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2021 Southeast Regional Conference of the Association for Asian Studies

January 15, 2021 @ 8:30 am - January 16, 2021 @ 4:00 pm


Time Plenary Session


Welcoming remarks from the Institutional Hosts
Profs. Ji-Yeon Jo and Morgan Pitelka

Address by the President of SEC-AAS
Prof. Joshua Howard

Report by the Representative to Council of Conferences
Prof. Catherine Phipps

Overview of Education about Asia and Key Issues in Asian Studies
Prof. Lucien Ellington

Haoli Lin, Violinist, followed by Q&A

Keynote Address by the President of the Association for Asian Studies
“Global Asias: Moving Beyond Spatialized Identities”
Prof. Christine R. Yano

Announcements about the conference format by the Institutional Hosts


Time Session A Session B Session C Session D Session E Session F


Kimono Imaginaries: Power, Play, and Murder

Visualizing Chinese Space and Place

Environmental Questions in South and Southeast Asia

Inter-Asian Diasporas

Chinese Policy in Challenging Times

Divination in Early China: Officials, Texts, and Techniques

Gavin James Campbell
Doshisha University

Jan Bardsley
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jennifer Prough
Valparaiso University

Rebecca Copeland
Washington University in St. Louis
Norman Rothschild
University of North Florida

Xiaolin Duan
North Carolina State University

Xiaofei Li
Beijing Institute of Graphic
Helen Kaibara
Jacksonville State University

Jarrod Brown
Berea College

Jerski Jarzen Duria
Central Luzon State University
Jera Lego
Independent Scholar

Minjee Lee
Yonsei University

Yanghee Kim
Kennesaw State University
Ekaterina Serbina
Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Science

Fangyuan Liu
University of Cambridge

James Masterson and Jingwen Wu
Morehead State University
Eric Henry
University of North at Chapel Hill

Huaiyu Wang
Georgia College & State University

Stephan Kory
University of Florida

K-12 Outreach Panel on Migration in/from/around Asia: Expert Panel
Education, Press, and Poets: Chinese-Western Cultural Interactions in the 19th and 20th Centuries Transnational China Issues in Modern and Contemporary Korea Rethinking Traditional Art Forms Chinese Genre Fiction
Venkat Dhulipala
University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Xue Lan Rong
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Cindy Ring Ruble
Dan Du
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Guolin Yi
Arkansas Tech Univeristy

Shuhua Fan
University of Scranton

Yunxiang Gao
Ryerson University
Cancelled due to speaker withdrawals; Chengwei Chen (Duke University) has been moved to “Cross-Border Economic Connections” on Sunday at 10:15″ Marcy Tanter
Tarleton State University

Michael Seth
James Madison University

Young Jung
George Mason University
Afroz Taj
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Madeline Kujabi
Berea College

Paulo Brito
University of Toronto
Min Wang
Washington University in St.Louis

Paul Foster
Georgia Tech

Yan Dong
University of Arizona

K-12 Outreach Panel on Migration in/from/around Asia: Teaching Resources
Markets and Food in Contemporary China China on Stage Imperial Japan and East Asia Party, Press and Petitions: Redefining Worker Rights and Revolution in Mauritius, India, and China
Kevin W. Fogg
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Megan Tracy
James Madison University

Tiffany Y. Tsai
The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina

Yuchen Yan
Duke University
Karin Myhre
University of Georgia

Kin-Yan Szeto
Appalachian State University

Liang Luo
University of Kentucky
Annika A. Culver
Florida State University

Camelia Nakagawara
Independent Scholar

Min Koo Choi
Georgetown University
Andrew Sartori
New York University

Yoshina Hurgobin
Kennesaw State University

William F. Kuracina
Texas A&M University-Commerce

Joshua Howard
University of Mississippi

Spaces in Between: Methodological Approaches to the Sino-Viet Borderlands Issues in Contemporary Japan The State and Contested Identity in South Asia Work Cultures in Asia
Christian Lentz
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

James Anderson
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Kate Baldanza
Penn State University
Anri Yasuda
University of Virginia

Elizabeth Miles
Kennesaw State University

Joel Campbell
Troy University
Deepa Nair
Carnegie Mellon University

John Caldwell
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Swakshadip Sarkar
University of Bristol
Dongling Zhang
Webster University

Yang Cao
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Yuxin Ma
University of Louisville



Time Session A Session B Session C Session D Session E Session F

China’s Early Communist Period Applying Patchwork Ethnography to Research in Contemporary Japan – A Roundtable on Positionality, Networks, and “Piecing Together” One’s Field This Land Is Ours: Grassroots Activism and Local Stewardship in the Historic Preservation and Cultural Rejuvenation of Contemporary China China: The Evolving Relationship between the Party State and Society Situating Asian Art in Time and Place Reimagining Sovereignty in the Shadow of China
Elizabeth Littell-Lamb
University of Tampa

Yingchuan Yang
Columbia University

Zhaojin Zeng
Duke Kunshan University

Dana Mirsalis
Harvard University

Hannah Gould
University of Melbourne

Kaitlyn Ugoretz
University of California, Santa Barbara

Naohito Miura
Harvard University

Timothy Smith
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Lixin Wang
Meishi Film Academy and Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, Chongqing University

Qiong Zhang
Wake Forest University

Shawn Foster
Independent Scholar

Haijing Li
Zhejiang University of Water Resources and Electric Power
Guangqiu Xu
Jinan University

Peng Deng
High Point University

Yanmin Yu
University of Bridgeport

Yidi Wu
Elon University
Punam Madhok
East Carolina University

Yookyoung Choi

Zhan (Sharon) Zhang
University of Pittsburgh
Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay
Ateneo de Manila University

Khanh Linh Trinh
University of Michigan

Ray Chandrasekara
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Mid-Century Print Cultures Traditions of Nōgaku Theater in Western Art Music Cross-border Economic Connections Intercultural Religious Interactions Around Asia Gender on Screen Music in Contemporary China
Donald Santacaterina
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Hong Zhang
University of Central Florida

Tenny Kristiana
Independent Scholar
Hannah Lawrence
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Marc Callahan
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
David Owen
Millersville University

Thotreingam Tungshangnao
North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong

Chengwei Chen
Duke University
Aixin Yi
Duke University

Andrew Frankel
University of Virginia

Devin Creed
Duke University
Azalia Muchransyah
University of Buffalo

Candice Wilson
University of North Georgia

Charlie Yi Zhang
University of Kentucky
Gengsong Gao, Alexandre Bettancourt and Qian Wang
University of Richmond

Jin Liu
Georgia Institute of Technology

Li-ling Hsiao
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Integrating Asian Studies at the Community College: A Model for Institutional Collaboration Chinese Modern Literature World War II Across Asia Body Regulation in Asia Rethinking China with Linguistic Approaches
Shannon Hahn
Durham Technical Community College

Jason Moldoff
Durham Technical Community College

Sandra Peterson
Durham Technical Community College
Edwin Michielsen
University of Toronto

Leihua Weng
Kalamazoo College

Yun Lee
Reed College
Bei Gao
University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Christopher Hulshof
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jing Li
Duquesne University
Imelda Djatirman
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sukshma Vedere
George Washington University

Wenqi Yang
University of Illinois-Urban-Champaign
Hin Ming
Frankie Chik

Arizona State University

Shuguang Wang
UNC School of Education

Uffe Bergeton
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Teaching about COVID-19 Racism to High School and College Students Close Readings of Asia on Screen Pre-Modern Chinese Literature and Art Historical Approaches to Expanding States in Asia Negotiating Institutions in China and Beyond
Bonnie Wang
Durham Academy

Vicky Wang
St. Paul’s Schools

Yan Liu
Duke University
Ryan Dong
University of Georgia

Quade Robinson
Harvard University

Su-ching Huang
East Carolina University
Lu Huang
Temple University

Seojeong Shin
American University

Suiyun Pana
Yale University
J. Travis Shutz
Binghamton University

Margherita Zanasi
Louisiana State University

Paul Gosselin
Independent Scholar
Shibin Yan
Rutgers University

Yanping Ni
Duke University

Zhen Wang
Middle Tennessee State University



FRIDAY 7:00PM – 9:00PM:

Haoli Lin

Violinist Haoli Lin is an internationally recognized talent. The youngest winner of the China National Violin Competition in 2008, and the winner of the Andrews University International Violin Concert in 2013, Haoli Lin has performed in prestigious concert halls throughout China, Southeast Asia and the United States. He has served as guest concertmaster with The Jakarta Symphony in Indonesia and the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra in China. Haoli Lin is the founder and artistic director of the New World Chamber Players and has led the ensemble on three tours of China. A Starling Scholar on a full scholarship, Haoli Lin is currently completing his doctoral degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, studying with the pre-eminent violin pedagogue Kurt Sassmannshaus.

  1. He Zhanhao and Chen Gang, “Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto”

Composed by He Zhanhao and Chen Gang in 1958, the famous “Butterfly Lovers’ Violin Concerto” is based on the legend “Butterfly Lovers” (Liang zhu). Today I will perform the final part of the composition known as “Hua die” (the lovers’ transformation into butterflies) that describes the final moments for these lovers amidst the pain and joy of life before they are transformed into butterflies. The beautiful main theme has three parts. The first part involves recalling and describing their love, then the violin’s tremolo signals the beating of the butterfly’s wings. Finally, the entire ensemble joins in expressing the main love theme.

  1. Chen Yi, “Fisherman’s Song” (1979)

Professor Chen Yi, who teaches composition at the conservatory of the University of Missouri-Kansas City describes the piece as follows: “The pentatonic melody represented in the beginning (on violin) and the ending part (on piano, with supporting lines on violin) is in a lyrical Cantonese folk song style.  The middle part, as a contrast, is more active and energetic, with a momentum brought to a climax before the recapitulation. The melodic material is drawn from the folk tune of a fisherman’s song in China’s Southern Sea.” Performing the fisherman’s song has a special significance for me since I am from Chaoshan and now live in Shenzhen.

  1. Ma Sicong, “Nostalgia”

The next piece is Ma Sicong’s “Nostalgia,” one of the most popular compositions in China. This piece was composed in 1937 after the outbreak of the Second World War in China. Known as China’s “King of the Violinists,” Ma Sicong (1912-1987) was from Guangdong, but in this composition (the Inner Mongolia Suite) he evokes a folksong from Suiyuan (present day Hohhot in Inner Mongolia).

  1. Li Zili, “Jinqing” from “The Taihang Mountain Caprice” (2019)

The next piece describes Shanxi province in northern China and is called Jinqing. Jin refers to Shanxi province. Qing means feelings or scene. It is from the second movement of the ninth violin concerto (The Taihang Mountain Caprice) I premiered the concerto recently with the Kunming Symphony. My impressions of Shanxi music are similar to my friends from Shanxi. Unlike the refined style of the South, Shanxi music is bold and direct. This movement has three parts. The first part describes the poverty of the mountainous area and the people’s discontent. Professor Li inserts many dissonant notes and chords to echo the first movement’s theme of war. The second part is more lively and exuberant and is a clear contrast with the main theme to express the Shanxi people’s warmth, honesty and boldness. In the final scene one hears a clash between dissonance and folk melody, which describes the ruins of war, a theme that permeates the entire concerto.

  1. “On the Banks of the Solo River” (Indonesian folk song)

In our next piece, I would like to perform the Indonesian folksong “On the banks of the Solo River” which has been arranged for violin and piano. This composition has a jazzy feel. I’m very pleased to be able to perform it with pianist Jacky Zhang.

  1. “Arirang” (Korean folk song)

I’d like to perform now the famous Korean folksong “Arirang.” The story of Arirang involves a young couple, who struggled with hardship in their daily lives. The husband thought to help his wife enjoy better days so he secretly went out one night in search of work. After leaving home, another man pursued his wife, but she rejected the man. After returning home the husband began to hear gossip and left in a huff. The wronged wife followed him and sang this song. In the end the husband was emotionally moved and the couple reconciled. The song is sung today in both North and South Korea, a symbol of unity in an otherwise divided region, since the Korean War. I am delighted to perform this piece, especially for all my Korean friends in the U.S.

  1. Mao Yuanyu, “New Year’s Happiness”

Soon Asians will celebrate the Spring Festival. I end the recital with “New Year’s Happiness” composed by Mao Yuanyu in 1952. The main theme is based on the Hebei folksong “Dumpling sales” offering a cheerful and warm mood. The secondary theme conveys a gentle mood based on musical material from the Jiangnan (Yangzi Delta) region. The piece vividly conveys the celebratory mood of the Spring Festival.


Christine R. Yano, “Global Asias: Moving Beyond Spatialized Identities

Professor, University of Hawaii and President, Association for Asian Studies

Asian Studies has been defined and structured geographically, each area within Asia given a certain amount of autonomy and conceptual berth. The Association for Asian Studies has adopted this approach since 1970, with the goal to give each of four areas input to the organization. The creation of four area councils (Northeast Asia, China and Inner Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia) developed out of an interest in equal representation; thus each area council has retained autonomy in its governance, from procedural matter to prizes. However, increasingly, our Asiatic worlds include intersections, crossings, mobilities, migrations, and diasporic communities that preclude a strict areal focus.

In 2021 I ask us to consider the conceptual moves that cross these regional foci, cross national spaces in a framework that I call Global Asias. In this talk I ask, what do we gain by focusing on the spaces of betweeness created by the trans-geographic? Based in and through mobilities that shape many people’s lives, identities, affiliations, and consumption practices, that betweeness creates its own dynamic friction. Embedded within that betweeness are elements that do not fit established models, that refuse to be “disciplined.” This is the dynamic lens of Globa Asias. The reframing includes not only the immigrant communities that have established lives outside of Asia (e.g. Asian America and Asian communities elsewhere) but also those diasporic Asian communities within Asia itself (e.g. Chinatowns in Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Singapore, Philippines, etc.). Reframing also includes some of the effects of new juxtapositions, including settler colonialism by which Asian immigrant groups may adopt the dominant practices of their new homes at the expense of disadvantaged indigenous populations.

SATURDAY 8:30AM – 10:00AM:

Jan Bardsley

Professor Emerita, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Gavin James Campbell

Professor, Doshisha University

Rebecca Copeland

Professor, Washington University in St. Louis

Jennifer Prough

Associate Professor, Valparaiso University

Investigating diverse “kimono imaginaries” leads our panel beyond typical readings of this deceptively simple Japanese garb. We uncover traditions invented, anger inscribed, and lively masquerades blurring ethnic and gender boundaries. Presenting cases from our current book projects, we invite audience engagement with questions of kimono play, authenticity, cultural invention, and appropriation. Crafting her debut mystery Kimono Tattoo, literary scholar Rebecca Copeland drew inspiration from the afterlives of kimono animating Noh, Enchi Fumiko’s writing, and Terry Milhaupt’s pioneering kimono scholarship. Copeland discusses how this legacy led her to fabricate a diabolic plot within a plot that turns on a kimono tattoo. In Fashioning Japan: Menswear in Japan from the Shoguns to the Salary Man, cultural historian Gavin James Campbell highlights the critical role sartorial politics played in legitimizing masculine power in the shogunal court and displaying prestige in ceremonial spectacle. Properly worn, the kimono ensured the very survival of the Tokugawa regime itself. Tracking a different kimono register, anthropologist Jennifer Prough and literary historian Jan Bardsley examine contemporary costume play. In Revisiting Kyoto: Heritage Tourism in Contemporary Kyoto, Prough draws on extensive ethnographic research to examine how the interests of government, commerce, communities, and tourists coalesce to fashion new tourist experiences. She discusses how domestic and international travelers clad in rental kimono stroll prime heritage sights, embodying new preferences for the experience of “being” over “seeing,” and feeling part of the heritage atmosphere themselves. In Maiko Masquerade: Crafting Geisha Girlhood in Japan, Bardsley explores media representations of Kyoto’s apprentice geisha (maiko) as an icon of exemplary girlhood. She shows how the vogue for maiko cosplay inspired an entire light-fiction series about a kimono-garbed boy embodying this role.

Asynchronous Material

Session B

Xiaolin Duan, “Visualizing Famous Places for the Tourist Market: Yang Erzeng’s Newly Compiled Striking Views within the Seas in Seventeenth-Century China”

Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University

Keywords: Visuality

During the seventeenth century, the rapid development of urbanization and sightseeing activities paved the way for woodblock prints that advertised various famous sites. One of the most remarkable collections was Newly Compiled Striking Views within the Seas (1609) by Yang Erzeng. This collection served as a travel guidebook, including visual images and geographical information centering on places of interest. This paper examines the visual strategy adopted by this book and its popular acceptance, discussing how the images presented in the book meditated between traditional gazetteers and the newly developed tourist market in reshaping the concept of place and mobility. It argues that these images reflect the influences of both landscape-painting manuals, which offered iconic representations of the natural environment, and woodblock drama illustrations to broaden their appeal to both elegant and mass-market audiences. This paper focuses specifically on a set of prints of West Lake, discussing how it adapted images from an earlier gazetteer by juxtaposing them with poems written in varying calligraphic styles. With a combination of poems, paintings, and calligraphy, these images catered to the literati taste for interchangeability of poems and paintings, as well as affluent people’s desire to consume high culture in one entity. Consumers of these books and images saw them as tangible embodiments of cultural tropes, as suggestions for sightseeing, and as a particular way of seeing. Exploring woodblock prints as an conversation between publishers and audiences, this paper contributes to the discussion of visual culture and its role in constructing place identity.

Norman Rothschild, “The Chrysanthemum Corona of Female Emperor Wu Zhao: Fashioning a Distinctive Imperial Garland from Yellow Flowers, Sacred Mountainscapes, and Immortal Medicine”

Professor, University of Northern Florida

Keywords: Chongyang Festival

This paper argues that in the seventh century the chrysanthemum (ju, juhua, huanghua 菊, 菊花,⿈花), yoked to newly emerging conceptions of Buddhist and Daoist sovereignty, played a significant symbolic role in Chinese female emperor Wu Zhao’s 武曌 (r. 690-705) construction of a novel paradigm of emperorship. Under Wu Zhao, the chrysanthemum developed into a floral emblem of imperial authority and the Chongyang festival, the holiday with which the yellow flower is closely associated, developed into major occasion to broadcast her distinctive brand of religio-political authority. To mustering evidence of the connection between the late-blooming autumnal flower and Wu Zhao, the paper draws on court poetry, official histories, memorials, Buddhist and Daoist sources, geographical treatises, and medical texts. The paper also examines parallel and related developments in this cult of the chrysanthemum—connected to female rulership, verticality, and immortality—in the kingdom of Silla on the Korean peninsula and in Asuka Japan.

Xiaofei Li, “Images in Space: A Study of Suzhou Prints in The Small Chinese Salon in Palace Esterhazy of Austria”

Associate Professor, Beijing Institute of Graphic Communication

Keywords: Visual Space

From 17th to 18th century, a large collection of printed pictures were exported from China to Europe, together with the other products, such as porcelain, lacquerware, embroidery, and woodcarving. Prints became part of so-called “Chinoiserie” and exerted great influence on European culture. However, compared with other artistic genres, printed images possess unique characteristics as they are not only as isolated artworks, they were also utilized as functional decoration of space designs. The printed pictures which originated from Suzhou in Palace Esterhazy of Austria are perfect examples of this decorative function. This paper will explore the prints’ functions in space design through the following themes: the printing techniques and materials of these prints, how the space designs highlighting the prints, and how the prints help to construct the space and transform the visual contexts of the space.

Session C

Helen Kaibara, “Protecting Creation: The Isha Foundation’s Movement to Save India’s Rivers”

Assistant Professor, Jacksonville State University

Keywords: India, Environmental, Religious

The Isha Foundation, led by well-known, spiritual leader, Sadhguru, has in twenty-eight years grown into a global phenomenon with yoga and meditation workshops held in many different countries. However, a lesser-known activity of the Isha Foundation is having a far-greater role in shaping the world. It has recently launched ecological renewal and conservation efforts which seek to address a myriad of environmental, social, economic, and political issues. The flagship environmental campaign, Rally for Rivers, is currently the world’s largest ecological movement with the support of over 162 million people, has received the cooperation of six Indian state governments, and an endorsement from the United Nations. The campaign has raised funds to grow billions of tree saplings, gathered thousands of volunteers to plant these trees along endangered rivers, and train Southern Indian farmers in methods of ecoforestry with the assistance of governmental subsidies. Southern Indian state governments in particular have been motivated to aid this effort as a result of the alarming spike in farmer suicides which have been caused by the difficulties of growing crops in land which is facing desertification. This campaign to revitalize India’s major rivers, began in 2017 with the Kaveri River–the drying up of which led to deadly clashes in the 1980’s and 1990’s between residents of the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. This paper will examine the groundwork of the Isha Foundation in creating the Rally for Rivers campaign, present on the various levels of support it has enjoyed as well as major criticisms, and evaluate its progress toward reaching its stated objectives.

