Past Events

2018 Events

Imagining Sculpture in China
January 19, 2018
Colloquium

Speaker: Stanley Abe, Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, Duke University
Discussant: Winnie Wong, Rhetoric, UC Berkeley

image for Imagining Sculpture in China There was no such thing as sculpture in China until the early twentieth century. Sculpture is a specifically European category of Fine Art which we apply to figural objects from many places. But sculpture did not exist in most of the world, certainly not in China, until the European term was applied on a global scale. The presentation will be a reflection about a book in progress—a picture book—which attempts to tell the story of how sculpture-like objects were understood in China and how such objects came to be called sculpture in the early twentieth century. It is a history of something that did not exist.

Sponsor:
Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Event Contact: ccs@berkeley.edu, 510‑643-6321

 


Memorial Service in Honor of Professor Hong Yung Lee (1939-2017)
January 21, 2018
Memorial Service and Reception

Welcome remarks:
Duncan Williams (East Asian Languages and Cultures, USC)

Speakers:
Laura Nelson (Chair of the Center for Korean Studies, UC Berkeley)
John Lie (Former Chair of the Center for Korean Studies, UC Berkeley)
Lowell Dittmer (Political Science, UC Berkeley)
Myung-koo Kang (Political Science, Baruch College)
Kyeong-Hee Choi (East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Chicago)

image of Professor Hong Yung Lee  Please join us for a celebration of Professor Hong Yung Lee's life and career on January 21, 2018 at UC Berkeley, where he was on the faculty for nearly three decades.

There will also be an opportunity for guests to share their remembrances.

Sponsors:
Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS)
Center for Korean Studies (CKS)
Department of Political Science
Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Event Contact: dunryu@gmail.com

 


Metropolitan Migrations and Interwar Vietnamese Culture
January 23, 2018
Lecture

Speaker: Charles Keith, Associate Professor of History, Michigan State University

image of Charles Keith This talk explores the metropolitan dimensions of interwar Vietnamese culture. During the colonial era, metropolitan France was a regular stop on the educational, intellectual and journalistic pilgrimages of a small but significant body of Vietnamese elites. These metropolitan sojourns are often cast as radical transitions from an oppressive colonial society to a more culturally and politically open metropole and, as such, as largely peripheral and marginal dimensions of interwar Vietnamese cultural life. This talk instead attempts to illustrate the close ties between Vietnamese migration to France and interwar Vietnamese culture and, as such, the importance of these migrations for postcolonial Vietnam.

Charles Keith (Ph.D., Yale) is the author of Catholic Vietnam: A Church from Empire to Nation (UC Press, 2012), which received the 2015 Harry J. Benda Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, the 2013 Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize from the French Colonial Historical Society, and the 2013 John Gilmary Shea Book Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association. His current book project explores the experiences of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians in France during the colonial era, and the consequences of these experiences for their societies during and after this time.

Sponsors: Center for Southeast Asia Studies

Event Contact: cseas@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3609

 


Late Medieval Publishing Culture in Japan During the 14th and 16th Centuries
February 1, 2018
Colloquium

Speaker: Sumiyoshi Tomohiko, Keiō University

image for Late Medieval Publishing Culture in Japan event Books printed in Japanese Zen monasteries during the medieval period are known as Gozan-ban or “Five Mountains” editions. Originally, Gozan-ban were printed for the self-education of Gozan monks who were expected to imitate the latest Chinese scholarship and act out another culture in Japan. At this time, in the 13th to 14th centuries, Chinese Zen masters visited Japan very often, while Japanese monks also went back and forth between Hakata of western Japan and Ningpo of southeastern China onboard commercial ships that frequently also carried printed Chinese books. Woodblock printing itself was already well established by the medieval period in Japan. However, Zen monks started to copy the style of Chinese Song-Yuan editions, established during 12th and 13th centuries in southern China, instead of the traditional manuscript style. This is the most important feature of the Gozan-ban, because eventually it played a part in changing the cultural environment of intellectuals.

