CEAS Postdoctoral Associates Lecture Series

Event
Posted : October 8, 2021

In the context of the unending Korean War and the continuation of national division on the Korean peninsula, it is difficult to imagine the 1950s and early 1960s beyond images of mass death, orphanhood, and poverty. Histories of the era have been dominated by military and diplomatic histories, while recent scholarship on transnational adoption have shown how both real and imagined children and women were crucial to the US-ROK relations and the US empire during the Cold War. In this talk, I centralize childhood and consumption in Cold War Korea beyond our understanding of the iconography of...

Event
Posted : October 8, 2021

Scholars of religions have generally been more comfortable with ideas than with things… They have been particularly uncomfortable, perhaps, when people touched or rubbed or hugged or kissed things, especially when those things were themselves somewhat disconcerting—dead bodied, bits of bone or cloth, dirt or fingernails, dried blood. This uneasy itself may go a long way toward explaining why we still understand little about relics. And this lack of understanding may represent a serious gap since these bodies and bits of bone and otherwise seemingly dead matter have played a lively role in the...

Event
Posted : October 8, 2021

This talk examines debates about the visibility and invisibility of the emperor and imperial institutions as a site for thinking about the meaning of trust (xin) in early China. I argue that these debates can be fruitfully organized around two paradigms, what I call the invisible seer paradigm and the visibly blind paradigm. These two paradigms organize many discussions, but this talk will focus on two sites: ritual and law. In both places there was a struggle to articulate the proper balance between sight and blindness revealing the ambiguity of xin in early China. Trenton Wilson is a...

Event
Posted : October 8, 2021

The History of Koryŏ and the Essentials of Koryŏ History are two court histories on the Koryŏ dynasty (918–1392) compiled during the early decades of the Chosŏn (1392–1910). Written in the cosmopolitan language of Literary Sinitic, these two books became foundational texts for the Chosŏn elites to write and rewrite their past. Today, the two texts are centerpiece historical sources for the study of premodern Korea. In this talk, I examine the Chosŏn-era production, circulation, and reception of these two court histories. Based on my examination of over 100 Chosŏn-era copies of the History and...

Event
Posted : October 8, 2021

As a hyper-aging society, Japan has one of the highest global life expectancies and is undergoing a demographic transition that Western nations have yet to experience. The Japanese government is encouraging robotic solutions to a labor shortage in elder care, and Japanese authorities have adopted an agenda of introducing social robots to assist with elder care. However, Japanese society increasingly experiences the phenomenon of people becoming emotionally attached to anthropomorphic machines such as social robots. The introduction of social robots into the realm of elder care may be...

Event
Posted : October 8, 2021

Communication in China has been characterized as centralized, censoring, and, with the hyper-technologized dominance in facial recognition technologies, “techno-authoritarian.” This talk presents evidence that disappeared communications and erased messages, although ubiquitous, are often not results of censorship. Records and databases produce noir stories and dystopic narratives about Chinese media cultures. These stories are incomplete because they are skewed towards stored and “verifiable” data. In this talk, I argue that the elite use storage media to preserve knowledge, but meanwhile,...

Event
Posted : September 30, 2021

Lab-experiment and survey based studies find that intergroup threat and group identity have significant implications on the formation of political attitudes, that those factors encourage individuals to approach information with directional motivation. On the other hand, unrealistic assumptions prevent those findings to be directly generalized to the real-world context. In this study, we use novel twitter network data during rising territorial disputes in Japan to capture real-world information communication process under intergroup threat. In our data, twitter users communicate information...

Event
Posted : January 5, 2021

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the leadership of the Republic of China attempted to mobilize Han citizens to the frontier for large-scale land reclamation projects that were supposed to assimilate indigenous ethnic groups and safeguard the borderlands against foreign encroachment. Proponents of this strategy drew inspiration from the imperial institution of tuntian (colonial fields) in formulating a modern vision of tunken, which I interpret as “agrarian colonization.” Tunken resonated with veins of Chinese nationalism that were agrarian and often anti-industrial in nature. This talk...

Event
Posted : September 15, 2020

This talk addresses the uses of metatheater in The Peach Blossom Fan (Taohua shan, 1699), a historical drama by Qing dynasty playwright Kong Shangren (1648-1718). Metatheater — how a play calls attention to itself as a work of theater — is often appreciated for its comedic effects or as a way to emphasize ironies on stage. But it is also through metatheater, I argue, that The Peach Blossom Fan manifests serious critical judgements on the historical moment it depicts and reveals the limitations of the chuanqi dramatic form in which the play itself is written. Through metatheater, Fan reflects...