Jarrod Brown, “Vietnamese Hòa Hảo Buddhist Environmental and Agricultural Ethics”

Assistant Professor, Berea College

Keywords: Mekong, Agricultural Ethics

Đạo Hòa Hảo is a southern Vietnamese Buddhism tradition founded in 1939 by Huỳnh Phú Sổ but building on the earlier teaching of the Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương tradition. A syncretic and reformist movement, Hòa Hảo caters to the population of the Mekong River and the social, economic, and spiritual traditions of the peoples who reside there. Hòa Hảo places particular emphasis on place, inter-generational obligations, and agriculture, suggesting that the ideal vocation for a Buddhist is as an agriculturalist. As such, Hòa Hảo provides the resources for a robust ethics of agricultural and environment. This paper argues that Hòa Hảo offers a theory of environmental philosophy that assigns intrinsic value to all living beings and extrinsic value to the inanimate world, that the moral community encompassing both all living creatures as well as ancestors and future generations, and the given the inter-generational moral obligations and the centrality of agriculture for the unique Hòa Hảo of “monasticism at home,” there is an obligation to practice sustainable agricultural techniques to preserve the agrarian form of life for future practioners.

Jerski Jarzen Duria, “Unhidden Truth: Impacts of Neoliberal Policies of Philippine Government vis-à-vis Environmental Degradation”

Research Specialist, Central Luzon State University

Keywords: Hegemony

Climate change and global warming are indeed, the greatest threat and challenged to humanity. It cannot be solved individually. What we need are global solutions to this global problem. However, from Kyoto Protocol to Paris Accord, it is evident that there are no significant beneficial changes in the global context. Instead of combating the problem, global actions and policies worsened the scenario. Due to these circumstances, this paper critically analyzed the impacts of Philippine government’s neoliberal policies vis-à-vis the alarming environmental degradation in the country. This paper showed that the neoliberalism’s tenets which include privatization, corporatization, deregularization, exploitation, hegemonic dominance and dependence are part of the structural adjustment programmes or policies (SAPs) of the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). These policies were imposed by neoliberal hegemons particularly by U.S. and China. Using critical discourses, paradigmatic analyses and dependency theory as apparatuses of scrutiny, this paper aimed to understand the linkages between the imposed neoliberal policies and its’ ecological consequences and to some extent to global capitalism. Moreover, the study showed that with the imposition of neoliberal policies, the disparity between the developed and developing countries arises which resulted to “catching up” of the developing countries causing more environmental crisis.

Session D

Jera Lego, “Uighur ‘Exiles’ and Rohingya ‘Refugees’: Forced Migration of Persecuted Muslim Minorities”

Independent Scholar

Keywords: Forced Migrants, Refugees, Migration

This paper includes preliminary research for examining the forced migration of two of the world’s most persecuted Muslim minorities. It begins with a brief historical context for understanding how they came to be marginalized in their respective countries of origin and then proceeds to discuss the kinds of oppression and persecution they currently face. The paper will then elaborate on the nature of their displacement, tracing their migration routes and destinations, how countries of refuge respond to their arrival/ presence, how they themselves manage in these host countries, the kinds of transnational networks they have formed, and the kinds of responses they have elicited from the international community. The paper will then compare the similarities and differences, and analyze whether and to what extent these can be attributed to (1) the root causes of displacement, (2) the nature of displacement, (3) the kind of country from which these forced migrants originate, (4) the identity of those forced migrants, (5) geographic factors, and (6) existing transnational networks.

MinJee Lee, “Representing, Re-membering, and Mobilizing Diasporas: Discursive Analysis of Homeland’s Representation of Koryo Saram Diaspora in South Korean Media”

Graduate Student, Yonsei University

Keywords: Media Representation

This paper aims to explore mass media texts representing ethno-national diaspora as a site and medium of homeland’s ‘discursive’ mobilization, instrumental re-imagination and re-membering of its overseas diaspora. In the ‘triangular relationship’ between diaspora, host society, and homeland, it is not only myths and beliefs about diasporic homeland that are actively exploited, but also ideas about ‘diasporas’ abroad that are constructed, exploited, and mobilized to serve the homeland’s cause. Focusing on the case of South Korea’s media representation of Koryo Saram diaspora in the Post-Soviet spaces, this paper explores how stances and discourses about diasporic identity, historical formation, and diaspora-homeland relationship in the two selected TV documentary texts broadcasted in 1992 and 2014 were differently imagined, constructed, and mobilized in relation to the shifting workings of nationalism, developmentalism, anti-communism, and neoliberal globalization of the respective eras in South Korea. The two modes of South Korea’s representation of Koryo Saram respectively embodied discourse on singular nationhood bounded to the Korean peninsula as the national lebensraum, versus multiple nationhood tolerating divergent dynamics of diasporic formation, identities, and diaspora-homeland relationship.

Yanghee Kim, “Minority Parents, Children, and Schooling in China, Taiwan, S. Korea and the U.S.”

Associate Professor, Kennesaw State University

Keywords: Schooling

Since 1980s, many Asians have been moving to the major labor-importing countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. In addition to the increased migrant workers, the influx of global ‘hypergamy’ which means women from developing countries migrate to marry men living in the richer countries pushes these countries to become more ethnically diverse nations. It is projected that one third of all children born in 2020 will be so called Kosians (Ko deriving from Korean and sian from Asian). In Taiwan, the number is projected to be even higher. However, because of ethnocultural nationalism that Korea and Taiwan adopt for guaranteeing their citizenship, the second generation of illegal migrant workers is denied to achieve citizenship and thus access to education. Even though China is not considered as a developed country that imports labors, China is included in the presentation because its philosophical aptitudes toward minorities is different from Korea and Taiwan. China adopts liberal nationalism and grants ethnic minorities a right to educate children with ethnic approaches. Under the different approaches, minorities in China may encounter fewer obstacles in interacting with teachers and schools than minorities in Korea and Taiwan. This presentation will compare the current status of minority parents and children and school barriers that minority parents perceive in their child’s schooling in these countries using a framework developed in the U. S by presenter. In the framework, five school barriers* are proposed. The comprehensive framework may contribute to enhance the equality and equity of education for minority children in the world by focusing on school barriers rather than parents’ barriers. *Kim, Y. A. (2018). Chapter 78: School roles in ethnic minority education in Korea. In M. T. Hue (Ed.). Section 15: Ethnic Minorities. In Kennedy, K. J., & Lee, J. C-K (Eds.). Routledge International Handbook of Schools and Schooling in Asia. Oxon: Ox. New York: NY.

Session E

Ekaterina Serbina, “Strategy of Chinese Policy Banks during COVID-19″

Graduate Student, Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Science

Keywords: Banks

China’s policy banks (China Development Bank, Eximbank of China and Agricultural Development Bank of China) acts as a key instrument for Chinese government for implementing large scale projects. They assumed responsibility as the main emergency creditors during the pandemic. The related public authorities actively issued rules and instructions to prevent and resist coronavirus. Chinese Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission ordered these banks to join forces and adjust lending policies towards focusing on financing companies involved in anti-epidemic R&D, purchase of foreign medicines, as well as manufacturing and logistics of essential goods. Since the policy banks had become the main lenders for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), they also developed concessional lending programs and subsidiaries for small and medium enterprises involved in the BRI. Moreover, the banks issued special bonds for raising funds for the fight against COVID-19. Chinese policy banks took unprecedented measures for minimizing physical contacts among staff and clients by expanding of usage of digital technology. These measures have demonstrated their effectiveness for helping clients as well as valuable contributions in fight with pandemic.

Fangyuan Liu, “World Washington Web? China Daily and Global Times on Edward Snowden and the NSA Surveillance Programme”

Graduate Student, University of Cambridge

Keywords: Dissidents, Mass surveillance program

The marginalization of dissidents is widely recognized in the US media (Bergman, 2017; Gans, 2004; Herman & Chomsky, 2002). Scholars have also investigated the propaganda nature of state-controlled newspapers in the Chinese context (Brady, 2002; Hung, 2014; Repnikova, 2017; Stockmann, 2013), and the strategy of nation-building and “Othering” enemy countries in Chinese media (Ha & Shin, 2019). Some studies focus on the English-language media in China, with a closer look at China Daily and Global Times (Ha & Shin, 2019; Hartig, 2018; Shirk, 2011; Thussu, 2018). However, the study of dissidents in China, especially the reporting of foreign dissidents in Chinese media, remained underexplored. Edward Snowden’s leak of the NSA mass surveillance program in 2013, can serve as an exemplar to research into foreign dissidents in China’s English press.

This research adopts a thematic analysis to examine the opinion articles and editorials of Edward Snowden published from 5 June to 31 December 2013 in the two major English-language newspapers China Daily and Global Times. The analysis of 72 op-eds (41 op-eds in China Daily and 31 op-eds in Global Times) yielded four themes. One, Snowden’s leak has benefited the world a lot by revealing the US hegemony. Two, Snowden revealed the hypocrisy and double standards of the US government. Three, the NSA surveillance programme damaged international relations and infringed individual privacy. Four, The US avoided the essence of Snowden’s leak, and denied Snowden’s heroic image. This paper explains these themes by analysing the common strategies used in the arguments of both newspapers, the motivations behind the NSA surveillance programme, and differences and similarities in China Daily and Global Times.

James Masterson and Jingwen Wu, “Assessing the Effectiveness of China’s EEP Plan on Urban Air Quality”

Associate Professor, Morehead State University

Keywords: Climate Change, China, Air Pollution

With the rapid development of China’s economy and the rapid expansion of urbanization, China’s environmental pollution problems have gradually entered the attention of the international public. China’s environmental problems have gradually developed into a global problem, creating a “local-regional-worldwide” issue. Governmental officials have “declared war on pollution” and implemented stringent air pollution reforms in the 13th Five-Year Plan (EEP plan). Since the implementation of this policy, data shows that air pollution has generally improved. This research analyzes data collected on air quality (including PM 2.5 and AQI) from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2019, in six major cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Shijiazhuang, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Tianjin. Other factors influencing air quality are controlled for, such as daily wind speed, daily temperature and GDP. Using a multilevel mixed-effects regression model, this research examines whether this new policy affects air quality in China.

Session F

This panel will investigate bureaucratic, textual, and technical issues related to divination in early China. Its three papers approach each of their topics using very different approaches. The first is a philological study of the character shi 史, the second is a philosophical study of the character yi 易, and the third is essentially a technical study of the character shi 式. Our first panelist, Eric Henry, uses three ancient texts compiled during the late Zhou and early imperial periods to investigate the roles that officials known as shi 史 played in early China. Frequently referred to as “historians,” “scribes,” “diviners” or “astrologers” in Western scholarship, Dr. Henry carefully compares occurrences of shi in Master Zuo’s Commentary, the Discourses of the States, and the Garden of Eloquence, showing that the office was essential to Sinitic state administration and was apparently responsible for a wide range of duties including—but not at all limited to—divination and historiography. He also argues that the common translation “scribe” seems to capture the multifaceted and somewhat ambiguous nature of the office, but carries with it the pejorative connotation of “underling.” While Dr. Henry argues that the least problematic translation for shi might be “archivist,” he does not rule out leaving the term untranslated. Our second panelist, Huaiyu Wang, considers a radically different way of understanding the essence of the classical divination text, the Yijing 易經. Rather than uncritically taking the text as a “book of changes,” he considers a more semiotic and spiritual approach that better reflects what he identifies as the assumed worldview and main purport of the text. Dr. Wang argues that the essence of the Yijing rests in the notion of a sympathetic and spontaneous resonance shared between competing forces in nature (yin and yang), which generates the myriad things. Referring to this notion as the “life of nature,” he further argues that the text functions as an instrument meant to help human beings understand the cyclical and patterned nature of the cosmos. This understanding is then expected to help people harmonize themselves with the cyclical patterns of the cosmos to preserve and appropriate its regenerative powers for the opportune development of human societies and environments. Our third panelist, Stephan Kory, highlights recently recovered evidence of shi divination (shizhan 式占) in China to point out a resurgence in—and new approaches to—the study of this mantic practice. He introduces two newly discovered early medieval shi devices (shipan 式盤) and a number of cosmographic diagrams in manuscripts known as daybooks (rishu ⽇書) exhumed from late Warring States, Qin, and Western Han tombs that Chinese scholars today are increasing describing as shi diagrams(shitu 式圖). After a review of early extant shi devices and diagrams, Dr. Kory addresses the problematic nature of the more expansive modern use of the term shi and details two new approaches to the study of shi divination proposed by two well-established authorities on the subject: Li Ling and Marc Kalinowski. He concludes with a few potential ways of negotiating the very different views of shi divination they present.

Piotr Gibas, Discussant

Assistant Professor, College of Charleston

Eric Henry, “Who Were the Shǐ 史?”

Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper uses the numerous references to shǐ in early texts, primarily Zuǒzhuàn, Guóyǔ, and Shuōyuàn, to identify and describe the functions of those figures in preimperial Chinese courts. Among the findings of this paper are:

  • Shǐ existed only in the courts of Sinitic states. The courts of Wú and Yuè did not have shǐ.
  • Though assumed to be uniquely knowledgeable with regard to past and future events, shǐ, in terms of function, weregeneralists. There was no political role that could not be assigned to a shǐ.
  • Though shǐ do not appear to have personally performed divinations (diviners, bǔ ⼘, and other people did that), they were routinely called upon to interpret divinations, as well as other phenomena, such as dreams and portents.
  • Shǐ were assumed to be capable of speaking directly to royal ancestors and to other numinous entities when participating in sacrificial rites; hence the Russian early-China scholar Mark Ulanov calls them “хрецы,” “priests.”
  • A sinitic state could not exist without shǐ. They were as necessary to the existence of a state as were ancestral temples,bronze vessels and altars to the grain and soil.
  • The term shǐ cannot adequately be represented by any word in another language. “Scribes” and “diviners” are terms often used in the field, but the spheres of activity suggested by these words are in each case too circumscribed. It appears to methat the “least bad” English term might be “archivist.”

Huaiyu Wang, “Recovering the Original Meaning of the Divine: The Book of Yi Divination and Early Chinese Experiences of the ‘Life of Nature’ ”

Professor, Georgia College & State University

In this research, I would take issue with the prevalent interpretation of the Yijing as a book of Changes by recovering the original meaning of the divine and Yi divination in early Chinese experiences and elaborate its profound scientific, spiritual, and philosophical implications. There are two prototypes of Western conceptions of the divine: [1] the transcendental Godhead and personated creator (Judeo-Christian); [2] the holy mind as the unmoved mover (Aristotle), the arche – the first principle and highest purpose for the intrinsic order and reason of the cosmos. Now, there is one central dimension of the early Chinese understanding of the divine, which is essential for the practice of Yi divination but has been largely ignored in modern Western and Chinese scholarly discourse. I identify this sense of divine in the early Chinese experience of the Life of Nature as the primary form of divine revelation. The key to this life of nature lies in the seemingly precarious occurrence of sympathetic and spontaneous resonance among competing forces of nature (yin and yang) that brings about the life of all things. Thus, the essence of the book of Yi symbolism and divination, as well as the early Chinese theories of yinyang and wuxing (five phases) is to discover and decipher the cyclical pattern of the Life of Nature and induce a way of human living that would disseminate the divine message of cosmic harmony and promote the life of all things.

Stephan Kory, “When the Levee Breaks: New Approaches to the Study of Shi Divination (Shizhan 式占) in Early China”

Assistant Professor, University of Florida

Today, there are no less than eight—and no more than eleven—examples of partial or complete pre-Tang shi devices (shi 栻; shipan 式盤) in and around China. A fragment of one was exhumed last year from the Chengba 城壩 ruins in Quxian 渠縣 (NE Sichuan); a complete example of another in 2013 from tomb #2013DQIM35 in the Qijiawan 祁家湾 graveyard in western Dunhuang 敦煌 (NW Gansu). These discoveries have re-opened scholarship on shi divination. This resurge is also due to the f lurry of recent work on excavated late Warring States, Qin, and Western Han texts known as day books (rishu ⽇書), which contain cosmographic diagrams that Chinese scholars today are increasing describing as shi diagrams (shitu 式圖). My talk briefly introduces extant evidence of shi devices and diagrams to highlight two new approaches to the study of shi divination (shizhan 式占) proposed by two long-time pioneers in the field: Li Ling 李零 and Marc Kalinowski. Each has recently published a pair of significant reviews of shi divination that attempt to deal with the flood of new evidence and the breakdown in established conventions it has caused. My talk will detail differences in these new approaches and will suggest a few potential ways of negotiating the choices they present.

SATURDAY 10:15AM – 11:45AM:

The outreach track of SEC-AAS 2021, this year around the theme “Migration in/from/around Asia,” is designed for K-12 teachers wanting to learn more about Asia and to integrate Asia content into their classrooms. This expert panel kicks off the outreach track with short talks by two scholars and one activist. Prof. Venkat Dhulipala of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington will speak on the Partition of India and Pakistan, which led to the greatest migration event of recorded history. Prof. Xue Lan Rong of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will speak on how nation-states respond to the impacts of migration, immigration and ethnic diversity in the context of globalization in East Asian countries. Finally, Cindy Ring Ruble, an advocate for women and children based in Penang, Malaysia, will speak about forced migration and human trafficking in the Southeast Asia region.

Venkat Dhulipala
University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Xue Lan Rong
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Cindy Ring Ruble
Penang, Malaysia


Recent scholarship has paid attention to multifaceted and multilayered cultural interactions between China and the West. Reflecting the new trend, this panel reveals evocative snapshots of Sino-Western cultural exchanges from the late 19th century to the present by examining transnational adaptation, accommodation, identity-building, and interactions in the cultural and educational realms. Yi’s paper analyzes independent and semi-official newspapers’ coverage of the famous Yang Naiwu case, and demonstrates how the press tried to adopt Western legal cases to influence legal reform in China and how legal reform was debated in the public sphere in the global context of Sino-Western cultural exchanges. Fan’s paper uses Francis Knight’s scheme and the first Harvard Chinese class to explore the features and driving forces of privately-funded Chinese programs in American academia in the late 19th century and Chinese teacher’s adaptation and identity-building in the age of exclusion. Gao’s paper explores African American writer Langston Hughes’ interactions with overseas Chinese communities, and Chinese receptions of Hughes’ visit and works, highlighting the cogent role Hughes played in connecting liberation campaigns of Chinese and African Americans as the first black American celebrity in China. Using primary and secondary sources, this panel examines much-overlooked topics and offers a balanced and nuanced treatment of several cases in Chinese-Western cultural interactions in the said era. We’ll structure our session in an innovative way to ensure good discussions-interactions with audience: First discussant offers comments on panel themes/papers, and provides questions/suggestions to develop connections among panel themes/papers, then presenters respond and highlight their arguments/contributions before Q&A discussions.

Dan Du, Chair and Discussant

Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Guolin Yi, “Public Sphere and LegalReforms during the Self-Strengthening Movement”

Assistant Professor, Arkansas Tech University

The emergence of modern newspapers in China was under the heavy influence from the West, and it coincided with the Self-Strengthening movement (1860-1894) in late Qing. Because it signified the formation of a public sphere for non-official voices to discuss ways to “enrich the nation and strengthen the military,” it constituted a challenge to the government control over information. This new development triggered some Qing officials to join the fray by initiating their own newspapers, probably without the authorization of the officials in Beijing. By analyzing the coverage of the famous Yang Naiwu case by independent Shanghai newspapers such as Shenbao, as well as semi-official newspapers such as Huibao, this paper examines how the press reflected and contributed to the discussion of legal reform during the Self-strengthening Movement. It seeks to answer the following questions: How did the Shanghai newspapers use Western legal cases to take on the Chinese legal issues during the trials? What commercial and literary techniques did they use to reach out to the audience? How did the semi-official newspapers and Qing government respond to these discussions? How was the issue of legal reform addressed in the larger discourse of the Self-Strengthening Movement? By examining the Yang case in Shanghai newspapers, this paper demonstrates how the issue of legal reform was debated in the public sphere in the larger context of the cultural exchanges between China and the West.

Shuhua Fan, “Empire, Commerce, Language, and US-China Interactions: Francis Knight, Ko Kunhua, and Introduction of Chinese Instruction at Harvard, 1877-1882″

Professor, University of Scranton

The late 19th century can be viewed as the first stage of Chinese programs in the American academia, marked by the introduction of Chinese instruction at Harvard and Yale, and the establishment of an endowment for a chair in Chinese at the University of California-Berkeley, all privately funded. By the early 20th century, Chinese programs expanded with the burgeoning start of Asian studies due to the rise/reorientation of private foundations and societies. The programs gained further momentum from the Pacific War and the Cold War owing to US government funding and formation of the military-industrial-academic complex. Chinese programs have witnessed amazing expansions since the early 1990s because of US government support, increasing sponsorship from private foundations, and the rise of Confucius Institutes and Taiwan Academy.

