2023-2024 YEAR-END REVIEW

DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE


Dear CEAS Community,

 

Thank you so much for your support of the Center during this past year. It was a pleasure seeing you at our many events, workshops, and book talks, and our festive CEAS Lunches. This year, we welcomed new faculty, affiliate faculty, students, and CEAS associates. Among our many funding offerings for students, we expanded the popular Professional Training Grant program to graduate students across East Asian studies. We also migrated and updated the CEAS website, and are working on a new online catalog for our film collection. Our faculty, students, alumni, and supporters from across the globe connected at the Association of Asian Studies Annual Reception in Seattle. During this, my first year as director, I am especially grateful to our phenomenal Associate Director Abbey Newman, to our staff, Hyeonjin Schubert, Connie Yip, and Myra Su, to the Chairs and Interim Chairs of the committees, our student assistants, and our many partners across campus. On a personal note, I was happy that the support of CEAS and our Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education enabled the Smart Museum of Art and the University of Chicago to host the traveling exhibition "Meiji Modern: Fifty Years of New Japan" and enhance its accessibility to a broad viewership, from K-12 students to university students and audiences from around Chicago. As the exhibition prepares to close on June 9 and move to its final venue at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, I find myself with ample time to consider the future. Please contact me if you would like to discuss matters concerning the Center. I wish everyone a pleasant and productive summer and look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Best wishes,

 

Chelsea Foxwell

Director, Center for East Asian Studies

University of Chicago

The Center for East Asian Studies staff

congratulates the graduates of 2024!

This year's CEAS Lecture Series featured six distinguished speakers during the 2023-2024 academic year.


Brown University's Samuel Perry delivered the first lecture of the academic year entitled, "Toward a Queer Marxism: The Evolving Perversities of Gay Japan" that explored the complex and often contradictory strategies by which marginalized people have contested dominant cultures. Professor Perry is Associate Professor of East Asian Studies and Comparative Literature.


Spring quarter hosted a number of lectures in the series including Princeton's Janet Chen and her lecture, "The Sounds of Mandarin," that traced the surprising social history of a spoken standard language in China, from its creation as the national language of the early Republic in 1913, to its journey to postwar Taiwan, and its reconfiguration as the "common language" of the People's Republic after 1949.


Following this lecture, Harvard's Nicholas Harkness presented, "The Transpacific Matter of Sound; or, The Religious Media of Korean War Debris" where he considered transpacific trajectories of sound through some of sound's historically mediating matter of Protestant Christianity in South Korea after the Korean War.


Also hailing from Harvard, Peter K. Bol discussed the prolegomena to a study of "learning," as five fields of knowledge, theory, and practice that unfolded from the late 8th century into the Qing Dynasty in his lecture on "Histories of Learning, 8th-18th Century."


The University of Southern California's Benjamin Uchiyama presented on ex-soldier and criminal Kodaira Yoshio's crimes and their connection to his wartime experience in China, underscoring the importance for Japan to process its wartime past in, "The Serial Killer: Making Sense of War and Defeat in Occupied Japan (1945-1952)."


The month of May welcomed the final lecture of the year for the Series with the University of Rochester's Will Bridges, who spoke on the "Epistemology of the Violets, or Do Black Lives Still Matter for Asian Studies?" Professor Bridges argued that black lives matter to Asian Studies unconditionally and to that end, addressed the question of what might an Asian Studies that cultivates black epistemologies unconditionally look like.


This series is co-sponsored with the

University of Chicago Library.

CEAS is proud to continue its ongoing partnership with the Seminary Co-op Bookstores  with the 2023-2024

East Asia by the Book! CEAS Author Talks series!

From faculty and alumni to special guests, CEAS offers this series with the aim of engaging the broader community in conversations regarding key scholarship on East Asia.


This year featured a number of University of Chicago alumni and faculty publications including a book that examined the People's Republic of China's handling of epidemic information as it related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the decisions that influenced the scale and scope of the outbreak; as well as a look into the practice of "musical storytelling" by Japanese artists, fans, and amateur practioners who have used music to tell stories of everyday life in Japan from the late 1940s to 2018.


View recordings or read write-ups of some of our book talks by clicking on the hyperlink below!


View the full listing of authors and their publications here.

17th Annual Tetsuo Najita

Distinguished Lecture 

in Japanese Studies


Launched in 2007 by the CEAS Committee on Japanese Studies to honor the legacy of Tetsuo Najita, Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, this year's lecture welcomed Anne Allison, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. Professor Allison delivered her lecture, "Being Dead Otherwise," this spring at International House. To view the lecture online, click here.