Recently, many Chinese scholars have drawn attention to Gozan-ban which preserve rare or earlier Chinese texts lost in China. This is a very useful approach to the Gozan-ban, of course. Nevertheless, we could also consider their contribution to cultural change in medieval Japan, because they inspired the development of a premodern culture dependent on commercial book printing. The speaker contends that there are two crucial points of transformation in the history of Gozan-ban. One is the participation of immigrant craftsmen in the 14th century. Another is the embrace of practical ends to printing through localization in the 16th century. Eventually, these transformations stimulated the beginning of commercial book printing, which would integrate premodern Japanese culture.

Sumiyoshi Tomohiko is Professor at the Shidō Bunko, Keiō University, and Visiting Professor, Center for Japanese Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He has published widely on the history of printing and Chinese scholarship in Japan from the medieval period through the modern era.

Sponsors:
Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)
Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Event Contact: ccs@berkeley.edu, 510-643-6321

 


The Gendered Politics of Socialist Consumption in North Korea, 1953-1965
February 1, 2018
Colloquium

Speaker: Andre Schmid, University of Toronto
Moderator: Laura Nelson, UC Berkeley

How was ‘proper’ consumption conceived in the newly emergent socialist order of North Korea? Despite the desire of the Party-state to represent a population united around the Kim family and the (not unrelated) tendency of foreign observers to see North Korea as an extreme case of totalitarianism, there was in fact no straightforward answer to this question in the early postwar years. Rather, the realm of consumption captured many of the tensions and anxieties that underpinned the revolutionary politics of this postcolonial state and social order. The ambivalence at high levels of the Party-state on consumption offered a degree of maneuvering room in the local social worlds of the population. Through such issues as home décor, clothing fashion, and outdoor leisure, lower level writers and commentators sought to work out new notions of masculinity and femininity as well as class as one way of coming to terms with the (im)possibilities of mass utopia.

Andre Schmid is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto. Author of Korea Between Empires, 1895-1919 among other publications, he is currently preparing a book on the gendered socio-economic and cultural history of postwar North Korea.

Sponsor:
Center for Korean Studies (CKS)

Event Contact: cksassist@berkeley.edu

 


After the Airlifts
Battling over Vietnamese Children and the Place of Vietnamese Refugees

February 8, 2018
Lecture

Speaker:
Allison Varzally, Professor of History, CSU Fullerton

image Allison Varzally As the United States escalated its military commitments in Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s, Americans increased their commitments to the region's children, often choosing adoption because they believed in the power of the family to remake political wrongs and realize ideals of racial and gender fairness championed by the era's civil rights movements. Yet, rather than settle disputes and satisfy questions about the United States' place in the world and its responsibilities to Vietnamese, the migration of Vietnamese children exacerbated conflicts and intensified doubts about the nation's future. A botched airlift of children and its aftermath would further spotlight Vietnamese children, their tangled ties to Vietnamese kin who would claim belonging, and the complex, unresolved outcomes of U.S. violence in Asia.

This talk is derived from Allison Varzally's new book Children of Reunion: Vietnamese Adoptions and the Politics of Family Migrations (University of North Carolina Press, 2017). Prof. Varzally teaches courses on U.S. history and California history with a particular focus on immigration and comparative race relations. Her first book, Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring Outside Ethnic Lines (UC Press, 2008), examined multiethnic civil rights activism and the collapse of legal discrimination in education, housing, and marriage in the state after World War II. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA.

Sponsor:
Center for Southeast Asia Studies

Event Contact: cseas@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3609

 


Buddhism and Divination in Tibet
February 8, 2018
Lecture

Speaker:
Brandon Dotson, Georgetown University

As a poor cousin of both science and religion, a begrudged relative of ritual, and a strange bedfellow of play, divination persists at the margins of established traditions. Buddhism shows some ambivalence toward divination, sometimes barely tolerating it, and other times making full use of divination as a medium for Buddhist messages. Buddhists, for their part, have employed divination in much the way that they have turned to astrology for clues about their karmic accounts, a determining factor in their lives that would be otherwise maddeningly opaque to all but the enlightened.

In Tibet, various forms of divination persist both within and alongside the Buddhist and Bon religions. Excavated divination texts from Dunhuang and from other Silk Road sites furnish us with traces of the dynamic processes by which Buddhism absorbed various divination techniques practiced in 8th to 10th centuries. This lecture will introduce an early form of Tibetan dice divination involving intimate exchanges with gods and with goddesses (sman), and will consider how Buddhism variously transformed, absorbed, and transmitted such divination practices up to the present day.