This paper uses the first Harvard Chinese class to examine the global and domestic contexts, operation, and legacy of Chinese programs in America in the late 19th century. The Harvard Chinese class was result of an educational scheme from Francis Knight, US merchant-consul in China. Knight urged for the introduction of Chinese instruction at Harvard to promote American interests in China. Ko Kunhua, the teacher selected by Knight, adapted to American life while keeping his identity and spreading Chinese culture in America in an age of exclusion. Using primary and secondary materials, this paper highlights the interconnections between empire, commerce, language, Christianity, and education in US-China interactions, and also analyzes Ko’s adaptation and identity-building in America, thus expanding the literature on 19th-century US-China relations.

Yunxiang Gao, “ ‘Roar, China!’ — Langston Hughes and the Leftist/Communist China”

When Japan launched full scale war against China in 1937, the peripatetic African American writer Langston Hughes passionately penned a long poem “Roar, China!” to hail China’s resistance. The piece rang an integral note of the global echoing of the theme “Roar, China” from Moscow, New York, Latin America, to China in poetry, drama, and cartoons.

Hughes’ contribution to the theme was not accidental. He was the only African American whose image foregrounded his intellectual capacity over stereotypical “primitive” athletic and musical personas and commercialized exoticism of blacks in Republican China. Using coverage of Hughes in China’s press, Chinese translations of his works, and seldom discussed archival materials, FBI files, and his extensive writings on China, this paper explores the cogent role Hughes played connecting liberation campaigns of Chinese and African Americans as the first black American celebrity in China.

This paper addresses Hughes’ interactions with overseas Chinese Communities, highlighting his best known heterosexual love affair with the Sino-Trinidadian dancer Sylvia Chen, daughter of a cosmopolitan, global family; the fierce and ongoing debates on race and class among Chinese intellectuals triggered by his 1933 journey to Shanghai as the first black writer; and receptions of his works during shifting ideological contexts in China. The Chinese public remains fascinated by his masterpieces “Father and Son”/ “Mulatto” and “Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Since 2009, the latter has been included in the Textbook of Chinese Language and Literature nationally mandated for ninth graders to learn the “condensed history of the black race.”

Cancelled due to speaker withdrawals; Chengwei Chen (Duke University) has been moved to “Cross-Border Economic Connections” on Sunday at 10:15″

Session D

Marcy Tanter, “What have we learned about the Gwangju Uprising?”

Professor, Tarleton State University

Keywords: Korea

2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Gwangju Democratic Uprising in Gwangju, South Korea. From May 18-27, 1980, citizens rose up against the dictatorship of Chun Doo-hwan in an event that sparked the final push for Democracy in the country. Since Chun’s fall in 1988, he has constantly denied many of the facts of the Uprising, as have others. With the release of declassified American documents, first-hand accounts of witnesses who were in Gwangju during the event, and hundreds of photographs and films, we can see through Chun’s lies. This presentation is a discussion of the Korean government’s various positions on the “truth” of the Uprising and why it is so important for a definitive, honest assessment of it.

Michael Seth, “North Korea and the Third World”

Professor, James Madison University

Keywords: Third World

In the 1960s and 1970s North Korean regime courted the countries of the developing world with some success. It aggressively sought to establish formal relations with the nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America, gaining recognition from 110 countries by the early 1980s, most of which were in the developing world. This was more than its rival South Korea had achieved. In 1975, the DPRK joined the Non-Alignment Movement and for a few years was an active member, narrowly focusing, with some success, on promoting its own agenda. From the mid-1970s to 1982 Pyongyang, although not a UN member, was able to regularly get resolutions calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Korean Peninsula passed in the General Assembly. A steady stream of leaders from developing countries made their way to Pyongyang, while mostly ignoring South Korea. North Korea maintained aid, military training and economic cooperation programs in a number of African countries. It devoted scarce resources to promoting itself as a model developing country including setting up or financing Juche Study Societies and other pro-Pyongyang organizations in Asian and African countries. Then from the 1980s its influence in the NonAlignment Movement waned, its involvement in the Third World contracted. This paper looks at the motivations for North Korea’s efforts to court the Third World, and then examines why the regime largely abandoned them. It suggests that these efforts were based on both idealistic and realistic assumptions about its selfinterest. It also looks at how the rise and fall of Pyongyang’s involvement in the Third World reflected the shifts in its geopolitical situation and in its internal developments.

Young Jung, “Critical Pedagogies of Korean Popular Culture in the US Korean Studies: Constructing of Korea as a Cultural Concept”

Assistant Professor, George Mason University

Keywords: Korean Popular Culture, Korean Studies, Constructing Korea

This essay revolves around the questions on cultural translation and adaptation of Korean popular culture to the US academia, and pedagogical questions about how Korean popular culture, namely K-pop, Korean dramas, and Korean films, in the United States, more specifically in the Korean language and Korean studies classroom, construct of Korea as a theoretical, political, and cultural concept. The present study examines the growing popularity of Korean visual culture in the US Korean studies by analyzing curricula, classroom materials and activities, course objectives, and visual cultural products used for the Korean studies courses and by interviewing students taking classes in Korean studies. Textual analyses of selected Korean popular cultural products and indepth interviews US college students can illuminate critical pedagogical implications: i) what kinds of Korean cultural contents are translated and adapted to the US academia through specific media platforms? ii) how do US college students construct “Korea” as a theoretical, political, and cultural concept and how these conceptions influence on their choices of study?

Session E

Afroz Taj, “Blackness in Bollywood: Depictions of Race in Indian Cinema”

Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keywords: Racism

The issue of race in the Indian imaginary has rarely been addressed in the scholarly literature because other societal tensions have demanded more attention, particularly caste, religion, and gender. Race lurks below the surface of the parallel projects of nationalism and decolonization, however, and complicates Bollywood’s engagement with the globalization of culture. I argue that the Hindi-Urdu cinema includes a long tradition of depicting blackness in stereotyping and essentializing terms, particularly in its othering of tribal peoples, and its conflation of people of Dravidian and African origin. Recently, Bollywood has referenced America’s history of racism, but has not critiqued racism as a systematic social evil in India. Using as evidence images and music from Bollywood films, I trace the history of cinematic blackness from its roots in Hindu epics, through films from the past decade. I conclude that despite the Indian Cinema’s recent appropriations of African-American popular culture, it nevertheless perpetuates phobias about race and blackness in India. Film excerpts will be made available for asynchronous viewing and discussion before the presentation.

Link 1 Link 2 Link 3 Link 4

Madeline Kujabi, “The Role of Traditional Dance in Cultures Experiencing ‘Compressed Modernity’ ”

Undergraduate Student, Berea College

Keywords: Cultural Cognizance

Dance has been an integral part of humanity, transcending any spoken languages and other forms of expression. Dance gives us a special glimpse into cultures and offers a lens through which we can understand a society. This paper looks at three countries with compressed modernity (South Korea, India, and South Africa), a term that describes the condensed period in which their economy, politics, and society changed significantly. It specifically discusses how dance is used in these particular countries to uphold tradition, maintain or transcend gender roles, heal trauma, and shape society and its people. This research takes into account how traditional dance changes as the world modernizes and how dance is used in the three countries mentioned above to navigate the tension between tradition and modernity. It also considers the cultural and spiritual aspects of dance in Asia (India and South Korea) and the indigenous tribes of South Africa. My research finds that traditional dances stay alive in contemporary society by evolving to adjust to the swiftly changing times. It is important to consider the significance of what traditional dance means for cultures now, as opposed to ancient times. As I mention in my paper, learning about traditional dances and their roles in societies will consequently create a cognizance and appreciation of other people and their cultural values.

Paulo Brito, “Nō Drama in the Experimental Music of Jōji Yuasa”

Graduate Student, University of Toronto

Keywords: Japanese Music, Nō Drama, Experimental Performance

Japanese composer Jōji Yuasa (b. 1929) has remarked that “all the issues arising in my musical creation exist in the world of Nō.” Yuasa is not alone in referring to traditional Nō drama as a key influence on his creative work; many postwar and contemporary composers in Japan, including Tōru Takemitsu, Toshirō Mayuzumi and, particularly, Toshio Hosokawa, have drawn inspiration from Nō, typically in operatic or otherwise theatrical works. Yuasa stands out among them, however, not only for the frequency of reference to Nō in his overall output, but also for the fact that his use of Nō is centered around instrumental concert works that are not overtly theatrical in nature. My paper will focus on an especially intriguing aspect of Yuasa’s engagement with Nō, namely a number of pieces written for piano solo, all explicitly connected with Nō. I will examine what are likely the most representative examples of Yuasa’s Nōpiano “cycle”: “On the Keyboard” (1972), “Cosmos Haptic II, Transfiguration” (1986) and “Towards ‘The Midnight Sun'” (1984, for piano and electronics). I will consider why Yuasa would repeatedly turn to the piano—the Western concert hall instrument par excellence, with uniquely strong European-Romantic associations (and no direct equivalent in traditional East Asian music)—as the locus of choice for engaging with the very different heritage of Nō. Considering Nō itself as an indelibly “total” performance tradition, I will further inquire into which aspects of Nō are most relevant to Yuasa, i.e. is he primarily interested in Nō as a source of musical inspiration, or is his interest more “conceptual” and oriented towards Nō as an aesthetic model (as in the pervasive notion of ma or “emptiness” of space and time)? Finally, I will examine the extent to which Yuasa’s distillation of Nō, albeit intended for the solo concert stage, manages to leave any room for Nō as theater.

Session F

Min Wang, “Modernist and Quotidian: Detective Fiction and Film in the Early 20th-Century China”

Graduate Student, Washington University in St. Louis

Keywords: Modernism

What would a fan of detective film expect when reading a detective story on paper? This question concerned Chinese writers of detective fiction a century ago, when detective film was attracting a growing number of viewers with its straightforward representations of crime. Faced with film’s increasing impact on the public’s artistic tastes, writers on the one hand highlighted the unique appeals and “respectable” status of detective fiction, and on the other hand incorporated into their works aesthetic features of film, especially those raising new questions about the relationship between “seeing” and “truth”: does “seeing” guarantee the uncovering of truth, or does truth lie in the unseen? Is the nature of “seeing” objective or subjective, and what about the nature of “truth”? In the 1920s, the Shanghai writer Lu Dan’an made a hit by adapting several detective films into literature and later writing his original detective stories. Comparing Lu’s literary works with the films he adapted, this paper investigates how his strategies for coping with film’s impact generated an aesthetics that was at once modernist and quotidian: while showing reflexivity toward cinematic modernity, it also related such reflexivity to the common audience’s everyday experience of cinema, especially their fascination more with spectacles and sensations than with exquisite artistry. Through Lu’s case, this paper presents the intricate aesthetic connections between detective fiction and film in the early 20th-century China.

Paul Foster, “Chinese Sci-fi, Viruses, Politics: Three Dystopian Bodies”

Associate Professor, Georgia Tech

Keywords: Ideology

This paper looks at a line of Chinese science fiction centering on Liu Cixin’s internationally renowned sci-fi masterpiece, The Three-Body Problem (serialized 2006), tracing back to Lao She’s satirical Cat Country (1932) and Ni Kuang’s ironic detective Virus (1996). Readers look hard at computer screens to see each other, and their texts, and discuss the language and literature of a dystopian universe as they cope with staying healthy and educating themselves by isolating from social contact. Parallel universes of fiction and politics collide as the virus that affects distills to “ideology” as exemplified in Chinese sci-fi which is not nearly as surreal as contemporary Sino-American relations and domestic politics, which take a front seat in disregard to ever greater global chaos revealed by the onset of covid-19.

Yan Dong, “Posthumanism in Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction”

Graduate Student, University of Arizona

Keywords: Posthumanism, Nationalism

In this study, I would like to show how multiple versions of posthumanism is manifested in contemporary Chinese science fiction (sf) in different manners. I will firstly give an introduction of Liu Cixin’s article “Beyond Narcissism: What Science Fiction can offer Literature,” in which he points out that compared with mainstream literature, sf could ultimately go beyond humanist narcissism. By analyzing his works, I want to argue that the critical posthumanism is suggested by a deferred future in these works. By the brilliant but farfetched future, the writer harbors a sympoietic wish that one day human as a constituent part can survive the universe, contribute to the shared environment and evolve with the other living or non-living beings in the universe. Then, I will turn to Wang Jinkang’s attitude to posthumanism. Wang’s posthumans are usually strengthened human beings, modified by bio-tech. His focus is put on the conflict between human beings and strengthened post-human. On the one side, he sympathizes post-humans and respect the power of bioscience. On the other side, he is reluctant to accept a future when posthuman coexist with human being, because he distastes the possibility that posthuman might become products, being treated inhumanly, meanwhile he is also anxious about the possible future when human beings might be replaced by posthumans. For Wang Jinkang, the apocalyptic result is unavoidable as long as human and post-human live in a same time-space. In regard to Han Song’s sf, most of them are obsessed with depicting how a common people unpreparedly trapped in an alien world tries to solve the mystery of the world. Unlike posthuman in other places, they are not bio-transferred, but cognitively/culturally transferred by the technological society. Since these bizarre worlds insinuate different aspects of Chinese society, the discussion on the posthuman living in these worlds is necessarily related to utopianism, nationalism, modernism.

SATURDAY 12:45PM – 2:15PM:

The outreach track of SEC-AAS 2021, this year around the theme “Migration in/from/around Asia,” is designed for K-12 teachers wanting to learn more about Asia and to integrate Asia content into their classrooms. In this session, Dr. Kevin W. Fogg of the Carolina Asia Center at UNC-Chapel Hill will present materials that can be integrated into classrooms on the theme of “Migration.” This includes a lesson plan newly designed from oral histories of Asian Americans living in the US South, materials from the AAS publication Education about Asia, resources available from the Carolina Navigators program, and links to other material that may be appropriate for elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. This session will also present information on the demographics of Asian American students in North Carolina, so that K-12 teachers can better understand the students who may be coming into their classrooms.

Kevin W. Fogg
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Session B

Megan Tracy, “Technoscientific Transformations and Recombinations in China’s Dairy Industry”

Associate Professor, James Madison University

Keywords: Food safety

Aseptic packaging and processing systems have revolutionized the global dairy industry, ensuring that milk is more portable while still safe. This intertwined history of ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing and aseptic packaging, most familiar to consumers in the globally ubiquitous Tetra Pak “brik,” has brought dairy consumption in much of Asia to a new scale. Successful in deploying the image of milk as a “wholly natural” product to consumers, the global industry has, at times, minimized the technological packaging and processing necessary to keep products safe because, among other things, it threatens the symbolic value of being natural. In a country like China, where technological machinations also led to the massive 2008 melamine adulteration scandal, industry actors balance these different narratives of naturalness and technological innovation that have resulted in new kinds of partnerships around safety and quality concerns involving corporations like Tetra Pak and Nestle traditionally outside the scope of their core business model. Adopting an understanding of food processing as a kind of transformation that imparts value, I argue that technical innovations in packaging milk and other dairy products result in myriad differences and packaging and processing make a multitude of transformations possible. Combining a discussion of China’s dairy industry development over the past several decades together with fieldwork data conducted in northern China with both domestic and global industry actors, I describe the multiplicity of transformations necessary to make milk potable, hygienic, and standardized to analyze how packaging itself conjoins symbolic and material transformations across shifting technical, commercial and legal contexts.

Tiffany Y. Tsai, “You Are Whom You Eat: Culinary Cannibalism and the Crisis of Modernity in China”

Assistant Professor, The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina

Keywords: Subjectivity, Enlightenment, Modernity, Consumerism, Postsocialism, Cannibalism

In May Fourth literature, the trope of cannibalism, represented by Lu Xun’s “Diary of a Madman” and “Medicine,” initiated a series of inquiries about subjectivity, tradition, and modernity. Contemporary literature – Mo Yan’s The Republic of Wine and “The Cure,” Lilian Lee’s Dumpling, and Liao Yiwu’s “Chi-Fu the Gourmand of Fetus Soup” – inherits a critical tradition through the trope of culinary cannibalism, rooted in the May Fourth Movement, while also advancing critiques of consumerism and global capitalism in China today. May Fourth literature of cannibalism envisions a potential salvation of awakening modern subjects and portrays modern subjects’ ambiguity in and anxiety about cannibalism; contemporary writings of cannibalism present a doom of humanity in which consuming identities and excessive desires for objectification and cannibalistic consumption prevail. Chain’s modernization underwent a threat of colonialism, a revolutionary awakening, and a demise of reformative hope. At the turn of the 21st century, the literary trope of cannibalism responds to never-resolved questions about nationality, enlightened subjectivity, and modernity since the May Fourth Movement in 1919. By revealing a paradigm of egoism that remains intact from feudalism to capitalism, contemporary authors use the trope of cannibalism to deconstruct the myth of subjectivity and modernity in postsocialist China.

Yuchen Yan, “Bookstore-cafés in Contemporary China: New Concepts, Cultural Capital and the Future for Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores”

Graduate Student, Duke University

Keywords: Imagined Communities, Urban Space, Coffee Houses, Modern Lifestyle, Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores

This paper uses the prosperity of bookstore-cafés in major cities in China to reflect on the distribution of objectified cultural capital and modes of cultural consumption in contemporary China. Bookstore-café, as a new space that combines bookstores and cafés, is widely understood as a demonstration of a new commercial strategy of brick-and-mortar bookstores, which are facing survival crises in the era of digital reading and online shopping. Investigating choices of locations, interior decorations and spatial organizations, types of service and commodities of three large bookstore-café corporations in China (mainland and Taiwan): Sisyphe Bookstore (⻄⻄弗书店), Eslite Bookstore (诚品书店) and CITIC Bookstore (中信书店), I unpack why bookstore-cafés are mainly intended for young middle-class urbanites. Drawing on Lefebvre’s spatial triad, Bourdieu’s analysis of cultural capital, de Certeau’s practice of everyday life and Oldenburg’s concept of third space, I contend that bookstore-cafés benefit from revealing and intensifying the uneven distribution of objectified cultural capitals in contemporary China. As a result, bookstore-cafés, where bookstores and cafés, both of which have contributed to community imaginaries in different historical periods coexist, shift to an emphasis on individual experience based on consumption activities and capacities. This unevenness also reconciles the tension between their promotion of “local spirit” and the cosmopolitan imaginaries they have provided.

Session C

Karin Myhre, “Troubling the Binary: Bodies and Souls in Performance”

Associate Professor, University of Georgia

Keywords: Drama, Performance, Dualism

Recent research by scholars of early China locates familiar dualisms in language, text and practice, thus effectively unseating longstanding presumptions of holism in traditional Asian thought and culture. But this leaves unanswered the question of what we are to make of the famously physical ghosts and spirits in the Chinese narrative tradition, where _hun_ souls may exert force in the material world and a living frame may split into separate parts with different aspects of consciousness inhering in each. Centering on examples from _chantefable_ and _zaju_ dramas, this paper argues that performance provides a site where interactions between bodies and souls can be negotiated in different ways. Thus this literature explores what might be conceivable, not only in the relations between minds and matter, but also in the engagement of other worlds with our ordinary one.

Kin-Yan Szeto, “Utopia and Dystopia in the Theatre of Lai Sheng-Chuan”

Professor, Appalachian State University

Keywords: Theater, Chinese Diaspora, Imaginary China

This paper will analyze how the Taiwanese playwright Lai Sheng-Chuan combines language, meaning, cultural identity, and memory with nostalgia about China, and how he interrogates the imagination of utopia and dystopia in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China. Lai Sheng-Chuan is among the most renowned contemporary Chinese playwrights and stage directors. Lai established Performance Workshop in Taiwan in 1984. His works remain a significant cultural bridge between Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China. His plays such as Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, A Dream Like A Dream, and many others have been performed widely, revealing the tensions between utopia and dystopia for an imaginary China. For example, many of his works have been produced in both Mandarin and Cantonese dialects. His epic A Dream Like A Dream can be considered the most widely produced Chinese spoken drama of a living playwright in the past twenty years. This paper will begin with an examination of how utopia and dystopia operated in the original Taiwanese productions of Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, since Lai’s story is told from the vantage point of Taiwan as an imagined community. I will then critically explore the concepts of utopia and dystopia deployed by David Der-wei Wang and Chan Koon-chung to investigate how Lai continually adapts his work as he navigates among the sensibilities of different audiences. Rather than neat categories of national identity or binaries such as local-global, I will argue that Lai’s productions reveal nuanced differences and complexities among the diverse geopolitical contexts of contemporary China and the Chinese diaspora.

