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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 use of musical healing rituals in Shingon Buddhist tradition, and exploring connections to Japanese poetry and other traditions of poetry. Email: boatemaa@email.unc.edu

Boatemaa Agyeman-Mensah

Jason Castro

I am an MA-PhD student in the History Department here at UNC, working with Professor Pitelka and Professor Cemil Aydin. I received my BA (2018) and MPhil (2021) degrees at the University of Hong Kong and have studied at Nagoya University in Japan. My research focuses on the history of Ryukyu, mainly from the perspective of both Chinese and Japanese history in the greater seventeenth century, examining how the island state survived between powers in Asia. I am also interested in the history of Shinto in the early Yamato period, targeting both the Kyushu Area and the Hachiman belief. Email: castroj@unc.edu

Jason Castro

Thomas Curtis, lab alum

I am currently an MA student at Kyushu University in Japan. While a student at UNC, I collaborated 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. My UNC senior honors thesis, “Minamoto no Yoshitsune: From History to Cultural Nationalism” looked at 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

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

Sylvie Hack

I graduated from Clark University in 2022 where I double majored in art history and Asian studies. Currently, I am a first-year MA student in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. I have studied at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan and I am interested in Japanese art, architecture, Shinto, and comparative studies between ancient Japan and ancient Greece. Email: eshe@ad.unc.edu

Sylvie Hack

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. I am currently studying abroad in Japan. 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 a 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 have researched how the System of Alternate Attendance and Tokugawa diplomatic policies manifested in the writings of the German doctor and visitor to Japan, Engelbert Kaempfer (1661-1716).

Jack Snyder