Between the Visible and the Invisible: Cosmology, Ritual, and Hermeneutics in Historical and Contemporary Chinese Worlds

DATE: November 14-15, 2014

LOCATION: 1229 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley
Enter via Northwest entrance

SPONSORS: Sponsored by the Walter and Elise Haas Chair in Asia Studies and the Haas Junior Scholars Program at the Institute of East Asian Studies, with additional support provided by the Center for Chinese Studies, Department of Anthropology, Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, Eliaser Chair of International Studies, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities




DESCRIPTION

Description

The conference presents the results of a yearlong interdisciplinary group project undertaken under the Haas Junior Scholars Program of the Institute of East Asian Studies, concerning cosmology, ritual, and hermeneutics in pre-modern and modern China.

Cosmologies are hermeneutic keys which structure the way historical actors read scriptures, perform rituals, explain political developments, and create metaphors for the body, the family, and the polity. Yet, cosmologies are also rhetorical constructions built of the very discourses they purport to explain. Likewise, technologies such as observational techniques, funerary rites, alchemy, and prognostication serve to structure the cosmos, even as they are structured by it.

In conclusion of the meetings the group held throughout 2013–2014, the upcoming conference will explore the manifold relations between ideas concerning the cosmos and its structure, ritual practice, classical scriptures, and the technologies that measure and articulate the form of the cosmos. Our inquiries include: What is at stake in debates concerning the structure of the cosmos in the ancient, medieval, and modern world? Why do historical actors ask questions about that structure, and within what broader discourses — technical, ecclesiastical, or political — are discussions of cosmology enmeshed? How has modernity shifted discourses related to cosmology, and what continuities and discontinuities can we observe between pre-modern and modern rituals and cosmologies?

We will discuss these and other questions in four panels, each featuring Haas members and a guest speaker. In addition, we are pleased to host for our keynotes Michael Puett (Harvard, East Asian Languages & Civilizations) and Ari Heinrich (UC San Diego, Literature). For more details with regard to topics and presenters, please consult the conference schedule.

SCHEDULE

Schedule
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2014

Location: 1229 Dwinelle Hall — enter via Northwest entrance

10:00 – 11:00 am: Registration

11:00 – 11:15 am: Opening Remarks

11:15 am – 1:15 pm: Panel 1. Resolving Doubts: Technologies of Reading Signs in Early China”

  1. Trenton Wilson (Graduate Student, History, UC Berkeley)
    In Defense of Darkness: Against a Hermeneutics/Politics of Suspicion in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries
  2. Jesse Chapman (Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UC Berkeley)
    The Hermeneutic of Vision Unclear in Han Omenology
  3. Scott Paul McGinnis (Ph.D. Candidate, History, UC Berkeley)
    The Hanfeizi as Historiography

1:15 – 2:30 pm: Lunch

2:30 – 4:30 pm: Panel 2. Perceiving the Body: Dialectics of Surface and Interior

  1. Yueni Zhong (Ph.D. Candidate, Art History, UC Berkeley)
    Chen Zhen's Organs without Bodies: Materializing qi in Contemporary Installation Art
  2. Jeannette Ng (Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UC Berkeley)
    An Inner Body: Metaphors of the Flesh in the Chinese Therapeutics Manual
  3. Anna M. Hennessey (Lecturer, Department of Philosophy and Religion at California State University, East Bay)
    Visualizing Physiological Process through Images of Nature and Cosmos: Chinese Alchemical Body Charts and Contemporary Images of Birth

4:30 – 5:00 pm: Break

5:00 – 6:30 pm: Keynote Lecture 1
Ari Heinrich (Associate Professor, Literature, UC San Diego)
Decomposing Bodies: Frankenstein in China, the Sleeping Lion, and the Emergence of a Necropolitical Aesthetics in Contemporary Art and Literature

6:30 – 7:30: Reception



SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2014

Location: 1229 Dwinelle Hall — enter via Northwest entrance

9:30 – 10:30 am: Registration

10:30 – 1:00: Panel 3. Conjuring China: Remembrance, Reimagination, and Reinterpretation

  1. Emily Ng (Ph.D. Candidate, Medical Anthropology, UC Berkeley)
    A New Pantheon: Tracing the Chairman's afterlife in Post-Reform Henan
  2. Wang Yun-ling (Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UC Berkeley)
    Re-imagining, Re-defining, and Re-utilizing Chu— Debates about China's Classical Tradition and Cultural Identity in the 20th Century
  3. Linh Vu (Ph.D. Candidate, History, UC Berkeley)
    Of Martyrs and Men: The Commemoration Politics of the Yellow Flower Hill (Huanghuagang) Uprising in the Early Twentieth Century
  4. Hsueh-Yi Lin (Lecturer, East Asian Languages & Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    What Do We Owe to the Martyrs? Commemoration of War Dead in the Early Qing

