October 17, 2019
Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Lecture: "Some Live in Darkness, Some Live in Light": China and Elsewhere in 1900
Keynote Speaker: Peter C. Perdue, History, Yale University
At the turn of the twentieth century, in a brilliant spectacle, the Western powers and Japan demonstrated their imperial prowess at the Paris Exposition of 1900. Several months later, the same powers invaded China to lift the siege of the foreign legations by the Boxers and the Qing government. The Qing government fell to its nadir, but China’s inextricable links to global trends soon brought dramatic change. This lecture shows how, in this critical decade, facing imperialism, trade war, anarchism, and racial nationalism, the Chinese people engaged with the dark and bright aspects of the world.
Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Lecture: Air/Qi Connections: Notes from the History of Science and Medicine
Keynote Speaker: Ruth Rogaski, Vanderbilt University
What is the relationship between the air we breathe (in Chinese, kongqi) and the qi of Chinese medicine? This talk explores the history of this intersection in order to better understand the cultural underpinnings of the connection between health and environment in China today. The talk concludes with some musings about the relationship between qi and air today, in an era when enthusiasm for the health benefits of qigong coexists with the presence of an increasingly unbreathable atmosphere.
May 4-5, 2017
Return of Ten Thousand Dharmas: A Celebration in Honor of Patricia Berger
Keynote Speaker: Patricia Berger, UC Berkeley
Patricia Berger served as the curator of Chinese art at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco from 1982 to 1994. She then returned to her alma mater to mentor another generation of graduate students as Professor of Chinese Art at the University of California at Berkeley. In celebration of her well-deserved retirement, we invite you to join her current and former students and colleagues to honor her contributions to the field.
February 22, 2017
Recital of Chinese Opera: “The Ballad” from The Palace of Lasting Life
Cast: Peng Xu (singer), Daniel C.F. Chan (flute), Eva Chan (drum), Lindy Li Mark (host)
• Introduction by Lindy Li Mark (Professor Emeritus, California
State University, Hayward)
• Solo by Peng Xu (Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Chinese
Studies, U.C. Berkeley; Assistant Professor, Swarthmore
• Question-and-Answer (part 1) by Peng Xu
Sponsored by the Institute of East Asian Studies & the Center for Chinese Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Lecture: Mapping, Managing, Meandering: Charting China’s Continuous Evolution
Speaker: Vivienne Shue, Professor Emeritus of Contemporary China Studies, Associate of the University of Oxford China Centre, and Emeritus Fellow of St. Antony's College, University of Oxford
The lecture develops three broad themes: a) How Chinese state leaders now pursue a comprehensive national spatial re-ordering through an ambitious land-use mapping regime applied over the entirety of their nation-space; b) How such a spectacular mapping exercise can be interpreted with reference equally to political leadership practices present in primitive human communities and to contemporary global ideals of ‘best practice’ managerialism; and c) How the multiplex governance processes and mixed assemblages of intersecting power practices recent research reveals in China can help us transcend tired conceptual dichotomies and develop more fluid, dynamic models of political change and evolution.
November 6, 2015
Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Lecture: Heritage and Ancestors: The Politics of Chinese Museums and Historical Memory
Speaker: Magnus Fiskesjö, Anthropology, Cornell University
The current Chinese boom in museum-building and in the construction of memorial sites coincides with a broad re-definition of the official and predominant view of China's history and identity. The Mao-era Communist orthodoxy of history as a sequence of class struggles is replaced across the board, with a story of unbroken, if interrupted, national glory. In this presentation I ask, how are the current developments related to older Chinese conceptions of culture-hero ancestry and imperial glory? Moreover, in what ways should we understand the new Chinese developments within their broader context — especially the simultaneous, yet seemingly paradoxical current world trends of economic globalization and narrow nationalism?
October 9, 2014
Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Lecture: Zhang Yimou and the Socialist Legacy: From Red Sorghum to Happy Times
Speaker: Wendy Larson, East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon, Portland
Red Sorghum (红高粱, 1987), Zhang Yimou's (张艺谋, 1951‑) initial directorial effort, confirmed the creative ability of the People to forge a spirited collective future, to preserve social unity against hostile outsiders, and to transmit a vital cultural story. Emerging from the socialist period, the film took advantage of powerful narratives of collectivity to valorize an abstract force hidden within the People. Happy Times (幸福时光, 2000) revisits the possibility of tapping the socialist legacy as a cultural source. Set within a human emotional economy inextricably entwined with market values, the film zeroes in on the question: can socialist culture, with its communal, self-sacrificing values, be recouped and remolded as a potent element of a vigorous future?