CEAS Colloquium Series

Event
Posted : October 15, 2015

Over the last two decades, rapid urban expansion building on landgrabs has become ubiquitous in China. The pursuit of urban-centered economic growth has created crises of land deprivation and rural identity in Chinese rural society. Land-related protests have become the focal point of movements for the protection of Chinese farmers’ rights. Drawing on ethnographic materials concerning a series of influential protests over landgrabs in Wukan village, this paper presents a critical rethinking of the economy and an examination of how the restoration of villagers’ collective identity has led to...

Event
Posted : October 15, 2015

The U.S. Constitution enshrined press freedoms in the First Amendment, ratified by the states in 1791. In the subsequent 223 years, the world’s leading economies, whether Britain or the U.S., generally held to be self-evident that a free press was necessary and good for the proper functioning of society and to provide a check on government’s power. Now China is poised to take the pole position as the world’s biggest economy, and its leaders have clearly shown their disdain for press freedoms, with new restrictions on one of the world’s most controlled media environments being introduced just...

Event
Posted : October 15, 2015

Focusing upon Anna May Wong, an early Twentieth-century Chinese-American screen and stage performer, this talk will delve into the intricacies of her vocal and visual performance at the transition from the silent to the talkie era in the international arena.  Wang’s previous writings have formulated concepts such as “yellow yellowface” performance (2005) and “minor” stardom (2010, drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s “minor literature”) to understand her ironic performance of Orientalist stereotypes and her performative production of gradational (as opposed to radical) difference from...

Event
Posted : September 4, 2015

The proliferation of power centers in Japan’s thirteenth and fourteenth centuries brought a corresponding boom in cultural activity, which has left an outsized footprint in the extant manuscript corpus. One of the most important centers for the collection and reproduction of books at this time was the Kanazawa Library, established near the shogunate headquarters in Kamakura. This library was unique in the success and scale of its acquisitions, but in fact shows significant continuities with larger patterns of book circulation among the military households of eastern Japan. Why did shogunate...

Event
Posted : September 4, 2015

The intensified interconnections between media after the 1960s entailed numerous shifts that still shape media culture in Japan today. This talk will explore several historical tipping points that negotiate a new economy of mediated life in the transforming media ecology. From the vivisection of giant monsters in the 1960s to the funeral ceremony for a post-apocalyptic warlord in 2007, a pattern of zombification emerges that is tailored to the rhythms of late-capitalist media culture.  

Event
Posted : September 4, 2015

Since 2003, a small group of Japanese sanitation workers has traveled annually from Tokyo to Chennai, India to meet with a group they understand as comrades - the Dalit. Every year, over the course of a week, the Japanese visitors tour Dalit places of work, their homes, and share with them stories of pain and discrimination – the difficulties of marginalization alongside the triumphs of resistance. Using this type of solidarity trip as an ethnographic crucible, my talk examines the internationalization of Japanese grassroots politics. I explore how boundaries – national, ethnic, linguistic,...

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.

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