CEAS Colloquium Series

Event
Posted : February 16, 2024

As repression grows in China, some pastors, lawyers and NGOs are neither resisting it nor withdrawing from the public sphere, but instead are finding ways to adapt. Coping strategies include: being transparent about their activities and maintaining close communication with the authorities; cultivating allies in the government and giving credit to officials for their achievements; keeping the size of their organizations non-threatening and consenting to a heightened Party presence; staying a safe distance from red lines and focusing on less controversial issues; encouraging their constituents...

Event
Posted : January 30, 2024

Kiyoteru Tsutsui is Henri H. and Tomoye Takahashi Professor of Japanese Studies, Deputy Director of the Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center (APARC), Director of the Japan Program at APARC, Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Co-Director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, and Professor of Sociology, all at Stanford University. His research on the globalization of human rights and its impact on local politics has appeared in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Problems, Journal of...

Event
Posted : January 25, 2024

In 2014, the Chinese artist Dai Xiang completed a photo montage that portrayed modern Chinese people in actual situations against the backdrop of the landscape of the Song-dynasty scroll entitled the Qingming shanghe tu (often translated as “Going Up River on the Qingming Festival”), traditionally attributed to Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145). In this talk, Dai will explain why the Qingming scroll lends itself to reinterpretation and give the historical background of the situations he showed in the New Qingming scroll. He will also briefly introduce the technology he used to make the photo montage (...

Event
Posted : January 17, 2024

This talk delves into Okinawa-born artist Yamashiro Chikako’s (b.1976) recent moving image works. Focusing on the artist’s recent video installations, Chinbin Western: Representation of the Family (2019) and Reframing (2021), this project argues that these works may be seen as a type of eco-fantasy highlighting contentious, and oppressive infrastructural imaginaries. My question specifically concerns what art(-making) can achieve through exposing Okinawa’s colonial status quo, its border politics and security-infrastructural regime, and how works like Yamashiro’s may intervene in the social...

Event
Posted : January 17, 2024

Newspaper headlines describe a China that is uniformly bleak: a slowing economy, tensions with the West, and a surveillance state that seems to have crushed all opposing voices. But in his new book Sparks: China’s Underground Historians and Their Battle for the Future, Ian Johnson presents a more nuanced picture of Xi Jinping’s China, one where a vibrant movement of underground filmmakers, magazine publishers, and authors challenge the Communist Party on its most important source of legitimacy: its control of history. Join us as Ian presents his book and introduces us to China...

Event
Posted : January 4, 2024

In the early 1970s, acupuncture suddenly burst into the American consciousness. The journalist James Reston, who had traveled to Beijing to report on China’s reopening to the Western world, suffered a burst appendix and was treated with acupuncture for his postoperative pain. From that moment, acupuncture became a word on every American’s lips – even if it was not yet a therapy that had penetrated their skin. This talk reconsiders the early history of acupuncture in the United States by tracing its journey from an all-but-unknown medical modality to a popular, albeit “alternative,” form of...

Event
Posted : November 20, 2023

The earliest extant composition by the patriarch of Shingon Buddhism in Japan, Kūkai 空海 (774–835), is the Sangō shiiki 三教指帰 (The ultimate meaning of the three teachings). This elaborate work in kanbun presents an outline of the Three Teachings transmitted from China in hierarchical arrangement, with Confucianism first shown to be inferior to Daoism, and Daoism in turn giving way to Buddhism. The rhetorical achievement of the Sangō shiiki is visible first of all in its epideictic rhetoric, rich in rhyming and alliterative compounds as well as creative adaptation of allusions from the classics...

Event
Posted : November 1, 2023

From the toppling of the Qing Empire in 1911 to the political campaigns and mass protests in the Mao and post-Mao eras, revolutionary upheavals characterized China’s twentieth century. In this talk, Ying Qian draws from her forthcoming book to discuss documentary as deeply embedded in these upheavals and as a prism to investigate the entwined histories of media and China’s revolutionary movements. Situating cinema’s invention in 1895 in the East Asian context of colonial warfare and revolutionary agitation, this talk discusses documentary’s emergence in transnational revolutionary activism in...

Event
Posted : November 1, 2023

This talk is based on chapter 5 of my new book manuscript on the collective character of agency, tentatively titled All Entities Have Consequences. In this chapter, “The Power of the Assembly: A New Interpretation of Wuwei,” I approach the phenomenon of reversal (fan 反) through the angle of by-product states: optimal states that can only come about as the by-product of actions undertaken for other ends. In the contemporary philosophical literature, spontaneity is one such paradigmatic by-product state, but, according to the Daodejing, so is power, strength, beauty, virtue, efficacy,...

Event
Posted : November 1, 2023

This talk examines the gendered logic and contradictions in faith-based aid work in South Korea by contrasting programs for widows and orphaned children. The Korean War precipitated a humanitarian crisis in South Korea, and Protestant organizations stood on the forefront in providing emergency relief and rehabilitation aid. Of particular concern was the plight of orphans and widows. These two groups were potential threats to the long-term stability of families. Would orphaned boys and girls become ideal husband-fathers and wives-mothers? What if orphans fell into a life of crime—in particular...

