses on Chinese policies relating to the war on terror and their impact on Uyghurs and other minority groups within China. She is a former recipient of USD’s University Professorship award.

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Jessica Patterson

Jessica Patterson, PhD

Assistant Professor, Art History
(619) 260-2307

Office: Founders Hall 104

Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 12:45 - 1:45pm and Fridays 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Jessica Patterson, PhD, combines interests in Asian languages and comparative religion with training in the history and theory of art. Her research focuses on the art and architecture of East and Southeast Asia, emphasizing the cultural collisions and intersections that characterized the nineteenth century. 

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Atreyee Phukan

Atreyee Phukan

Associate Professor, English
(619) 260-7634

Office: Founders Hall 180B

Office Hours: Dr. Phukan is on Sabbatical for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Atreyee Phukan, PhD, teaches courses in world literature and post-colonial literature. Her research interests focus on contemporary literature and theory, in particular those of the Caribbean and South Asian diaspora.

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Ann Pirruccello

Ann Pirruccello

Professor, Philosophy
(619) 260-4093

Office: Hahn School of Nursing 215

Ann Pirruccello has been teaching at USD since 1992 and is professor of philosophy.  She offers courses in Introduction to Philosophy, Asian Philosophy, Critical Comparative Philosophy, and special topics courses in Asian and contemporary continental philosophy. Her research embraces philosophies of liberation in continental and Asian thought, metaphilosophical problems related to globalization, and comparative philosophy.

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Hiroko Takagi

Hiroko Takagi, PhD

Director of Japanese
Adjunct Assistant Professor
(619) 260-7824

Office: Founders 120

Office Hours: Jan. 26-May 5: T, 10:45-1:15; Th, 10:45-11:15 & by appointment

Hiroko Takagi has taught lower and upper-division courses here since 1990. Her specialization is Japanese pedagogy and instructional technology. Her recent research focus has been on motivation in elementary foreign language classes.

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Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
(619) 260-4600 x.4921

Office: Maher Hall 295

Office Hours: MW: 10:30am-12:30pm, 5:30pm-6:30pm, and by appointment.

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, a specialist in Buddhist studies, has taught at USD since 2000. She offers classes in Buddhist Thought and Culture, World Religions, Comparative Religious Ethics, Religious and Political Identities in the Global Community, and Negotiating Religious Diversity in India. Her research interests include women in Buddhism, death and dying, Buddhist feminist ethics, Buddhism and bioethics, religion and politics, and Buddhist transnationalism. She integrates scholarship and social activism through the Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women and Jamyang Foundation, an innovative education project for women in developing countries, with 15 schools in the Indian Himalayas, Bangladesh, and Laos.

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Mei Yang, PhD

Director and Asst. Professor of Chinese
(619) 260-4062

Office: Founders 140

Office Hours: Jan. 25-May 9: M/F, 11:15-12:15; W, 4:00-5:00; F, 2:30-4:30

Mei Yang teaches courses on Chinese language, literature and film. Her research areas include intellectual history, literary and cinematic realism, nationalism, civil agency, and the relationship between ideology and representation. As a scholar she seeks to contribute to our understanding of the past and present of China, and our contemporary world, through the study of art, literature and other social mediums. Prior to joining the faculty at USD, she coordinated language teaching in the Defense Language Institute (DLI), Monterey, CA, as a team leader and a technology specialist, and was awarded “Provost Team Teaching Excellence.” Also, she was a member of the faculty senate and Research Board while working in the University of Mississippi.

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