CEAS Colloquium Series

Event
Posted : September 4, 2015

In this talk I will discuss two questions concerning nationalism among Chinese students overseas: To what extent has the “patriotic” indoctrination to which students are exposed at school survived, or perhaps been reinforced by, the experience of being confronted overseas with contradictory information and values? And what factors might explain student responses to this experience? My sources are interviews with students, as well as my own personal encounters on campus, in cyberspace, and in other contexts within North America, “new” patriotism exhibited on Western campuses by Chinese...

Event
Posted : September 4, 2015

What connects the 16th-century samurai practices of collecting and displaying art at social gatherings to counting and examining heads after battle? How do the rituals of gift-giving among warlords relate to the politics of falconry? This talk will link the extreme violence of this age of civil and international war to the increasing significance of samurai social rituals and cultural practices. It will argue that warlords accrued power and reinforced hierarchy both in tea houses and on the battlefield, having a profound effect on the creation and character of Japan’s early modern polity.

Event
Posted : September 4, 2015

In studies of Japanese rule in Korea, print media have been widely used to claim the existence of “colonial modernity” or the “cultural hegemony” of colonial power. However, few scholars have focused on the bilingual characteristics of the colonial society and the patterns of public communication between the two competing linguistic communities. In this talk, Yumi Moon investigates the two major daily newspapers published during the wartime period — Keijō Nippō in Japanese and Chosôn Ilbo in Korean — and analyzes the divided discourses in their coverage of Hollywood movies and of women.

Event
Posted : August 25, 2015

This talk introduces what I term the “transwar generation” of Japanese human scientists: students of human diversity as captured by the constructs of “race” and “culture” or Self and Other. Born in roughly the first two decades of the twentieth century, the transwar generation was intellectually active before 1945 and responsible for rebuilding an academic tradition after Japan’s defeat in World War II. What bound these scholars together was a shared, lifelong commitment to a putatively “objective” research methodology defined above all by fieldwork. In the 1930s and 1940s, Japanese human...

Event
Posted : August 24, 2015

There is a remarkably comprehensive history of Chinese architecture from the period 1267 when Khubilai broke ground for his capital Dadu to the year 1368 when the Ming dynasty was established. This standard history of Yuan construction is written through archeological remains of Dadu and Shangdu, eminent halls at the Temple to the Northern Peak and Daoist Monastery Yonglegong, buildings from Guangsheng Monastery, small temples in Zhejiang and Henan and Shanxi provinces, and Ciyun Pavilion.  The buildings exhibit details described in contemporary records, confirm that the ranked system of...

Event
Posted : August 24, 2015

In Tang Dynasty China, the tujing 圖經was a standard, broad-based governmental geographic reference work widely available to government officials. After the An Lushan Rebellion an increasing number of famous poets and writers referenced the tujing in their writings. This happened especially when the tujing helped the literati rediscover and reconstruct historical continuities in the local landscape. What the tujing provided were not merely useful footnotes to explain local features, but rather some critical points from which to reconnect the radically transformed post-rebellion order of the...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

In the early modern period (a deliberate term) overland conquest by large Eurasian empires produced forms which depended to some degree upon the generation of criteria of ostensible cultural identities and their ascription to real communities under imperial control. This talk examines the interaction of imperial legitimacy and identity narratives in the Qing, Ottoman and Russian empires. Pamela Crossley is the Collis Professor at Dartmouth College. She is a specialist on the Qing empire, but has recently published on global history, modern Chinese history, Liao empire history, and the...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

It is widely accepted that the order of Buddhist nuns had disintegrated after Prince Yŏnsan (r. 1494-1506) forcefully disrobed or enslaved female monastics as a way of punishing them for their ties with his father King Songjŏng’s concubines who were involved in his mother’s death. Yŏnsan’s ruthless measures to ban female Buddhist monasticism account for the disappearance of nuns from historical records from the 16th century. Although nuns are mentioned occasionally in official documents of late Chosŏn, they tend to be related to undesirable events, such as criminal cases. Historians generally...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Dr. Chen’s talk draws on research from a new book titled The Sounds of Mandarin: The Making of a National Language in China and Taiwan, 1913-1965. The project takes speech as the starting point for investigation, asking how ordinary people learned the “national language” at its various stages of historical formation. Her premise is that rendered as “Mandarin,” the generic English term obscures significant variations and political conflicts that were critical to the making and unmaking of the “national language” throughout the twentieth century. The goal is to disaggregate “Mandarin” into...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