Liang Luo, “The White Snake as Activist Projects: Three Snapshots”

Associate Professor, University of Kentucky

Keywords: Activist Projects, Digital Media

This presentation examines three activist Anglophone projects from the twenty-first century, all based upon the Chinese White Snake legend. The first case study is centered on the “White Snake Projects,” a Boston-based opera company, whose name is taken from the 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Madame White Snake, conceived and with libretto written by the Singaporean American lawyer-librettist Cerise Lim Jacobs, and with music composed by the Chinese American composer Zhou Long. Today, “White Snake Projects” has become an activist opera company, with a steady stream of projects advocating for minority rights and activism in the United States and beyond. The second case study is centered on the Tony Award-winning playwright-director Mary Zimmerman’s one-act play The White Snake. I will trace the play’s inception at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 and its Chinese premier in Wuzhen in 2014, as well as its most recent staging by the Constellation Theater Company in Washing D.C. in 2019. The key to Zimmerman’s play, “You can be loved for who you truly are,” is central to the activist spirit of The White Snake project, celebrating radical tolerance for hybrid sexualities and loving across traditional boundaries. The last case study is centered on an eight-minute fashion film The Legend of Lady White Snake, created by the fashion model-turned photographer Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri in 2013 and released as an award-winning film in 2015. Through the intertwining of poetry, photography, and fashion in the short film, we see the themes of gender and species, media and politics coming together, in director Indrani’s insistence on using digital media to foster queer subjectivity and celebrate the life and work of a queer designer, whose at once inspired and tortured existence has left lingering echoes and extensive legacies in our ongoing struggles for women’s empowerment, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental justice.

Session D

Annika A. Culver, “A Japanese Imperial Agent Encounters an American Colony: Ornithologist Hachisuka Masauji’s (1903-1953) Explorations of Mindanao and Mount Apo, 1929-1930″

Associate Professor, Florida State University

Keywords: History of Science

Prevailing transwar expressions of elite Japanese masculinity surrounding Western science arose out of strong associations with imperialism. While garbed in adopted Western dress and practices, and hunting for specimens, Japanese ornithologists like the Marquis Hachisuka Masauji (1903-1953) engaged in mimetic performances of imperial masculinity as explorer scientists in a form of collecting imperialism. This presentation focuses on Hachisuka’s exploration of Mount Apo in the Philippines during a 1929 expedition, with his findings documented in four (intended as five) volumes in the early-to-mid 1930s. The Japanese and American empires touched waters in the Philippines, where Japanese scientists like Hachisuka and American military personnel like raptor expert Captain Lloyd R. Wolfe first crossed paths. Here, in the late 1920s, while outfitted in the military garb of the American colonizers, Hachisuka encountered and employed Indigenous peoples, carved his name in Japanese katakana on a rock atop Mount Apo, and discovered new species, all while circulating in an American colonial space and performing an already waning (honorary) white imperial masculinity on the cusp of the Great Depression’s (1929-1939) global assault on Anglo-American financial power. The Philippines, with its multiple islands and lush environments, functioned as a liminal space between these two rising empires and later rivals, with many largely uncharted areas hosting a rich species diversity. While Hachisuka lent visibility to imperial Japan’s scientific endeavours, Japanese business interests began to dominate Mindanao, monopolizing the global supply of “Manila hemp” for cordage, a strategic commodity. These interactions will be examined in a greater context of international relations and social space in the context of Mindanao, the Philippines’ second largest island and an imperial contact zone between Americans, Japanese, and Indigenous peoples in prewar times.

Camelia Nakagawara, “Marketing Japan at the US World’s Fairs of the late 19th and early 20th century”

Independent Scholar

Keywords: Japan-US Relations

Long before the world raved about Japan’s miraculous recovery after the WW II conflagration, long before boot camps were being organized in the US to emulate Japan’s corporate values which sustained that economic success well into the early 90s, and long before the concept and the principles of “marketing” became established in consumer society as we know it, way back in the late 1800s, Japan stunned the US at its World’s Fairs by applying those very principles in marketing itself as a nation. This talk will show how the Japanese presence at the World’s Fairs in the US managed to stand out in extraordinary ways not so much through exploiting the “exotic” so cherished at the time, but by careful research and preparation, through a keen understanding of the needs of the specific host audiences, and by painstakingly and meaningfully plying every aspect of their participation onto those sensitively perceived needs and expectations.

Min Koo Choi, “The New Woman as the Subject of Pure Love: Kim Myŏng-sun’s (1896–195?) Toradabol ttae [When I look back] (1925)”

Assistant Teaching Professor, Georgetown University

Keywords: Kim Myŏng-sun

This paper will examine Kim Myŏng-sun’s (1896–195?) novella, Toradabol ttae [When I look back] (1925). Kim Myŏng-sun was in the first generation of the New Woman, and among the literary authors whose careers culminated in the 1920s when modern ideas of love and sexuality were introduced and began to circulate in colonial Korea. Identification with the subject of love was one possible way to express and shape a modern identity for the colonial intellectuals in Korea that would not cause any conflict and tension with Japanese colonial rule. However, the New Woman became a target of social ostracism, reflecting apprehension about the negative influence of modernity in demoralizing society. Kim Myŏng-sun’s family background, as the daughter of a concubine and former Kisaeng, was cited as a heredity influence that would confirm her sexual licentiousness. Specifically, the rape by a man who was introduced to her by her family as a possible spouse left an inexpugnable trauma that was publicly exposed by the media. In response to the social stigma and rumors that downgraded her to a sexually lascivious and corrupt woman in the public arena, Kim Myŏng-sun projects herself into the character of the heroine Soryŏn in Toradabol ttae by constructing her as a decent woman with self-control and discernment worthy of becoming the subject of pure love. This paper will explore the narrative of romance in Toradabol ttae and how it transcends Soryŏn’s extramarital relationship with Hyosun to become a platonic love developed through their empathy with Western literature and the pursuit of the common good in Korean society. It also addresses how Soryŏn’s subject in love is constituted as a way to attribute a modern identity to her.

Session E

The study of social movements and revolution has often focused on the dialectical relationship between organization and ideology. This panel, “Party, Press and Petitions: Redefining Worker Rights and Revolution in Mauritius, India, and China” uses three case studies where notions of worker rights and social class were reformulated through their interaction with the colonial state (the British empire in Mauritius), the Indian National Congress, and the Chinese Communist newspaper, New China Daily. Yoshina Hurgobin’s study, “Indian Immigrant Workers’ Claim-Rights: Petitions in Mauritius, 1842 to 1908,” indicates that Indian indentured workers’ pursuit of establishing rights was facilitated by the institution of petition redress established by the colonial government of Mauritius. Such institutions and permanent colonial residency among immigrants changed the content of petitions from bureaucratic requests to demands for rights. William Kuracina’s paper, “Permanent not Proletarian Revolution: Indian Socialists and a Subtle Surrender of Labor Activism,” shows how socialist members of the Indian National Congress redefined revolution during the mid-1930s to encompass the subaltern classes rather than narrowly focus on the industrial working-class, a recalibration that embraced moderate policies articulated by the Comintern’s United Front ideology and prescriptions for colonial conditions, and that expressed their own understanding of permanent revolution. Joshua Howard’s paper, “New China Daily and the Moral Language of Class in Wartime China,” analyzes worker letters published in the Communist newspaper, which circulated throughout wartime Nationalist territory during the 1940s. He argues that New China Daily both reflected and facilitated working class formation by creating a forum in which workers articulated a highly moralistic language to underscore inclusive and exclusive notions of class.

Andrew Sartori, Discussant

Professor, New York University

Yoshina Hurgobin, “Indian Immigrant Workers’ Claim-Rights: Petitions in Mauritius, 1842 to 1908”

Assistant Professor, Kennesaw State University

Between 1829 and 1925, more than 450,000 indentured (contract) laborers left India to work in remote corners (British Guiana, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Natal in South Africa and Mauritius) of the British empire. The largest contingent reached Mauritius. The presence of a contract meant that workers could claim rights from plantation owners. Nonpayment of wages and violence on plantations in the early phase of the indentured labor system (1839 to 1842) resulted in workers not completing their five-year contracts and petitioning the colonial government of Mauritius to return to India. This type of petition was thus initially a simple bureaucratic device. However, by 1872, Old Immigrants—workers who had renewed their contracts and had remained in the colony for decades—started using the petitions to voice their grievances and formulate claim-rights to the local colonial government. By the 1880s and early 1900s, Old Immigrants were part and parcel of the colony. They actively sought property rights. The predominant approach in Indian indentured labor studies has underlined how indentured workers were slaves and were ignorant of their rights. This paper departs from this view and uses workers’ petitions, colonial correspondence and reports, to examine why and how indentured workers formulated claim-rights between 1842 and 1900 in colonial Mauritius. The paper argues that instead of impeding indentured workers’ claim-rights, the colonial government itself inadvertently contributed to the crafting of such rights.

William F. Kuracina, “Permanent Not Proletarian Revolution: Indian Socialists and a Subtle Surrender of Labor Activism”

Dean, College of Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts, Texas A&M University-Commerce

Detained at Nasik prison for participating in civil disobedience, socialist members of the Indian National Congress vowed to organize a party within the Congress to enhance the spread of revolutionary Marxism. These Congress Socialists intended to commit mainstream nationalism to Marxism, and they perceived themselves to be engaging with a unique experiment in Marxist unity. Initially, they followed the path of labor activity, influencing trades unions, enrolling union members, advocating for labor reform. However, Congress Socialists were strongly inspired by Communist International policies about colonial conditions, where proletarian activism was meager or non-existent. Consequently, they sought to become heavily invested with peasant social movements, diminishing their involvement with labor activism. Philosophically, Congress Socialists subtly migrated away from proletarian revolution, instead expressing their own notion of permanent revolution, a spirit of activism among members of oppressed classes. Concurrently, they worked to capture the Congress organization, proposing alternative leadership schemes, or advocating for collective affiliation of labor and peasant union members. Moreover, their efforts to alter the trajectory of Indian nationalism unfocused their activities and diluted their purpose. Seeking to be all things to all revolutionaries, attempting to generate social revolution through a spirit of permanent revolution, Congress Socialists blunted their ability to foster the Marxist notion of a proletarian vanguard of the revolution.

Joshua Howard, “New China Daily and the Moral Language of Class in Wartime China”

Professor, University of Mississippi

Founded as part of the Second United Front, New China Daily took on important symbolic and organizational functions. Besides disseminating the party line in Nationalist controlled territory, the Communist newspaper paper provided literate workers with a forum in which to express their aspirations and grievances. The publication of some 700 worker letters facilitated the growth of class consciousness and new forms of political identity for working men and women. Contrary to much of the scholarship on East Asian labor history that has eschewed class formation and emphasized regionalism or the aim of status recognition, this paper analyzes how workers used a rhetoric of “rightful resistance,” and a language of rights and class. Given the wartime context and the CCP strategy of rendering all interests, including class interests, subservient to national interests, workers often couched their demands in a rhetoric of sacrifice for the nation. But by the mid-1940s, many letters constituted appeals in which workers related their suffering and requested help in their struggle to maintain a livelihood and to secure basic worker rights. These concerns with economic and social justice are typical of exclusive notions of class. Other testimonials that demanded human dignity and various freedoms (of mobility, the press and assembly) were more class inclusive as they were grounded in universal human rights. Although most letters did not talk about class in straightforward terms, the letters created a community of class through the frequent use of “we workers” and by juxtaposing workers against corrupt authority figures in a highly moralistic language. Indeed, moral and ethical norms informed letter writers’ understanding of class relations. Workers’ moral concerns and the recognition that their precarity was based on unjust social relationships were an integral part of working-class formation.

SATURDAY 2:30PM – 4:00PM

Session A

The borderlands of China and Vietnam have long been subject to multiple and, often, competing claims on shared spaces,peoples, and resources. But these spaces in between—and the diverse peoples who live there—have only recently attractedthe sustained attention of scholars. This panel opens a conversation on the methods used to study the Sino-Viet borderlandsover a long durée perspective, from the 11th through the 20th centuries. Thinking methodologically about borderlands placesand peoples over this long sweep raises a number of productive questions. How did distant state centers learn about thehinterlands of their ruling projects? How can we, in turn, re-read these records to uncover stories of the borderlands peoplesand places? In what ways did these peoples secure a measure of political or cultural autonomy in between powerful stateprojects? When did major changes in these relationships occur—and to what effect?

Kate Baldanza, “Borderland Spaces in Chinese and Vietnamese Gazetteers”

Associate Professor, Penn State University

My research concerns miasmic disease and its remedies in the late imperial period. Miasmic conditions, and the medicines that could cure the illness it caused, were both to be found in the Sino-Vietnamese borderlands. Government officials produced formulaic gazetteers that provided information about specific regions, including climate and local products. This information was gathered from earlier texts and first-hand observation. What can we learn about the borderlands from official texts like gazetteers? What do we learn when we put Chinese and Vietnamese sources about borderland spaces in dialogue?

James Anderson, “Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands in the Margins”

Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Since premodern times there have existed commonalities and differences between Vietnamese and Chinese traditional court chronicles. Premodern Vietnamese annalist histories did not appear until the 14th century, and compilers of these court-based histories largely followed the examples of their Chinese counterparts. For example, Lê Văn Hưu’s (1230 – 1322), reasons for composing his Đại Việt sử ký would have seemed familiar to his Chinese contemporaries. He sought to instruct and admonish the Trần court through lessons drawn from the past. Tales of strong and weak rulers, capable and inferior court advisors were all included in Lê Văn Hưu’s work to remind contemporary leaders of paths to take and decisions to contemplate. Such lessons extended to the borderlands region, and in overlapping textual descriptions of upland native communities and their leaders by distant Vietnamese and Chinese chroniclers we can see how this liminal space and its inhabitants were treated as a synecdoche of the distant courts, contemplating the political vitality of these centers of power.

Christian Lentz, “An Everyday Geography of Vietnam’s Black River Borderlands”

Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper offers a methodological reflection on the ethnographic research underlying my recently published book, Contested Territory: Điện Biên Phủ and the Making of Northwest Vietnam. Whereas the book’s empirical foundation rests on Vietnamese and French archival documents dating to the 1940s-1950s, “An Everyday Geography” discusses the fieldwork conducted to collect those documents and situate them in the context of the Black River region. Conducted over fifteen years, this multisited ethnographic fieldwork involved tacking between Hanoi and Điện Biên Phủ, traveling the region on roads built sixty years ago, and immersion in the social life of rural, montane villages. I focus here on several moments in the longer research process when ethnographic engagement offered crucial insight into the historic themes treated in the book. Taken together, these experiences generated a sense of place, empathic understanding, reciprocal commitments, and appreciation for ethnolinguistic diversity that both informed the book project and, I argue, renew a geographic dialog between history and anthropology in the highlands of Southeast Asia.

Session B

Anri Yasuda, “Re-reading Tawada Yōko’s Kentōshi (2015) in the Global Pandemic Age”

Assistant Professor, University of Virginia

Keywords: World Literature, Contemporary Japanese Literature, Pandemic

Tawada Yoko, who writes in Japanese and German, was already established as a transnational author when The Emissary (2018), the English translation for her novel Kentōshi (2015), won the National Book Award in America for Translated Literature. This burnished Tawada’s reputation as a writer of World Literature, a select corpus of texts from various national origins that gain worldwide commercial circulation, critical recognition, and cultural prestige through translations, primarily into English. The novel depicts a dystopian Japan following an unnamed, seemingly nuclear catastrophe that evokes the Fukushima disaster of 2011. The environment has become so contaminated that children are born physically weak. To contain its problems, Japan has isolated itself from the world. Linguistically, foreign loanwords have been excised from use, creating a distinctively poetic effect that carries over even in English translation. The overarching themes of mortality and humankind’s relationship with the environment are timeless and universal, but the work has also been interpreted as a meditation on Japan’s national identity in the post-Fukushima era. However, in the current Covid-19 age—with national border closings and travel restrictions, and the threat of health risks suspending future plans everywhere—the novel gains an uncannily timely, global resonance as a rumination on humankind’s ability to adapt to hitherto unthinkable levels of anxiety as the new ‘normal.’ This presentation reconsiders Kentōshi and The Emissary in light of coalescing notions of pandemic literature in Japan, and Tawada’s position as a World Literature writer.

Elizabeth Miles, “Refugees or Refusers?: Men, Marriage, and Family in Contemporary Japan”

Assistant Professor, Kennesaw State University

Keywords: Japan

National statistics portray the present and ongoing decline of the Japanese family; it is estimated that by 2035 one-third of men and nearly one-fifth of women will be “lifelong never marrieds,” defined as those who have remained unmarried by the age of f ifty, with the assumption that being past childbearing years they will never make a “family.” Attempting to understand why younger cohorts are seemingly uninterested in marriage and children, sociologist Yamada Masahiro and others have termed them “family refugees” (kazoku nanmin), implying that they are isolated and alienated from intimate institutions. As this term has been taken up in Japanese popular and academic discourse to describe the psychological and social effects of being without an affinal family, there has been little critique of how unmarrieds may be seeking refuge from the family, particularly its gendered consequences and socioeconomic effects. In this paper, based on fifteen-months’ fieldwork in Tokyo, I explore why young men are implicitly and explicitly refusing marriage and the nuclear family, namely its strictures and burdens. Focusing primarily on unmarried Japanese men, I examine the gendered meanings of the Japanese family, arguing that masculinist privilege within this intimate sphere is a shifting concept.

Joel Campbell, “Japanese Politics in Transition from Abe to Suga: Change in the Season of COVID”

Associate Professor, Troy University

Keywords: Liberal Democratic Party

The year 2020 has been difficult for Japanese politics. Struggling to cope with raging coronavirus pandemic, the political system underwent an unplanned political transition from longest-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to new leader Suga Yoshihide. Not as forceful a leader as Abe, Suga nonetheless brings much experience as Abe’s deputy and considerable political skills to the table. Abe began well in 2012 with his “Three Arrows” economic revitalization program, and remained fairly popular throughout his tenure, but the last two years he experienced several disappointments and two minor scandals that damaged his reputation for honesty. The opposition parties remain fragmented, though they have consolidated slightly in the past year. Suga has an opportunity to restart the economic revitalization and remake Japanese politics, but he first must deal with the COVID-19 crisis, which has shaken public trust in government health management. This paper considers the Abe-Suga transition and Suga’s new leadership in light of constructivist theory, and it suggests that a tug-of-war between traditional Japanese political modes and the imperatives of socio-economic change will shape Japanese politics going forward. While the ruling LDP party may maintain its dominant position for the time being, it will have to address major structural and demographic issues plaguing the country.

Session C

Deepa Nair, “History education and Right Wing Nationalism in India”

Assistant Professor, Carnegie Melon University – Qatar

Keywords: India

In 2016 a 14-member committee with the aim of, ‘holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12,000 years before present and its interface with other cultures of the world’ was set up by the ruling Hindu nationalist party, the BJP. Its mandate was to use archaeological artifacts as well and DNA evidence to prove that Hindus are the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent and that ancient Hindu scriptures are based on facts and not myth. For India’s Muslims, who have faced communal violence and discrimination under the BJP, this move was seen as another attempt to marginalize a minority community. My paper explores the process and agenda of re-writing History in India under the aegis of right-wing nationalist party, the BJP. It contextualizes the fault lines in the secular idea of India through the arena of school textbooks. By focusing on various attempts made by the BJP to promote the idea of a Hindu India through intervention in education my paper analyses the shifting notions of citizenship in India.

John Caldwell, “Performing Partition: The India-Pakistan Border Ballet at Wagah”

Teaching Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keywords: Border

Every night just before sunset the Wagah border crossing between India and Pakistan erupts into music. Spectators fill the bleachers on both sides in anticipation of the evening gate-closing ceremony, and each side blares patriotic songs from loudspeakers. On both sides the audiences sing, dance, and clap along with the music, and the respective border security forces perform a precisely synchronized ballet of animosity. The soundscape consists of many overlapping components: recorded songs, live drummers, cheers and slogans, shouted commands, marching feet, and buglers–all in a mirror-image battle of sound. I argue that although the explicit discourse is antagonistic, the ceremony itself is fundamentally collaborative, and that many clues indicate the presence of humanizing as well as demonizing discourses. Building upon research on the music of conflict, I investigate this peculiar instance of competing musical nationalisms as it is located geographically and ideologically on the intersection of the 1947 British-drawn border and the old Grand Trunk Road that once linked the far reaches of the undivided subcontinent. Presenting aural and visual ethnographic evidence from my multiple visits to Wagah, I analyze the interaction of sound, space and environment and interpret the multivalent meanings of this ritualized performance. I conclude that although the ceremony emerges out of a shared history of trauma and mutual fear, the people of India and Pakistan understand themselves to be joined rather than divided by the common border.