1:00 – 2:30 pm: Lunch

2:30 – 4:30 pm: Panel 4. To Become the Emperor: the Design and Display of the Imperial Image in the Han Period

  1. Jesse Watson (Graduate Student, History, UC Berkeley)
    Emperor of Letters: the Reforms of 165 B.C. and the Elaboration of a Political Chimera
  2. Charles Sanft (Assistant Professor, History, University of Tennessee Knoxville)
    Faint Signs of New Power: Wang Mang in the Border Regions
  3. Sharon Sanderovitch (Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UC Berkeley)
    The Poetics of Praise: Imperial Touring and Panegyrical Writing in the Early Eastern Han

4:30 – 5:00 pm: Coffee break

5:00 – 6:30 pm: Keynote Lecture 2
Michael Puett (Professor, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, Harvard)
The Hermeneutics of Cosmology: Ritual and Belief in Classical China

6:30 – 7:30 pm: Reception

8:00 pm: Conference dinner — conference participants and invited guests only please



Download the schedule here.

KEYNOTE ADDRESSES

Keynote addresses

Ari Heinrich, Associate Professor, Literature, UC San Diego
Decomposing Bodies: Frankenstein in China, the Sleeping Lion, and the Emergence of a Necropolitical Aesthetics in Contemporary Art and Literature
Friday, November 14, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

Michael Puett, Professor, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, Harvard
The Hermeneutics of Cosmology: Ritual and Belief in Classical China
Saturday, November 15, 2014, 5:00 p.m.

PANELISTS

Panelists
Guest Panelists
  • Anna M. Hennessey, Lecturer, Philosophy, California State University, East Bay
  • Hsueh-Yi Lin, Lecturer, East Asian Languages & Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Scott Paul McGinnis, Ph.D. candidate, History, UC Berkeley
  • Charles Sanft, Assistant Professor, History, University of Tennessee Knoxville
Haas Junior Scholars
  • Jesse Chapman, Ph.D. candidate, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UC Berkeley
  • Emily Ng, Ph.D. candidate, Medical Anthropology, UC Berkeley
  • Jeannette Ng, Ph.D. candidate, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UC Berkeley
  • Sharon Sanderovitch, Ph.D. candidate, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UC Berkeley
  • Linh Vu, Ph.D. candidate, History, UC Berkeley
  • Wang Yun-ling, Ph.D. candidate, East Asian Languages & Cultures, UC Berkeley
  • Jesse Watson, Graduate Student, History, UC Berkeley
  • Trenton Wilson, Graduate Student, History, UC Berkeley
  • Yueni Zhong, Ph.D. candidate, Art History, UC Berkeley

DIRECTIONS

Directions

The events for the conference "Between the Visible and the Invisible: Cosmology, Ritual, and Hermeneutics in Historical and Contemporary Chinese Worlds" will be held in various locations on the UC Berkeley campus.

1229 Dwinelle Hall

See section C3 on this large campus map.

Dwinelle Hall

Dwinelle Hall is a large and confusing building with two main entrances and two numbering systems. To reach 1229 Dwinelle, enter campus via Sather Gate which is located where Telegraph Avenue meets the Berkeley campus. After going through the Gate and crossing the immediately following bridge, the first building on your left will be Dwinelle Hall. Bypass the doors off the big plaza (east entrance) and continue around the building until you come to the north entrance. Enter the building on the north entrance. The doors to the building will be locked on Saturday, but someone will be at that entrance to let you in.

To reach 1229 Dwinelle from the west campus entrance, walk east on Center Street onto the campus grounds and bear right to stay on the path that crosses over the creek and passes through a grove of trees. Cross the creek and continue up the path (towards the Campanile clock tower). Dwinelle will be the first building on your right, across from the Valley Life Sciences building.



Directions to the Berkeley campus
By BART

If traveling by BART, exit the Richmond-Fremont line at the Berkeley station (not North Berkeley). When you leave the BART station, walk east up Center Street (towards the hills) one block.

From Interstate 80

To reach the campus by car from Interstate 80, exit at the University Avenue off-ramp in Berkeley. Take University Avenue east (toward the hills) approximately two miles until you reach the campus.

From Highways 24/13

To reach the campus from Highways 24/13, exit 13 at Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Continue on Tunnel Road as it becomes Ashby. Turn right at College Avenue and drive approximately one mile north to Bancroft Way.

Directions to the campus are also available at www.berkeley.edu/ visitors/ traveling.html

Parking

There are various public parking lots and facilities near campus and in downtown Berkeley. This list includes municipal and privately owned parking lots and garages open to the public. Please consult signs for hours and fees prior to entering the facilities.

More information is available on the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation page.