CEAS Postdoctoral Associates Lecture Series

Event
Posted : September 5, 2018

In modern authoritarian China, urban statistics may not be available or is available but inaccessible to the public. Dr. Chang will introduce a method called “the view from above” that overcomes these barriers such that even in the absence of official urban statistics and even where available city maps have on them only outlines, he can still produce maps that show detailed land use. He owes this power to the method’s two procedural arms, integrative scaling and inferential digitisation: the one integrates information from one scale to information at another scale, and the other infers land...

Event
Posted : September 5, 2018

This presentation investigates the origins and the development of transnational adoption of Korean biracial children, including the symbolic meanings they carried in Korean society. It would demonstrate the representation of biracial children in Korea during the 1950s, analyze the state policies towards them, and trace the historical origins of transnational adoption of Korean children. After the 1945 liberation from the Japanese colonial rule, building a nation-state became the most urgent task for Korean society. The nationalistic discourse of kungmin, which means literally “people of the...

Event
Posted : September 5, 2018

In 1873, the Hokkaido Colonial Agency built an orchard on the grounds of its new capitol building, located in the center of Sapporo. This orchard facilitated the transfer of fruit trees and other plants throughout Hokkaido, Japan, and the wider world, and helped turn Hokkaido’s forests and marshes into an agricultural landscape that resembled New England or Wisconsin. This conscious remaking of Hokkaido’s environment to facilitate Japanese expansion resembled the processes of settler-colonialism around the world, but also drew on long-standing efforts by the Japanese state to settle the...

Event
Posted : September 4, 2018

Lunch will be served. The Jin dynasty (1115-1234) ruled in north China for over one hundred years, yet Jin painting remains under-studied. This is due largely to the fact that there are only a handful of extant Jin paintings on silk and paper. However, many painted tombs from north China, dating approximately to the period of Jin rule, have been excavated and published in recent decades. In this talk, I contend that in order to understand “Jin painting” and its place in the history of painting in China, definitions of “painting” must be pushed beyond silk and paper. Furthermore, we must...

Event
Posted : October 5, 2017

Lunch will be served. This talk contends that China’s approach to developing biotechnology centers on the principle of “technological domestication”, whereby social anxieties surrounding genetically modified technology are recast as an opposition to foreign aggressors, be they countries, companies, or individual actors. This nationalist frame is a principle of institution building, generating not only distinctly “Chinese” technologies, but also new ethical frameworks, modalities of social order, and ontologies of state, science, and market collaboration. In this talk, I focus on how these...

Event
Posted : October 5, 2017

Lunch will be served. “The principle of all things, is that they all have good and bad fortune Storing things when they are cheap, and selling them when they are expensive, that is the way to make great profits.” ———Sim Wŏn’gwŏn, 1880. “Buy low, sell high”: this advice would be readily recognizable to any contemporary Wall Street trader, yet the quote above is taken from the diary of a nineteenth-century Korean farmer living through a period of immense political, economic, and social upheaval. This talk explores the background to Sim Wŏn’gwŏn’s economic logic and its application in his daily...

Event
Posted : October 5, 2017

Lunch will be served. The Xiongnu have been of considerable scholarly interest since their first description by Sima Qian in his Shiji from the early first century BCE, and are best known as the nemesis of the “Middle Country” during the Han Dynasty, described by their Han contemporaries as brutal horse riding barbarians that live by the drawing of the bow. This lecture will explore the character of the Xiongnu from a four-field anthropological approach (Culture, Language, Archaeology and Bioanthropological), examining what each field has to offer to the discussion to date, and what we can...

Event
Posted : October 5, 2017

Lunch will be served. The traditional oral literature of the Ainu in Northern Japan has been developed almost exclusively around the background of the traditional living environment of the Ainu people. Cultural and religious elements in the stories, as well as the space in which the protagonists are acting, are based on an idealized everyday reality of the Ainu. The establishment and extension of the literary space has a high relevance in the narrations, and is represented by many linguistic structures and rhetorical figures. Many Ainu stories take place only inside those culturally and...

Event
Posted : February 13, 2017

Lunch will be provided. Focused on a group of Okinawan construction workers in Tokyo, this talk tracks the transformation of working day time into the narcotic of gambling, such that the worker - turned gambler - stakes his social existence on a negativity that repulses the normative gaze of general Japanese society. Klaus Yamamoto-Hammering’s writing so far has focused on the violence of state recognition in contemporary Japan, and specifically, on the intersection of this violence with certain social differences which statist discourse would eliminate. As an anthropologist, Yamamoto-...

Event
Posted : January 27, 2017

Lunch will be provided. Tokyo has recently decided to utilize foreign aid more strategically so as to make ‘Proactive Contributions to Peace and Security’ and align aid with what is identified as Japanese national interests: to protect an international order governed by rules and based on democracy, human rights and rule of law. Some scholars have even started to talk about Japan as a ‘Normative Power’—an actor with the ability to set what is considered ‘normal’ in international affairs. In this talk I make the case that Japan could be identified as a normative power with regards to framing...

