Tag Archive for East Asian Studies
by Olivia Drake •
Vera Schwarcz, the Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, chair of the East Asian Studies Proggram, professor of history, professor of East Asian studies, is the author of Chisel of Remembrance, a new collection of poems that draws from roots in Jewish, Chinese, and other ancient traditions. The 76-page book of poetry was published from Antrim House Books.
by Corrina Kerr •
Thirty years ago, the United States opened its first embassy in the People’s Republic of China as our nation began reestablishing its relations with the country. Vera Schwarcz, professor of history and East Asian studies and director of the Freeman Center, remembers the events well. After all, she was part of them.
Schwarcz, an expert on Chinese culture, politics and literature, was one of only seven official exchange scholars invited to visit China in February 1979 when the embassy opened. Her recollections of this time, and her subsequent 30 years of experiences studying in and about China, served as the foundation for her presentation titled “A Thirty Year Harvest: Personal Reflections on U.S. China Relations.”
Schwarcz’s lecture kicked off Wesleyan’s Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies semester-long celebration and recognition of the reopening of community country to the western world.
During the lecture Schwarcz shared her insights, inspiration and challenges that have come from her personal relationship with China for the past three decades.
“I went to China as a so-called expert,” Schwarcz says. “I came back as a perennial student.”
by Olivia Drake •
In the sparsely populated, mountainous region of Ladakh, India, elderly Buddhist nuns are suffering from isolation, illiteracy and lack of respect from their communities. These women, who spent their lives serving their family or working as laborers, have rarely had the opportunity to become ordained or to worship in a monastery like the highly regarded male monks.
“These women have been devalued from the beginning,” says Jan Willis, professor of religion, professor of East Asian studies. “All they’ve ever wanted to do is serve the dharma and study, but instead, they’ve become servants of their community, or helpers for the monks.”
Willis, who has devoted part of the last seven years to helping a group of elderly Ladakhi nuns, is being honored as an “Outstanding Woman in Buddhism” for the year 2009 for making an “exceptional contribution to Buddhism.”