Event
Posted : September 14, 2020

This talk examines the active legal role of Buddhist monastics in the society of Chosŏn Korea (1392-1910). Chosŏn is thought to have been particularly successful in using the law to advance Neo-Confucianism and persecute Buddhism into irrelevance. Although scholars have long called for a reorientation of that understanding of Chosŏn Buddhism, a workable alternative picture of its social realities has remained elusive.  I provide one. Introducing the prodigious litigation in which Buddhist monastics became involved throughout those five centuries, I show that rather than grinding monastics out...

Event
Posted : September 14, 2020

In this talk, I discuss the development of anti-imperialist politics in Japan and West Germany in reaction to the American war in Vietnam and the move from protest to armed resistance in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In particular, I highlight the transfer of ideas and people across borders and the forces inspiring political mobilization that flowed between Japanese and West German radical groups. Images of Japanese student street fighters and theories of direct action against an “imperialist” alliance with the US helped motivate West German radicals in their own fight against the state. I...

Event
Posted : September 14, 2020

In this talk, I explore the relationship between ethnicity and the changing meaning of Chineseness at the turn of the twenty-first century. I will offer the idea of “Chinese/ethnoscapes” as a framework for thinking about “China” through distinctly ethnic (and ethnicized) worldviews, particularly as they are expressed in two literary examples. First, I will address the ethnically Tibetan, Chinese writer Alai’s award-winning novel Red Poppies. By engaging in a reading of the story that accounts for and takes seriously the Tibetan worldview it suggests, I contend that the novel contains an...

Event
Posted : September 16, 2019

Lunch will be served. Japan’s sixteenth century is often characterized as a time of upheaval, as traditional power structures eroded, martial violence reached new heights, and economic growth fostered intense competition over coveted resources. Although scholarship typically focuses on the destabilizing forces of Japan’s late medieval period, this talk explores collaborative processes that helped to sustain the existing order. Specifically, I will discuss documentary forgery production by Kyoto-based courtiers on behalf of provincial metal caster artisan associations, the goal of which was to...

Event
Posted : September 16, 2019

Lunch will be served. This talk focuses on the rural-to-urban transformation of South Korean society in the 1960s and 1970s, looking at the growth of informal communities and shantytowns in and around the capital Seoul. A focus on these peripheralized and subaltern communities highlights new aspects of state-led developmentalism absent from our current literature, demonstrating how the promises of the Park Chung Hee government (1961-1979) opened up new and often unexpected spaces for social and political action even as officials attempted to impose a regime of discipline over urban space. I...

Event
Posted : September 16, 2019

Lunch will be served. Japan’s 1882 Criminal Code stopped recognizing concubines as family members, but the household registration (koseki) continued to record children born to concubines under fathers’ registries until 1942. During this time, Japanese family law divided offspring into three groups: (1) legitimate children (chakushi) born to married couples, (2) children by concubines (shoshi) listed on fathers’ registries, and (3) illegitimate children (shiseishi) without paternal recognition listed on maternal family registries. This trifold categorization, as opposed to a legitimate-...

Event
Posted : September 16, 2019

Lunch will be served. The past few decades have seen the proliferation of “natures” in Taipei. Reflecting rising environmental consciousness in this island nation, words like lü (green), shengtai (ecology), and ziran (nature), are now firmly part of the city’s official discourse and policies. As green urbanism sees increasing support among Taipei’s officials and planners, various environmental amenities (riverside parks, bicycle paths, and hike trails) have been built to foster urban citizens’ intimacy with Taipei’s rivers, forests, and mountains.  Especially focusing on the transformation of...

Event
Posted : September 16, 2019

Lunch will be served. In most recent accounts of Qing China’s (1644-1912) social order, the crucial military and administrative role of a hereditary group of imperial servitors organized under the Eight Banner system is linked to the Manchu identity that many banner people shared with the Qing imperial family. This talk, based in large part on research in the Qing imperial archives on Han members of the banner system, argues that Manchu identity is not a sufficient explanation of the role that banner people played in the Qing imperial order. Rather, banner people were a multiethnic group that...

Event
Posted : September 16, 2019

Lunch will be served. Legislators are typically members of political parties, but few democracies require legislators to remain with a single party. Legislators are free to switch from one political party to another between elections, but the consequences of party switching  remain unknown. Do voters reward party defection if it benefits themselves and their district? Or do they punish these defectors at the ballot box? This research looks at both the electoral and party-based outcomes of party defection. Using Japan as a primary case study, it explores whether party switchers benefit or...

Event
Posted : September 16, 2019

Lunch will be served. In recent years and particularly since the global financial crisis, zombie firms—unprofitable businesses supported by financial relief—have generated widespread concern due to their purported harm to economic vitality. Studies contend that these firms congest the normal flow of capital and human resources to healthy businesses, thereby defying creative destruction and hurting investment and employment growth. Addressing zombie firms from a political economy perspective, I examine a novel hypothesis about the role of credit guarantees in sustaining these weak firms....

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...

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