Program Director

Wei Yang Menkus received her PhD in East Asian Languages and Literature from Yale University. She teaches and researches broadly in Chinese cinema in a global context, with special interests in film genre, spatiality, transnational practice, and the intersection between China and Hollywood. She is currently completing a book manuscript on film space in contemporary Chinese cinema.

Her teaching interests include Chinese cinemas, East Asian genre films, gender and visual culture, city...

  • PhD, East Asian Languages and Literature, Yale University

Full-Time Faculty

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Professor Geoff Ashton joined the Department of Philosophy at USF from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where he also held an appointment as Assistant Professor of Asian Philosophy. Prof. Ashton has studied Sanskrit, Thai, and Spanish, and conducted research at numerous institutions of higher learning abroad (twice as a Fulbright scholar), including Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi, India), Deccan College (Pune, India), the Jñāna-Pravaha Institute (Varanasi, India), Chiang Mai...

  • PhD, Philosophy (Asian and Comparative Philosophy), University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
  • MA, Philosophy (Indian Philosophy), University of Hawai'i at Mānoa
  • MA, South Asian Languages and Civilizations...
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Melissa S. Dale has served as Executive Director of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies since August 2012.

Prior to joining the faculty and staff at USF, she served as Associate Director of International Relations at the University of California, Berkeley (Nov. 2011 – Aug. 2012) where she worked in the areas of international relations and development for the entire campus with a particular focus on prospect development and stewardship for leadership and major gifts from the Asia-Pacific...

  • PhD, East Asian History (China), Georgetown University
  • MA, Asian Languages (Chinese), Stanford
  • BA, Oriental Languages (Chinese), UC Berkeley
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Brian Komei Dempster is a professor of rhetoric and language and a faculty member in Asian Pacific American Studies at the University of San Francisco (USF), where he also serves as Director of Administration for the Master of Arts in Asia Pacific Studies. He has been at USF since 2001 and received the Distinguished Teaching Award (along with Ronald Sundstrom) in 2010 and the Dean's Scholar Award for 2022-2023.

At the university, he has taught various courses in the Rhetoric and Language...

Karen M. Fraser earned her PhD from Stanford University, where she studied both traditional Japanese art and the history of photography. Her research focuses on modern Japanese visual culture, with particular interests in Japanese photography from ca. 1860 through the 1930s, cross-cultural interactions and influences between Asia and the West, gender issues, and museum and exhibition history.

Professor Fraser’s teaching experience includes survey and upper-level courses covering both...

  • PhD, Art History, Stanford University
  • MA, Art History, University of South Florida
  • BS, Communications and Art History, University of Miami
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Vamsee Juluri received his PhD in Communication from the University of Massachusetts in 1999. His research interest is in the globalization of media audiences with an emphasis on Indian television and cinema, mythology, religion, violence and Gandhian philosophy. He is the author of four books:

  • Becoming a Global Audience: Longing and Belonging in Indian Music Television (Peter Lang, 2003/Orient Longman, 2005) 
  • The Mythologist: A Novel (Penguin India, 2010)
  • Bollywood Nation: India through...
  • PhD, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1999
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David Kim is a professor of philosophy and an affiliate of the programs in Asian Studies, Asian American Studies, and Critical Diversity Studies. He has served in a variety of professional organizations, including chairing the American Philosophical Association Committee on Asian and Asian American Philosophers and Philosophies and co-founding the North American Korean Philosophy Association. 

David's work explores how our understanding of U.S. democracy is deepened through consideration of...

  • Syracuse University, PhD in Philosophy
  • Oberlin College, BA in Philosophy
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Dr. Zhiqiang Li is a professor of Chinese and director of the Chinese Studies minor program in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of San Francisco. He holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from MIT. 

Professor Li is a linguist. His research expertise includes several areas, including phonology, acoustic phonetics, Chinese linguistics, and language pedagogy. He has conducted research on phonological prominence in tone sandhi, the interaction of tone and intonation...

  • PhD, Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • MA, Applied Linguistics, Beijing Foreign Studies University
  • BA, English Language and Literature, Tianjin Normal University
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Professor Lorentzen specializes in the economics of information, incentives, and institutions. He received his PhD in Economic Analysis and Policy from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business and previously taught at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. He has published research on governance and social control in China, media management, anti-corruption, environmental transparency, long-run economic growth, qualitative research methods, the creation of...

  • PhD, Economic Analysis and Policy, Stanford University Graduate School of Business
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Mark Miller is associate professor of systematic (philosophical) theology.  His mother came from the Philippines, his father from Maine, and they met in the middle as students at USF in the 1960s.  His specialty is human development and redemption, particularly our ongoing, communal conversion to greater knowledge, love, and service of God and all things.  His PhD dissertation is entitled, "Why the Passion?: Bernard Lonergan on the Cross as Communication." His undergraduate degree concentrated...

  • PhD, Theology, Boston College, 2008
  • MA, Theology, Boston College, 2004
  • Philosophy and Theology, Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, 1995, 1998-1999
  • BS, Foreign Service, Georgetown University...
  • Anthropology
  • Soteriology
  • Political theology
  • Trinity
  • Christology
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Vijaya Nagarajan is an associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and in the Program of Environmental Studies. In addition to teaching at the University of San Francisco, she has also taught at the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University.

Vijaya's academic interests weave among the fields of Hinduism, Environment, Gender, Ritual, and the Commons. She received her PhD in South Asian Language and Literatures from UC Berkeley. Vijaya has received...

  • PhD, South Asian Language and Literatures, UC Berkeley
  • MA, South Asian Studies, UC Berkeley
  • BS Political Economy of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley
  • College of Engineering, Honor’s Program, Women...
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Noriko Nagata, 永田憲子 is Director of the Japanese Studies Program in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. She teaches Japanese language, linguistics, and culture.

