UB Asian Studies Faculty Members Win National Book Awards in Their Fields

Release Date: April 9, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two members of the University at Buffalo faculty members -- one in the Department of History, one in the Graduate School of Education -- affiliated with the university's Asian Studies Program have received national awards for work in their fields.

Ramya Sreenivasan, Ph.D., of Buffalo, assistant professor of history in the UB College of Arts and Sciences, has received the 2009 Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize from the South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies for "The Many Lives of a Rajput Queen: Heroic Pasts in Indian History, c. 1500-1900" (University of Washington Press 2007).

She accepted the award on March 28 at the Association for Asian Studies annual conference in Chicago. The award, which honors the author of the best English-language work in South Asian studies, is named for the pioneering historian and philosopher of Indian art.

Sreenivasan explores the story of the medieval Rajput Queen Padmini, whose legend was refashioned by early modern regional elites, caste groups, and mystical and monastic communities as they shaped their distinctive narratives of the past. She analyzes versions of the narrative that range from 16th-century Sufi mystical romances to late 19th-century nationalist histories.

Yoshiko Nozaki, Ph.D., of Amherst, associate professor of educational leadership and policy in the Graduate School of Education, has received an Outstanding Book of the Year Award from the American Educational Research Association Division B (Curriculum Studies) for her recently published "War Memory, Nationalism, and Education in Postwar Japan, 1945-2007: The Japanese History Textbook Controversy and Ienaga Saburo's Court Challenges" (Routledge 2008).

She will be honored next week at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Diego.

Nozaki's book addresses the controversy over official state-approved history textbooks in Japan, which omit or play down information regarding Japan's occupation of neighboring countries during the Asia-Pacific War (1931-1945), and have been challenged by critics who favor more critical, peace-and-justice perspectives.

This contentious issue goes to the heart of Japan's sense of itself as a nation. Nozaki sets the controversy in the context of debates about memory and education in relation to evolving politics within Japan, and in Japan's relations with its neighbors and former colonies and countries it invaded. It discusses in particular the struggles of Ienaga Saburo, whose crucial challenge to the official government position includes three epic lawsuits.

In addition, a third book by Asian Studies faculty, Thomas Burkman, Ph.D., "Japan and the League of Nations: Empire and World Order, 1915-1938" (University of Hawaii Press 2007), has been nominated for the American Historical Association's John K. Fairbank Prize and the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies' John Whitney Hall Book Prize.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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