Tag Archive for East Asian Studies

Wagoner’s Book Receives Association for Asian Studies Award

Phillip Wagoner

Phillip Wagoner

This month, the Association for Asian Studies honored Phillip Wagoner, professor of art history, professor of archaeology, with the Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize.

Wagoner and his co-author Richard Easton received the award for their book, Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India’s Deccan Plateau, 1300-1600, published by Oxford University Press in 2014. The Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize honors a distinguished work of scholarship in South Asian Studies that promises to define or redefine the understanding of whole subject areas. The book’s subject matter must deal with South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh).

Power, Memory, Architecture is the first comprehensive exploration of history and archaeology in the Deccan Plateau. The book integrates socio-cultural history with architecture and archaeology.

Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India’s Deccan Plateau, 1300-1600,

Power, Memory, Architecture: Contested Sites on India’s Deccan Plateau, 1300-1600,

The Association for Asian Studies is a scholarly, non-political, non-profit professional association open to all persons interested in Asia and the study of Asia. With approximately 8,000 members worldwide, representing all the regions and countries of Asia and all academic disciplines, the AAS is the largest organization of its kind.

Through its publications, online resources, regional conferences, and annual conference, the AAS provides its members with a unique and invaluable professional network. Wagoner will receive the prize during the AAS’s annual conference in Seattle in early April.

Angle’s Book Published in Chinese Translation

A book by Stephen Angle, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, was recently published in Chinese translation by Jiangxi People’s Press. Titled, “Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy: Toward Progressive Confucianism,” the book was originally published by Polity in 2013. The Chinese version includes a new preface.

According to the blurb for the English-language version:

Confucian political philosophy has recently emerged as a vibrant area of thought both in China and around the globe. This book provides an accessible introduction to the main perspectives and topics being debated today, and shows why Progressive Confucianism is a particularly promising approach. Students of political theory or contemporary politics will learn that far from being confined to a museum, contemporary Confucianism is both responding to current challenges and offering insights from which we can all learn.

The Progressive Confucianism defended here takes key ideas of the twentieth-century Confucian philosopher Mou Zongsan (1909-1995) as its point of departure for exploring issues like political authority and legitimacy, the rule of law, human rights, civility, and social justice. The result is anti-authoritarian without abandoning the ideas of virtue and harmony; it preserves the key values Confucians find in ritual and hierarchy without giving in to oppression or domination. A central goal of the book is to present Progressive Confucianism in such a way as to make its insights manifest to non-Confucians, be they philosophers or simply citizens interested in the potential contributions of Chinese thinking to our emerging, shared world.

Angle is also professor of philosophy, professor of East Asian Studies.

Shinohara’s Woodcuts on Display at Roger Williams University

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Artwork by Keiji Shinohara, artist in residence, is on display at Roger Williams University through Oct. 28. After two separate showings at Odakyu Shinjuku Art Salon in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan and Art Zone-Kaguraoka in Kyoto, Japan, Shinohara’s “Color Harmony/ Color Woodcut” exhibit comes to a close at Roger Williams’ SAAHP Exhibition Gallery.

Shinohara describes his work as “employing ancient methods, while diverging from tradition by experimenting with ink application and different materials to add texture,” thus creating what he calls “a fusion of Japanese aesthetic and Western modernism.”

“Color Harmony / Color Woodcut” focuses on his perception of different landscapes. The aim, he says, is not to portray “realistic accuracy,” but to concentrate on the “feelings and emotions behind these abstract landscapes.”

Shinohara is on the faculty in the Art and Art History Department and Department of East Asian Studies.

Johnston Reveals Truth About Bombings of Hiroshima, Nagasaki in Op-Ed

johnston550Seventy years later, it is widely believed that President Harry S. Truman made a decision to authorize the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The truth, writes William Johnston in the Hartford Courant, is that he never did, at least not explicitly.

Johnston, professor of history, professor of East Asian Studies, examines in an op-ed how history has been rewritten surrounding the bombings. In fact, Truman’s first explicit decision about atomic bombs was to later order that their further use be stopped without his “express authority.” But in summer 1946, Johnston explains, the need arose to write an alternative narrative, as the bomb’s horrific effects on the people of Japan were revealed, and critics started asking whether the atomic bombings had been necessary, or even truly effective in ending the war.

Johnston writes:

The historian’s job is to explain the past using the most complete evidence available. That evidence shows both that Truman’s most substantial atomic decision was to demand his express authority for future bombings and that the bombings’ role in ending the war was ambiguous.

We may not like it when history is fuzzy, but that’s how it is.

It is more important now than ever that we understand history’s ambiguities, especially when it comes to the history of World War II and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Our country today faces many national security threats, from terrorism to global warming. A healthy democracy requires a well-educated populace, and history plays a major role in that education. Science, technology engineering and math cannot replace it.

The 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan is a good time to recall their history and meaning. We need to remember where we have been while keeping an eye on the future. It is hard for those who are blind to the past to have a clear vision for the future.

Johnston is also professor of Science in Society, and professor in the Environmental Studies Program.

Johnston, Nakamura Present Papers at History of Science in East Asia Conference

Bill Johnston and Miri Nakamura celebrating after the conference at the Terroir Paris restaurant.

Professor Bill Johnston and Associate Professor Miri Nakamura celebrated with a toast after presenting papers in Paris.

Two Wesleyan faculty members presented talks at the 14th International Conference on the History of Science in East Asia, held in Paris, July 6-10.