Sponsor: Center for Buddhist Studies

Event Contact: buddhiststudies@berkeley.edu



Spreading the Word
Woodblock Publishing Sites and Book Distribution Networks in the Qing
February 9, 2018
Colloquium

Speaker:
Cynthia Brokaw, History, Brown University

Discussant:
Michael Nylan, History, UC Berkeley

image for Woodblock Publishing Sites and Book Distribution Networks in the Qing event The commercial publishing boom of the late Ming was largely a regional phenomenon, as most businesses of any size were confined to the cities of Jiangnan and Jianyang (in northern Fujian). By the eighteenth century, however, the geography of commercial publishing had changed, as more and more entrepreneurs, responding to a rising demand for texts, founded important publishing operations in the interior and hinterland regions of China Proper. These businesses took many different forms. Each also developed bookselling networks of varying length and complexity, some confined to a circuit of regional markets, a few extending across much of the empire. By the nineteenth century, these networks provided the foundation for the integration of interior and hinterland regions into a China-wide book market—dominated, to be sure, by the great book bazaar of Beijing, Liulichang, but now enabling fuller textual exchange between periphery and center. Incorporating the results of recent research as well as previous fieldwork in China, “Spreading the Word” examines the impact that this exchange had on the nature of Chinese commercial book culture and considers the cultural&emdash;and to some degree the political&emdash;implications of this movement toward an integrated book market.

Sponsor: Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Event Contact: ccs@berkeley.edu, 510-643-6321

 


The Displacement of Borders among Russian Koreans in Northeast Asia
February 12, 2018
Colloquium

Speaker:
Hyun-Gwi Park, University of Cambridge

Moderator:
Steven Lee, UC Berkeley

image for The Displacement of Borders among Russian Koreans in Northeast Asia colloquium Since the late nineteenth century, ethnic Koreans have represented a small yet significant portion of the population of the Russian Far East, but until now, the phenomenon has been largely understudied. Based on extensive historical and ethnographic research, this is the first book in English to chart the contemporary social life of Koreans in the complex borderland region. Dispelling the commonly held notion that Koreans were completely removed from the region during the country’s attempt to “cleanse” its borders in 1937, Hyun Gwi Park reveals timely new insights into the historical and current experiences of Koreans living along the Eurasian frontier.

Hyun-Gwi Park finished her PhD in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests lie in post-socialism, the Russian Far East, migration, kinship, and borders. She used to be ESRC postdoctoral research fellow, an affiliated researcher in East Asian Studies, a Research Fellow of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge. She is currently working on East Asian-Slavic intersection in the Russian Far East in post-Soviet period and also expands her research to ecological aspect of Korean DMZ and the border between the Korean Peninsula and Russia

Sponsors:
Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS)
Center for Korean Studies (CKS)
Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES)
Mongolia Initiative

Event Contact: cksassist@berkeley.edu, 510-6425674

 


On the Digital Archive and Its Uses for Japanese Humanities
A Collaborative Workshop by the Art Research Center of Ritsumeikan University and the University of California, Berkeley

February 13, 2018
Workshop

image for Digital Archive and Its Uses for Japanese Humanities workshop This workshop will examine the possibilities for new digital technologies and platforms to allow for collaboration within the humanities. Presentations will introduce collaborative projects already underway at both Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan and at the University of California, Berkeley and we will explore the promise of transnational collaboration to provide students access to immersive, research based learning.

2:10pm Introduction
"Digital Archives as a Mode of Collaborative Research"
Prof. Jonathan Zwicker (UC Berkeley)

2:20pm "The Art Research Center's Digital Archive System"
Prof. Ryo Akama (Ritsumeikan University)

3:15pm Digital Pilot Projects
"Creating an Exhibition with Web Image Databases"
Students from Ritsumeikan University

"Towards Building a Digital Archive of Modern Woodblock Frontispieces"
Tsuneki Kana (Ritsumeikan University)

"From Digitization to Digital Curation: the Edo Library Project"
Prof. Jonathan Zwicker, Ederlyn Peralta (San Francisco State University),
Jon Pitt, Ezra Toback, and Melissa Van Wyk (UC Berkeley)

Sponsors:
Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)
East Asian Library

Event Contact: cjs-events@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3415

 


