CEAS Colloquium Series

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-...

Event
Posted : February 26, 2019

Sogdian merchants were real power players in the international political scene that developed in East Asia during the sixth century CE. Having left their Central Asian homeland to engage in the luxury trade along the Silk Road, this Iranian-speaking community used their formidable business skills to establish a vast trading network ranging from Korean kingdoms to the Byzantine Empire. Moreover, they were the masterminds responsible for the emergence of two cosmopolitan empires in East Asia: the Turkic Khanagate (552-657 CE) located on the Mongolian grassland and the Sui Dynasty (581-618 CE)...

Event
Posted : February 8, 2019

Recent decades have seen a dramatic increase in the number of texts available for sinological research, owing to constant new archaeological discoveries. These newly available texts pose at once exciting and daunting challenges to our established disciplinary methods and procedures, and our assumptions of what is, or should be, our discipline’s “body of knowledge.” In this lecture, Warner takes up the subject of entombed epitaphs (muzhi 墓誌) excavated from Tang tombs and considers how these artifacts invite scholars of medieval China to re-assess the field’s current understanding of the...

Event
Posted : November 26, 2018

Children’s literature emerged in early twentieth century Korea, and was predicated on the belief in the emotional and intellectual difference between children and adults. Dr. Zur’s interrogation of the political and social stakes in writing for children reveals that it was the bond between the child and nature that underwrote much of the fiction and poetry for children in its first four decades. This bond was broken when the atomic era, and the rules of the Cold War, rewrote humans’ relationship with nature, and when the cult of science placed children as the agents of the transformation of...

Event
Posted : October 30, 2018

As we grapple with the consequences of fake news, disseminated across the globe in high-speed internet to impact countries and communities on issues as grave as presidential election, gender discrimination, and ethnic cleansing, it might feel as if our world is treading on unchartered territory. But viral misinformation is not unique to social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Before these, there were email, mail, and telephone hoaxes, which, in fact, are still common. While the urgent issue at hand may be that of the speed and reach of fake news on social media, recognizing that the...

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

Please join us for a book signing prior to this event at 2:00 PM on Monday, October 1, located at the Yale Bookstore (77 Broadway, New Haven CT 06511).   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...

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