On July 7, Miri Nakamura, associate professor of East Asian studies, read from a paper titled “Atomic Maids,” which focused on the role of Japanese housekeepers in mystery novels that were indirect criticisms of nuclear issues. On July 9, Bill Johnston, professor of history, professor of East Asian studies, professor of Science in Society, professor of environmental studies, spoke about the changing role of the environment in ideas about disease causation in 19th century Japan.

The conference is held every four years at venues around the world. Researchers from around the world came together to present and discuss their latest research relevant to the history of science, technology and medicine in East Asia from antiquity up to the present day. With 317 papers, about 200 of which were delivered as part of the 45 panels, this year’s conference was the largest ever held.

 

Jung ’15 Employs Oral History to Study WWII Memories

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Hyo Jeong (Tina) Jung ’15 interviewed more than 40 Korean and Japanese elders for her thesis, “Conversation of Empathy: Understanding Children’s Lives During World War II in Korea and Japan through Oral History.” (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

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In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Hyo Jeong (Tina) Jung from the Class of 2015. She is a history major with concentrations in social movements and contemporary history, and an East Asian studies minor.

Schwarcz Addresses Moral Dilemma, Ethics in China in Colors of Veracity

Vera Schwarcz, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, professor of history, is the author of a new book titled Colors of Veracity: A Quest for Truth in China, and Beyond, published by the University of Hawai’i Press in November 2014.

In Colors of Veracity, Schwarcz condenses four decades of teaching and scholarship about China to raise fundamental questions about the nature of truth and history. In vivid prose, she addresses contemporary moral dilemmas with a highly personal sense of ethics and aesthetics.

Drawing on classical sources in Hebrew and Chinese (as well as several Greek and Japanese texts), Schwarcz brings deep and varied cultural references to bear on the question of truth and falsehood in human consciousness. The book redefines both the Jewish understanding of emet (a notion of truth that encompasses authenticity) and the Chinese commitment to zhen (a vision of the real that comprises the innermost sincerity of the seeker’s heart-mind). Works of art, from contemporary calligraphy and installations to fake Chinese characters and a Jewish menorah from Roman times, shed light light on the historian’s task of giving voice to the dread-filled past.

Following in the footsteps of literary scholar Geoffrey Hartman, Schwarcz expands on the “Philomela Project,” which calls on historians to find new ways of conveying truth, especially when political authorities are bent on enforcing amnesia of past traumatic events.

Schwarcz, who was born and raised in Cluj, Romania, was one of the first exchange scholars to study in China in 1979 and has returned to Beijing many times since then.

For more information on the book or to order, visit the University of Hawai’i Press website.

Schwarcz will be speaking about her book at 4:15 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Wasch Center. The event is open to the public.

East Asia’s Religion, Folkore Shared at New Student-Curated CEAS Exhibit

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Uncover the hidden stories of East Asia’s religion and folklore at a new exhibit, “Not of This World,” at the College of East Asian Studies’ gallery. To inaugurate the new College of East Asian Studies, students curated this exhibition of the most compelling artworks from the college’s collection.

“Not Out of This World” is on display Sept. 10-Dec. 5 and features aesthetically pleasing pieces that reveal spiritual worlds filled with love, betrayal and faith.  A ghost woman who searches for her husband, an immortal trapped in a peasant’s body, and a wheel that spins prayers are examples of the East Asian artwork displayed that weave the supernatural with mystical elements.

The gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays. The gallery will be closed Oct. 18-21 and Nov. 25-Dec. 2. For more information call 860-685-2330.

Photos of the show’s opening are below: (Photos by Dat Vu ’16)

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Faculty Speak at Asian American Film Festival

Asian Cinevision and the 36th Annual Asian American Film Festival co-organized the 2014 Asian and Asian American Film Series. The film screenings take place on Monday nights at the Powell Family Cinema at the Center for Film Studies. The most recent film, "An Unbounded Romance," screened on Feb. 24 and was followed with a discussion moderated by, from left, Marguerite Nguyen, assistant professor of English; Stéphanie Ponsavady, assistant professor of French; Miri Nakamura, chair and assistant professor of Asian languages and literatures, assistant professor of East Asian studies; and Amy Tang, assistant professor of American studies and English.

Asian Cinevision and the 36th Annual Asian American Film Festival co-organized the 2014 Asian and Asian American Film Series. The film screenings take place on Monday nights at the Powell Family Cinema at the Center for Film Studies. The most recent film, “An Unbounded Romance,” screened on Feb. 24 and was followed with a discussion moderated by, from left, Marguerite Nguyen, assistant professor of English; Stéphanie Ponsavady, assistant professor of French; Miri Nakamura, chair and assistant professor of Asian languages and literatures, assistant professor of East Asian studies; and Amy Tang, assistant professor of American studies and English.

Zheng: “Wherever There Are Africans, There Is Good Music”

Su Zheng, associate professor of music, associate professor of East Asian studies, spoke in a recent China Daily USA article about the number of African musical artists in China and how their presence is “creating new types of harmony between the two lands.”

Zheng starts off by pointing out that “Wherever there are Africans, there is good music – just like wherever there are Chinese, there is good food.”

When she discovered that there were no reports on the presence of African music in China, she decided to research the music of the African diaspora herself. The research completed by Zheng and her team of three graduate students from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music shows, while it seems improbable, that African music will greatly influence Chinese music at some point.