CEAS Colloquium Series

Event
Posted : September 27, 2022

*Please note this event is scheduled to begin at 9:25am Please register for this Zoom event here The Buddho-Daoist group of bas-reliefs crudely carved on the cliff of Kongwangshan 孔望山 in Lianyungang 連雲港 (Jiangsu) has been widely reputed to date to the late Eastern Han (25–220 CE), following the report of the preliminary survey published in 1981 and the authority, among others, of the late Yu Weichao 俞偉超 (1933–2003). Rather recently, the date has been reaffirmed by the final site report published in 2010. But the...

Event
Posted : September 26, 2022

This talk introduces the main thesis of the speaker’s forthcoming book, Spatial Dunhuang: Experiencing the Dunhuang Caves, which experiments with a new way of analyzing Dunhuang art—and Buddhist grottoes in general. Starting from re-examining the Mogao Caves through the perspective of space, this analysis also leads us to think about the complicated temporalities of this large cave complex. Wu Hung has published widely on both traditional and contemporary Chinese art. His interest in both traditional and modern/contemporary Chinese art has led him to experiment with different ways to...

Event
Posted : August 22, 2022

The Treaty of Chanyuan, signed at the beginning of the eleventh century, established the international order of multiple coexisting states based on alliance pledges that had intermittently emerged since the ninth century onward, creating a “system” with long-term sustainability. This system was based on the formal equality of the relationship between the Kitan Liao and the Northern Song, which regulated not only relations between these two states, but also with other regimes for one hundred and twenty years. However, the establishment of the Jin led to the emergence of suzerain-vassal...

Event
Posted : August 15, 2022

Two paradigms, both based in Western experience, dominate the literature on the transition to adulthood. One of these, which I call the traditional marker paradigm, focuses on access to and the timing of the attainment of markers of adulthood idealized in mid-twentieth century America. The other, the emerging adulthood paradigm, focuses on this life stage as a time of identity exploration, self-focus, and a sense of possibilities. Based on interviews with 100 young men and women in southwestern China, I demonstrate that neither paradigm fully accounts for the Chinese experience. Rather than...

Event
Posted : August 15, 2022

During the violent early years of China’s Cultural Revolution, the province of Guangxi experienced by far the largest death toll of any comparable region. Why? One explanation posits a process of collective killings focused on rural households categorized as class enemies by the regime. This view draws parallels with genocidal intergroup violence in Bosnia, Rwanda, and similar settings. New evidence from classified investigations conducted in China in the 1980s reveals the extent to which the killings were part of a province-wide counter-insurgency campaign carried out by village militia. The...

Event
Posted : November 23, 2021

This paper will present the results of a preliminary investigation into gender-based differences in treatment of poetic topics (dai) in the waka poetry anthology, Eikyū yo nen hyakushu (‘The Eikyū 4 Hundred Poem Sequences’; 1117). This collection contains 701 poems on one hundred topics by seven poets, five men and two women. By this point in waka history, topic was a significant category which provided strictures for poets on suitable diction (kotoba) and conception (kokoro) to be used in the production of their poems. Poetic quality was often determined by the faithfulness with which poets...

Event
Posted : October 14, 2021

A recent turn in the study of late medieval Chinese muzhiming has been to consider not simply what information they communicate but also how, why, and to whom, and how answers to these questions can inform our understanding of that period’s commemorative practices. In this talk, I analyze muzhiming as textual and material objects produced through processes of “collaborative remembrance,” as coming into being due to the shared efforts and remembrances of multiple parties. In the first part of my talk, I discuss what close examination of the muzhiming as a material object reveals about how...

Event
Posted : October 14, 2021

This talk analyzes the current political predicament of Hong Kong by examining “Nightmare Wallpaper,” an art project composed of the automatic drawings by local artist Pak Sheung Cheun when he was attending the court cases of some political activists on trial. He subsequently transformed them into wallpaper prints, a series of installation arts, and a book. This political work, which is also very private, honestly demonstrates the artist’s intense struggles along with despair felt by many in the city. It is both a work of abjection and intersubjectivity, with no naïve expectation to reconcile...

Event
Posted : October 14, 2021

Why are perennially entrenched institutions so hard to reform? This talk proposes a novel theory of institutional rebound for difficult reforms. It untangles reforms in China’s state-owned enterprises, which aimed to break the “iron institutions” in leadership, employment and wages and introduce competition. I argue that the reforms triggered the emergence of informal institutions, which eroded the new rules and allowed previous institutions to bounce back. When actors had denser political connections, their active manipulation helped the vested interests to design rules to maintain...

Event
Posted : October 14, 2021

In 1903, Ōsaki Tatsugorō, builder and manager of some 1,100 slum houses in Tokyo, dictated his autobiography. This talk draws on the autobiography to examine the social context and the economic calculus underlying the construction of the city’s sprawling working-class periphery. Ōsaki’s story reveals a transitional moment in the city’s history, before a land-centered real estate market governed by contracts and planning regulations redefined the economics of housing. His building practice is shown to be part of an economy of circulation rather than accumulation, bearing traits in common with...

