Asian Soft Power Discussed at East Asian Studies Student Conference

On Feb. 22, the College of East Asian Studies hosted its second annual student conference, focusing on the theme of "Asian Soft Power."

On Feb. 22, the College of East Asian Studies hosted its third annual student conference, focusing on the theme of “Asian Soft Power.” More than 70 students attended the event.

Soft Power is defined as the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than coercion or payment. A country's soft power rests on its resources of culture, values and policies.

“Soft power” is defined as the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than coercion or payment.

Panelists included Lisa Dombrowski, associate professor of film studies; Stephen Angle, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies; Takeshi Watanabe, assistant professor of East Asian studies (pictured at table) and Mary Alice Haddad, chair of the College of East Asian Studies (pictured speaking).  

Panelists included Lisa Dombrowski, associate professor of film studies; Stephen Angle, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies; Takeshi Watanabe, assistant professor of East Asian studies (pictured at table) and Mary Alice Haddad, chair of the College of East Asian Studies (pictured speaking).

Angle talked about “sharp power” and Confucius Institutes.

Angle talked about “sharp power” as an alternative means of cultural influence and manipulation, using the Confucius Institutes as an example.

Dombrowski compared Korean and Chinese attempts to use their film and music industries to generate soft power.

Dombrowski compared Korean and Chinese attempts to use their film and music industries to generate soft power.

Takeshi discussed Japanse soft power, especially looking at food.

Watanabe discussed Japanese soft power, especially in terms of food.

Haddad talked about the ways Asian governments are using soft power.

Haddad talked about the ways Asian governments are using soft power.

Following the faculty panel, small student-led breakout sessions were held in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and English. The different groups enabled students, faculty, native speakers and language-learners to discuss the issues raised in the panel in a variety of languages. (Photos by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19):