In the wake of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, some of Japan’s environmental heroes were transformed almost instantly into its villains. The 3/11 earthquake and tsunami seriously damaged northeastern Japan’s fishing ports, and the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant polluted the coastal waters and ensured that fish caught anywhere nearby would be undesirable on the market. In responding to the multifold disaster, the Japanese government announced coastal modernization as the pillar of its master plan for reconstructing the devastated fishing communities. The proposal calls...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The celebrated May Fourth writer Lu Xun remarked that “if Chinese characters are not exterminated, there can be no doubt that China will perish.” Scholars of modern China have been echoing him ever since, investing this passing, cavalier, and erroneous comment with historical significance beyond any reasonable measure. Overlooked if not dismissed has been the much larger, dynamic, diverse, and transnational cast of characters who, in contrast to the easy iconoclasm of the abolitionists, engaged in the grinding, quotidian, and yet no less iconoclastic reconceptualizations of both technology...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The United States and the West did not change their policy of isolating Burma because of concerns about democracy and human rights. It was “the China factor”. Burma was becoming a vassal of China which was seen as a threat to the status quo and regional stability. At the same time, Burma’s military was also concerned about China’s growing influence and realized that it has to reach out to the West to avoid being absorbed by Chinese political, economic and strategic interests. But in order to “woo the West” they also realized that they had to liberalize the country’s rigid political system -...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Since the late twentieth century, assisted reproductive technologies have brought new challenges to our understanding of the family and gender relations. There are ever-widening gaps between medical practice, legal regulation and everyday understandings and practices. Some recent popular cultural texts in Japan have explored the issues raised by non-commercial surrogate motherhood. The background to these texts is a series of controversies concerning surrogacy and the use of assisted reproductive technologies and wider societal anxieties about family, reproduction and population management....

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

During the Keichō period (1596-1615) in Japan appeared new and nuanced approaches for the inscription of waka poetry on the screen format. This talk will look at screens inscribed with verse from noted poetry anthologies such as the Kokinshū« (ca. 905) and Wakan rōeishū (ca. 1013) and examine the dialogues between text and image, past and present, and object and setting in these “visual” anthologies.

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

This presentation analyzes the earliest Japanese map of the world, painted by a fourteenth-century monk and based on fifth-century Indian and seventh-century Chinese Buddhist texts. Preserved within temples, the map was copied and printed well into the nineteenth century. The popularity and reproduction of such an ahistorical geography long after European-style world maps were in common use forces us to recognize the persistent role of the Buddhist imaginary in early modern debates over geography, cosmology, and cultural identity. This paper explores the map’s genealogy to examine the...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

During the conflict known in China as the Anti-Japanese War of Resistance (1937-1945), the Chinese Nationalist military blasted the Yellow River dikes in Henan province in 1938 to forestall a Japanese advance. Perhaps the single most environmentally damaging act of war in world history, this strategic decision threw long-established water control infrastructure into disarray, leading to widespread and persistent flooding. The Yellow River’s floodwaters inundated vast tracts of intensely cultivated land during the conflict, killing hundreds of thousands of people and displacing millions....

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

This lecture will scrutinize the transnationality of Japanese cinema after World War II. Challenging the rigidities that shape the discourses of “national” cinema, I look at the ways in which Japanese studios and filmmakers actively engaged China between the 1950s and the early 1960s–an era of robust cinematic output. Focusing on the films by one studio (Toho), I examine two types of representational efforts: (1) the construction of an imagined “China” by Japanese actors and in Japanese location sites, as in the Desperado Outpost (Dokuritsu gurentai) films directed by Okamoto Kihachi, and (...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Any study of reading and writing practices in early medieval China must consider the issue of intertextuality. During the third and fourth centuries, the Chinese literati drew extensively from a set of philosophical classics, in particular Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Yijing (later referred to collectively as the Three Mysterious Texts 三玄), and their respective commentaries, to express their positions in conversation or in writing on major issues ranging from politics to nature to human behavior. Understanding the early history of reading in China involves not only tracking what was read and the...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty conventionally is credited with the invention of simultaneous kingship in Eastern Eurasia. Chinese emperors normally took the orthodox titles of “Son of Heaven” and “August Emperor,” but in 630 Taizong adopted the additional epithet of “Heavenly Qaghan” (tian kehan). The latter title served to justify his rule over Turko-Mongol pastoral nomads, thus staking claim to simultaneous rule over China and Inner Asia. Although Taizong had coined an original title, the attention lauded on him as the originator of simultaneous kingship in Eastern Eurasia is partly...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

This talk covers the remarkable impact of Chinese vernacular narratives on literary practice in Korea and Japan (17th-19th centuries). Chinese vernacular had a unique role in Korea and Japan as a language that partook of the authority of the Chinese tradition, but that also described the most quotidian aspects of daily life and employed extremely vernacular expressions. For this reason, Chinese vernacular literature suggested to readers in Korea and Japan that vernacular narrative, not only Chinese, but also indigenous, could also be considered as literature and taken seriously as a means of...

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