CEAS Colloquium Series

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...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The Ōuchi, a warrior family claiming to be descended from Korean kings, came to dominate Japan during the Muromachi age. Administratively skilled, they created a trading network with the continent, and protected their interests with formidable force. Cultural patronage and elaborate rituals, focusing on star worship, served to legitimate their authority, but an attempt to move the capital precipitated their collapse.Thomas D. Conlan, Professor of Japanese History at Bowdoin College, graduated from the University of Michigan (BA) and Stanford University (MA, PhD). He has taught at Bowdoin...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Natsume Sōseki, Japan’s most canonical modern novelist, wrote a loose trilogy of works between 1908 and 1910: Sanshirō, And Then, and The Gate. The author organizes each narrative around the borrowing and lending of money, the exchange of gifts, and, more generally, around the motifs of reciprocity and circulation. After mapping the exchange of objects and money in the three novels, I develop a framework for analyzing this aspect of Sōseki’s fiction by extending anthropological theories of the gift into the literary-critical domain of narratology. This approach shows that Sōseki’s fictional...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

In this paper based on a work in progress, Jaeeun Kim examines the migration careers, settlement patterns, and legalization strategies of ethnic Korean migrants from northeast China (Korean Chinese henceforward) to the United States. As colonial-era migrants from the Korean peninsula, Korean Chinese remained concentrated in their ethnic enclaves in northeast China throughout the Cold War era. Yet since the late 1980s, labor migration to and long-term settlement in other cities inside and outside China have become a major strategy with which Korean Chinese have weathered China’s drastic...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Anthropological Chinese history may lead one to reconstruct the so called mental structure in Ming and Qing China. The long term project on emotions and imagery in late imperial China aims at analyzing and re-examining various sources and rediscovering and reconstructing the so called mental structure in Ming and Qing China and its rich capital of lexicon, concepts and symbols to represent internal and external reality. Here some results of the analysis of two literary sources are presented:Shan’ge 山歌is a text which can be considered of ‘marginal’ importance compared with other writing of the...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Academic writing reveals, in many cases, an understanding of Japanese cinema based on a selective transnational canon of films. Consequently, the majority of academic writings on Japanese films are about films that have received at least limited transnational distribution. Often times, these writings are about those films that have most emphatically crossed between countries. For example, we have much more academic work on Japan’s famous “Golden Age” directors like Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, and more work on critically lauded newer directors like Hayao Miyazaki and Takeshi Kitano, than...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Avatar was met with enthusiastic reception by Chinese audiences and with hostility by many critics. The reception of Avatar exemplifies the tension between the blockbuster logic and local culture. Against the celebration of market forces stood an aversion to special effects and a commitment to film’s past. The talk outlines contemporary debates among Chinese film circles and shows how they are manifested in films, with special attention to Jia Zhangke’s I Wish I Knew. Yomi Braester is Professor of Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. Among his...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

In 2006 and 2007 a parliamentary commission initiated by the South Korean government made public two lists totaling just over 200 Koreans deemed guilty of collaboration under Japanese rule (1910-1945). The commission was motivated by the task of putting to rest what one recent publication described as Korea’s “original sin”: the assistance that Koreans offered their Japanese occupiers at a time when their country faced its biggest challenge in historical memory. Failure to reconcile the collaboration issue, this publication continued, threatened Korea’s “utter survival.” Missing from such...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

It has been over three decades since the onset of contemporary migration from China to Japan. Chinese immigrants have been the largest foreign resident community in Japan since 2007. Over one third of resident Chinese are either naturalized citizens or permanent residents. However, the Chinese in Japan generally do not consider themselves “immigrants.” A sense of non-belonging is prevalent in immigrants’ discourses and practices. The Chinese immigrant media circulates an identity label – “New Overseas Chinese”. In practice, Chinese immigrants prefer permanent residency over naturalization,...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The Six Dynasties poet Tao Yuanming is today remembered as a paradigmatic recluse, a man fond of drinking and simple agrarian pleasures, but also one who eschewed public service to maintain his personal integrity and to fulfill his loyalty to the declining Jin dynasty. Recent work by Tian Xiaofei, Wendy Swartz, and others has shed light on the ways in which this image came to be constructed, recuperating alternative visions of the canonical figure. Yet Tao Yuanming loomed large in the broader East Asian literary context as well, where he was subject to similarly multifarious readings and...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The emigrant communities of southeast coastal China maintained strong connections with sojourning Chinese, and local events rarely remained exclusively local for long. Events had repercussions that rippled back and forth across the seas, illustrating the intimately shared historical experiences of people living within a vast maritime space. This presentation will explore the transnational effects of General Fang Yao’s campaign of village pacification in Chaozhou prefecture from 1869 to 1891. General Fang was officially charged with ridding this region of its powerful criminal underworld;...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

This lecture attempts to reconcile the relationship between two images found in the art of Asia but separated by significant time periods and geographical locations. One, which was developed in China but has been preserved primarily in Japan, features an exhausted and emaciated Buddha Shakyamuni as he descends to civilization after years of physical and spiritual discipline in a remote mountainous location. The other, which predates the East Asian images by nearly one-thousand years, and also features the psycho-physical effects of such austerities, is found in Pakistani sculptures, some life...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Land reform will not just reduce rural poverty, write development officials. It can raise productivity. It can promote civic engagement. Scholars routinely concur. Land reform may not always raise productivity and civic engagement, but it can – and during 1947-50 in occupied Japan it did. This lecture will attempt to demonstrate how this account of the Japanese land reform program is a fable, a story officials and scholars tell because they wish it were true. It is not. The program did not hasten productivity growth. Instead, it probably retarded it. The areas with the most land transferred...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

A new brand of lyricism, very much colored by satire, defines the paintings of Hanabusa Itchô (1652-1724). This explicates Itchô’s relatively unknown painting album, now entitled Fûzoku gajô (or, “album of genre subjects”), delineating how its thirty-six leaves combine strands of poetry, song, and painting to culminate in a complex opus. Trained under one of the top Kanô painters during a moment when the school was actively reworking their synthesis of continental and native styles, Itchô’s mode broke new ground. His own amalgamation of Chinese/ Japanese and ancient / modern exemplified the...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Professor Xu Zhixiao’s lecture, “My Thoughts on American Sinology,” is part of a larger project sponsored by China’s Ministry of Education, entitled “The Circulation and Reception of Classical Chinese Literature Overseas,” of which Professor Xu is Chair, and several other scholars are involved. In this lecture, Professor Xu will share his thoughts about American Sinology since the middle of the 20th century, with a focus on the studies of classical Chinese poetry and poetics in the United States–in particular the special circumstances, traits, and methodology that characterize the main...

Pages

Subscribe to CEAS Colloquium Series