Asynchronous Material

Swakshadip Sarkar, “Dissecting Universality of Homosexual Identity Formation from West Bengal’s Frame of Reference”

Graduate Student, University of Bristol

Keywords: India

Identity formation is a very complex process and various theories have been devised to explain the homosexual identity formation from a Western perspective. Discourses on homosexual identity formation are not well explained from non-Western perspectives. In ancient and medieval India, homosexuality was accepted. However, with the advent of British rule, the Victorian moral norms of sexuality were thrusted on Indians. Homosexuality was illegal in India until 2018 when the archaic section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was repealed. There are many factors which contribute to the formation of homosexual identity which are dependent on the culture and regional aspect from an Indian perspective. This research was formulated to test Vivienne Cass theory (1979) to portray the formation of homosexual identity in the context of homosexual men in West Bengal, a state in India. 31 individuals were surveyed through a Google form and the common patterns and themes were coded and recoded several times. Vivienne Cass theory fails to explain homosexual identity formation in this context as the social interactions which shape homosexuality as a social identity are not considered. The culture in West Bengal is collectivistic whereas the Western cultures are more individualistic thereby making social interactions and conditioning utmost important. Social identity theory developed by Cox and Gallois (1996) can be a better explanation for the formation of homosexual identity in this context. However, both the theories fail to explain homosexual identity formation for effeminate homosexual individuals or those who do not ascribe to gender norms. More holistic and critical analysis of subjects with regards to their gender expression and sexuality can provide a better insight.

Session D

Dongling Zhang, “Mobilising ‘She Power’: Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Negotiating Cultural and Neoliberal Contexts”

Assistant Professor, Webster University

Keywords: Chinese Women Entrepreneurs, Doing Business / Doing Gender, Culture

I research Chinese women microentrepreneur experiences after China’s 1978 market-oriented socio-economic reforms. The government established programs to promote women’s self-employment as the “she economy” driving economic development. I interviewed women microentrepreneurs from two Chinese cities—Nanjing and Haikou from 2010-2012, and from Nanjing in 2019-2020. I adopt a contextualized doing entrepreneurship/doing gender framework to consider how women simultaneously construct businesses and gender in the context of country and family. Women microentrepreneurs struggled to support themselves and meet responsibilities associated with traditional patriarchal Chinese families. Young, college-educated respondents stressed self-employment opportunities, and prioritized work over family, hoping to postpone marriage/childbearing. More respondents experienced layoffs from work in state-owned businesses, and perceived selfemployment as a necessity. All stressed that self-employment boosted their autonomy and confidence. When state-sponsored initiatives began prioritizing educated women in Internet-type businesses, non-college-educated women distanced themselves from the programs to develop what they perceived as the best path for business success.

Yang Cao, “Remaking Culture in the 21st Century China: An Empirical Examination through the Lens of Work Values”

Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Keywords: Work Values

Observers of China’s social change in the post-Mao era have long noted two major shifts in the cultural/ideological domain: the rise of materialist values and that of individualism. However, the magnitudes of these shifts and the causes behind remain unclear. This paper seeks to answer these questions through the lens of work values. Work values are “conceptions of the desirable” in the work domain which are manifested in the extents to which individuals emphasize different types of job rewards. Strong emphases on rewards such as income, job security, and promotion opportunity reflect a materialist orientation, whereas those on rewards such as satisfaction of personal interests and sense of achievement reflect a postmaterialist orientation. Similarly, emphasis on serving the interests of others and the society reflects altruistic values that stands in contrast to individualism. Using data from the 2005 and 2015 waves of the Chinese General Social Survey, I examine the relationship between work values and three macro-level trends: economic development, institutional change towards markets, and the growing influence of globalization on the Chinese society. Taking advantage of China’s regional variations in socioeconomic conditions, I measure these three trends at the province level and test the following hypotheses. First, economic development at the province level is associated with weaker materialist work values, stronger postmaterialist work values, and stronger altruism. Second, economic marketization is associated with stronger materialist work values, weaker postmaterialist work values, and weaker altruism. Third, exposure to globalization is associated with stronger materialist work values, weaker postmaterialist work values, and weaker altruism. Exploded logit models following a difference-in-difference approach find support to most of these predictions. The only exceptions are that neither development nor marketization predicts altruism.

Yuxin Ma, “Sportswomen in Chinese Cinema: From Nationalist Women to Socialist Workers”

Associate Professor, University of Louisville

Keywords: State Sports Policy, Working Class, Nationalism, Market Economy

This paper studies four movies Nulan Wuhao (No. 5 Female Basketball Player, dir. Xie Jin, 1957), Nutiaoshui duiyuan (Female Divers, dir. Liu Guanquan, 1964), Sha’ou (Seagull, dir. Zhang Nuanxin 1981) and Nuzu Jihao (No. 9 Female Football Player, dir. Xie Jin 2000). The study explores how those movies reflected the state sports policy and physical culture, mediated with political discourse and popular nationalism, and revealed problems of Chinese sports from a female perspective. The paper pays close attention to how those movies construct the bodies of sportswomen over time. No. 5 female Basketball Player contrasted the lives of socialist athletes at part-time sports school with those had a nationalist past, advocated the importance of collectivism and promoted sports as an important field of national construction. Female Divers praised the growth of female divers at youth sports school, criticized individualist medalism, and politicized female divers’ participation in the National Games as an opportunity to report their work to the party-state in Beijing. Seagull was directed by a female director, and revealed how Chinese female volleyball players endured hardship and injuries, sacrificed their womanhood and even health for the glory of the nation. No. 9 Female Football Player revealed the difficulties of female football teams in the economic reform era—lacking funding, receiving little attention, and enduring challenges from homes and society. The paper reveals the unsolved tensions between the state expectation of sportswomen, sportswomen’s unaddressed gender specific needs, and the patriarchal attitudes towards sportswomen.

SUNDAY 8:30AM – 10:00AM

Session A

Yingchuan Yang, “Walls and Chimneys: Building a City of Production in Early Socialist Beijing”

Graduate Student, Columbia University

Keywords: Cultural history, Urban history, Modern China, Liang Sicheng, Lao She, Urban planning

Two opposite visions on the future of Beijing were proposed in 1951. The American-trained architect Liang Sicheng advocated for the preservation of the old city and city walls, as well as the construction of an administrative district in the western suburbs. In contrast, Mao Zedong demanded to turn Beijing into “a city full of chimneys” and to build the administrative center right in the old city. Unlike extant scholarly literature and popular writings that simply blame Mao and his cadres for their ignorance of old Beijing’s “cultural values,” this essay takes seriously the socialist urban planners’ vision of building a new Beijing as an integral part of China’s urbanization project in the 1950s. Based on previously untapped archival sources, it contends that Liang’s proposal was doomed to fail because it was fundamentally at odds with the Communist Party’s plan of transforming Beijing into a city of production. Under its new layout, Beijing was reconstructed into the socialist capital that underpinned the development of not only industry but also mobilizational politics. As city walls were torn down, new physical space facilitated transportation and the building of factories. In doing so, Beijing’s novel cityscape came to be associated with the emancipation of proletarians, whose new life could be best found at Longxugou, a refurbished drainage that became the subject of an eponymous stage play and film. In these cultural works, Longxugou captured the ideal vision of socialist urban life, according to which proletarians would be mobilized by the state to actively participate in the socialist revolution. Joining a recent cohort of historians who offer more positive evaluations of the state capacity of the early People’s Republic, I demonstrate that 1950s Beijing captured the Party’s grand ambitions and adroit tactics of reconfiguring urban China, a setting that was unfamiliar to it before 1949.

Elizabeth Littell-Lamb, “Renunciation and Reconciliation: the Chinese and World YWCAs during the 1950s”

Associate Professor, University of Tampa


In April 1951 Zhou Enlai met with Christian leaders in Beijing to discuss a set of regulations, “Methods of Dealing with Bodies Receiving Subsidies from America.” During the five-day meeting, influential Three-Self Movement leader Wu Yaozong gave what amounted to a “state of Chinese Christianity” speech, describing how American imperialists and their sympathizers were trying to destroy their efforts to create an independent Chinese church. He then called those assembled to root out not only hidden imperialists in their midst, but imperialist thoughts in their hearts and souls, thus launching the Christian denunciation campaign. Denunciations actually began during the Beijing meeting. The Chinese YWCA was caught up in that movement, viciously attacking their former American or World YWCA colleagues and even some of their own leaders who had consciously or naively aided Western women with their imperialistic aims. Nonetheless, with full knowledge of how virulently they had been attacked, the World YWCA leadership in Geneva still considered the Chinese YWCA among its constituent members. More to the point, the Chinese YWCA never formally severed relations with the World organization. Mail continued to be exchanged and intermittent contacts continued, facilitated by mutual friends or attendance at the same international conferences. Finally, after much negotiation, in late summer of 1957 the Chinese YWCA received two World YWCA representatives, one from Finland and one from India. Unknown to both organizations at that time, it would be their last direct contact until 1980.

Zhaojin Zeng, “Local Factories and the Politics of Industrialization in Late Maoist China: The Case of Forging Loyalty Steel in the Cultural Revolution”

Assistant Professor, Duke Kunshan University

Keywords: Maoist Politics

In early 1964, the East China Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, following directives from Chairman Mao Zedong on the construction of the Third Front, decided to build an industrial base in the hinterland of Jiangxi Province. A core part of the construction scheme was Jiangxi Special Steel Factory, a steel plant designed specifically for supplying the military. In 1966, the factory invented the Loyalty Steelmaking Process that they claimed was to revolutionize steel production while demonstrating loyalty to Mao. Like the Loyalty Dance, which gained popularity among ordinary people during the Cultural Revolution, Loyalty Steelmaking was also introduced to many factories and plants as emblematic of the Chinese industry’s political devotion and technological advancement. In this paper, I trace the rise and spread of Loyalty Steelmaking from a small Third Front factory to the rest of the country in 1966-1972. Displacing the existing narratives focused on top leaders and national political events, my research turns to the local actors exploring the centrality of their initiatives in shaping the course of the Cultural Revolution at the national scale. This case study provides important perspectives for understanding the factory state relationship in late Maoist China. The story of the Jiangxi Special Steel Factory as an example also demonstrates how Mao’s socialist industrial projects, grassroots revolutionary initiatives, and Cold War geopolitics jointly shaped the developmental trajectory of the Chinese industry in the second half of the twentieth century.

Scholarship on ethnographic fieldwork in Japan often focuses on a narrow range of researcher-interlocutor power dynamics, in which the ethnographer is Western, usually white and male, therefore carrying certain power and privilege into “the field.” However, this ignores the diversity of researchers, interlocutors, and field sites, and dynamics between these actors. In this roundtable, we use our respective experiences conducting ethnographic research to challenge these assumptions, discuss difficulties and opportunities in conducting contemporary fieldwork in Japan, and provide diverse perspectives that can be leveraged inside and outside the classroom. Conducting fieldwork in Japan requires delicate social networking and navigating unfamiliar social norms. Intersectional identities (such as gender, race, sexuality, and nationality) may expedite fieldworkers’ entrance to the community, provoke increased scrutiny, or create further entanglements to contend with. The ubiquity of social media further complicates the limits of the “field” where one conducts “fieldwork,” blurring national, personal/professional, and researcher/interlocutor boundaries. By engaging directly with the opportunities and challenges present in our diverse identities, we can present more nuanced understanding of both our subjects and Japan as a whole. Our roundtable brings together five scholars of Japan with unique fieldwork experiences. Hannah Gould discusses ‘studying up’ and the power dynamics of fieldwork with industry professionals. Dana Mirsalis analyzes gender dynamics and interpersonal relations in fieldwork. Kaitlyn Ugoretz explores the use of transnational social media networks as fieldsite. Naohito Miura contributes his experiences conducting multi-site ethnography and the incorporation of autoethnography into one’s work. Timothy Smith considers the navigation of “trust networks” and the impact of working within social and digital networks.

Timothy Smith, Panelist and Chair

Graduate Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dana Mirsalis, Panelist

Graduate Student, Harvard University

Naohito Miura, Panelist

Graduate Student, Harvard University

Hannah Gould, Panelist

Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

Kaitlyn Ugoretz, Panelist

Graduate Student, University of California at Santa Barbara

Session C

Decades of modernization and urbanization have led to the rapid disintegration of rural China and erosion of traditional culture. But they also sparked an awakening of historical consciousness and sense of stewardship among the citizenry. As the central government’s preservation programs reach only 2% of extant cultural relics, the fate of the rest depends on local communities, especially those in farming villages, rural towns, and small cities. Drawing on their field work and diverse disciplinary perspectives, the discussants zoom in on how these communities are becoming the true shapers and heroes of the ongoing national campaign for rural reconstruction and national cultural rejuvenation.

WANG Lixin reflects on the meaning of the inherited life-world for villagers of Hujia, Chongqing, especially Wang Huiyuan, protagonist of her documentary film, Yechishan ji (Mountain of Nothingness), who abandoned modern conveniences to take up pristine farming-herding. Qiong Zhang looks at the social networks of “grassroots intellectuals” in Jianyang, Fujian, who actively preserve, research, and popularize their local history, and inquires what has motivated or hindered their work. Shawn Foster probes how professional aspirations, local identity, and market forces propel historians, medical scientists, pharmaceutical enterprises, and tourist bureaus at the hometowns of several “medical saints” to collaboratively reinvent and marketize traditional herbal therapies. LI Haijing investigates how higher government bodies with overlapping mandates and conflicting priorities impede lower governments’ efforts at historic preservation, drawing on her fieldwork on the Qiantang River Seawall and Tidal Wave and experience in assisting several riverside counties to jointly apply for UNESCO recognition for this site. The roundtable converges on such grassroots action and local initiatives that straddle the past and present and local and national networks of power.

Lixin Wang, Panelist
Professor, Chongqing University
Trailer 1 || Trailer 2 || Clip 1 || Clip 2 || Clip 3 || Clip 4

Shawn Foster, Panelist
Independent Scholar

Haijing Li, Panelist
Associate Professor, Zhejiang University of Water Resources and Electric Power
Position Statement

Qiong Zhang, Panelist
Associate Professor, Wake Forest University

Session D

The evolving relationship between the Communist state and Chinese society has been an extremely complex yet dynamic process from the beginning of the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s. The Chinese Communist Party, armed with a radical revolutionary ideology and riding on a stunning victory over its Nationalist rival in the civil war, implemented a series of social and economic reforms aimed at rapid social transformation and industrialization under a strong state. The implementation of these ambitious reforms took place in a war-torn country was swift in general due to the determination of the Communist leadership and public support. Yet these reforms also took place in an underdeveloped domestic economy and at a time when the world was not only fast changing but also deeply divided between two opposing camps in the Cold War. Given the limited material resources at home and lack of assistance from the outside, the Communist leadership often had to draw on its nationalist credentials and tap the patriotism among the Chinese people. Technically, in areas ranging from agriculture, industry, education to public health, the new leadership frequently tried to achieve its goals through mass campaigns. Each of the campaigns employed aggressive propaganda and vigorous mobilization of the public. At the heart of the strategy was, first, the mass line, or the trust in and reliance on the revolutionary potential of the masses; and second, the centrality of the Party. Due to a lack of expertise and experience in governance on the part of the top leadership, most of these mass campaigns were misconceived and some, like the Anti-Rightist Campaign in 1957 and the Great Leap Forward in 1958-1959, led to tragic and even calamitous results. Yet the Party was able to survive these crises and even manage to strengthen its dominance in domestic affairs by setting new goals and launching new campaigns. It was not until the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, especially during the post-Mao reform under a new leadership, was Chinese society spared of these often counterproductive and costly undertakings.

Peng Deng, Chair

Professor, High Point University

Guangqiu Xu, “Mao’s Patriotic Health Campaigns in the 1950s”

Professor, Jinan University

China’s Patriotic Health Campaign of 1952 started after the appearance of “poisonous insects” in the winter of 1951-1952 during the Korean War when the Chinese government claimed that the United States government had launched a germwarfare in North Korea. In 1958, “four pests” campaign started during the Great Leap Forward movement (1958-1961), which was another Patriotic Health Movement to mobilize the Chinese masses to exterminate the country’s “four pests” i.e., rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows.

This paper studies the origin, the development, and the significance of these two important patriotic heath campaigns, focusing on how they were carried out for the purpose of promoting the party state’s political agenda and mobilizing the Chinese masses. During the Korean War, the Patriotic Health Campaign against American germ-warfare helped promote Chinese nationalism and anti-U.S. sentiments. The campaign to eradicate the Four Pests during the Great Leap Forward, likewise enhanced the power of the state while promoting the health of the public. This paper shows that since public health is important for economic development and that the state has an obligation to urge the Chinese people to participate in the health campaigns actively, the government had to mobilize the masses to achieve sociopolitical change and national reconstruction in China. Both campaigns intensified political discourse and promoted socialist ideology. Through both campaigns, the Party state made penetration into people’s daily life a routine and accustomed the public to its authoritarian leadership in all matters of significance. This study concludes that the enduring legacy of Maoist public health campaigns was the power of propaganda, mass mobilization, and expansion of government power over the people.

Yidi Wu, “Democracy Torch Relay: Campus Alliance and Divergence in Political Campaigns of 1957”

Associate Professor, Elon University

Under the slogan “let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend,” Mao launched the Hundred Flowers Campaign in 1956. Despite repeated encouragement, it was not until the Rectification Campaign in May 1957, when college students nationwide actively participated through writing big-character posters, giving spontaneous speech and debate, and even visiting campuses within and across cities. As the cradle of student activism, Peking University (Beida) was again one of the most boisterous campuses, where students took initiatives in pursuing alliances among universities in and outside of Beijing through what they called “democracy torch relay.”

While scholarships on the topic focus almost exclusively on the Beida case, this paper goes beyond to present a national picture of student activism in 1957’s China. I pay attention to three schools: Beijing Normal University, a teacher-training college not too far from Beida, Wuhan University along the Yangtze River, and Yunnan University in the southwest frontier. I go into details of campus activism at each school, especially focusing on student organizations, relation between students and the authorities, and the spread of information across campuses. The similarities come from the origins, the urgency, and the space of student activism, as well as relations with the faculty and the authorities. The differences, on the other hand, lay in the level of enthusiasm, student majors, agency in framing, and reactions from the school authorities. The composition and background of students, the school’s historical legacies, and the relation between students and the authorities all contributed to the differences at various campuses.

Yanmin Yu, “Diversification and Polarization: An Analysis of Social Media in China”

Professor, University of Bridgeport

This study is to examine some social media platforms in China. In particular it will examine Weixin/Wechat, its characteristics and usage, and its impact on the users and policymakers. WeChat has become the single most popular social media platform in China, and it is also widely used by people of Chinese origin now residing outside of China. The researcher argues that with abundance of information, factual based or fabricated, journalistic or opinionated, WeChat has diversified media voices and polarized its user groups.

Session E

Punam Madhok, “The Multifarious Temple-Art of Jayavarman VII and the French Orientalist Interest in Cambodia”

Associate Professor, East Carolina University

Keywords: Orientalism

Built between the ninth and thirteenth centuries CE, historic temples of Angkor are remains of the acclaimed Khmer Empire. King Jayavarman VII (r. c. 1181-1218 CE) had more temples built than any other Khmer monarch. He was emulating Ashoka, the first Buddhist Emperor, who had stupas erected all over India. Jayavarman’s Bayon in Angkor Thom is the magnum opus of Khmer sacred architecture. Carved into its gateways and towers are large faces, approximately eight feet in height. Their benign smile and omnipresent gaze are as difficult to decipher as is the temple itself. They have been identified as Shiva, Brahma, Lokeshvara, Vajrasattva or Hevajra. Jayavarman also dedicated temples to deified family-members, namely, Preah Khan to his father, Ta Prohm to his mother, and Banteay Chhmar to his brother-in-law and chosen protégé. The mythical eagle, Garuda, and multi-headed serpents or nagas are prominent features on these temples. A project with remedial power that has survived is Neak Pean, an island temple, built in reverence of Bhaisajyaguru, Buddha of healing. Relief-sculptures of dancing figures, identified as Apsaras or Yoginis, are seen on many temple walls. Some of their gestures and postures resemble classical Khmer dance of today. Jayavarman had halls attached to temples, where living damsels would perform ritual dances. After Cambodia became a French protectorate around 1864, Louis Delaporte (1842-1925) made fanciful watercolors of these temples and removed stone images from them that are now housed at Paris’ Guimet museum. Based on a field trip undertaken in December 2019, I wish to explore further the amalgamation of Hindu and Buddhist imagery on these temples as well as the French orientalist interest in this region.

