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NCTAN Popular Culture in Asia: China, Japan, and VietnamOVERVIEW

This semester the North Carolina Teaching Asia Network and the South Carolina Center for Teaching About Asia will present a three-session *VIRTUAL* workshop on Popular Culture in Asia.  Specialists in Asian Studies will present key themes in popular culture from China, Japan, and Vietnam, giving educators across the Carolinas a perspective that highlights social and historical roots of popular cultural forms. Talks will address issues such as the ways in which science fiction writers use literature to contemplate the changing urban landscape in contemporary China, and how censorship affects cultural production in Vietnam. Teachers who participate in the workshop will discover new stories and films from Asia to introduce to students and develop vocabulary with which to discuss Asian pop culture in the classroom.  Workshop attendees will receive supplementary materials provided by the centers.

For any questions regarding this event, please direct your questions to NCTAN Director Shuyi Lin at or to SCCTA Director Krista Van Fleit at


Saturday, February 26 || Virtual
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Popular Culture in Mainland China
Science Fiction in 21st Century China
Workshop attendees will receive free copies of Broken Stars & Invisible Planets


Saturday, March 19 || Virtual
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Popular Culture in Japan
Manga and Anime
Workshop attendees will receive free copies of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2015) and Spirited Away (2017)


Saturday, April 9 || Virtual
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Popular Culture in Vietnam
Censorship in Vietnam
Workshop attendees will receive a free copy of Censorship in Vietnam: Brave New World (2017) by Thomas A. Bass



Sign up and receive a free tote bag!

Participants will receive a certificate from North Carolina Teaching Asia Network & South Carolina Teaching Asia Network confirming 1.5 hours of professional development for each workshop attended. Educators interested in designing lesson plans for NCTAN & SCCTA from this workshop may be further eligible for a $100 stipend.



Dan Luo Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature, University of South Carolina

Dan Luo is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on contemporary Chinese science fiction, Chinese cinema, and women in Chinese popular culture. Her current project explores how contemporary Chinese science fiction strategically incorporates motifs and elements from the literary and cultural past, such as outlawed heroes and ghost ladies, to make alienation, violence, and hope in contemporary culture visible. Trained also in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages, she received her M.A from Beijing Language and Culture University. She loves teaching Chinese and finds passion in developing immersive strategies for second language acquisition.

Junko Baba, Associate Professor of Japanese,  University of South Carolina

Junko Baba received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Her teaching and research includes cross-cultural studies between Japanese and American culture and on how Japanese culture affects language in communications, literature, theater, and media art. Dr. Baba’s research has been interdisciplinary in nature, developed from her primary research area in socio-pragmatics (language use in society/culture) and from secondary training in literature during her graduate studies. She has also applied her research to pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Dr. Baba teaches courses in Japanese culture, including film, animation, theater, literature and socio-linguistics, as well as Japanese language courses.

Vy Ton, ​​Visiting Lecturer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Vy Ton is the visiting lecturer for Vietnamese as part of the language program’s resurgence at UNC. Before going to the USA, she was a teaching assistant at Fulbright University Vietnam in the core course of Modern Vietnamese Culture and Society. Vy finished her MA in Education and International Development (2017-2018) at the Institute of Education, University College London with the UK government’s Chevening scholarship. Traveling through 36 countries with field trips, including several border and conflict areas, Vy is interested in learning how education about cultures and history shapes learners’ identities.