CEAS Colloquium Series

Event
Posted : September 19, 2018

The friendship between Lu Xun, China’s most famous writer of the 20th century, and Uchiyama Kanzō, the Japanese bookshop owner who lived in Shanghai for nearly 30 years, is legendary, especially in East Asia.  The nature of that friendship, though, has never been fleshed out.  This talk addresses how and why these two men came to Shanghai, for what turned out to be the last years of Lu Xun’s life, and how their friendship was manifest in daily life. Joshua Fogel was born in Brooklyn, raised in Berkeley, studied in Chicago, New York, and Kyoto, and has taught at Harvard, the Univ....

Event
Posted : September 19, 2018

Almost three decades ago, the desecration of a pair of graves near the border with North Korea led to discovery of the “lost” grave of assistant chancellor Kwŏn Chun (1281-1352). What Kwŏn’s elegantly decorated grave revealed was a world where the elite used their wealth to infuse the afterlife with a sense of individual drama. But this world, like Kwŏn’s grave and the monastery that guarded it, was lost. It was replaced by a world regulated strictly by standardized ritual where the ancestors of families of equal social standing occupied the same, indistinguishable postmortem...

Event
Posted : September 19, 2018

When Chinese novelist Su Wei and his translator Austin Woerner first met in 2005, little did they know that their friendship would spark a ten-year-long experiment in creative co-translation that would take them from the classrooms of Yale to the mountains of Hainan Island and back again. Join Woerner and Su and as they recount this literary odyssey, culminating in the publication of Woerner’s English translation of Su’s novel titled The Invisible Valley in English this year. Author and translator will reveal the story behind the story, a coming-of-age narrative set during the Cultural...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2018

Scholars of Daoist history agree that the origins of the modern Daoist liturgy and clerical organization can to a large extent be found in the Church of the Heavenly Master, Tianshidao 天師道, reputedly established by the mid-second century in Sichuan by Zhang Daoling 張道陵. In 142 CE, according to Daoist tradition, Zhang was visited by Taishang laojun 太上老君 who named him his vicar on Earth with the title of tianshi 天師, Heavenly Master. The dispensation articulated an eschatological vision of saving the initiates – the pure, destined to become immortals, separated from the doomed – through...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2018

Part of Dr. Todd A. Henry’s current book on the role of the mass media, sexual medicine, and the police state in extracting public value from the private lives of non-normative subjects, this talk offers a critical analysis of sex change in Cold War South Korea. In forging a dialogue among Korean Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and LGBTI Studies, he seeks to produce knowledge beneficial to individuals and groups who continue to struggle against the historical forces addressed in his work. To this end, he traces how corporeal ideologies of sex dimorphism and hetero-patriarchy...

Event
Posted : March 19, 2018

The ominous implications of disasters—fires, floods, earthquakes—are clear in the literature of Japan’s medieval period: they portend unrest in the realm, suggest the corruption of the powerful, and underscore the futility of human ambition. When the shogun’s capital of Edo was devastated by fire in 1657, and the imperial capital of Kyoto was shaken by a destructive earthquake in 1662, a little more than a half-century into the rule of the Tokugawa shoguns, the question of how the nascent world of print fiction would treat these two events was therefore a charged one. This talk examines...

Event
Posted : March 14, 2018

There are more prison chaplains in the Japanese correctional system than there are in American prisons–despite the fact that Japan has only a fraction of the U.S. prison population. Why does Japan have so many prison chaplains and what do they do? Based on over two years of fieldwork with Japanese prison chaplains from Buddhist, Shinto, and other sects, Lyons argues that the prison chaplaincy has developed as one face of religious work for the public benefit. The chaplaincy is charged with offering a depoliticized form of religious education tailored to the goals of the host institution...

Event
Posted : March 6, 2018

Fu poetry underwent a transformation during the 8th and 9th centuries, partly due to its inclusion in the imperial examinations, but also owing to the merging of the varied stylistic streams flowing out of the the Han and Six Dynasties forms. Scholars have traditionally considered the division between the “old-style” 古 and prosodically “regulated” 律 fu to be a line of demarcation. A tension arises when one is asked to consider the startling diversity of poems placed under the title of fu. Dr. Knight proposes that the fu from medieval times onward are in fact a complex poetic model of...

Event
Posted : March 6, 2018

This research is based on fieldwork across borders, working with Turkic Muslim Uyghur communities in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It asks, what can attention to sound contribute to our understanding of the patterns of religious change and political tension in this region? How do new religious modalities circulate within Uyghur society, and how do people listen to, embody, and reproduce them? The study begins with a group of Uyghur women in a small village in southern Xinjiang, and explores the spiritual and political geographies they inhabit,...

Event
Posted : March 5, 2018

This presentation is mainly conducted in Japanese. In the management of the castle town, the distinctive urban form of early modern Japan, not only samurai bureaucrats but also townspeople officials played an important role in town administration. However, compared with research on townspeople officials in Edo, Kyoto and Osaka, there is more room for discussion about the social importance of townspeople officials in regional castle towns. In this presentation, using records from the lower townspeople officials, or kumigashira, who were primarily responsible for the administration of the...

