Congratulations to Jayme Mallindine, first recipient of the Asian Studies Alumni Scholarship
Posted: March 11, 2014
Dr. Kirsten Cather and Jayme Mallindine at the Fall Festival
Thanks to the generosity of our alumni, the Department of Asian Studies has awarded its first Alumni Scholarship to Jayme Mallindine, a Master's student in Asian Studies.
Jayme was interviewed by Jennifer Tipton, graduate coordinator.
Jennifer: What are your research interests?
Jayme: A lot of my research interests are centered on my fascination with myths and world building. Right now I’m studying Japanese video games, an interest that grew out of an ethnography I did with Dr. Gregory Grieve at UNC-Greensboro on communities practicing Buddhism in online virtual realities. I’m extremely interested in popular culture, especially the globalization of mass culture, and how these popular stories and objects are affected by being thrown across the globe. More than just the objects themselves, I’m interested in how these stories affect the communities and individuals who consume them, and how that consumption subsequently affects their world views and identities. Digital games have had a huge affect on the public imagination in the United States, especially over the past twenty years. Japan, as one of the leading exporters of video games and video game consoles, has played a huge part in the construction of these fantasy worlds that more and more people grow up in. I’m excited about the prospect of unraveling the international digital threads that make up these 21st century myths and stories.
Jennifer: What are your plans for the future?
Jayme: While I’m in the terminal MA program here at UT, my goal is to get a PhD and become a professor. I love teaching, and making a living off of being curious about things (and inspiring others to be curious about things) is a profession I’m very drawn to. However, the steps towards getting that doctorate aren't set in stone for me just yet. My graduate school career started just last semester, so I’ve been spending most of my time being open to new interests, learning from and talking to professors, and consuming as many words as time allows me! I’ll be starting my MA thesis within the next year, so I expect that my future plans will begin to take a more concrete shape as my research develops into something concretely tangible as well.
Jennifer: How did you become interested in Asian Studies?
Jayme: I grew up in the 90s and, like pretty much all of my generational cohorts, that meant that most of the fantasy worlds I grew up living in were due to play objects from Japan. Pokémon, video games by Nintendo and Playstation, Tamagotchi, Sailor Moon… all of these pop culture items formed an imaginative foundation for my friends and I. I owe a huge part of my identity and life to Japan, a fact I didn’t realize until my junior year of undergraduate school. It was an extremely disconcerting realization, since at that point Japan was a country I knew next to nothing about! I became interested in Japan, and Asian Studies as a whole, as a result of that unfamiliarity.