CEAS Colloquium Series

Event
Posted : July 5, 2019

In 1939, Japan passed the Film Law to mobilize cinema in the empire’s war efforts, and the colonial government in Korea continued moving toward total control of the domestic culture industry. From such political turns, Korean filmmakers and producers found both perils and opportunities in the film business. Korean cinema was on the verge of losing its ethnic ground, as it was to be incorporated into the empire’s greater film sphere; at the same time, the national cinema’s crisis presented an opportunity for colonial filmmakers to explore a larger film market ensured by the empire’s expansion...

Event
Posted : June 28, 2019

 (Lecture is in Chinese only) Qian Zhongshu’s wide-ranging works that exhibit his broad and deep understanding of diverse traditions are recognized for elucidating his experience using historical and cultural phenomena as the backdrop. Traversing freely across cultures, his writing merges understandings from a myriad of disciplines to showcase the striking connections and universal values between disparate literary, historical, and intellectual traditions, ancient and modern, Chinese and Western. Professor Ji Jin’s lecture will delve into this distinct space for discourse opened up by...

Event
Posted : June 28, 2019

The League of Nations Advisory Committee on the Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs, created in 1920, culminated almost eight decades of political turmoil over opium trafficking, which was by far the largest state-backed drug trade in the age of empire. Opponents of opium had long struggled to rein in the profitable drug. Opium’s Long Shadow shows how diverse local protests crossed imperial, national, and colonial boundaries to gain traction globally and harness public opinion as a moral deterrent in international politics after World War I. Steffen Rimner traces the far-flung...

Event
Posted : June 27, 2019

At a time when Korean Studies scholarship seems intent on “interrogating,” “contesting,” “asserting,” and “problematizing,” it has become all too easy to lose sight of the millennia-old Korean literary tradition and its potential for continuing to inform Korean cultural expression in the new millennium. In this presentation I wish to emphasize the powers of endurance of a literary tradition that is equal parts oral, local, lyric, and performative on the one hand, and recorded (primarily in Chinese until the modern era), cosmopolitan, and conceptual on the other. The Korean literary tradition...

Event
Posted : June 27, 2019

Formulaic literature (fangshu) constitutes one of the largest categories of printed texts in late imperial China, yet historians have largely considered recipes as of secondary importance to medical theory. Upon scrutiny, the seemingly simple act of sharing medical recipes in print can be parsed into a variety of sub-genres that evolved in time. In Ming-Qing times, medical recipes functioned as coveted cultural capital that enabled individuals to express their visions for personal and social well-being, opening up new spaces for historical interpretation. In this talk, I offer an outline of a...

Event
Posted : June 27, 2019

The conventional understanding of the fate of Buddhism in Korea is that it declined during the Chosŏn dynasty. Recent studies, however, have shown otherwise. It is true that the Chosŏn state, founded on the basis of Neo-Confucian ideals, suppressed Buddhism and Buddhist establishments through the confiscation of property, the demotion of monastics, the forced relocation of monasteries to remote mountains, and the withdrawal of state support. Yet royal support of Buddhism continued despite protracted opposition from Confucian bureaucrats and scholars. Buddhism was very much alive among social...

Event
Posted : June 27, 2019

In this talk, Karen Teoh draws from her book, Schooling Diaspora: Women, Education, and the Overseas Chinese in British Malaya and Singapore, 1850s-1960s (Oxford University Press, 2018), to explore the political and cultural meanings of “going home.” From the 1940s-70s, a wave of ethnic Chinese living outside China re-migrated to their ancestral homeland. They were “returning” to a place they had never seen in order to help build a nation to which they felt they belonged. Initially hailed by the Chinese government as patriots and contributors to post-1949 Communist society, returned overseas...

Event
Posted : April 8, 2019

The Saishôshi Tennô-in residence was built for Retired Emperor Gotoba in 1207. The purpose of this talk is to understand the aesthetic, symbolic and political issues of this exceptional undertaking which combines architecture, religion, painting and poetry. First of all, we will recount in detail the genesis of the project, using mainly the Meigetsu-ki (The Journal of the Harvest Moon), the diary of Fujiwara no Teika, who was the main coordinator of the enterprise. Then, we will analyse some of the twenty-nine poems which were actually written on the sliding doors of the Palace (gosho) — the...

Event
Posted : April 5, 2019

It should no longer be at all controversial to begin with the premise that the formation of the genre of science fiction is intimately intertwined with the history of empire. However, few of the existing analyses on the subject address the specific case of Japan, despite the fact that the examination of Japanese science fiction provides a particularly effective prism for illuminating these issues as a consequence of its historical position as the only non-Western colonial empire with a science fiction tradition that emerged out of its history of imperial conquest while at once fetishized...

Event
Posted : April 3, 2019

During the last eighty years of the Tokugawa period (1603–1867), gazetteers called meisho zue enjoyed tremendous commercial success as a fresh but familiar form of popular geography. The multivolume large-format books combined equal parts image and text in painstakingly sketched and researched surveys of meisho (famous places) located in cities, domains, provinces, and regions throughout the Japanese archipelago. This presentation demonstrates how meisho zue function as innovative maps that leverage the place-making capacities of the codex, graphic illustration, single sheet maps, and...

