Penn GSE CMSI

Ken Berthel

Ken’s lifelong passion has been learning languages as a means to facilitate interpersonal connections with people from diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences. This passion led him to study in Beijing during his undergraduate years and to earn a PhD in Chinese Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2010. After having taught as a visiting professor there for a year, Ken moved into his current position at Whittier College, where he has had the opportunity to flourish as a teacher-scholar, expand his range of course offerings, and become passionate about a liberal arts education that serves an extremely diverse group of students. Ken offers courses in Chinese language, literature, and cultural topics ranging from cinema to early philosophy. In teaching, he enjoys taking students off campus for experiential learning, with recent trips to The Pacific Asia Museum, The Japanese American National Museum, The Chinese American Museum, a walking tour of Chinatown Los Angeles, and various culinary experiences. Naturally, Ken is a strong advocate of study abroad and is proud to have sent a number of his own students for semesters in China over the past few years. To date, his published research has primarily focused on philosophies of music and language in early pre-modern texts, but his academic interests are eclectic enough that he is engaged in a number of disparate scholarly projects at any given time. .