Sohail Hashmi

Asian Studies Program Chair, Professor of International Relations on the Alumnae Foundation

Sohail Hashmi’s teaching and research focus on Middle East politics and on comparative international ethics, particularly concepts of just war in the West and Islam. Hashmi teaches a range of courses that apply to the Middle Eastern Studies major, including "The U.S., Israel, and the Arabs," "The U.S. and Iran," "Comparative Politics of the Middle East," and "Just War and Jihad.”

Sohail Hashmi, Asian Studies Program Chair, Professor of International Relations, Alumnae Foundation Chair

Heba Arafah

Five College Lecturer in Arabic Language, on leave 2016/17

Heba Arafah specializes in foreign language acquisition, socio-phonetic/ linguistics, translation and interpretation, as well as refugee resettlement and protection. She teaches Modern Standard Arabic courses and examining oral proficiency in Levantine Arabic. Previously, Arafah worked with the United National High Commission on Refugees in Amman, Jordan as a resettlement interviewer, interpreter, and translator.

 Heba Arafah Five College Lecturer in Arabic Language, Mount Holyoke College

May George

Five College Lecturer in Arabic

May George is a Five College Lecturer in Arabic, teaching courses at Smith College and Mount Holyoke College.   Her research interests focus on curriculum theory design, classroom pedagogy, language acquisition and bilingual education.  George has over 20 years of teaching experience in higher education nationally and internationally.  She has also worked with the United Nations missions in Kurdistan, Iraq to educate women.

Alice Shin-Yi Kao

Teaching Associate in Chinese Language

Alice Kao has been teaching elementary through advanced levels of Mandarin Chinese at MHC since 1997. Her research interests include history and formation of the Chinese characters, Chinese dialectology and applied pedagogical Chinese linguistics. She also serves as a part time translator and interpreter.

Alice Shin-Yi Kao Teaching Associate in Chinese Language

Shihyun Kim

Five College Lecturer in Korean


Shihyun Kim researches and teaches Korean language, culture, religion, and history. Her interests include critical Korean Studies, Second Language Acquisition, content-based language learning, web-based teaching material development, Business Korean curriculum design and interactive student group project development.

Naoko Nemoto

Professor of Asian Studies

Naoko Nemoto often travels to Hawaii… to be trained at the National Foreign Language Resource Center! She recently completed their summer institute on Project Based Language Learning. She is currently working on a video mini-lecture series that is supported by 5 College Blended Learning Grants for her content-based Japanese course. She is eager to transforming her students to “21st Century” language learners.

 Naoko Nemoto, Professor of Asian Studies

Ying Wang

Professor of Asian Studies

Ying Wang teaches on Chinese language and literature. She has taught courses on pre-modern, modern, and contemporary Chinese fiction, and seminars on The Dream of the Red Chamber and Yue Opera. Her research interests include vernacular fiction, traditional Chinese theater, and the development of Chinese instructional materials. Wang's new Chinese newspaper textbook will be in print in 2016, and she is currently translating a Chinese play.

Ying Wang on a earth toned couch reading a red book next to a red pillow.

Lisha Xu

Lecturer in Chinese, Asian Studies

Lisha Xu teaches all levels of Chinese, from beginners to advanced. Her research interests, including technology-assisted Chinese character pedagogy and web-based reading and listening, further enhance her teaching. Her new Chinese newspaper textbook will be in print in 2016. She is currently working on a new project to develop an online learning platform for beginning Chinese students. She also volunteers to subtitle TED Talks.

Lisha Xu, Lecturer in Chinese

Lei Yan

Lecturer in Chinese, Asian Studies

Lei Yan teaches all levels of Chinese. Her research interests include second language acquisition, Business Chinese curriculum design, and methods of teacher training. In summer 2015, she served as the Language Director for the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in Xi’an, China. Yan has been awarded a Curricular Development Grant to design a Business Chinese course in association with the Global Business Nexus, to be taught in Spring 2016.

Yan, Lei Lecture in Chinese, Asian Studies

Affiliated Faculty

Amina Steinfels

Associate Professor of Religion

Amina M. Steinfels is the author of Knowledge before Action: Islamic Learning and Sufi Practice in the Life of Sayyid Jalal al-Din Bukhari Makhdum-i Jahaniyan (University of South Carolina Press, 2012), focused on the life of a fourteenth century South Asian Sufi master. She teaches courses about various aspects of Islam, including women and gender, Sufism, the Qur'an, Muhammad, Islam in South Asia, and classical Islamic civilization. Many of Steinfels courses are cross-listed in Asian Studies and count towards the Middle East Studies and South Asian Studies majors.

Elif Babül

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Elif Babül’s research is informed by her long-term interests in everyday forms of state power and political authority, formation of governmental subjectivities, constitution and contestation of legality and legitimacy, and the interaction between national and transnational mechanisms of governance.  Babül teaches classes in political and legal anthropology, anthropology of human rights, ethnographic research methods and writing, Middle Eastern societies and cultures, and Muslim minorities in Europe and the U.S.

Elif Babul, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Calvin Chen

Luce Associate Professor of Politics
Calvin Chen, Luce Associate Professor of Politics

Kavita Datla

Associate Professor of History, Member of International Relations and Asian Studies, on leave fall 2016

Kavita Datla’s research focuses on colonial Hyderabad and explores what the histories of South Asia might tell us about larger shared experiences, be they colonialism, secularization, or democracy. In her writing and teaching, Datla examines the emergence of new political forms in the modern British Empire and hopes to animate the discussions and debates that have characterized South Asian publics. She is the author of The Language of Secular Islam: Urdu Nationalism and Colonial India (2013).