Event
Posted : April 2, 2019

While travelling in remote Upper Egypt, the most conservative and least developed part of the country, Peter Hessler stumbled upon a Chinese merchant selling lingerie to locals. Soon he realized that there were Chinese lingerie dealers scattered in towns throughout Egypt, and he spent two years tracking them down and observing their daily routines. He learned about their unexpected paths from China to the Nile, and also about how they had discovered this unique product niche.  Hessler’s investigation also took him to a Chinese development zone in the desert near the Red Sea, where a state-...

Event
Posted : April 1, 2019

What emerges from the collision of poetry and the digital? This talk will present an alternative account of both contemporary Japanese literature and the last two decades of the Japanese internet. By exploring poetry generators, game-poems, twitter poems, wiki poems, augmented reality poems, Japanese Sign Language poetry videos, and more, we will not only consider what effect did the internet have on poetry, but how poetry reimagined the internet itself. Andrew Campana is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University, where he will be joining the Department of Asian Studies as...

Event
Posted : April 1, 2019

An attentive observer of the space surrounding him, Nagai Kafū (1879-1959) appeared particularly fond of spaces inhabited by geisha, actors, prostitutes and other vocational types of people embodying endangered collective memories vis-à-vis systems of power, marginal social figures hardly aligned with the dominant ideologies; in his mindscape, backward shitamachi neighborhoods seemingly left behind by the rebuilding of the city, alongside leisure districts and pleasure quarters, represented spaces of resistance against—but also of resilience to, thanks to their capacity to withstand and cope...

Event
Posted : March 20, 2019

Who defines what it means to be ‘disabled’ in China today? In this lecture, Sarah Dauncey looks at the construction of disabled identities specifically from the perspective of Chinese cultural epistemologies. Drawing on sociological theories of citizenship, her research reveals how traditionally accepted notions of personhood are often fundamentally challenged through encounters and interactions with understandings of disability and impairment. She provides engaging examples of the ways in which representations and narratives of disability negotiate the identity of their subject(s) in...

Event
Posted : March 20, 2019

In this talk, Frühstück examines the “use value” of children—as well as the necessity and inevitability of such use—in the ideological reproduction of modern war and empire building. She asks how a large body of pictures and narratives that tie soldiers to children have reproduced a multi-sensory emotional register that has been attributed to and drew from a specific modern conceptualization of the child: the assumption that children were politically innocent, morally pure, and endowed with authentic feelings; and the expectation that adults would respond to the sight of children with a...

Event
Posted : March 15, 2019

When the Chinese government sent an estimated one million members of predominantly Muslim minority groups to internment camps over the course of 2017 and 2018, the world reacted at first with disbelief and then surprise. To many observers, the enormous program to  intern and assimilate Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kirghiz seemed to come out of nowhere. However, the policy has deep historical roots, reaching back to pre-20th-century developments of Chinese ideologies and political structures, Turkic Muslim identity systems and patterns of resistance, empire building and colonialism, and ways of...

Event
Posted : March 14, 2019

Many Chinese literati have left us accounts of illness and healing in their autobiographical writings. In early medieval China, such accounts appear in in several genres, from preface to correspondence, confession, and poetry. In this talk, I will explore reasons for the scarcity of accounts of the physical in Chinese autobiographical literature of the period, whether related to illness and healing or not, and then set out to determine the rhetorical functions of those illness narratives that have made it into self-writing. These functions clearly emerge as genre-specific conventional...

Event
Posted : March 11, 2019

Buddhist monasteries along the Silk Road operated according to a basic economic system of exchanging material gifts for religious merit. It is thus no wonder to find traces of local material culture in the Buddhist visual art preserved in monasteries. This lecture focuses on the textiles shown in the mural paintings in the Kucha caves. Textiles are one of the most essential items for sustaining monastic life. Focusing on specific patterns of monks’ robes shed new light on the local society and also the subtle balance among the monastic community, their lay supporters, and local material goods...

Event
Posted : March 5, 2019

Where should we locate the origins of modern Korea’s environmental problems? How should we organize and narrate the events, occurrences and entities of environmental history in Korea? Many assume that environmental issues emerged in the 1960s as urban problems when heavy industrialization visibly started to pollute air and water. This presentation, however, traces the origins of environmental issues in the late nineteenth century, when Chosŏn Korea joined transnational, top-down drives to modernize its agriculture. Going beyond the simplistic binary of the exploitative cities (and...

Event
Posted : February 27, 2019

In Michel Foucault’s terminology, the “disciplinary society” is produced by and in turn sustains the institutions that constitute individuals as subjects and objects of dispersed power. In colonial Taiwan (1895-1945), deficit spending on land-surveys, rentier-capitalist buy-outs, and “bandit eradication” established the foundations for disciplinary society in the densely populated areas of the island. However, in what became Taiwan’s indigenous territories, the costs of building an infrastructure (including schools, courts, prisons, hospitals, banks) that could produce self-...

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