Get to Know First-Year Faculty

Christopher Born, PhD
Assistant Professor of Japanese and Asian Studies

BA, Valparaiso University
MA, Washington University
PhD, Washington University

What is your educational/professional background?
My love of learning foreign languages began at age five, when my mother gave me some audiobooks and learning tapes in French. I began studying German from age 8-15. Despite being compulsory, I truly enjoyed Latin in high school, and discovered Japanese my third year of high school. After a summer high school exchange program, I was captivated by the language, culture, and literature of Japan. That summer, I became fascinated by the works of 19th century author Natsume Sōseki, and decided to pursue a degree in Asian Studies. Since then, Japan has been a constant source of personal and scholarly inspiration. I went on to receive a BA and MA in Asian Studies and my PhD is in Japanese Language and Literature.

What brought you to Belmont?
My undergraduate institution was very similar in scope to Belmont, and after initial conversations about the Japanese/Asian Studies position here, I found myself quite drawn to this university. After learning about Belmont’s commitment to Asian Studies and interacting with other faculty and students at Belmont, I knew that Belmont would be a special place in which I might invest and grow as a teacher and scholar (I was right!) I have come to love the Christian community and the enthusiasm of the students here.

What is your favorite part about working with college students?
Discussions and interaction within and outside of class. At our weekly Japanese language table, we’ve had conversations about grammar and syntax, Japanese orthography, Chinese characters, popular culture, Buddhism, Christian influence in Japan, theology, popular music, fashion, food, history—the list goes on. It’s exciting to work with young minds as they add fresh perspective to topics I’ve studied for so long.

When you’re not busy grading, prepping classes, researching, etc., how do you enjoy spending your time?
I enjoy being a husband and a dad. I like to spend time with my family, cooking, watching YouTube, listening to French and German organ music, reading to my one-year-old, playing video games with my older kids, and helping them with school. I also enjoy discovering the local foods and parks in the area.

Is there anything else you would like the Belmont community to know about you and/or your role at Belmont?
There’s a Japanese church (Crossroads Presbyterian) in Cool Springs near the Galleria that meets on Sundays at 2PM. They also offer a number of ESL classes and other community- oriented events during the weeks. I’d love to see students get involved there as well—it’s a great way to connect to the Japanese community in Nashville!