Jean Michaud and Dan Smyer Yü
Zomia, Frictions and Multistate Margins in Modern Trans-Himalayas

February 13, 2018
Reading - Nonfiction

Speakers:
Dan Smyer Yü, Professor and Director, Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies, Yunnan Minzu University
Jean Michaud, Professor, Department of Anthropology, Laval University

Moderator:
Lawrence Cohen, Professor of Anthropology and of South & Southeast Asian Studies

image for

Join us as anthropologists of the Trans Himalayan region, Jean Michaud & Dan Smyer Yü discuss two of their latest publications:

Trans-Himalayan Borderlands: Livelihoods, Territorialities, Modernities
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, Asian Borderlands Series. Dan Smyer Yü and Jean Michaud, eds., 2017.

The societies in the Himalayan borderlands have undergone wide-ranging transformations as the territorial reconfiguration of modern nation-states since the mid-twentieth century and the presently increasing trans-Himalayan movements of people, goods and capital, reshape the livelihoods of communities, pulling them into global trends of modernization and regional discourses of national belonging. This book explores the changes to native senses of place, the conception of border - simultaneously as limitations and opportunities - and what the authors call "affective boundaries," "livelihood reconstruction," and "trans-Himalayan modernities." It addresses changing social, political, and environmental conditions that acknowledge growing external connectivity even as it emphasizes the importance of place. The co-editors of the book present the modern trans-Himalayas as cartographical margins of multiple states and argue that the effect of globalization in the trans-Himalayas does not make national boundaries porous as shown elsewhere in the world but rather further rigidifies them and prompts more active responses from borderland communities seeking to reconstruct the livelihoods disrupted by the global and local forces of modern change. Adaptive strategies in this regard increasingly entail symbioses of mountain and valley livelihoods, and local and transregional labor markets and trade networks under the condition of transborder modernization programs and the demands of global consumer markets.

Historical Dictionary of the Peoples of the Southeast Asian Massif
Second Edition. New York, Rowman & Littlefield, 594p. Michaud, Jean; Meenaxi B. Ruscheweyh; Margaret B. Swain, 2016.

Dwelling in the highland areas of Northeast India, Bangladesh, Southwest China, Taiwan, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Peninsular Malaysia are hundreds of “peoples”. Together their population adds up to 100 million, more than most of the countries they live in. Yet in each of these countries, they are regarded as minorities.

This second edition of Historical Dictionary of the Peoples of the Southeast Asian Massif contains a chronology, an introduction, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 700 cross-referenced entries on about 300 groups, the ten countries they live in, their historical figures, and their salient political, economic, social, cultural and religious aspects. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more.

Speaker Bios

Dan Smyer Yü is Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Trans-Himalayan Studies at Yunnan Minzu University. Prior to his current faculty appointment, he was a Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and a core member of the Transregional Research Network (CETREN) at the University of Göttingen in Göttingen, Germany, and a New Millennium Scholar at Minzu University of China, Beijing. He is the author of The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China: Charisma, Money, Enlightenment (Routledge, 2011), Mindscaping the Landscape of Tibet: Place, Memorability, Ecoaesthetics (De Gruyter, 2015), and numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed articles. His current research interests are religion and ecology, environmental humanities, transboundary state effects, hydraulic politics, climate change and heritage preservation, Buddhism and peacebuilding, and comparative studies of Eurasian secularisms. He is also a documentary filmmaker.

Jean Michaud is a social anthropologist and professor at Université Laval in Canada. Since 1987, he has conducted anthropological research in highland India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Yunnan on social change and responses to modernity among highland societies. He is the author of ‘Incidental’ Ethnographers: French Catholic Missions on the Tonkin-Yunnan Frontier, 1880-1930 (Brill, 2007), and coauthor of Frontier Livelihoods: Hmong in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands (UW Press, 2015), and The Historical Dictionary of the Peoples of the Southeast Asian Massif, 2nd ed. (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). He coedited Moving Mountains: Ethnicity and Livelihoods in Highland China, Vietnam and Lao (UBC Press, 2011). His research articles include ‘Zomia and Beyond’ (Journal of Global History, 2010), ‘Hmong Infrapolitics: A View from Vietnam’ (Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2012), and ‘What's (Written) History For? On James C. Scott's Zomia – especially Chapter 6½.’ (Anthropology Today, 2017).