Event
Posted : January 26, 2017

Lunch will be provided. In the early 1970s, second-generation “Zainichi” Koreans in Japan—many of whom, in contrast to their parents, had little or no Korean language ability—were starting to outnumber the first generation. At this time, Zainichi authors debated the ethical and psychological implications of writing in Japanese. At stake was the question of whether these authors could maintain a specifically Korean identity if that identity could be expressed only in the Japanese language. Kim Sŏkpŏm (1925- ) was a particularly active participant in this debate, writing numerous essays on the...

Event
Posted : January 4, 2017

This talk explores the circulation of West African dance in contemporary Seoul through dance classes and festivals, and the perspectives of Korean individuals, particularly women, practicing West African dance on the corporeal and affective qualities of blackness and Koreanness. Based on an ethnographic case study on Guinean Dance Class at the Salim Health Co-op, a feminist and community-oriented organization, I show how the West African dance practice is mobilized as a “liberating” experience for the female dancing body that has been traditionally seen as lewd and suspicious throughout the...

Event
Posted : November 7, 2016

In 1934, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began the Long March, a 9,000-kilometer retreat from its base areas in Southern China that eventually took it to the plains of Northern China. It was in Northern China that the CCP earned its reputation as one of the most effective insurgent forces of the 20th century. There, it swam as “fish” among the “sea” of the people, fighting first the Japanese from 1937 to 1945 and then against the Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang, KMT) from 1946 to 1949 in the Chinese Civil War. Why was the CCP so successful in Northern China and so manifestly unsuccessful in...

Event
Posted : November 4, 2015

Female literacy is an issue with both historical and contemporary relevance. My study traces women’s engagement and involvement in text-based activities back to the second half of the 1st millennium, a period during which the written word played an ever-increasing role in people’s day-to-day lives. By introducing the concepts of “literacy practices” and “literacy events” into this work’s analytical framework, I expand the scope of my research to encompass women who used literacy without necessary being literate themselves. This view of literacy is concerned less with an individual’s unaided...

Event
Posted : November 4, 2015

In 1966, Pyongyang releases its first color light comedy film, Merry Ring (dir. Kim Yŏng), ushering a new era of politically correct cinema in North Korea, with the musical comedy genre as its crown jewel. After years of unsuccessful struggle against the rowdy audiences that would systematically hijack screenings of propaganda films at the nation’s movie theaters, the state film studio finally decides to make a bold move and give its troublemaking patrons the circus they had only been too eager to experience. An adaptation of Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 silent classic, The Circus, this inaugural...

Event
Posted : November 4, 2015

Despite strong theoretical claims that politicians should target distributive benefits to swing voters and competitive districts, the empirical evidence is mixed. This paper resolves the inconsistencies by focusing on the time-varying incentives of an incumbent government. To the extent that election-motivated behavior entails directing government resources to marginal voters and constituencies, this behavior can be expected to peak in the period just prior to an election. An analysis of subsidy allocation in South Korea provides evidentiary support for this claim. In general, more subsidies...

Event
Posted : October 19, 2015

On February 6, 1963, Hiroshima’s main newspaper, the Chūgoku Shinbun, published an account under the somber title, “Exchanging Mementos of Death,” detailing an exchange of A-bomb and Holocaust relics between a Hiroshima peace delegation and an Auschwitz survivors’ organization. The exchange, which took place on the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau, also included actual ashes and bones of Auschwitz victims, given to the Japanese by their Polish hosts. This symbolic encounter, in which the dead were literally conscripted in the service of the politics of the living, serves as the focal point of ...

Event
Posted : October 19, 2015

Nineteenth-century Eastern Turkestan witnessed a series of Islamic resistances  against the Qing empire and its local allies - commercially-oriented members of oasis elites (Begs.) A prominent family of Sufi holymen from the area (Khwajas) led five wars against the Qing empire and Begs from 1826 until 1864. This talk offers a brief examination of the Khwaja wars in the broader context of politics of the state building and agrarian development in nineteenth-century Central Asia. This talk argues that the Beg-initiated agrarian development project under the Qing protection realigned the local...

Event
Posted : October 19, 2015

Many had never heard of Tōhoku before March 11, 2011. But in Japan, the Northeast has never been far from public consciousness. Tōhoku has been everything from a vexing internal social-political problematic to the nation’s rice basket, and from a savage and alterior outland to the spiritual home of the Japanese people. Focusing on postwar visions of Tōhoku, I will unravel the multivalence and polysemy of Tōhoku in public discourse, and what this means for regionalisms and nationalisms both in Japan and worldwide. Nathan Hopson received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012....

Event
Posted : October 15, 2015

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Chinese state sent about 17 million secondary school graduates (zhiqing, short for zhishi qingnian, “the educated youth”) to villages and state farms for political, economic, and social purposes. Among them there were China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. This large-scale migration program ended in the late 1970s when the state implicitly admitted its failure. Since the zhiqing returned to cities, their memory flourished in various cultural objects, commemorative sites, and reunion activities. Central to the memory is a “difficult past” problem.  ...

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