Event
Posted : November 1, 2023

This talk explores how we should make use of steles (beike) beyond analyzing the texts they bear by contextualizing the rise and fall of epigraphic practices in social and political transitions in Chinese history. In particular, I will focus on a long-forgotten epigraphic genre that flourished under the Mongol rule (thirteenth to fourteenth century). Since the emergence of the field of epigraphy in eleventh-century China, inscriptions engraved on the front side of steles have attracted attention from scholars, antiquarians, calligraphers, and travelers, while the stone steles and their...

Event
Posted : November 1, 2023

We will delve deep into the intricacies of life in North Korea, beyond the common narratives and misperceptions. Drawing from firsthand accounts, the session aims to provide an authentic glimpse into the nation’s socio-political fabric. As we journey through the realities of North Korea, we will also explore the broader implications of these truths on regional stability. Toward the conclusion, the discussion will pivot towards potential solutions to the ongoing challenges posed by North Korea, culminating in an exploration of the profound significance and potential paths to a unified...

Event
Posted : November 1, 2023

This presentation examines the Cold War transformation of blood collection practices in South Korea to understand their operation at the intersection of local medical need, globalized scientific technologies, and postcolonial bio-governance. Today, voluntary blood donations account for almost all of South Korea’s medical blood reserve, but this donor culture is a relatively recent phenomenon. For decades after the Korean War, medical blood collection efforts struggled with widespread stigma against the purported dangers of donation and reservations about sharing such a personal substance with...

Event
Posted : September 28, 2023

When William Gibson and Bruce Sterling published their collaboration The Difference Engine in 1990, it was very natural for the proper readers of science fiction to consider it as the magnum opus achieved by each writer at that point. However, once it was out in 1990, the general fans of cyberpunk in Japan, who had expected Gibson and Sterling to keep demonstrating the cutting-edge of internet computer culture, seemed more or less disappointed by their collaboration. The Japanese readers tended to neglect the significance of the trans-Pacific imagination in this alternate historical novel;...

Event
Posted : September 28, 2023

Inspired by the techno-goth style of her admired British fantast Storm Constantine, Kotani’s seventh monograph Techno-Gothic (Tokyo: Homesha Publishers, 2005) collected essays on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mariko O’Hara’s Ephemera the Vampire, Riche Tankersley Cusick’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Wachowskis’ Matrix and other works, paving the way for gender-bending poetics. “The Pure Hearted Major,” the last chapter of the book, skillfully reconsidered Oshii  Mamoru’s masterpiece Innocence not only as a cyborg feminist story but also as a typically techno-gothic narrative. Innocence vividly...

Event
Posted : September 8, 2023

“Should we lose Saipan,” Emperor Hirohito warned Prime Minister Tōjō Hideki shortly after U.S. Marines landed on the island in June 1944, “Tokyo will face relentless air raids. We must hold the island at all costs.” Instead of holding the island, the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces suffered catastrophic defeats in the Pacific Ocean theater. By the following month, Saipan and the other Mariana Islands were in U.S. hands. This presentation explores the Japanese government’s strategies for civil air defense after the majority of Japan’s cities came within range of America’s...

Event
Posted : August 17, 2023

In the mid-1900s, American missionaries employed the industrial vision of the Black intellectual Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) to instill in Koreans the ideas of “civilization and enlightenment” and economic development. Notably, American mission workers juxtaposed the situations of dispossessed African Americans with those of Koreans. This equation created the conditions through which a rhetoric of “uplift” could be articulated through their similar status on an imagined scale of race and progress. The Korean leader Yun Ch’i-ho (1865-1945), while occasionally criticizing the hypocrisy of...

Event
Posted : March 27, 2023

This talk explores the tangled histories of green imperialism and green capitalism in Asia through the lens of a Japanese corporation: the Ōji Paper Company, historically one of the largest corporate consumers of Asia’s forests. For well over a century, Ōji has stood at the forefront of Japan’s control of woodlands across the Pacific Rim, whether as part of the colonial empire before 1945 or in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia thereafter. In the process, the conglomerate has supplied Japan, a country long celebrated for its vibrant print culture, with the bulk of its pulp...

Event
Posted : March 21, 2023

At the end of the Pacific War in 1945, about 15 percent of Korea’s population was located outside Korea, having been scattered throughout the Japanese empire due to long-term migration and war mobilization.  With Japan’s surrender to Allied powers, movement suddenly reversed.  Millions entered South Korea, now occupied by the U.S. military, and strained the resources of the newly divided country.  This talk discusses who these “refugees” were, the participation of grassroots organizations, U.S. occupation forces, and the public in creating them, and, finally, their significance in the history...

Event
Posted : February 24, 2023

This talk examines some of the cultural and legal ways North Korean refugees are now being groomed to become an assimilable population to the United States, with a focus on North Korean defector Yeonmi Park’s memoir, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girls’ Journey to Freedom (2015). I argue that the North Korean people are increasingly being recognized and imagined as a potential next wave of immigrant Americans, even though there is a simultaneous political and societal refusal to practically actualize this possibility. My analysis demonstrates that contemporary representations of North...

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