Kavita Datla Associate Professor of History, Member of International Relations and Asian Studies

Satyananda J. Gabriel

Professor of Economics

Satyananda Gabriel's dedication to improving the world is visible not only in his commitment to education but also through his numerous community development projects, which have included positions with the Urban League of Portland, Oregon; the First Nations Development Institute; and the United Nations Development Program. Gabriel is currently involved in the Rural Development Leadership Network, which is designed to train rural professionals to be more effective leaders.

Satyananda J. Gabriel, Professor of Economics

Rie Hachiyanagi

Professor and Chair of Art Studio

Rie Hachiyanagi is an installation and performance artist who frequently uses her handmade paper in her artwork. Handmade paper, she feels, is an apt medium for expressing the ephemerality of existence and exploring the communion between humans and nature. For one of her research projects she is collecting and documenting stories from aging Japanese papermakers before their knowledge disappears without being recorded. Hachiyanagi hopes to uncover a crucial female role in the history of papermaking, which has seldom been acknowledged in the traditional craft world.

 Rie Hachiyanagi Professor of Art Studio

Kavita Khory

Professor and Chair of Politics and International Relations

Kavita Khory’s current research explores transnational political mobilization among South Asian diaspora populations in North America and Europe. Locating contemporary forms of migration from South Asia in broader historical and theoretical contexts, Khory’s work focuses on transnational forms of activism and political violence involving diaspora organizations with ties to India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Khory regularly teaches courses on world politics, international security, ethnic conflict, propaganda and war, South Asia, and migration.

Kavita Khory, Professor of Politics

Susanne Mrozik

Associate Professor of Religion

Susanne Mrozik specializes in Buddhist Studies, with a focus on ethics and gender. Currently conducting ethnographic research on Sri Lankan Buddhist nuns, Mrozik has also researched Buddhist literary discourse on bodies, genders, and emotions. Her courses include “Body Images and Practices in Religious Traditions,” “Buddhist Ethics,” “Women and Buddhism,” and “All About Love.” Mrozik is Mount Holyoke College's advisor to the Five College Buddhist Studies Certificate Program.

Susanne Mrozik Associate Professor of Religion

Joshua Hotaka Roth

Professor of Anthropology

Joshua H. Roth grew up in New York City, the son of two painters. He is the author of Brokered Homeland: Japanese Brazilian Migrants in Japan (Cornell University Press in 2002), winner of the 2004 Book Award in Social Science from the Association for Asian American Studies. His current project focuses on automobility in Japan, and he has written articles on the history of driving manners, directional tone-deafness, and the shared road in Japan’s urban spaces.

Joshua Roth, Archeologist in the field

Ajay J. Sinha

Professor of Art History, Film Studies Steering Committee, on leave Fall 2016

Ajay Sinha teaches the history of Asian art at various levels, and seminars on Indian photography and Indian film. In his classes, students explore how the visual arts in India, China, Japan and other Asian countries reflect political and social formations, embody cultural values, and make visible the historical connections between local cultures and global networks, past and present, religious beliefs and secular life. He has published books and scholarly journal articles on the art and architecture of ancient India, and modern and contemporary art of South Asia including photography and film. Sinha is also a member of the Asian Studies Program and the Film Studies Program.

 Ajay J. Sinha Professor of Art History

Visiting Faculty

Fumiko Brown

Five College Senior Lecturer in Japanese Language, Amherst College

Fumiko Brown is a five-college lecturer in Japanese, teaching one course each at Amherst College and Mount Holyoke College. She loves meeting with a variety of students from the Five College consortium. Brown is also a certified ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview tester. If you are interested in finding out your speaking proficiency, please contact her anytime.

Fumiko Brown Five College Senior Lecturer in Japanese Language, Amherst College

Suk Massey

Five College Lecturer in Korean, Smith College

Suk Massey has been teaching language for over 20 years at the college level, including five years in Korea and seventeen years in the USA. She is currently teaching Korean at Smith College and every fall semester teaches one course at Mount Holyoke College. She teaches Korean in authentic contexts using task-based activities. In order to provide her students with rich Korean cultural experiences, Massey coordinates activities such as a Korean cooking class, a Lunar New Year Celebration and a Korean manners workshop in Korean traditional dress, ‘Hanbok’. To learn more about her teaching, visit her 5-College Korean class Facebook page.

Suk Massey, Five College Lecturer in Korean

Chan Young Park

Five College Lecturer in Korean, University of Massachusetts

Chan Young Park's research interests include heritage language education, and second/foreign language acquisition.

Chan Young Park Five College Lecturer in Korean, University of Massachusetts


Denise Falk

Department Coordinator


Indira Viswanathan Peterson

David B. Truman Professor of Asian Studies

Indira Peterson teaches The Classical Literature of India; Indian Women: Literary and Cultural Perspectives; The Great Epics of India: Representations and Interpretations; Hinduism; Sacred Narratives in the Hindu Tradition; Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore: Nonviolence, the Nation, and the World; Indian Civilization; Sanskrit language; and Modern Indian Fiction.