CEAS Postdoctoral Associates Lecture Series

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.  ...

Event
Posted : October 15, 2015

What environmental histories can Mongolian and Manchu archives of the Qing empire tell?  This talk finds an answer in a curious and forgotten event: the rush for wild steppe mushrooms in nineteenth-century Mongolia.  In the 1820s, thousands of undocumented workers crossed the internal boundary from China to Mongolia in search of mushrooms.  As the booming trade transformed the land, field reports poured into Beijing: not only did mushroom pickers violate imperial law, they allegedly destroyed a pristine environment.  As tensions rose, the Qing state mobilized around a dramatic response: a “...

Event
Posted : October 15, 2015

One of the most prominent, but still understudied, aspects of Korean urbanism is the prolific and often dense array of advertising, most often consisting of billboards and neon-signs of store names and announcements hung on the exterior of commercial buildings. In this talk, Paek will focus on discussing how sign-filled environments in South Korean cities are a crucial part of everyday urban experience, where people can find new ways of being in common and making sense, which cannot be simply reduced to our general rubrics of spectacle, private consumption, or the culture industry. From its...

Event
Posted : October 15, 2015

Oyabe Zen’ichirō (1867-1941) studied in educational institutions in the United States between 1889 and 1898, such as the Hampton Institute, Howard University, and Yale University, which together formed the epicenter of American racial discourse in the late nineteenth century. After he returned to Japan, he educated the Ainu, by establishing an Ainu school in Hokkaido in 1905. In the 1920s, he became one of the strongest advocates for the legendary myth that Genghis Khan, a Mongolian hero of the twelfth century, was identical to Minamoto no Yoshitsune, a Japanese warrior. He also published...

Event
Posted : October 14, 2015

At the end of the First World War, one French newspaper called saltwater pearls an “international currency.” Not long thereafter, the arrival of round pearls cultivated along the shores of Japan threw the relationship between a pearl’s appearance, provenance, and exchange value into disarray. What was a “cultured” pearl, and what was its opposite? This presentation addresses this surprisingly complex question by first tracking the formation and transformation of export pearl cultivation estates along imperial Japanese coastlines. Pearl cultivation arose amid legal changes to fisheries...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

In early-modern Japan, physical contact with the corpses of four-legged animals was considered a cause of defilement, and the handling of dead animals was conducted by the hereditary outcast group. This assumption seems to have constructed a dietary map in which Japanese began the practice of meat eating in the wake of the modern period in the middle of the nineteenth century. However, meat eating itself was widely practiced under the pretext of “medicinal eating” (kusurigui). For example, in a block of the Kôjimachi neighborhood of Edo (modern-day Tokyo), people could walk into the “beast...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The concept of storage lurks in the background of archaeological studies on the origins of early complex societies. However, a problem with many studies of formation and change in societies is that the significance of storage is assumed rather than demonstrated. In this talk, the practice of storage in prehistoric Korea and its relationship with structural changes of a socio-political nature are reviewed. The archaeological features of the storage landscape in the Mumun Pottery Period (c. 1500-300 BC) changed in form diachronically and demonstrate that household storage remained constant...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

This lecture examines the work of Imamura Taihei (1911-1986) in an attempt to illuminate the complex nature of mass culture in wartime Japan. One of the most acclaimed critics in the history of Japanese cinema, Imamura and his writings are marked by his dual interests in animation and documentary, the two marginalized genres that garnered greater popularity in the period following Japan’s full-fledged participation in the war against China. In contrast to the commonplace assumption that treats these genres as the opposite poles of film practice at large, Imamura shrewdly redefined them as...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The sharebon, or “fashion-book,” emerged in the early eighteenth century as a hybrid form combining brothel guides with elements of Chinese courtesan fiction. Such works quickly coalesced as a genre with its own unique conventions. Almost from the start, the fashion-book constituted a sort of proto-anthropological study of strange peoples, manners, and customs. Authors later developed a concern with dialogue, wit, and ostensibly realistic speech, as well, creating intensely polyphonic works populated with a variety of characters. But this concern with realistic detail was for the most...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Qu You’s (1347-1433) “Peony Lantern,” one of the most popular Chinese ghost stories in early modern East Asia, begins with an encounter of a ghost woman and a young scholar in Ningbo in 1360. Dr. Jōo’s paper aims to contextualize this renowned tale within the micro-regional history of Yin County, Ningbo, and examine the literary and socio-political discourse of uncanny women in the area. Through investigating the historical setting of the Huxin Temple in Ningbo and the legendary Buddhist sisters who patronized the monastery, Dr. Jōo discusses how “The Peony Lantern” gained a strong...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Hair embroidery is a particular technique practiced by lay Buddhist women to create devotional images. The embroiderers used their own hair as threads and applied them on silk to stitch figures. Scholars contend that this tradition started from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). However, the resurgence of this practice in the Ming period (1368-1644) was related to two historical factors: the spread of the cult of Guanyin, the most prevalent Chinese female deity, and the proliferation of embroidering Guanyin during late imperial China. In recent works on women’s talent, scholars have cursorily...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