Event
Posted : September 9, 2021

Most letters in Tokugawa Japan were written in sōrōbun, the epistolary style of classical Japanese. Yet there were also letters composed in kanbun, or Literary Sinitic prose. This talk will focus on a set of three letters, written in Literary Sinitic prose in Genroku 11 (1698) by Muro Kyūsō (1658–1734), then a Confucian scholar in the service of the Kaga domain lord Maeda Tsunanori (1643–1724), and addressed to Aochi Norimoto (1675–1744), a samurai retainer of the same domain. These letters contain bits of information that may not have surfaced otherwise: Kyūsō and Norimoto’s secret...

Event
Posted : August 3, 2021

In 1868, one of the first acts of the new Meiji government was to declare that Shinto and Buddhist institutions must be separated.  For most of Japanese history, the nation’s two major religious traditions had been tightly integrated and so this change has been characterized as a “cultural revolution.”  My talk will focus on one component of traditional Japanese religion, the Tenjin cult, and how it was practiced at one of its principle centers located in Dazaifu, Kyushu.  The institution began, unambiguously, as a Buddhist temple, Anrakuji, but today flourishes as a Shinto shrine, Dazaifu...

Event
Posted : August 3, 2021

The radical framework of the Black Pacific offers a unique way to make sense of the multiple afterlives brought together in the heavily militarized island of Okinawa, Japan.  This talk will focus on key lessons learned while researching and writing about the entanglements of Black and Asian intimacies, colonialities, and forms of anti-Blackness in Okinawa.  Carter will also discuss how the Black Pacific, as a conceptual lens, gives scholars of Okinawa a way to raise better questions about the legacy of White supremacy in the Pacific and better analysis of the persistence and vitality of Black...

Event
Posted : June 17, 2021

The recent political crisis in Hong Kong is characterized by a level of social unrest the city has not seen since the riots of 1966/67.  After that earlier round of turmoil, the British colonial regime secured legitimacy through socioeconomic improvement in Hong Kong.  “Prosperity and Stability” became the hallmark of Hong Kong’s success.  This catchphrase also came to be adopted as the slogan of the HKSAR government in its bid to seek legitimacy with socioeconomic appeals.  Against such perennial state rhetoric, grassroots protesters came to demand “Democracy and Freedom.” Examining these...

Event
Posted : June 17, 2021

Smuggling, overseas gambling, human trafficking…Contemporary media coverage and government policies tend to frame the shadow economy at the Sino-Vietnamese borderlands as “new problems” posed by market-oriented reforms in both societies. These activities were nevertheless part of the long-existing inter-Asian economic and social networks. This talk investigates how consecutive political authorities in China and Vietnam sought to tame the spontaneous cross-border connections since the formal demarcation of the international boundary following the Sino-French War up to the mid-twentieth century...

Event
Posted : June 17, 2021

This is the first public presentation of Michelson’s forthcoming book (Cambridge University Press, February 2022) on Chinese courts, judicial decision-making, family law, gender violence, and the limits and possibilities of the globalization of law. Michelson’s analysis of almost 150,000 divorce trials reveals routine and egregious violations of China’s own laws upholding the freedom of divorce, gender equality, and the protection of women’s physical security. Using “big data” computational techniques to scrutinize cases covering 2009–2016 from all 252 basic-level courts in two Chinese...

Event
Posted : June 17, 2021

From the perspective of comparative institutional analysis, Zhou examines the historical origins of Chinese bureaucracy and state building in China. Zhou argues that Chinese bureaucracy took shape in response to two forces: the power of the absolute state and the differential mode of association in Confucian culture. As a result, the institutions of Chinese bureaucracy in history were characterized by the duality of hierarchy and patriarchy. This historical legacy has had a strong influence on the remaking of Chinese bureaucracy and state building in contemporary China. Xueguang Zhou is a...

Event
Posted : June 3, 2021

Minorities, like majorities, do not just exist. Minoritization instead is an inherent corollary to the process of nation-state building. This talk examines one site of state-initiated minoritization, the ethnocultural frontier region in northwest China known to Tibetan speakers as Amdo. When in 1949 the Chinese Communist Party “liberated” Amdo, its aim was not simply control over non-Han people, but the transformation of what had been loose sets of imperial subjects into bounded “minority nationalities” within a new People’s Republic of China. In other words, its objective was not just to...

Event
Posted : March 1, 2021

Following the end of World War II, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spent the next three decades carrying out agrarian reform among nearly one third of the world’s rural population. The first step of this reform was a nation-wide Land Reform Movement in which the CCP helped redistribute 40 million hectares of land to over 300 million rural people. This land reform, the founding myth of the People’s Republic of China (1949– present) and the cornerstone of the Chinese Communist Revolution, embodies the idea that an equal redistribution of property leads to social and political equality....

Event
Posted : November 12, 2020

During the eighteenth century, ethnic Chinese emerged as the preeminent diasporic community in maritime East Asia. From the East China Sea to the Strait of Melaka, Chinese junks dominated the trading lanes, while settlers flooded into the sparsely populated interior of Southeast Asia. Scholars have spoken of the eighteenth century as a “Chinese century” in maritime East Asia. Although Chinese merchants and immigrants have long had an established presence in maritime East Asia, at least since the thirteenth century, their actual numbers and degree of influence varied over time. In fact, their...

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