Event
Posted : March 2, 2018

Although overseas travel was off limits to Japanese themselves from the 1630s through the 1860s, thousands of Chinese ships sailed into Nagasaki Harbor during that time, bringing the bounty of the continent to an eager, captive audience: silks and satins, sugar, ginseng and other medicines, minerals, animal products—and books. Much attention has been given to a few prominent works of Chinese fiction that became widely familiar to the Japanese public in the early modern period. Yet many fundamental questions remain unanswered about the broader reception history. What portion of books imported...

Event
Posted : February 16, 2018

In 1936, writer of shōjo and romance fiction, often depicting same-sex love, Yoshiya Nobuko was asked to adapt the 1923 novel Stella Dallas into the Japanese language with a Japanese setting. The famous sound film of the movie staring Barbara Stanwyck had not yet been released, but based on the success of the 1925 silent film in Japan, Yoshiya’s translation was commissioned with an eye to making a movie. In 1937 A Mother’s Song (Haha no kyoku) directed by Yamamoto Satsuo and starring Hara Setsuko and Iriye Takako was released and is considered formative of the a new genre of “mother films” (...

Event
Posted : February 12, 2018

In one of the greatest works of meta-literature in Chinese history, “Rhapsody on Literature” 文賦, Lu Ji陸機 (261-303), not only sets forth theories and practices of literary composition, but also candidly discusses the various fearsome and obsessive challenges that concern the writer. These challenges range from the difficulty in finding at times le mot juste, the occasional disconnection between idea formation and articulation, to the dread of inadvertently imitating or duplicating a prior work. The last problem is especially revelatory of the angst-generating literary contradictions of early...

Event
Posted : January 31, 2018

When and how did China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution really begin? How do historians delineate the temporal boundaries of major historical events, and trace their origins, precedents, and preludes? And, how are periodization schemes and historiographical categories constructed and defined? In this talk, Professor Wu will reexamine the opening phase of Mao’s last revolutionary endeavor and the critical historical events leading up to it, with the aims of exploring an understanding of how the great turmoil began in ways less dependent on teleological and Mao-centered premises and more...

Event
Posted : January 31, 2018

When the twenty-nine leaders of the newly post-colonial states gathered in the West Javanese city of Bandung in April 1955, the global media coverage helped to turn the Bandung Conference into one of the most iconic moments of the post-colonial history. ‘Great Men’ of history such as Nehru, Zhou Enlai and Sukarno elegantly ‘danced’ on the world stage to the delights of popular audiences worldwide. But, where were the women? When we consider the history of international diplomacy, there is a dearth of women as agents of diplomacy. This study probes deeper into how and why women have been...

Event
Posted : January 23, 2018

It was said that more than 60,000 Japanese people remained in Manchuria when the last repatriation ship returned to Japan from China. Many remaining Japanese people in Manchuria engaged in the Chinese communist revolution at the request by the Communist Party of China. Some radical communists groups organized the cultural movements at factories, hospitals and coal mines. Dr. Tsuboi’s paper will consider their movements within the context of refugee (displaced person) problematics and discuss what /who was the refugee in the northeast Asia in 1950th. Dr. Hideto Tsuboi is a Japanese...

Event
Posted : January 5, 2018

Due to inclement weather affecting guest travel, this event has been postponed until further notice. Thank you for your understanding. This talk is dedicated to the rhetorical analysis of illness narratives in early medieval Chinese self-writing. Professor Richter will first elaborate on reasons for the rarity 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...

Event
Posted : January 5, 2018

Professor William Hedberg’s presentation focuses on the reception and continued popularity of Chinese vernacular fiction in Meiji- and Taishō-period Japan, with special focus on the novel The Water Margin (Ch. Shuihu zhuan, Jp. Suikoden).  The story of 108 outlaw gallants who band together in the marshes of northeastern China, The Water Margin reached new heights of popularity in the modern era, when authors as disparate as Mori Ōgai, Tokutomi Sohō, Masaoka Shiki, and Akutagawa Ryūnosuke presented the novel as an uncannily proto-modern example of literary realism, as well as a key point...

Event
Posted : January 2, 2018

On the thirteenth day of the second month of Jishō 3 (1179), the notorious Rokuhara Novice and Former Chancellor, Taira no Kiyomori, presented a partial copy of the Chinese text Imperial Readings of the Taiping Era to the Japanese court. Nakayama Tadachika, the courtier who recorded the event in his diary, grudgingly observed that the text had “never before come to our sovereignty.” The performative appeal of such a gift is clear, for mastery of things Chinese reflected cultural capital like little else in late-twelfth and thirteenth-century Japan: Kiyomori’s gesture encapsulates the ideal of...

Event
Posted : December 21, 2017

In the first half of the twentieth century a number of Japanese companies began investing in offshore guano mining. Beginning in the North Pacific, in the interwar period guano prospectors fanned out across the South China Sea, surveying and claiming uninhabited islands that they hoped would prove commercially valuable. To defend their claims they cultivated close connections with the Imperial Japanese Navy and took care to couch their activities in terms of the national strategic interest. As a result the Japanese government increasingly found itself drawn into island sovereignty disputes...

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