Sponsors:
Institute for South Asia Studies
Himalayan Studies Program
Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS)

Event made possible with the support of the Sarah Kailath Chair of India Studies

Event Contact: isas@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3608

 


The Ito Sisters
An American Story

February 15, 2018
Film - Documentary

Speakers:
Antonia Grace Glenn, Director/Producer
Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley
Michael Omi, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley

image for Ito Sisters screening Join us for a screening of the film "The Ito Sisters: An American Story," followed by Q&A with the Director/Producer Antonia Grace Glenn and Professor Evelyn Nakano Glenn and Michael Omi.

THE ITO SISTERS captures the rarely told stories of the earliest Japanese immigrants to the United States and their American-born children. In particular, the film focuses on the experiences of Issei (or immigrant) and Nisei (or first generation born in the US) women, whose voices have largely been excluded from American history. At the center of the film are three Nisei sisters: Natsuye (Nancy), Haruye (Lillian) and Hideko (Hedy), who were born on a farm in the Sacramento River Delta and whose lives were directly impacted by some of the most significant events of 20th-century America, from the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 to the Great Depression to World War II. The film also explores the lives of the women's parents, Yetsusaburo and Toku Ito, who came to the United States to earn money so they could return to Japan, but whose plans were repeatedly thwarted.

Featuring interviews with the three sisters — conducted in their 80s and 90s — the film is also brought to life through family and archival photographs and documents; verbatim quotes from prominent historical figures; commentary and analysis from renowned scholars; and artistic illustrations. THE ITO SISTERS reveals a little-known chapter of American history, focusing on life in what was essentially a California plantation system between the world wars, with Asian and Mexican laborers working the fields of white landowners. The film explores themes that remain timely today: the meaning of American identity and citizenship for immigrants and their children; and tensions between new Americans and anti-immigrant forces.

www.itosisters.com/

Sponsors:
Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)
Department of Ethnic Studies

Event Contact: cjs-events@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3415

 


The Merit of Words and Letters
Sutra Recitation in Japanese Zen

February 15, 2018
Lecture

Speaker:
Erez Joskovich, UC Berkeley

image for The Merit of Words and Letters lecture Classical Chan/Zen literature is famous for its disparagement of scriptural authority, ranging from the well-known slogan “separate transmission outside the scriptures...,” attributed to Bodhidharma, to stories of renowned Zen masters abusing Buddhist scriptures. Nevertheless, similar to other Buddhist schools, incantations of sutras and invocation of dhāranī have been a significant component of Zen monastic life throughout history. Not only do Zen monks not burn sutras, but in fact daily and monthly sutra-recitation services, including different offerings and prayers, take up more of the monks' time and effort than does any other activity, including zazen.

This talk examines the liturgical function of Buddhist scriptures within the Japanese Rinzai Zen School. Specifically, it aims to better understand how Zen practitioners interpret the meaning and purpose of sutra recitation, and how they bridge the apparent gap between the disparagement of scriptural authority and the pervasiveness of Buddhist scriptures in their monastic life. To achieve this goal, we will explore the Kankinbō 看経榜 (“Reading Sutra Placard”) chapter of Goke sanshō yōromon 五家參詳要路門 (“An Examination of the Essential Teaching of the Five Houses”; T 2576), written by the eminent eighteenth-century Japanese Rinzai monk Tōrei Enji (東嶺圓慈, 1721–1792).

Tōrei discussion combines various mental and physical benefits of sutra recitation, as well as its power to positively affect natural and supernatural environments. Thus, this work highlights the multifaceted understanding of texts as ritual objects, one that challenges any strict distinctions between worldly benefits and spiritual cultivation. Moreover, Tōrei exegetical efforts to explain the function and to justify the legitimacy of sutra recitation clearly indicate that the tension between antinomian rhetoric and worship was a major concern for pre-modern Zen masters, and not, as some scholars have argued, merely the result of projecting Western categories on traditional Zen practice. Accordingly, I contend that the Kankinbō can advance our understanding of the relations between the orthodox view of rituals within the Rinzai Zen tradition and its modern interpretations in Japan and elsewhere.

Sponsors:
Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS)
Center for Japanese Studies (CJS)

Event Contact: buddhiststudies@berkeley.edu