Yookyoung Choi, “Searching for the Secret of Pisaek (비색): Grey-Green Paintings by Byron Kim”

Independent Scholar

Keywords: Contemporary Korean Art

Included in the 1993 Whitney Biennial, known for its engagement in the issues of race and identity politics, Byron Kim’s Synecdoche (1991-) consisting of monochrome canvases has been read as expressing the artist’s critical views on the arbitrariness of skin color in categorizing the individuals while also exploring the tension between abstraction and representation. One of the subsequent works by Kim, the Grey-Green series, likewise consists of ten monochrome canvases which depict the varying grey, blue, and green shades of the celadon glazes of the Koryŏ Dynasty (918-1392 CE) Korean ceramics. The specific reference to the color of celadon glazes in the work’s titles such as Koryŏ Green Glaze #1 and Koryŏ Dynasty Cup with Dragon Head Handle has often led the critics to note the shift in Kim’s art from socially oriented to more personal and autobiographic. This misreading of the shift in the content of Kim’s work in turn led the critics to hold a simplistic view that this series is an expression of the artist’s respect for the beauty of the color of Koryŏ celadon glaze used by 12th century Korean potters: The series has often been viewed as the artist’s memorialization of the timeless and transcendent beauty of a Korean cultural artifact that has been lost to obscurity in Western art history. However, the series should be understood as a sequel to his earlier work Synecdoche which highlights the impossibility of obtaining one’s true, essential identity. While “Koryŏ celadon glaze” is perceived as a clear marker of Korean cultural heritage and ethnic identity, the fragmented presentation of the specific hue in each canvas along with the varying shades of glazes resists an essentialist approach to understanding one’s cultural and ethnic identity. While more specifically engaging in his Korean cultural heritage, the series nonetheless highlights Kim’s failed search for the universal and transcendent quality in one’s ethnic identity.

Zhan (Sharon) Zhang, “Heavenly Horse from Fulang and Sino-Western Exchange in Mongol China”

Graduate Student, University of Pittsburgh

Keywords: Catholic Missionary, Cross-cultural Exchange, Mongol-Yuan China, John of Marignolli, Tribute Horse Painting, Sino-Western Relations

In the summer of 1342, after more than three years of overland and maritime journey, Franciscan friar John of Marignolli finally arrived at Dadu, the capital of the Yuan dynasty in China. At the royal court in Shangdu, he met with the last Yuan emperor Shundi to present him a remarkable European warhorse as a papal gift and received well entertainment. This welcoming ceremony of gift exchange inspired various Chinese literary and artistic creations, including a notable court painting, “Fulang guo xianma tu” (Tributary Horse from the Kingdom of Frank) by Zhou Lang, and was even recorded in Yuanshi, which became the record of Catholic Christianity in Chinese official documents. This paper focuses on the famous trip of John of Marignolli, the last official papal legate with Shundi’s invitation from Avignon to the Mongol court in the context of cross-cultural exchanges between Western Europe and Mongol-ruled China. Why did emperor Shundi actively ask for a visit from the papal court in Latin Christendom? Why did he also hope for horses from the European world? According to Yuanshi and Zhou’s horse painting, in the process of gift-exchanging formality, how did European and Chinese sides view the nature of horses differently? I argue that “heavenly horses” were auspiciously meaningful to Shundi’s rulership in the turbulent late Yuan period. Compared with the small Mongolian horses, giant Western horses metaphorically symbolized prosperity and peace to the country. Adopted from Han Chinese cultures, Mongol emperors also identified warhorses sent by Christian Europe as tributes instead of merely papal presents. While the Catholic mission just considered this trip as a diplomatic visit between two politically equal countries. The travel of John of Marignolli not only witnessed Sino-European religious interactions, but also epitomized exchanges of ideology and non-human animals across fourteenth-century Eurasia.

Session F

Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay, “From Hoang Sa Islands to Bajo de Masinloc: Nationalist Sentiments, Territorial Disputes, and Social Movements in the Philippines and Vietnam”

Research Associate, Ateneo de Manila University

Keywords: Philippines, Territorial Disputes

This presentation seeks to examine the emergence and development of territorial dispute-related social movements in the Philippines and Vietnam regarding the South China Sea. Connecting the international relations literature with social movement theories, this presentation demonstrates that the region’s contested maritime territories have generated nationalistic sentiments and influenced state-civil society interaction in the two countries. The argument of this presentation is two-fold. First, it argues that there are important similarities between the ways in which Vietnamese and Filipino protesters have raised the issues about the disputed territories. Both countries, for example, have viewed disputed islands (e.g. Hoang Sa Islands and Bajo de Masinloc) as symbols of China’s rise as a regional power in Southeast Asia. Second, the presentation also contends that the social movement actors in the Philippines and Vietnam have deployed parallel frames and tactics during their protests which have promoted solidarity and alliances between the two countries. These frames have also enabled the protesters to connect the dispute with domestic issues and sentiments such as the affluence of the ethnic Chinese in the Philippines and China’s 1979 war with Vietnam. In the context of the constraints facing the Philippine and Vietnamese governments to resolve their disagreements with China, it suggests that the activists in the two countries have also taken advantage of the maritime row to strengthen their rhetorical resources beyond the issues surrounding the resource-rich islands.

Khanh Linh Trinh, “An Uncomfortable History of a Vietnamese Comfort Food: An Analysis of Gà Tần Thuốc Bắc”

Graduate Student, University of Michigan

Keywords: Asian Diasporas

This paper is a case study of a particular Vietnamese food, a dish called Gà Tần Thuốc Bắc (chicken soup with Northern medicines). Popular in both the Northern and Southern regions of Vietnam, it is a typical Vietnamese dish insofar as its ubiquity masks a great complexity. An analysis of this dish serves to highlight the way that Chinese influence injects itself into Vietnamese food culture, but is then substantively retooled through its interaction with Vietnamese ingredients and food practices. By analyzing culinary history, we can recover a more nuanced way of conceptualizing Vietnamese sovereignty without relying on artificial and ahistorical nationalism.

Ray Chandrasekara, “Indo-Pacific Catcalls: Can Sri Lanka Resist the Belt Road Initiative (BRI)?”

Associate Professor, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences


The Indo-Pacific has emerged as the new terrain of contestation in the 21st century as China and the United States have begun to re-impose their primacy in the region. Both South and Southeast Asia have become eminent terrain for contestation, with Sri Lanka now becoming the focus for both China and the US. As Sri Lanka attempts to assert its own identity after emerging from a decades-long civil war and begins rebuilding, the need for economic and other aid and assistance has become foundational for the country. China has already made economic inroads with a 99-year lease of the port at Hambantota. The United States, in attempting to displace China’s economic and potential military build-up both in the region and especially in a hobbled economy like Sri Lanka, has extended its geopolitical rivalry with China by exerting its own influence on the island nation. Sri Lanka has emerged as the pivotal point of contestation in South Asia as the two geopolitical rivals (with India in tow) use the island nation for its own larger, hegemonic expansion.

SUNDAY 10:15AM – 11:45AM

Session A

Donald Santacaterina, “Journalists and Journalistic Culture in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-1957″

Graduate Student, UNC-Chapel Hill

Keywords: Media and Communication

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) during the early socialist period (1949-1957) provides a fascinating setting to investigate how and why people are convinced of the legitimacy of news content. Unfortunately, research on the socialist press has been marginalized by the Eurocentric notion that “objectivity” in journalistic practices determines the relevance of such studies. By this line, individuals in countries with state-subsidized news organizations must not have been convinced of the validity of news by positive means, only by coercion or deception. Instead of relying on overtired narratives of censorship and brainwashing in PRC news cultures, my exploration of municipal newspaper organizations, the journalists they employed, and their relationship to local neighborhood communities considers the positive mechanisms which convinced individuals of the legitimacy of local news in Chinese contexts. In particular, this essay leverages rare handbooks and periodicals collected through a process of “sinological garbology,” or the use of documents found in flea markets and second hand book stores instead of Chinese state-run archives and institutions. These diaries, handbooks, and pamphlets, all marketed towards PRC journalists, discuss the work methods and professional duties of these oft-neglected propaganda experts. These journalists were encouraged to walk a thin professional line between objective reporting of current events and the publication of emotionally moving content, infusing news stories with entertaining and emotionally convincing news content towards convincing readers of the legitimacy of state-produced news. By exploring this particularly effective news culture from the perspective of journalists themselves, this essay cultivates deeper understandings of what the Soviet historian Natalia Roudakova has framed as “whether and how people in various historical settings will accept certain ideas, and political institutions behind them, as legitimate.”

Hong Zhang, “Cosmopolitan and Diverse: A Case Study of Advertising in Republican Tianjin”

Associate Professor, University of Central Florida

Keywords: Modernity

This paper explores the development of urban culture in Tianjin in the 1920s and 1930s, as presented and represented mainly through The Pei-Yang Pictorial News or Beiyang Huabao, the longest-running and most popular pictorial in north China during the Republican period (1911-1949). It focuses on the pictorial’s extensive and diverse coverage of advertisements, which reveals real and imagined modernity in Tianjin at the time. It argues that the pictorial, through its comprehensive style of advertisements, not only helped spread the notion of modernization to its readers, but also facilitated the construction of imagined modernity during a transitional period in Chinese history. Cosmopolitan in nature and often combining flowery language with vivid images to capture readers’ attention, the pictorial’s copious advertisements revealed a fascinating aspect of Tianjin’s material culture and played an important role in promoting real and imagined modernity. The opulent advertisements provide a fascinating dimension to understand Tianjin of the Republican period and demonstrate the transformation of the city engendered by its modernization endeavors.

Tenny Kristiana, “Cold War Agenda: Caricature on Harian Rakyat”

Independent Scholar

Keywords: Communist, Harian Rakyat

The Cold War timeline broadly shows various events such as the formation of NATO, the Korean War, the Warsaw Pact, the Suez Crisis, the Space Race, the Berlin Wall, the Cuba Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and many more. In Indonesia, Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) gained popularity in the earlier Cold War timeline. Harian Rakyat or People’s Daily is Communist Party of Indonesia newspaper which circulate daily and record fantastic sales, along with the popularity of PKI after the first election 1955. The paper will focus on Harian Rakyat caricatures which cover various events during the Cold War, especially in the late 1950s and first half of 1960s, just before the newspaper got banned after the 30 September incident. It will try to interpret the meaning of the caricature to explain more the PKI’s agenda and propaganda. It is a descriptive paper which focuses on international and domestic affairs that are related to the Cold War agenda. Using the primary sources, all the newspaper data are taken from the Masuda Collection – Waseda University.

Session B

Marc Callahan

Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Hannah Lawrence

Alumna, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keiko Sekino

Associate Professor, East Carolina University

As an opera director, the beauty of Noh has always intrigued me. However, the opportunity to bring this aesthetic to a Western audience is an infrequent occurrence. When, in 2018, I was asked to direct Kurt Weill’s Der Jasager—an opera based on the Noh play Taniko—I jumped at the chance. From that moment, I thoroughly immersed myself in the study of Noh—a process that would completely transform me as an artist. I spent two months in Kyoto at a theater training program where I participated in daily classes with actors from the Kanze Noh school. I learned to chant ancient texts and even performed a classic routine from the play Atsumori on a centuries-old stage.

Based on the kata (gestures) I had learned in Kyoto, I began to imagine a unique staging for the UNC premiere of Der Jasager. My students, who were skeptical at first, came to espouse and genuinely enjoy the act of performing in this style. The experience allowed me to form special bonds with actors Shingo Katayama and Ichinosuke Umekawa, who each traveled to UNC and taught my students in a series of workshops. The success with which I saw this art form act as a bridge between cultures was overwhelming. I noticed my students treating the theater with a reverence that I had only witnessed in the rituals I practiced while performing on the Oe Noh stage in Kyoto. This was transformative practice! Our production was a fantastic success, winning first prize in the National Opera Association’s annual production competition and a director’s award from the American Prize.

This panel will discuss the history of Noh, how it pertains to Western theater, and how they incorporated this practice into their award-winning production. The audience will have the opportunity to watch UNC Opera’s production of Der Jasager and Franz Schubert’s Wasserflut by buyoka Ichinosuke Umekawa. The latter was choreographed by acclaimed kabuki actor Bandō Tamasaburō V, featuring Marc Callahan (baritone) and Keiko Sekino (piano).

Aschronyous Materials

Session C

David Owen, “The Shaping of Laotian Transnational Attitudes: A Study of Thai Investment”

Associate Professor, Millersville University

Keywords: Laos

Laos is one of the newly emerging states of Southeast Asia. Prior to joining ASEAN in 1997 as a non-founding member state, Laos was economically characterized by low incomes levels and a closed off economy. ASEAN member states have been investing in Laos since becoming a member of ASEAN, improving the economic opportunities for the people of Laos. Thailand, Laos’s closest neighbor, has not only been investing in Laos economically, but also in humanitarian ways. In this study, I seek to understand modern Laotian attitudes towards Thailand by answering the questions of are transnational attitudes prominent in Laos and what are modern Laotian attitudes towards Thailand. Logistical regression is used to test hypotheses of transnational attitudes in Laos. The results have important implications for understanding broader grassroot sentiment towards ASEAN, and more specifically, Thailand, in the non-founding ASEAN member context.

Thotreingam Tungshangnao, “Enhancement of Road Connectivity linking North-East India and Myanmar: Imperatives for India-Myanmar and India-ASEAN Economic Relations”

Graduate Student, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong

Keywords: Myanmar

The objective of this study is to critically examine the status of road connectivity linking North-East India and Myanmar through which international trade and economic exchanges between North-East India and Myanmar, and India and ASEAN can be promoted. Though North-East India is endowed with rich natural resources, inter alia, due to geographical isolation from the rest of India and poor conditions of road connectivity, its economy remains largely underdeveloped. The situation is even worse in areas of Myanmar bordering North-East India. India’s strategic interest vis-à-vis Myanmar lies mainly in domains of economic development and energy security. However, owing to poor road connectivity, border trade and other economic activities are lacking despite sharing about 1600 km long international border. Besides, it is pointed out that, in order to reestablish the old trading networks between India and ASEAN, the most important strategic requirement is to improve the conditions of transport infrastructure in North East India and Myanmar, particularly the road connectivity. In this effort, both the countries have been undertaking road transport development projects at the national and international levels. An attempt has been made as well to analyze India’s and Myanmar’s participation in other transport development projects to expedite Asian Highway Network. The study concludes that improved road connectivity linking North-East India and Myanmar is one of the most vital economic development needs in the region. It will ensure effective and efficient border-trade and rapid economic development in the region. Concurrently, it will further boost trade potential and economic relations between India and ASEAN.

Chengwei Chen, “Transnational Marriage in China”

Graduate Student, Duke University

Keywords: Transnational Marriage, Masculinity, Kinship, China, Vietnam

This study examines transnational marriage in contemporary China through an ethnographic study of “Vietnamese brides”. Over the past several decades, fierce competition in the marriage market has been linked to an extraordinary number of bachelors in China. The influence of transnational marriage is unevenly attributed. In what I describe as a “marriage squeeze,” some men can find wives in Chinese society while others do not. Under these circumstances, transnational marriage emerges as an alternative solution that allows some Chinese males to find spouses and build a family. As has been widely discussed in the current literature, the practice poses challenges for Chinese family structure and social relations. Based on a multi-site ethnography carried out in Hangzhou City and Dongzhi County in Southern China, this thesis provides a nuanced and multifaceted examination of this issue. This is not a story about the exploitation of labor or the victims of globalization. Instead, transnational marriage reveals people’s vulnerability and desperation and their ingenuity and courage—a story often eclipsed by the bigger globalization story. I examine two aspects of the impact of transnational marriage on Chinese society. First, given that the traditional patriarchy system in China is increasingly challenged by changing social conditions, I will ask whether transnational marriage functions as a new way to maintain the power of the patriarchy system. Marriage squeeze embodies regional inequality precipitated by the expansion of global capitalism. Examining the intriguing case of Mr. Ruan’s family, I discuss how men from less disadvantaged geographical areas try to maintain their powerful position within the patriarchal family and the role that transnational marriage plays in the process. Second, I ask whether transnational marriage reshapes family structure given that it usually rebalances the family power order.

Session D

Aixin Yi, “ ‘Won over by the Chinese Way’: The Encounter of a Missionary Doctor and the World of Chinese Medicines in Early Twentieth Century China”

Graduate Student, Duke University

Keywords: Chinese medicine

Many historical analyses have explored the great influence of missionary medicine on the institutionalization of traditional Chinese Medicine. However, scholars who adopt the assuming superiority of Western medicine over Chinese medicine and the notion of Protestant missionaries as “cultural imperialists” tend to overemphasize medical missionaries’ criticism of Chinese medicine regarding its “backwardness” and “superstition.” Recent research has raised question over such portrayal of missionaries’ medical beliefs and practices by shifting focus onto the coevolutionary histories of Western and Chinese medicines, as well as the subtle interplay of medical missionary encounters with Chinese people. Following this line of inquiry, this paper offers the account of Edward Hume, an American medical missionary who arrived in inland China in the early twentieth century, with the aim of investigating the ways in which Chinese patients and medical practitioners shaped the process of cross-cultural exchange. This paper also examines how Chinese people in different social classes compared the two medical cultures with each other and how their conceptions of “legitimate medical care” changed over time. An analysis of Hume’s changing ideas and accommodating practices indicates that the combining factors of the commensurable elements within Chinese and Western medical systems, the intimate connections in medical encounters, as well as exposure to Chinese high-order medical theories and practices, worked directly and indirectly to remold foreign missionaries’ perceptions of indigenous medicine and society.

Andrew Frankel, “Strategic supplementation: The limits and possibilities of Amdo Tibetan Buddhist educational initiatives in the People’s Republic of China”

Graduate Student, University of Virginia

Keywords: Cultural Sociology

How do Amdo Tibetan educators in China negotiate the influence that formal education exerts on society and the widespread perception of the legitimacy of schooling to exert this influence? This ‘Education Revolution’ has created new opportunities for social mobility and the actualization of human potential (Baker 2014). But it has also increased the capacity of schooling to legitimize and reward some knowledges and behaviors, while devaluing and marginalizing others. To help students navigate this process, many educators provide instruction outside school time. Scholars often label such programs ‘shadow education’ insofar as these programs are thought to mimic mainstream schooling (Bray 2013). However, data collected during eighteen months of ethnographic field work with educators at Tibetan community schools show that some such programs fulfill a variety of goals, only some of which are congruent with those of mainstream schooling. Data show that it is sometimes through deviating from, rather than shadowing, the norms of mainstream schooling that supplemental programs can foster relationships and environments more conducive to transmitting to students the abilities they need to be successful both within schooling and beyond it. Moreover, the data reveal that even when supplemental programs appear to mimic the mainstream, educators can impart Tibetan Buddhist ethical frameworks for understanding what students learn and why that challenge the rationales dominant in mainstream schooling in the PRC. Reframing the goals of teaching and learning, Tibetan community members draw on Buddhist frameworks to emphasize the ethical dimension of accumulating cultural capital and transmitting it to future generations. Finally, this research suggests that supplemental programs, by dint of the legitimacy accorded to them precisely because they are educational, constitute effective platforms for challenging the hegemony of mainstream schooling and the values it prioritizes.

Devin Creed, “Towards an Indigenous Christianity: The Case of Catholic Missions in Meghalaya”

Graduate Student, Duke University

Keywords: Indigenization, Northeast India, inculturation

In a recent article for Himal Southasian on the early history of Christianity in Nagaland, Roderick Wijunamai notes how American Protestant missionaries tried to stamp out many aspects of traditional Naga culture, such as headhunting, animal sacrifices, festivals, and the consumption of rice beer. Yet not all Christian missions in Northeast India tried to destroy native culture and westernize native tribes. Today in Shillong, Meghalaya’s capital, the seven-story Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures (DBCIC) occupies a prominent place. Founded by the Catholic order of the Salesians of Don Bosco in the late 20th century, the DBCIC features a library, archive, museum, and publishing house. The Centre is dedicated to preserving and promoting the indigenous cultures of Northeast India. The Salesians emphasize that contrary to Protestant missionaries, they seek to promote and incorporate indigenous folkways. This paper explores why Catholic missionaries had much more favorable views of native cultures than their Protestant counterparts. Initially, this had much to do with missionary relations to power. The first Catholic missionaries in Meghalaya, the German Salvatorians, arrived in 1890. Operating in a British colony, the Salvatorians adopted an accommodationist approach to those they were evangelizing. Forced to leave India due to the First World War, the Salvatorians gave way to the Salesians who also decided to continue the promotion of indigenous culture. After the conciliar reforms of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the Salesians of Shillong began the process of creating the DBCIC. Missionary promotion of indigenous cultures helped the hill tribes of Meghalaya resist both Sanskritization and the Bengalicization of education and government. In the process, the people of Meghalaya created an indigenous Catholicism that incorporated local folkways. This paper tells this story through the eyes of the Salvatorians and Salesians of Shillong.

Session E

Azalia Muchransyah, “Gender in Contemporary Indonesian Cinema”

Graduate Student, University of Buffalo (SUNY)

Keywords: Indonesia, Film, Gender

The release of Loetoeng Kasaroeng, a 1-hour fantasy silent film in 1926, marked the Indonesian Cinema’s birth. Since then, Indonesian cinema has evolved through changes in political regimes and socio-economic turmoil. Yet throughout the evolution of Indonesian Cinema, Indonesia’s patriarchal society’s viewpoints manifest itself into its cinematic output. This results in cinematic depictions of women living in a patriarchal system, who either have no agency or become what Barbara Creed describes as monstrous-feminine characters. After the start of the Indonesian Reformation in 1998, a more open society has allowed more and more Indonesian art films to be made. This includes the increase in films which depict women who have voice and agency. However, commercially released films have consistently depicted a patriarchal culture. By looking into the characteristics of Indonesian commercial and art films made since the start of the Indonesian Reformation in 1998, this paper analyzes how contemporary Indonesian cinema situates gender as the center of its narrative core. In conclusion, we can see how Indonesian filmmakers craft their characters and stories differently for commercial and art film, resulting in two poles of gender stereotypes and expectations in the respective genres. The bigger picture shows how gender plays its role in Indonesian society at large, and vice versa, how Indonesians appropriate gender expectations in their everyday lives.