In this lecture, Jin Woong Kang will explore how North Korea’s anti-American state power has operated in individuals’ everyday practices by focusing on its post-war militant nationalism. Existing studies have neglected an aspect of North Korea’s nationalist power that has been neither necessarily top-down nor violent, but rather productive and diffusive in people’s everyday lives. While the regime’s anti-American mobilization has come from above, people’s politics of hatred, patriotism, and emotion have been reproduced from below. Along this line, Dr. Kang will examine the historical and...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Can a physically limited architectural space embody an infinite multiverse? Can an architectural monument transform a mundane space and time into a transmundane space-time of a Buddhist cosmos in which the efficacy of rituals is eternalized? Through an examination of the Chaoyang North Pagoda (1043-44), a Liao-dynasty (907-1125) structure whose archaeological excavation was completed only in the 1990s in northeast China, this talk answers these questions. After Buddhism was transmitted from India to East Asia, a cosmological scheme of unprecedented sophistication was developed in the seventh...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Medicalization of suicide in Japan progressed rapidly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The inclusion of suicide into the repertoire of psychiatrists was almost simultaneous with the establishment of Western-style psychiatry in Japanese academia. Although the narrative of medicalization of suicide as a quest of modernity certainly applied to the Japanese case, Japanese attempts to medicalize suicide had an almost diametrically opposite dimension. On the one hand, they characterized suicide as an act prompted by certain pathology of the body and/or the mind. At the same...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

This talk examines changes in mobility laws regarding Koreans in the late nineteenth century and the unintended consequences of these changes. Whereas movement was previously controlled by a host of factors, such as one’s vocation, class, lineage, or religion, in the late nineteenth century, nationality became the primary factor in determining the terms of one’s movement between Korea and Russia - one was defined either as a “Korean” subject or a “Russian” subject. Though the new laws and passports clearly demarcated the one’s legal status, levels of enforcement and comprehension on the part...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

It is well understood that the spread of industrial modernity in China in the first half of the 20th century was primarily an urban phenomenon. However scholars have largely limited modernity’s influence to Shanghai and other major cities, without illustrating how similar processes impacted on the countryside. Concentrating on Wuxi, China’s largest inland industrial center, this paper will illustrate how the growth of an urban system led to a modern regional social geography in the Lower Yangzi delta. Moreover, I will propose that such a linear narrative of expanding modernity is too...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

Heekyoung Cho’s paper takes up Hyon Chin gon’s (1900-43) adaptation of a Chekhov short story. It demonstrates both the process of Hyon’s creative engagement with Chekhov in the mid-1920s, and also shows the interpenetration of translation and creation, and literary and journalistic discourse at the time. In particular, Suni, Hyon’s female protagonist, who is a child bride, burns down her husband’s house to escape her unendurable marriage with an older man. Through this character, Hyon was able to link female arson with resistance to the institution of young marriage, which was a hotly debated...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The Society for Creative Aesthetic Education, Sōbi for short, had an idealistic, even fanciful conviction that natural growth would tend towards the good. They advocated a thoroughly child-centered education, where the teacher’s role was to remove all possible interferences (including themselves) from the path of the child’s development. The form of this emergent, uninhibited balance promised to correct modernity’s tragic overreliance on rationality, and Sōbi proposed their pedagogy as a model for all education in the newly democratic Japan. Though the early postwar in Japan is often...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The Gansu corruption case of 1781 has taken an important place in memory production in China since the 1990s. The case has not only produced a plethora of articles by historians and the publication of relevant primary sources by the First Historical Archives in Beijing, but has also been remembered in a historical drama, the “Qianlong dynasty” (Qianlong wangchao), shown on Chinese primetime television in 2003. The memory of the Gansu case is also perpetuated in local history, and more particularly, among Chinese Muslim scholars. Hence, trapped between the ongoing process of memory works and...

Event
Posted : September 13, 2013

The project is an intellectual history of Korean nationalist (民族, minjok, or minzoku) identity formation, inspired by historical memories linked to famous physical locales within the larger Japanese empire. While the capitalist development and modernity as a spatial veil sweeping across undeveloped parts of the globe in the 1910s and 20s, this project inquires how the travels of key nationalist Yi Kwangsu (1892-1950) through the Japanese empire (in travelogues like “Short Letters from Tokyo,” “Record of Travels in the Diamond Mountains,” and “From Manchuria”) as both a colonized intellectual...

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