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Team

Boatemaa Agyeman-Mensah

I am a second-year undergraduate double majoring in English & Comparative Literature and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, and minoring in Korean. I am interested in researching the history of Korean “Comfort Women” in colonial Japan and how that informs current global relations. Additionally, I am interested in the use of musical healing rituals in Shingon Buddhist tradition. Email: boatemaa@email.unc.edu

Boatemaa Agyeman-Mensah

Thomas Curtis

I am currently collaborating with Professor Pitelka on researching the history of the Odoi, the wall that Toyotomi Hideyoshi built around Kyoto in 1591. I graduated in December, 2021, with a double major in Japanese in DAMES and history in the Department of History here at UNC. I was an undergraduate at Waseda University in Tokyo before transferring to UNC. I recently completed my senior honors thesis, “Minamoto no Yoshitsune: From History to Cultural Nationalism” on the changing representations of a key historical figure in subsequent periods, as the role and reputation of the samurai evolved. I am interested in the history and archaeology of cities in early Japan. Email: tecurtis@live.unc.edu

Thomas Curtis

Thomas Durand

I am a senior undergraduate double majoring in Computer science and Japanese and minoring in mathematics. I was fortunate to live in Japan for four years as a child and attend Temple University’s Japan campus for a semester prior to undergrad. My research interests are in Japanese politics and organized crime. Website: thomasedurand.xyz, Email: tedurand@live.unc.edu

Thomas Durand

Sophie Eichelberger

I am a graduate of Davidson College, where I double majored in English and East Asian Studies, and I am now an M.A. student in DAMES. I have studied at Temple University and at Kyushu University in Japan, and also completed the Online Summer Programme in Japanese Cultural Studies at the University of East Anglia in England. I am interested in kimono, fashion, gender, and identity in Japan. Email: soeiche@email.unc.edu

Sophie Eichelberger

Bianca Garcia, lab alum

I am a senior undergraduate majoring in Medical Anthropology with a minor in Chemistry. While I am on the pre-pharmacy track, I am interested in researching the development of pharmaceuticals from an anthropological standpoint considering both culture and social interactions. Additionally, I am excited to be researching how aspects of Japanese history such as politics or agriculture impacted their medical innovations. Email: bagarcia@live.unc.edu

Bianca Garcia

Dr. Daniele Lauro, Lab Alum

I am a broadly trained historian of Japan, and I received my Ph.D. in Asian History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019. After completing a postdoc with the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University, I took up a position as Lecturer in Asian History in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. My research focuses on Japan’s early modern political institutions, material culture, and ritual performances, with an increasing emphasis on the emergence of the modern Japanese nation-state and national identity. I am interested in the broad issues of power and political legitimacy in Japan, as well as in early modern Asia and Europe. I also investigate the ways in which early modern ritual and its material legacy continue to play prominent roles in Japan’s modern and contemporary political and cultural life. Email: lauro@alumni.unc.edu

Daniele Lauro

Sarah Martin

I am a third-year undergraduate double majoring in History & Global Studies (Asia concentration). I am interested in researching modern Japanese history, culture, and literature. Email: smartin4@email.unc.edu

Sarah Martin headshot

Megan McClory

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of History. I did my B.A. at Brandeis University, with three majors: East Asian Studies with Honors, History, and Anthropology. I have studied at Osaka Gakuin University and the University of Edinburgh, and have worked as an ALT on the JET Programme in Tokyo, as a Seasonal Historian for the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands in Fairbanks, Alaska; as a Collections Intern at the USS Texas in La Porte, Texas; and as an intern at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago. I am interested in the social history of the policies of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, particularly the Sword Hunt of 1588 and the role of disarmament in the creation of Japan’s status system. Email: mmccl281@email.unc.edu

Megan McClory

Dr. Morgan Pitelka – P.I. and Lab Director

I received my B.A. in East Asian Studies with honors from Oberlin College and my Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. Before joining the UNC faculty, I taught at Occidental College, 2002-2010. My scholarship and teaching focus on the history of late medieval and early modern Japan, with emphasis on the samurai, tea culture, ceramics, cities, and material culture. Please see my full bio on the DAMES website. Email: mpitelka@unc.edu

Morgan Pitelka

Jack Snyder

I am an incoming first-year student at UNC after graduating from the North Carolina School of Science and Math, and I am from the Charlotte area. I am interested in the history of Japan and am currently researching how the System of Alternate Attendance and Tokugawa diplomatic policies manifest in the writings of the German doctor and visitor to Japan, Engelbert Kaempfer (1661-1716).

Jack Snyder