Candice Wilson, “Gendering through Time in Japanese Anime”

Assistant Professor, University of North Georgia

Keywords: Gender, Identity

At a critical moment in Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 film, Your Name [Kimi no Na wa], a high school boy, Taki Tachibana, wakes up and groggily examines his hands before realizing he is inhabiting the body of a young woman, Mitsuha Miyamizu. In fact, he has not only traded bodies with Mitsuha, but temporalities as well. Mitsuha, meanwhile, is transported into Taki’s future time and male body. The twinned time-gender swap provides the film with its central narrative device, but also articulates an ongoing trend in Japanese time travel stories. Time travel is not first and foremost about the physics of time. Instead the anime tradition, represented by texts such as The Girl who Leapt Through Time [Toki wo Kakeru Shōjo] (2006), Erased [Boku dake ga Inai Machi] (2016), and Mirai (2018), make explorations of gender and traumatic memory central to journeys through time. In addition, the medium of anime itself serves as its own time machine through structuring elements of editing and cinematography that allow the spectator to also travel along the strands of time with characters. The gendered body that takes on various physical characteristics and drives across its lifespan becomes divorced from limited conceptions of binary gender and instead appears as a multiplicity when caught in the act of time travel. This presentation thus aims to investigate how time travel in anime ruptures imagined spaces of stability and remembering–gendered bodies and archival space (cultural modes of remembering)–thereby opening up an interrogation of the queer. There has been minimal scholarly attention to time travel in anime or the intersection of gender and time travel more generally. At stake in this approach to the science fiction of time travel is an alternative to the hard narrative logics of time loops and multiple dimensions in favor of an equally rigorous examination of consciousness and identity.

Charlie Yi Zhang, “Releasing Masculinity for a More Just World: Lessons of How to ‘Be Water’ in Hong Kong”

Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky

Keywords: Bruce Lee, Hong Kong

This article develops a feminist reading of the biographically based action series of Ip Man, the Wing Chun grandmaster lionized for mentoring Bruce Lee, as a set of culturally inflected practices to probe the sociohistorical structure that embeds and over-determines these productions and also allows for new subversive potentialities. Building upon situated engagement, my analysis traces how the hypermasculine violent “yanggang” aesthetic tradition takes a new life by reclaiming women’s voice in the Ip Man franchise. I also identify the ways in which this filmic remaking of Ip’s life story builds an alternative embodiment that unsettles musculature as the ground of the colonialist/nationalist dominance, and lays the basis for a new horizon of justice as encapsulated by the flexible and elastic “Be Water” sensibilities. As human beings are facing the common threat posed by prevailing toxic masculinity, these lessons, I argue, are crucial for us to find a path through the turbulence and build a more peaceful world.

Session E

Gengsong Gao, Alexandre Bettencourt and Qian Wang, “Sentiment Analysis of Contemporary Chinese Pop Lyrics”

Assistant Professor and Graduate Students, University of Richmond

Keywords: Contemporary China

Song lyrics often reflect the era in which they became popular, and analyzing song lyrics is an effective method of studying cultural changes over time. However, contemporary Chinese song lyrics have received little attention in English scholarship. Marc Moskowitz is one of the few American scholars that made serious effort to study Chinese pop lyrics. Based on his analysis of 73 Chinese pop songs’ lyrics produced in Taiwan in the 1980s and the 1990s, Moskowitz draws the conclusion that the prevailing sentiment of Chinese pop song lyrics is loneliness and sadness. Nevertheless, Moskowitz’s small sample size and his concentration on Chinese songs produced in Taiwan to the exclusion of larger number of songs in mainland China (PRC) make his conclusion highly questionable. Second, Moskowitz does not follow up with the Chinese songs produced after 2000. The rise of China in the 21st century is accompanied by ordinary Chinese people’s growing sense of national pride. Is the nationalistic optimism sentiment reflected in pop song lyrics, and replace sadness and loneliness to become the dominant emotion? Our research is be the first attempt in English scholarship to apply “text mining” to analyze the sentiment of Chinese pop lyrics on a large quantitative scale. Text mining, simply speaking, uses computational methods to extract, analyze and visualize important information, topics and meanings from a huge number of digitalized texts. Our project uses “text mining” to examine 1 million words of lyrics stored in Netease Cloud Music (⽹易云⾳乐). Our data analysis empirically confirms Moskowitz’s conclusion, but has a new finding that the dominant sentiment of sadness has been weakened since 2009. Moreover, our research shows that the Beijing 2008 Olympics and China’s success in overcoming the 2008 financial crisis are closely correlated with the decrease of the sad sentiment in pop lyrics.

Jin Liu, “Language, Identity, and Unintelligibility: A Case Study of the Rap Group Higher Brothers”

Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

Keywords: Unintelligibility, Glocalization

The Chengdu-based quartet Higher Brothers recently became the first China-born hip-hop group to gain global fame. Just as how rap music, originally a local, ethnic African-American culture in the United States, has been continually re-localized all over the world and thus globalized, the Higher Brothers have undergone another process of glocalization. This presents a new case study to further examine the dynamics between the global and the local. Because rap is an intensely verbal art, this paper explores how the Higher Brothers construct and negotiate their complicated and multiple (local, national and global) identities from the perspective of language. It analyzes the language used in their songs – Sichuan Chengdu Mandarin, Standard Mandarin (Putonghua) and English – before and after they signed with 88rising, the media company that brought the group to the West. Due to the rappers’ distinctive ways of vocal production, many of their trap-style songs prove hard to understand not only for global audiences, but also for most Chinese national audiences and even for the quartet’s local audiences. Drawing on recent studies of mumble rap, this paper explores the aesthetics of (partial) unintelligibility, which may signal a new acoustic trend of affective and emotive delivery in popular music.

Li-ling Hsiao, “Knowing but Not Knowing Correctly through Music in The Jade Hairpin”

Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keywords: Qin Musicking

The playwright Gao Lian presents an ambiguous example of knowing through music in his celebrated play The Jade Hairpin. The play features two scenes in which the female protagonist Chen Miaochang (cast in the role type Dan) plays the qin. The f irst occasion appears in Scene Eight “Discussing Sutra and Listening to the Moon” (Tanjing Tingyue 談經聽⽉) and the second is in Scene Sixteen “To Convey Feelings through Strings” (Xianli Chuanqin 弦裡傳情). In the first occasion, Miaochang plays for her fellow nuns when she finds refuge in the nunnery after her fleeing from the Jurchen invasion. A womanizer overhears her playing, but is enchanted by her beauty instead of her music. This first instance is very clearly a case of playing the tune to the ‘deaf.’ The womanizer fails even to comprehend her music as sounds and melody by noticing only her beauty presented in the image of qin playing. The second occasion features the musical exchanges between Miaochang and the male protagonist Pan Bizheng (cast in the role type Sheng). Different from the previous scenes discussed in this book in which one plays the qin and the other listens, both protagonists in The Jade Hairpin take turn to play. Both are the musicians and the audience in the qin musicking. Both try to convey clear messages through their music, and the tests are, of course, if they could know through the music they have played for each other. This paper investigates the communications between Miaochang and Bizheng in this second qin musicking of the play.

SUNDAY 12:45PM – 2:15PM

Session A

With the importance of global understanding only becoming more crucial in today’s world, it is vital that students be exposed to global topics in their early general education courses. As more students are turning to the community college system to begin their higher education goals, the need for curricula reflective of area studies in our community colleges becomes more apparent. This session will highlight an ongoing collaboration between Durham Technical Community College and the Carolina Asia Center to foster Asian studies at the community college as part of its Title VI funding from the US Department of Education. Presenters will discuss the development of the collaboration since its inception in 2018 and the impacts it has had on the college in areas such as student engagement and instruction. Three instructors will demonstrate how they have leveraged this support to incorporate Asian studies more deeply into their history, film studies, and Spanish courses, respectively, and will discuss the outcomes and response.

Shannon Hahn

Instructor and Chair of Foreign Languages, Durham Technical Community College

Jason Moldoff

Instructor, Durham Technical Community College

Sandra Peterson

Instructor, Durham Technical Community College

Session B

Edwin Michielsen, “Resisting Racial Division: Solidarity among Strangers and Li Huiying’s Wanbaoshan Village”

Graduate Student, University of Toronto

Keywords: Intra-East Asian Solidarity

In this presentation, I will discuss Li Huiying’s (1911-1990) novel Wanbaoshan (Wanbaoshan Village, 1933) to examine how proletarian writers used fiction to promote resistance against the racial and ethnic divisions coordinated by Japanese imperialism among East Asian proletarians. The Wanbaoshan Incident (1931) was a dispute between Koreans and Chinese in the Manchurian village Wanbaoshan over the irrigation of land that resulted in violent clashes. The Japanese military forces ended the dispute favoring the Koreans as imperial subjects. Following the incident, media across East Asia turned Chinese and Koreans against each other, resulting into ethnic violence in Korean and Chinese cities. Written immediately after the Wanbaoshan Incident, Li aimed to retell this event but changed the outcome to highlight an alternative possibility of how proletarians of various ethnic groups could join hands in the fight against Japanese imperialism and discrimination. Li did so by presenting compelling encounters between Chinese farmers and Korean immigrant workers gradually recognizing each other’s distinct struggle and overcoming the ethnic divide. Crucial to these encounters was the non-hierarchal interaction between the groups. They acknowledged that the land they worked on and the crops they harvested were shared, contrasting the exploitation of land and labor by Japanese capitalist production. Through a transnational reading, I will argue that Li’s novel is not only the start of the War of Resistance literature, but also embodies this fragile yet important possibility of proletarian international solidarity at a crucial moment in history immediately after the Manchurian incident and on the eve of the second Sino-Japanese War.

Leihua Weng, “From the Modern Works to the Ancient Classics: Translation and the Self-Positioning of Intellectuals Between the Market and the Nation-State in the Post-Mao China”

Assistant Professor, Kalamazoo College

Keywords: Chinese Straussians, Identity of Intellectuals, Classics

This paper looks into the translation and interpretation activities of the ancient classics in China in the past few decades. Diverse as they are, many of these activities display some recurrent though often underlying features and themes, such as a definite preference of the ancient classics to the modern works, a consistent dismissal of liberalism and modernity, and an emphasis on the power of nation-state etc. This paper compares these translation activities with the translations in the 1980s that showed a much stronger interest in the modern Western works and in liberalism. Particular attention is given to a case study of Liu Xiaofeng’s translation series of Western classics of the 2000s and Gan Yang’s translation series of “Modern Western Academic Books” of the 80s’ and 90s’, both series include almost the same group of scholars. This paper discusses the continuities and discontinuities in the translation in both subject matter and in concern against the background of socio-politics in the post-Mao China. It holds that the trajectory in the translation interest from the modern works to the ancient classics is consistent with the constant self-positioning and repositioning of intellectuals between the market and the nation-state in the post-Mao era. In the tension between the globalized market and the traditional value on state power, these intellectuals eventually chose ancient classics as their expression of cultural and political conservatism and nationalism that uphold the Chinese subjectivity, which in itself is a paradox, as they are keenly interested in reading Plato and other Western ancient classics.

Yun Lee, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Wolf Totem as a Destructive Narrative amongst Educated Youth Literature”

Visiting Assistant Professor, Reed College

Keywords: Sinophone

The 2004 Chinese novel, Wolf Totem, written by Jiang Rong, tells the story of a small group of young urban intellectuals sent to Inner Mongolia to learn the culture and lifestyle of the local people by participating in animal husbandry, thereby developing a deeper understanding of the Mongols’ worldview and philosophy. As a text describing the experience of the educated youth, the novel touches upon several themes, such as identity reformation and the cultural reflections of the sent-down youth which arise from their experience with the spaces and people of a foreign land. However, it is argued here that the novel breaks through the existing genre of educated youth literature by lensing the sent-down youth as intruders (rather than the traditional discourse which presents them as victims) who profoundly impact the culture and daily-life operations of ethnic minorities. Unlike many other texts in educated youth genre, this novel is not oriented from point-of-view of the sent-down youth, but rather demonstrates a macroscopic presentation of how educated youth intervene in the cultural ecosystem of Inner Mongolia by infiltrating the locals’ space and liberally appropriating their culture, which profoundly weakens the minority culture from within, causing the culture to collapse. This new trope could be viewed as a “soft” cultural threat that, combined with the more rigid management of the Han leadership, caused the ethnic minority to lose their subjectivity. Notedly, this kind of cultural penetration is masked by sent-down youths’ displacement, vulnerability, innocence, and oftentimes the unconsciousness of their own effect, rendering the threat more difficult to detect and resist. This paper aims to explore how Wolf Totem signifies a breakthrough among novels and films with similar themes, thereby offering a profound critique of sent-down youths’ role in the internal colonization of ethnic minorities.

Session C

Bei Gao, “Kō-Ain and It’s Assessment of China’s Strategic Resources and War Making Capacity during World War II”

Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Keywords: Japan, China, Sino-Japanese War

The fall of Wuhan in late October 1938 brought to an end the “first stage of the Sino-Japanese War”. Thereafter, the war in China became deadlocked. Kō-Ain (or the Asian Development Board) was officially launched in December 1938. Unlike other Japanese intelligence institutions operating in wartime China, Kō-Ain was a governmental agency. Prime Minister Konoe Fumimaro was its president, and it enjoyed the same authority as other ministries. Kō-Ain was responsible for investigating and drafting policies regarding political, economic and cultural matters in China. Japan’s invasion of East Asia during World War II was exceedingly ambitious. Relatively small Japan attempted to subjugate extensive territories in East Asia and several hundred million people. It could not rely solely on military power. The Japanese needed reliable information to help them manage these lands and consolidate their power more efficiently. Consequently, intelligence organizations played a critical role in providing the Japanese government and military with information concerning the territories they occupied. Kō-Ain conducted comprehensive research and completed numerous studies of China’s strategic resources and its capacity to wage war against the Japanese. Its research and investigations covered topics such as China’s strategic raw materials and food reserves, the country’s medical facilities and capabilities, communication networks, contributions to its war effort from overseas Chinese, and the wartime capital Chongqing’s economic development. This paper evaluates how Kō-Ain’s activities supported the Japanese government and military with much needed intelligence for its decision-making during a crucial period of the protracted conflict between China and Japan.

Christopher Hulshof, “Sangsara dan San Sara: A Reassessment of the Japanese Occupation of Java, 1942-45″

Graduate Student, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Keywords: Java, History

This paper re-examines the popular belief that the Japanese occupation of the island of Java during the Pacific War was inherently cruel and institutionally predatory. By 1945, a pun began to circulate among the Javanese: “The Japanese occupation brought about san sara (plenty of food) to the Japanese and sangsara (misery) to Indonesians.” Since then, scholars have overly generalized Japanese occupational policy in Southeast Asia, assuming the brutality of military governments in regions such as Malaysia and the Philippines were mirrored across the region. Through an examination of the unique occupational policies of the Imperial 16th Army under General Imamura Hitoshi, local Javanese mythology and early 20th century Japanese ethnic origins theory, I argue that the Japanese occupational policy on Java was often focused on the betterment of local conditions and not inherently predatory. At no time did the Japanese occupational government confiscate as much foodstuff as the Dutch colonial government which preceded it. Instead, the widespread famine and suffering experienced on the island by 1944 was a product of natural disaster, maladministration, and local Javanese corruption.

Jing Li, “Mao Zedong, Zhu De, and the Chinese Communists’ War with Japan, 1937-1940″

Associate Professor, Duquesne University

Keywords: Zhu De, Eighth Route Army

When the Chinese Communists joined the war with Japan in 1937, they had to deal with a wide range of issues. The priority was the defeat of Japanese invaders, but the continued political contention with Chinese Nationalists remained a major concern. Tension and rivalry within the top leadership of the CCP also played a role, which was partly influenced by the Moscow-based Comintern. Further complicating the matter was the fact that Mao, the emerging chief leader of the Communist Party, stayed in the rear while Zhu De, Commander-in-Chief of the Eighth Route Army, directed the Communists’ war with the Japanese on the front. This paper examines how these related factors affected the Chinese Communists’ decision-making in the first three years of the war with Japan and how this process in turn contributed to the power realignment in the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

Session D

Imelda Djatirman, “Normalizing Piety through Modesty: Fashion, Rituals, and Social Media in Indonesia”

University of Wisconsin at Madison

Keywords: Indonesia

When I was younger, veiling was only common for those who had just returned from the hajj, the most sought after Islamic pillar. I argue women’s decisions to veil as largely voluntary but shaped by social pressures that can be quite extreme, and accelerated by the fast pace of social media circulation in Indonesia. I also argue that women’s participation in becoming more pious is influenced by the overwhelming Islamic nature of their environment which includes pronouncements by various Islamic cleric and social media influencers and the liminality of seminal religious rituals. Both Instagram and YouTube serves as platforms that allow ordinary people, celebrities and social media influencers to converse, to compliment, to promote one another, to promote brands, to make a career, and to even to attack the person they follow. My research shows that there is a constant conversation in social media in Indonesia that attracts young women to wearing veils. As the social media is increasingly overwhelmed by a homogenizing message reflecting specific Islamic value and performative practices, Indonesian women will be increasingly influenced to perform piety in their dress and voluntarily conform to wearing the veil.

Sukshma Vedere, “Bodies of Excess in Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance”

Graduate Student, George Washington University

Keywords: Indian Writing

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry illustrates the underside of India’s modernizing programs through the sterilization campaigns and the growing begging economy with its own practice of mutilations during the Emergency (1975-77). I argue that Mistry illustrates the disabled body as a site of violence and uses the disabled subject to articulate the need for a more inclusive modern citizenship. Mistry displaces the traditional idea of the citizen, the nation, the family, and the home. He strives to articulate a space for the disabled subject within the socio-cultural framework of the postcolonial state (although his disabled subjects are represented through the medical model of disability, which is the framework adopted by the State). I examine the Indian elite’s pursuit of modernization and the elimination of poverty by purging lives that did not contribute towards the economy by drawing from the works of Michel Foucault, Parth Chatterjee, and Peter Morey among other scholars to underscore the relation of disabled subaltern embodiment to the national imagination of an able-bodied Indian citizen.

Wenqi Yang, “It is Not Our Choice: Chinese Police Officers’ Perceptions of Police Response to Domestic Violence”

Graduate Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Keywords: China

This study focuses on Chinese police officers’ attitudes and perceived barriers regarding policing domestic violence cases and demonstrates that it is not individual officers’ patriarchal beliefs but institutional obstacles that contribute to their reluctance to address domestic violence aggressively. Combining the grounded theory method with ethnographic approaches, I interviewed 47 police officers and conducted 6-month participant observation in an industrial city in Northeast China. The findings suggest that China’s pro-mediation policies, the police system’s overall turn toward community policing, the understaffed reality, and the demanding emotional labor involved in responding to domestic violence incidents work synergistically, leading to officers’ feelings of powerlessness and unwillingness while intervening in domestic violence cases.

Session E

Hin Ming Frankie Chik, “Han Misappropriation and Denigration of the Qin Legacy: The Myth of Chinese Characters’ (D)Evolution in Han Sources”

Graduate Student, Arizona State University


Thanks to the discoveries of Qin manuscripts in the PRC since the last century, modern scholars have been able to challenge the traditional narratives of the Qin dynasty (221-206 BC) which were formed primarily in the subsequent Han dynasty (202BC-220). One of the major challenges scholars have proposed is the myth of the Qin unification of writing that was said to be immediately successful in Han sources, for the archaeological evidence suggests that already before the early imperial era, small seal script, which had been considered a Qin invention, had been widely used, and that variants can still be seen in numerous early imperial manuscripts. Given that the traditional narratives do not match with the archaeological findings, this paper attempts to examine the political and intellectual agenda underlying these traditional narratives of the Qin reformation and unification of writing. It argues that Li Si, Zhao Gao, and Huwu Jing, the persons who were said to be in charge of the invention of the Qin seal script, were persons who deliberately misrepresented the reality and persons who rejected the authority of the past. Meanwhile, suggesting that the clerical script was invented by a Qin official, those narratives contended that writing in the Han preserved only administrative value but lost its moral and sacred value. Thus, the Han scholars who we’re compelled to use either small seal or clerical characters to read classical texts could no longer fully understand the secret messages the ancient sages, particularly Confucius, had conveyed. Han myth of the Qin unification and reformation of writing, thus, aims to search for a culprit of the difficulties Han scholars were encountering.