Professor Nagata received her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, jointly directed by the Laboratory for Computational Linguistics at Carnegie Mellon University. Her general area of research includes natural language processing, Japanese linguistics, second language acquisition, and computer assisted language...

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Quỳnh N. Phạm is an Assistant Professor in the International Studies Department. She received her PhD in Political Science at the University of Minnesota, with a double focus on international relations and political theory. Her research and teaching interests include global inequalities, forms of violence, decolonization, and the politics of imagining Asia. Her scholarship attends to conditions of domination as well as subaltern endurance and dissent in the contexts of colonialism, war, and...

  • PhD, Political Science, University of Minnesota
  • MA, Political Science, University of Minnesota
  • BA, Political Science, Vassar College
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Stephen Roddy is a professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, received his PhD in East Asian Studies from Princeton University, and specializes in the fiction and other prose genres of 18th and 19th century China and Japan. His current interests focus on the influences of Chinese fiction on late-Tokugawa writers, and of Meiji-period thinkers on essayists of the late-Qing. He teaches courses in Japanese and Chinese literature, culture, and language. He is also Chair Professor at the...

  • PhD, Princeton University
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Sadia Saeed is a historical sociologist with substantive interests in religion and politics, international human rights, and global inequalities. Her first book Politics of Desecularization: Law and the Minority Question in Pakistan (Cambridge University Press, 2017) examines the contentious relationship between Islam, nationalism, and rights of religious minorities in colonial India and Pakistan. It received the 2016-2017 Book Prize from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS). Her...

  • PhD, Sociology, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
  • MA, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
  • BSc (Honors), Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan

Tanu Sankalia is a tenured full professor in the Department of Art + Architecture, and coordinates the Urban Studies Concentration within the Environmental Studies Program. He teaches courses in urban planning and design, architectural and urban history, and architectural design. He was trained in urban design at UC Berkeley, and in architecture at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad, from where he graduated with a gold medal for the best diploma thesis.

Professor Sankalia's research and...

  • UC Berkeley, Master of Urban Design, 1999
  • School of Architecture, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India, Bachelor of Architecture, 1994
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Hwaji Shin joined the Sociology Department at the University of San Francisco as a full-time Assistant Professor in 2007. She completed her PhD in Sociology at SUNY Stony Brook, where she received the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Between 2008 and 2010, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor and Japan Fund fellow at Freeman Spogli Institute of International Studies at Stanford University where she researched and lectured on race and ethnic relations in modern Japan.


  • PhD, SUNY Stony Brook
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Tsering Wangchuk is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Francisco. His areas of specialization include the intellectual history of Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist Studies, and history of religions. He has published articles with several peer-reviewed journals. He teaches classes on Buddhism and Himalayan religions and cultures. He is also the Blum Chair in Himalayan Studies. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia...

  • PhD, University of Virginia

Part-Time Faculty

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Edith R. Borbon was born and raised in Manila, the Philippines. At seventeen, she immigrated with her family to California. She earned a BA in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley and an MS in Education, with a specialization in Intercultural Communication, from the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Borbon has traveled widely and has taught English and writing for over 15 years. She is an accomplished editor and technical writer who has worked on many projects...

  • BA in Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley
  • MS in Education, with a specialization in Intercultural Communication, University of Pennsylvania
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Wenchi Chang has an MA in Chinese and a BA in Chinese Literature. She also holds two Certificates of Training Program for teachers of Chinese as a foreign language. Professor Chang has taught at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, Monterey Institute of International Studies, UC Davis and National Taiwan Normal University. She teaches elementary to advanced Chinese language and Chinese literature.

KG Dance Studio Office

A street culture cognoscente, Professor Duller is a founding member of 8th Wonder (2000), the nation's premiere Pilipina/o performance poetry collective, and The Rhapsodistas, an all-women interdisciplinary hip hop group, performing throughout the U.S. and the Philippines.

Professor Duller's past performance projects include "Pinay Stories: Intersection of the Arts' Hybrid Project", "Kul Like That" at the SF Asian Art Museum, and "How to Skywalk" at both the Post-Modern Performance Project...

  • MA in Asian American Studies/Ethnic Studies (focusing on Contemporary Women Artists, Critical Artistry & Cultural Theory), San Francisco State University
  • Asian American studies
  • Ethnic studies
  • Dance
  • Critical artistry
  • Cultural theory
  • Pedagogy

Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III teaches international politics, Asian and Asian American social justice, migration, soft power, and public policy.

Dr. Gonzalez is the author of Filipino American Faith in Action: Immigration, Religion, and Civic Engagement (New York University Press) and co-author of Religion at the Corner of Bliss and Nirvana: Politics, Identity, Faith in New Migrant Communities (Duke University Press).

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Yumi Moriguchi-McCormick received her BA in English Literature from Notre Dame Women's College, Kyoto, Japan. She received her Ed.D. in International and Multicultural Education with an emphasis of Second Language Acquisition from the University of San Francisco.

  • Ed.D., University of San Francisco
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Josephine Tsao has an MA in Chinese from San Francisco State University, and an MA and PhD in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She also teaches Chinese at San Francisco State University and the City College of San Francisco.

Faculty Emeritus

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Uldis Kruze received his PhD from Indiana University. His areas of interests include Japanese and Chinese political history; U.S. diplomatic relations with East Asia.

Retired Faculty

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M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J. is the Director and Associate Professor at the Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History. He is also Fellow of East Asian Studies at Campion Hall, at the University of Oxford. He teaches courses in both early modern Japanese and global history, including topics in East Asian and European thought. His main research and teaching interests include topics in Japanese samurai history, the era of European maritime empires and expansion into Asia (15th-18th centuri...