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Daily Grind

Impermanence of Sand: Teaching Tibetan Sand Mandalas

We are moving on to Vajrayana Buddhism in Buddhist Art & Architecture and we created individual sand mandalas to commemorate the occasion. The goal was to not only understand what a mandala is, but how they can embody the idea of visualization, meditation, and impermanence in a Tibetan context. We’ll look at an actual preserved sand mandala at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Wednesday. I just wanted to share the colorful fruits of my students’ labor!
[slide first_slide=”yes” last_slide=”” title=”Mandala by G.M.” src=”https://cmspiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/IMG_0992-e1520893572700.jpg”][slide first_slide=”” last_slide=”” title=”Mandala by C.H.” src=”https://cmspiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/IMG_0986.jpg”][slide first_slide=”” last_slide=”” title=”Mandalas by M.K. (left) and D.T. (right)” src=”https://cmspiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/IMG_0985.jpg”][slide first_slide=”” last_slide=”” title=”Mandala by N.X.” src=”https://cmspiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/IMG_0997-e1520893532888.jpg”][slide first_slide=”” last_slide=”” title=”Destruction can be just as beautiful as creation. Mandala by L.A.” src=”https://cmspiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/IMG_0993-e1520893687885.jpg”][slide first_slide=”” last_slide=”yes” title=”Our collective labor! Tossed to the wind.” src=”https://cmspiker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/IMG_1003-e1520893547448.jpg”]

Welcome to Version 3: My Illustrated Life

Redesigning a website feels a little bit like cleaning my house. It progressively gets “messy” to the point that I can’t stand it anymore, I drop everything, and then clean it from top to bottom. Once I begin the process, there is no stopping me, and it consumes every moment of free time until the…

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Grades Are In! Finishing My First Year at St. Kate’s

Grades are in, the seniors have graduated, and campus is unusually quiet. Welcome to summer! (Did anyone ever notice that Will Smith is wearing a Speed Racer t-shirt? I feel like my students in Global Japan would appreciate this!)(Also — what a great video to use when talking about the role of the gaze.) It…

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Ainu and the Antique Store: Minnesota Edition

After 12 months of research in Hokkaido, I returned to California in 2014 to finish my dissertation. It was a large and intimidating project, and I worked off the stress by surfing antique shops throughout SoCal. All those years ago, I wrote a post about a pair of Ainu nipopo dolls that I stumbled across…

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Women’s March MN

Like millions of like-minded individuals across the United States and the world, I participated in a women’s march this past Saturday. It was such a sight to see 100,000 people descend upon Minnesota’s capital in St. Paul. Every where I looked, I saw people of all cultural backgrounds, people of all ages, people of all…

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Crisis Logic & the Reader: Election Reflection

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The past two weeks have been a challenge as a professor, as a mentor, as a sister, and as a friend. Although I speak from my own personal experience, I know that the election has stirred up a range of emotions in our community–from hope to fear to anger to anxiety. I am listening to…

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Autumn, Art, and Archives at St. Kate’s

It is hard to believe how quickly autumn as come — it feels like  yesterday that I was just getting settled into this office. Our campus is positively gorgeous at this time of year, and I take every opportunity that I can to set foot outside of the brutalist concrete of the Visual Arts Building…

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Antique Finds: Inuit in the Twin Cities

The greatest part of moving to St. Paul thus far has been the sheer amount of local antique and thrift shops. I love antiquing because of the treasures you unexpectedly come across. A while ago, I posted about two Ainu nipopo dolls that I stumbled across in an Orange County shop. Although I will never…

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Ruminations on Teaching in Another Discipline

Back in December, I was asked if I might be able to teach Japanese Civilization. This was not to be an art history or visual culture course, but a class positioned squarely within the discipline of history. In addition, the course would be taught at “winter interim” speed, which translates to meeting 5 days a week,…

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Site Revamp!

For those of you who haven’t stopped by in a while, you may notice the drastic site redesign! I think that I got all the mileage that I could have out of a free template on WordPress.com over the last three years. Although an excellent service for an academic website, I wanted more control over…

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Distilling Your Dissertation

Next week, I have an opportunity to present my work in a short five-minute/1 slide format, and next month I am competing in the UCI Grad Slam (basically, a Three Minute Thesis challenge). These short presentations are supposed to capture the essence of my project, my approach, and my contribution with minimal fuss. And to…

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SMPTE Color Bars, Warhol, and Visual Studies

UCI’s Visual Studies Ph.D. Program just relaunched its website. You definitely know you’ve been in graduate school too long when you’ve weathered three site redesigns and a curriculum overhaul. The tick-tock of that dissertation clock just keeps on getting louder and louder! But in all seriousness, the site is a welcome improvement. The SMPTE color…

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Ainu and the Antique Store

My childhood in Pennsylvania was filled of memories of antique shops, flea markets, auctions, and estate sales. I think it was somewhere between the rows of old objects that I discovered a love of history and a passion for the hunt. I vividly remember summer Saturdays, watching the world fly by from the passenger seat…

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Goodbye Hokkaido, Hello California

I cobbled together this post over the course of moving back to the States–from WordPress, the note-taking function on my phone, and a convenient napkin stuck between the pages of a book I am reading… The Preparation I leave Japan in less than a week. It is hard to admit that my leaving is actually real…

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Sapporo in Spring

After surviving the rough winter here in Hokkaido, the layers of snow gave way to tulips and spring. The city is beautiful right now. It feels like everyone is shedding their winter shell, and donning sunglasses for the first time since I arrived. I don’t think I have never appreciated spring as much as I…

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