Shuguang Wang, “The Building of “Zhongguo” Terminologies: Formation, Challenges, and Differentiation”

Graduate Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keywords: Literature Review

Sun Ge mentioned in How does Asia mean, Asia is not only a “geographical concept”, it is shaped in a relationship with Europe. Zhongguo, too, is not only a geographical concept. It brings about nebulous relationships and terminologies. When used in history, Zhongguo is often bundled with mixed conceptions and stresses the political power or authority, and its understanding should be linked with other similar words. In terms of Zhongyuan, it focuses more on the expression of geographical territory. As for Zhonghua, it seems more flexible and elastic especially considering the limitation of political and geographical boundaries. They point to similar notions but with different emphasis, and they all contribute to the formation and identification of the Zhongguo, or China today. As Baik argued in his paper regarding the Chinese empire discourse that historical contents and contexts should be considered when discussing issues like investigating a terminology, this paper would like to further highlight the importance to rethink the formation of Zhongguo (China) in its original contexts with a list of tightly connected terminologies to better understand its cultural indications deeply rooted in Chinese culture. Hopefully, this paper can shed more light on the Zhongguo terminologies and relative narratives like the “Tian Xia” (天下) discourse.

Uffe Bergeton, “Wenming ‘Civilization’ and Xi Jinping’s Archeology of China as a Civilizational State”

Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Keywords: China, Xi Jinping, Civilizational State

Since becoming president in 2013 Xi Jinping has promoted wenming ⽂明 (‘civilization’) as a key concept of both domestic and foreign policy. At a 9/28/2020 Political Bureau meeting called specifically to discuss archeology(!), he defined the “archeology campaign” as aiming to “guide the people . . . to better understand the origin and development history of Chinese civilization, and conduct international exchanges to let the rest of the world know more about Chinese civilization, history and national spirit” ( In this paper, I use text-mining techniques to show how the frequencies of the word wenming and related terms, such as wenming shehui ‘civilized society,’ zhongguo wenming ‘Chinese civilization,’ in large text corpora can be used to understand changes in political climates. Since wenming originated from Europe and referred to a non-Sinocentric concept of ‘civilization’, it was the ideal conceptual tool for early 20th century Chinese intellectuals who wanted to make a clean break from what they perceived to be the stagnant worldview of the imperial past in order to allow the fledgling Chinese nation-state to join the community of other ‘civilized’ nation-states. This use of wenming declined after the establishment of the PRC and fell out of use during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The early post-Mao period saw a budding renaissance of the word in political discourse. However, it was not until the beginning of the 21st millennium that the wenming became a central political concept. Now the wenming is increasingly used in a new sense to bolster Han nationalism and celebrate what is perceived as China’s status as a civilizational state sui generis. Rather than rejecting the imperial past, the PRC seeks to bolster China’s international standing by rooting “Chinese civilization” zhongguo

SUNDAY 2:30PM – 4:00PM:

Session A

Bonnie Wang, Upper School Chinese Teacher, Durham Academy

Yan Liu, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Duke University

Vicky Wang, Upper School Chinese Teacher, St. Paul’s School

Our schools and nation are facing multiple transcendent challenges in the year of 2020. One of them is the discrimination and racism against Asian American during COVID-19. As Asian language and culture educators, we must actively address this critical issue in our culturally responsive curriculum and support students of Asian heritage in the school community. This roundtable session will explore anti-racist pedagogy and demonstrate strategic ways of facilitating difficult conversations with students about race and racism, in particular times like now. Two high school teachers and one college professor will share several curricular examples to demonstrate how to integrate anti-racism perspectives into Asian language teaching. The presenters will also reflect on the successful collaboration between K-12 and postsecondary Chinese programs. Audience will be invited to discuss the sample lesson plans in Chinese language classrooms and how to implement anti-racism into other disciplines of Asian studies or different age groups of learners.

Session B

Quade Robinson, “Transnational Connections in Chinese Post-Socialist Television Advertisement”

Graduate Student, Harvard University

Keywords: Japanese Advertising, Marketing

My paper examines the changes in the social atmosphere of mainland China through the lens of television advertisement, primarily using a comparative study of advertisements from mainland China, Japan, and Taiwan that span the late 70s through the 90s as the framework for analysis. I support scholars’ claims that many Chinese companies initially sought out Japanese marketing techniques, finding that the use of specific advertising techniques, such as information-dense brief messages and the use of jingles, are reminiscent of the “media-mix” marketing strategy that came to prominence in Japanese advertising during the period. On the other hand, China’s socialist past had historically favored truthful advertisements and led to a less rigid gender binary in society. Post-socialist advertising retains elements of its socialist past, but advertisers also sought to undo some of these constructs, marketing directly to female consumers as a form of market segmentation, and employed some of the effective, albeit underhanded, advertising techniques characteristic of market economies. As television came to prominence as a communication medium for both the public and private sector during the post-socialist period, advertisement also became an important way to influence social mores, through promoting consumption and addressing issues such as gender roles in society. The post-socialist advertising techniques adopted by China demonstrate clear transnational connection, as they sought out the techniques of the more economically developed Japan and Taiwan. Rather than create an essentialist system directed only inwards, China looked outwards to develop a system based on other successful Asian systems and techniques.

Ryan Dong Yang, “Framing the Ineffable: Jia Zhangke’s Slow Cinema and the Life of Minor Affects”

Graduate Student, University of Georgia

Keywords: Zhangke Jia

Explicating an ontological inquiry of the vitality of photography, André Bazin in the opening essay of What Is Cinema? writes, “For the first time an image of the world is formed automatically, without the creative intervention of man.” The historical function of arts from painting to cinema, for him, shows a unitary effort of the artists to capture and sustain the autonomous life of framed objects through the technique of realism. Such a principle not only influences a generation of French directors, but also extends its impact to art cinema in Hong Kong and mainland China, with the work of Jia Zhangke as a chief example. Ira Jaffe characterizes Jia’s visual style as “slow cinema,” such that the audience experiences a relatively motionless camera and excessive long takes and long-shots, to wear out the overly affective décor, lighting, and color. Jaffe’s study leaves open the question: what is the Jia’s striking presentation of slowness for? This essay therefore attempts to further decode Jia’s slow cinema through an examination of The World (2005) and Still Life (2006) and Mountains May Depart (2015), and argue that his ethnographic cinema exemplifies a style of “brutal realism” that visualizes the otherwise ineffable affects of the voiceless, by letting the camera generously record the silent but wounded feelings of the proletariats under the grand narrative of Chinese modernization. In addition, it is precisely such a technique of slow cinemathat makes possible Jia’s distinctive narrative style of irony.

Su-ching Huang, “Double Vision: Glocal Allegory and Transpacific Horror”

Associate Professor, East Carolina University

Keywords: Transpacificism

In his Double Vision (雙瞳, 2002), the Taiwanese director Kuo-fu Chen (陳國富) participates in the transpacific circuit of cinematic remakes. Double Vision begins as a detective film featuring an FBI agent (David Morse) assigned to Taipei to assist with a serial murder case, but as the plot unravels, the narrative gradually takes on a supernatural quality and ends without a generic film noir resolution; it does not offer a clear explanation of the true identity and motive of the perpetrator. Such an ambiguous ending and subversion of detective film conventions yield interesting interpretations when we read the film in its historical and regional context. Released in 2002 and featuring a transnational cast with well-known actors from Taiwan (Rene Liu 劉若英), Hong Kong (Tony Leung梁家輝), and the US (David Morse), Double Vision participated in a renewed cycle of high grossing Asian horror films and their Hollywood remakes, including The Ring (G. Verbinski, 2002), The Grudge (2004) and its sequel The Grudge 2 (2006, both directed by T. Shimizu), Dark Water (W. Salles, 2005), to name only a few. However, instead of simply adopting the horror formula, Chen combines horror conventions with those of noir, buddy film, and family drama to indict the technocratic cult spreading across the Asia Pacific with globalization. The film’s ambiguous ending suggests a connection between the horrifying serial murders and the high-tech startup co-founders (who have returned to Taiwan with graduate degrees from the US) and their protégé-cum-mentor, an innocent-looking Taiwanese girl born with the congenital anatomical anomaly of having double pupils in her eyes. I read the film’s lack of a satisfying closure as a critique of US cultural and political influence over Taiwan on the one hand, and of ineffectual Taiwanese resistance to US imperialism on the other, symbolized by the fatalities associated with the girl’s double pupils.

Asynchronous Material

Session C

Lu Huang, “Huiyan fazhao’s晦巖法照 (1185-1273) ‘home mountain’ interpretation of the ‘essence of precepts’ ”

Graduate Student, Temple University

Keywords: shanjia/shanwai schism

This paper seeks to investigate Huiyan fazhao’s 晦巖法照 (1185-1273) understanding of precepts through a close reading of his Fa hua jing san da bu du jiao ji 法華經三⼤部讀教記. Comparing Fazhao’s explanation of the “essence of precepts” (jieti戒體) with earlier Tiantai天台 masters Zhiyi智顗 (539-598), Zhanran 湛然 (711-782), and the Song 宋 period (960-1279) “later off mountain” (hou shanwai後⼭外) monk Shenzhi Congyi神智從義 (1042-1091), it is clear that their doctrinal stands also influenced their understanding of precepts as well. Moreover, as a follower of “home mountain” (shanjia⼭家) faction in Tiantai tradition, Fazhao inherited Siming zhili’s 四明知禮 (960-1028) “nature-inclusion” (xingju性具) thought and applied it in his exegesis of the “essence of precepts.” Despite “home mountain” faction’s claim to be the orthodoxy in Tiantai, Fazhao’s conflation of “nature matter” (xingse性⾊) with Yogācāra tradition’s “wholesome seeds” (shanzhong善種) seems to fall exactly into the one-sided view criticized by Zhiyi, who regarded it as a kind of “other-production” (tasheng他⽣), which directly conflicts with the dependent co-arising principle in Buddhism. This shows that the exegetical work on the “essence of precepts” can be additional materials for us to understand the doctrinal factions of Tiantai tradition in Song宋 period (960-1279), especially the criticism on “home mountain” faction from the “off-mountain” side.

Seojeong Shin, “Poetic and Personal Landscape Album, Marvelous Verses without Sounds by Xiao Yuncong

Adjunct Professor, American University

Keywords: Art History, Landscape Painting, Poetic Painting

The Marvelous Verses without Sounds, painted by 17th C scholar artist Xiao Yuncong (1596-1673) is an album composed of 12 leaves of landscape paintings with poems by the artist. It is considered a notable example of three perfection (sanjue), showing a harmonious combination of painting, calligraphy, and poetry, and as a later-given title of the album expressed, the relationship between paintings and poetic texts is an important key to fully appreciating Xiao’s album. However, this album is slightly different from the lyrical painting or poetry painting (shiyi hua) genre, the painting mainly illustrating the poem or expressing a poetic mood. In Xiao’s album, the artist’s poetry seems to comment or complement his paintings. His paintings depicting his mundane life and his melancholic poetry reveal who Xiao was – an aged, learned man who had witnessed the fall of Ming. He longed for the life of a recluse, by layering the references of historical figures, ancient master’s style, or Daoist connotations. This album is an excellent example of a trend of personalized landscape paintings during the late Ming and early Qing period.

Suiyun Pan, “Bai Juyi’s Yuhuan and Homer’s Helen: from Seductresses to Beauties”

Graduate Student, Yale University

Keywords: Confucian Aesthetics, Bai Juyi, the Iliad

Yang Yuhuan has been deemed one of the Four Great Beauties (mei ren) in Chinese culture since the late Yuan dynasty. Nevertheless, the renowned Tang poet Bai Juyi refuses the use of the word mei (beautiful) when he introduces Yuhuan in his narrative poem “Song of Everlasting Regret.” Instead, the poet characterizes her as se (the immorally connoted feminine charm) from the very beginning of his magnum opus. Conventionally, feminine charm (se), with its implication of physical allure and carnality, not only differs from, but is also antithetical to, true beauty (mei). That such a linguistic distinction exists reflects the extent to which aesthetics is associated with ethics in Confucian philosophy. Yuhuan, who is supposed to have kindled the An Lushan Rebellion and the decline of the empire, can understandably be classified as se. However, not bogged down in the stereotypical view of the day, Bai Juyi, with his subsequent exploration of Yuhuan’s morality, eventually elevates his heroine into a Confucian beauty whose external pulchritude is ultimately shown to be congruent with her good moral character, which is increasingly foregrounded over the course of the poem. Sharing a similar fate and reputation, Yuhuan’s western counterpart Helen of Troy in Homer’s Iliad is blamed by her peers for corrupting the Trojan prince Paris and thereby causing the Trojan War. But just like Bai Juyi, the Greek poet Homer exhibits Helen’s morality in a way that calls into question the public’s censure of her. Examined in light of Confucian aesthetics, the Homeric Helen likewise seems genuinely beautiful (mei) rather than merely seductive (se). In this sense, both poets rescue the women from their infamy and transform their traditional image as a prototypical “femme fatale” by means of moral beautification.

Session D

Travis Shutz, “Mobile, Agile, Hostile: Maritime Violence and Territoriality in Sixteenth Century Ming China”

Graduate Student, Binghamton University (SUNY)

Keywords: Piracy

Early in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the first emperor Hongwu prohibited overseas travel (haijin) to limit private contact with foreign agents. Over the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the Ming government fluctuated between strict and laxed enforcement of haijin. In 1548, however, a more stringent prosecution transformed illegal—yet largely peaceful—smuggling into violent piracy. In 1567, after two decades of rampant raiding, the Ming Longqing Emperor asserted imperial control over private seaborne trade by authorizing commercial vessels to sail from South China to Southeast Asia. While the well-researched policy shift “kaihai” (opening the seas) sought to change illicit smuggling-piracy into licit commerce, it only legalized trade on one side of the Fujian-Guangdong provincial border. Exploring the other side of the historical coin, this paper looks at how the Ming state sought to control maritime violence by eliminating pirates who operated in the supposedly pacified “open seas” period of the 1570s. With maritime warfare remaining largely underexamined in previous histories of China, the paper addresses two important gaps in the literature, naval campaigns and pirate warfare. Taking the pirate group under infamous Guangdong native Lin Feng (known in the Spanish Empire as Limahong) as a case study, it argues re-centralizing control of maritime violence required stripping pirates of their maritime mobility and military might, rather than merely permitting a select number of trading ships to sail abroad. In other words, to adopt the Delueze and Guattarian language of territoriality, the Ming state needed to re-territorialize wayward subjects from a violent and mobile existence to the Ming ideal pacifist and sedentary lifestyle.

Margherita Zanasi, “The Global Origins of Developmentalism: The View from Late Imperial China”

Professor, Louisiana State University


The main objective of my paper is to explore the global origins of economic development, challenging the notion that its basic ideas and policies were the exclusive products of the industrialized West. More specifically, I focus on the Chinese discourse on the economy and the policies it inspired. Starting in the mid-eighteenth century, unprecedented growth in population and declining agricultural production created what Qing scholars and officials described as an economy of scarcity (buzu). This crisis, they believed, presented unprecedented features and required unprecedented measures of state intervention aimed to expand and reorganize economic production.

Paul Gosselin, “Revisiting Ma Zhongying’s 1931 Invasion of Xinjiang: Muslim Identity and Activism along the Gansu-Xinjiang Frontier”

Independent Scholar

Keywords: Qing Empire, civic activism

The ‘frontier question’ developed in the post-1912 Chinese republic as one of the most salient legacies of China’s 20th century empire-to-nation transition. Statesmen and militarists in the core debated over whether and how to reclaim the former Qing empire’s non-Han frontiers. As a result, the northwestern and ethno-culturally diverse province of Gansu – straddling Mongolia, the Tibetan plateau, and Turkic Muslim-majority Xinjiang – emerged as a contested sit for Chinese nationalists to reunify post-imperial borderlands. However, scholarship on many republican-era Chinese elites in Gansu often frames their approaches to the ‘frontier question’ in terms of ‘warlord-era politics’, prioritizing military power struggles over the linkages between ‘warlords’ and local civic networks. Confronting these gaps, this paper recontextualizes the Chinese-Muslim officer Ma Zhongying’s 1931 invasion of Xinjiang as part of a broader contemporary pattern of regional Chinese militarists intervening across post-Qing frontiers in defense of national unity. In doing so, it highlights how republican-era politics of reimagining post-imperial identities and borders motivated new civic and activist linkages between core and periphery. This paper demonstrates for the first time that Ma’s military clique was connected to an emergent Chinese-Islamic activist network across Gansu that saw political unity with Xinjiang’s Turkic Muslims and constitutional protections for regional Muslim autonomy as the solution to balancing Muslim communal interests with Chinese national unification. The discourses, strategies, and connections of this activist network – particularly to Turkic elites in eastern Xinjiang – remain understudied, despite its importance to understanding how Ma’s invasion encapsulated locally-formulated political visions as frontier societies confronted and negotiated with national authorities.

Session E

Shibin Yan, “Care Regime in China and India through the Lens of Eldercare”

Graduate Student, Rutgers University

Keywords: India

Most comparative research on care regimes has focused on Europe and the U.S. However, scholars have paid little attention to the care regimes in China and India. Over time both countries have been undergoing a major transition from informal to formal care. In particular, the growth of the elderly population in both countries presents enormous challenges to their longterm care practices. In response, the two nations have been restructuring the relationship among care providers: the state, the family, and the market. However each had done so in different ways. This paper aims to apply Esping-Andersen’s welfarestate regime framework to analyze the health care system in China and India. I develop an index of formal and informal care based on 14 criteria in order to examine the effect of different care-regimes on social development in China and India, focusing on eldercare practices. Using these criteria, I argue that the care regime China is adopting follows the socio-democratic model, relying more on families and the state to provide elder care services. Unlike China, India has utilized a liberal model with a heavy reliance on the market sector. The index provides a critical tool to analzye how differences in care arrangements give rise to different social and economic outcomes in both countries, and establishes a new theoretical tool that can provide a means to systematically analzye comparable changes in other developing countries.

Yanping Ni, “Foregrounding Women Behind Black Lung: Other Caregiving(s) and Other Activism(s)”

Graduate Student, Duke University

Keywords: female caregiving and activism, uncontracted and invisible labor, rural China

Pneumoconiosis, also known as “black lung,” is the most serious occupational disease in China. The enormous number of cases (870,000 by 2018) ironically contrasts with the rapid economic development and the average improvement of living standards for most Chinese. The cause for the disease is mostly years of work in dust-intensive industries like mining and urban construction. Lack of protection expose the workers to the vast dust while other poor conditions make their bodies more vulnerable; Once sickened, the process for compensation can be extremely difficult due to their status as uncontracted laborers. All of these difficulties, along with the incurability of the disease, add up as heavy burdens to both the patients and their families. While the seriousness of “black lung” has gained much attention, missing in the current literature is the role of women in the treatment, fight, and care of those afflicted with black lung. In contrast, females in reality take up most responsibilities after the disease “invades” into the patients’ bodies (usually male) and into the families. Women, first, have to take care of their sickened husbands, brothers, and sons, the part of responsibility that most women in a traditional Chinese family are used to. In addition, women have to learn to be “the men in the house,” taking up physical work and the roles of breadwinner and sometimes protestor, roles previously allocated to the men. Women experience a doubled responsibility of being. My project focuses on women’s invisible, non-wage, subsistence labor, and doubled responsibilities. Through participant observation and interviews, it seeks a better understanding of the effects caused by the non-human agent of dust to the family. It is further dedicated to exploring what Joel Robbin (2013) has called “an anthropology of the good,” in which practices of love, persistence, and responsibility are intertwined with the pain and the darkness in everyday strivings.

Zhen Wang, “China’s Cadre Management Regime: What Do We Really Know?”

Associate Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

Keywords: bianzhi

This article reviews several groups of recent scholarship on four key components of the post-Mao party state’s cadre management regime—the nomenklatura, the cadre performance evaluation system, bianzhi, and the party school system—as well as other less systemically-studied personnel practices. The review suggests that findings of every group of studies are clouded by a great deal of uncertainty due to the extreme complexity and secrecy of the Chinese bureaucratic structure and politics, and that this uncertainty thus challenges the confidence level of research applying these findings to explain cadre behavior. The review also detects a common disconnect both within and among major groups of studies that has prevented a more accurate understanding of the workings of the cadre management regime. This review serves to evoke rethinking on the oftentimes taken-for-granted beliefs of how control and incentivizing mechanisms of the personnel management institutions can predict individual behavior.

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January 15, 2021 @ 8:30 am
January 16, 2021 @ 4:00 pm


Carolina Asia Center
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The Carolina Asia Center supports diverse Asia-related events. However, CAC co-sponsorship of any talk, seminar, documentary screening, film screening, performance or celebration does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein. As an academic institution, we value diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding.

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