CEAS Colloquium Series

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

More than six decades after the end of World War II, China is finally coming to terms with the devastating effects of the war against Japan on its society and culture. During the war, ideas of nationhood and citizenship were fundamentally challenged and rethought in the wake of mass population flight, physical destruction, and countless deaths. This talk will use wartime materials from Chinese archives of the Nationalist (Kuomintang) government to argue that modern ideas of state and citizenship in China were profoundly shaped by the experience of war, and that the effects of those ideas...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

It has been widely hypothesized that modernization breeds political development. Although political scientists have focused on grand theory building, one is left wondering if the speed of economic development or modernization matters, or if it is just a threshold where factors amenable to democracy start to emerge. In countries that achieve rapid economic development and start the democratic transition process in a short time period, the pace of political recruitment (i.e., the quality) may not keep up with economic achievement. Because the quality of political candidates does not keep up...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

In the wake of massive protests in Okinawa after three U.S. servicemen raped a twelve-year-old girl in 1995, the Pentagon agreed to close a Marine air base located in the middle of a city. But there was a catch. The Japanese government would have to build a replacement in Okinawa. This small island prefecture, comprising 0.6% of the nation’s land area and less than 1% of its population, already bears 75% of the total U.S. military presence in Japan. Some 25,000 U.S. troops and 20,000 of their dependents currently reside on bases that occupy 15% of the prefecture where serious crimes, deadly...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Difference is a basic fact in life and in our understanding of life, as people are all different as individuals and as social groups and communities. In humanities and social sciences, however, differences are often ignored on the individual level, while emphasized on the collective level. This is particularly true in understanding different cultures. By examining some recent works in East-West cross-cultural studies, the lecturer will argue that we should pay attention to the complexity of difference and what Geoffrey Lloyd calls the “multidimensionality” of things so as to avoid the mistake...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Sometime around the middle of the 9th century, a ship of Indian or Arab-Persian construction went down in the waters off Belitung Island between Sumatra and Borneo. The ship was carrying approximately 60,000 items apparently intended for a destination in the Middle East. Among the objects recovered from the ship were around 45,000 bowls, at least one of which bears an inscription dating it to the year 826 A.D. All of the designs on the bowls are different, but one is of particular interest for devotees of tea, since it carries the inscription cházhǎnzi 茶盞子 (“tea bowl”). A careful linguistic...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

We know about the “lost generation” and the central role that Paris played in Anglo-American cultural production; we know much less about the role that Paris occupied in the Japanese imagination. Japanese artists travelled to Paris in the 1920s for the same reasons as others: it was the most exciting city in the world, it was a refuge from a constricting society at home, and it was the city for art. I will compare the imagery produced by painter Fujita Tsuguharu (1886-1968) and that of poet and painter Kaneko Mitsuharu (1895-1975), whose Paris years overlap.Fujita was one of the most widely...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The recent global financial crisis has prompted broad and radical rethinking of the place of human values in capitalism. In this lecture, I revisit the expanded visions of humanity presented by Malinowski and Mauss in their respective theories of the gift and consider their implications for the ongoing debate about financial markets and their regulation. Toward this end, I examine a variety of business practices, intellectual ventures and personal dreams inspired by the idea of arbitrage in the career trajectories of a group of Japanese derivatives traders in Tokyo from 1987-2010. My...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

In the April 6, 1903 edition of the Tokyo Asahi shinbun, bestselling translator Hara H*itsuan published “Shiiza sansatsu jiken,” his rendition of a sketch by Mark Twain titled “The Killing of Julius Caesar ‘Localized’.” This minor translation of a minor text by a world-famous American author quickly sparked a knock-down, drag-out fight between Hara and another translator, Yamagata Iso’o. Increasingly incensed by Hara’s failure to grasp Twain’s subtle sense of humor, Yamagata delivered the final, devastating blow in the fight: an annotated retranslation of the same text, published in book form...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

This project looks at the original intentions - spoken and unspoken - behind the Truman and Eisenhower administration’s decisions to create a network of bilateral (as opposed to multilateral) alliances in East Asia, including Korea.

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Zidishu (bannermen tales), a storytelling genre created by Manchus, was popular in Beijing and Northeast China during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This paper reconstructs various milieus for zidishu’s performances, including both public and private arenas. By reconstructing zidishu performances as well as introducing three linguistic types of zidishu, I argue that zidishu was intimately tied to elite, Manchu literati aesthetics and their amateur culture in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Beijing. The practice of zidishu helped bannermen maintain a sense of Manchu...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The lecture seeks to trace the changing contours of the independent documentary community in China today and its polymorphous social and expressive manifestations. The independent DV documentaries produced and circulated within and beyond this community demonstrate the wide spectrum of documentary practices as well as explore the relationships between aesthetic experimentation, the ethics of representation, and political advocacy.

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

A current discussion topic of immense interest and importance is the extent to which the current banking crisis, keyed, in part, by problems in the U.S. subprime mortgage market that then spread throughout financial markets more generally, could lead to a persistent stagnation in the U.S. economy that resembles the prolonged malaise in Japan beginning in the early 1990s. After providing a brief overview of the Japanese banking crisis and some explanations for its persistence, I will discuss why I do not believe that the U.S. economy is likely to follow a similar path. Among the themes...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

In 1953, flush from the stunning international success of Rashomon (1951, Kurosawa Akira), Daiei Film Studio president Nagata Masaichi set out on a tour of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaya, the Philippines and Thailand as member nations in order to establish the Federation of Motion Picture Producers of Southeast Asia (FMPPSA). Leveraging the considerable influence that his films were gaining on the international festival circuit, Nagata appealed for the necessity of creating a Pan-Asian market as both a showcase and marketplace for films produced in the region. He also saw this Pan-Asian...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Spring 1938. As Japan was expanding into China, imperial policies in colonial Korea were fluctuating from that of differentiation/assimilation to imperialization. A catchy official slogan Naisen ittai (One Body of Japan and Korea) promised equality for the colonized in exchange for support in the wartime empire. Not unrelated to this political climate, a metropolitan consumer trend of the “Korea Boom” highlighted exotica from the colony throughout the empire. Responding to such consuming desires, a highly anticipated Japanese-language theatrical adaptation of Ch’unhyang chŏn (The tale of Ch...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

According to Professor Yang’s statistical research, by 2007, discoveries of about 20,000 tombs of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) have been reported from nearly every corner of the empire. In fact, the total number of Han tombs excavated in China is no less than 100,000. So far, not many scholars have approached these widely distributed and numerous Han tombs comprehensively and systematically. Professor Yang’s talk will focus on the structure of Han tombs, with special attention to their typology and development. Professor Yang will also discuss the regional styles, the impact of the...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The trope of a city constructed in the blink of the eye is central to recent Chinese films and stage plays. The instant city is visually represented by miniature models and computerized simulations. The salience of architectural modeling - in the media, on the theater stage, and on the screen - is a symptom of the neoliberal state’s need to reify its vision in idealized form. In response, some filmmakers have turned to preserving the present condition of cities in images. Others go beyond recording the pro-filmic, using new media to propose a post-cinematic and post-spatial understanding of...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

As local debates raged about whether Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro’s foreign policy had tipped too much toward the United States, and whether it needed to be more “autonomous” or even “pro-Asian,” two of his successors had already started to stake out the case for a Japanese diplomacy that would embrace and promote free markets, liberal democracy, and the rule of law. Although both Abe Shinzo’s “Values Diplomacy” and Aso Taro’s “Arc of Freedom and Prosperity” were implicitly targeted at aligning Japan with the United States, Australia, and India against a rising China, these visions...

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