From L to R: Haun Saussy (University of Chicago); Sebastian Liao (National Taiwan University); Daniel Hung (TECO Chicago); Heng-hao Chang (National Taipei University, Taiwan)

Co-sponsored with support from the Taiwan Ministry of Culture and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago (TECO) through their dedicated Spotlight Taiwan Program to showcase important scholarship on Taiwan, CEAS presented two lectures as part of the series in AY 2023-2024.


Sebastian Liao, Dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Distinguished Professor English and Comparative Literature at National Taiwan University in Taiwan discussed, "The Invisible China: Pirates, the South and the Diaspora."


Professor in the Department of Sociology, and Dean for the College of Social Sciences, Heng-hao Chang, presented "From “殘障” to “身心障礙者”: The Discursive Transformation of Disability Rights in Post-War Taiwan," where he addressed the discursive formation of disability rights in post-war Taiwan.

Parallax Visions:

War, Politics, Systems

September 8-9, 2023

A two-day conference in celebration of

Bruce Cumings

(Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of History, Emeritus)

From top to bottom: Kyeong-Hee-Choi (University of Chicago); Bruce Cumings (University of Chicago); Jaewoong Jeon (New York University); Suzy Kim (Rutgers University)

This conference brought together former and current students of Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of History Emeritus, Bruce Cumings, as they celebrated his critical scholarship.


The title of the conference took inspiration from one of his books (Parallax Visions, 1999) which showcases a breadth of fields that his scholarship has made lasting impacts on, from international history and political economy to comparative politics and social theory, with path breaking studies on the Korean War, the Cold War, and US relations with East Asia. While written at the end of the last century, it remains relevant to recall the significance of paying attention to differences in perspective and the importance of understanding and working through them, at yet another juncture of global realignments.


The program's schedule included presentations and roundtable sessions on key themes that emanated out of Professor Cumings' work by former students and colleagues on their latest research; and a video compilation that featured well wishes.


This event was co-sponsored with the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Department of History at the University of Chicago, and the University of Chicago Library.


Read more here.

Reimagining Politics and Confronting the Present in China and the World


A Teach-In Series


Initiated after a faculty and student forum held in January 2023 on the domestic and international repercussions of China's Blank Paper Movement, the Center for East Asian Studies introduced a new teach-in series entitled, "Reimagining Politics and Confronting the Present in China and the World," aimed to create a safe space where students and scholars from diverse backgrounds could gather to discuss topics of immediate concern. The series focused on how to understand new forms of action against the backdrop of their potential criminalization, and how to foster solidarities with marginalized groups and minorities, in China and elsewhere. Attendees were encouraged to bring their questions and thoughts to discuss in a broader forum. 

This year, Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jing Wang, discussed how blank white paper presented both strategic opportunities and ambiguities for social movements in China. She also conducted a special workshop where participants were invited to make zines together and reflect upon the significance of resistance and the potential for solidarity.

JERONIMO + CHOSEN

Film Screenings ft.

Director Joseph Juhn

October 5-6, 2023


This two-day screening event of the documentary films Jeronimo (2019) and Chosen (2022) featured the Director Joseph Juhn in conversation with Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Mee-Ju Ro.


Joseph Juhn is a lawyer-turned-filmmaker with passion for diasporic narratives. His documentary, Chosen, sheds light on the struggles and triumphs of five Korean Americans who ran for U.S. Congress in 2020, and has been praised by audiences and critics alike since its release in Korean theaters in 2022. Director Juhn's debut feature documentary, Jeronimo, released in 2019, explores the life of a Korean Cuban revolutionary named, Jeronimo Lim, and inspired a discourse on the concept of Korean diaspora in both the U.S. and Korea.


This event was supported with a CEAS Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education and co-sponsored with the International House Global Voices Program,

This project showcased a number of events, including a screening series and student-curated pop-up exhibition, featuring early video and time-based media art from China with artists who employed video and sound as a means to remember spaces, movements, and moments amidst a time of profound socioeconomic transformation within China around the turn of the new millennium.


Staged across the University of Chicago campus, the exhibition interrogated intersections between early moving image art and the physical precarities of public spaces in which many of these works were made. Some artists' work included exploring issues of ephemerality within the changing urban spaces of Shanghai, and emphasizing evanescence through various modes of repetition, along with direct employment of the camera’s lens. Collectively, these artists all share an interest in creating work that contemplates our everyday relationships with time, space, and memory.  


The screening series featured videos from Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor Wu Hung’s newly digitized archive of video and performance art from China. A roundtable discussion with Meiqin Wang (California State University, Northridge) and Madeline Eschenburg (Washburn University), and a Q&A session with the audience immediately followed the screenings.


This program series was made possible thanks to the generous support of a CEAS Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and the University of Chicago’s Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse. Additional support was provided by UChicago’s College Curricular Innovation and Undergraduate Research Fund, the Department of Art History, the Visual Resources Center, and the Center for the Art of East Asia.



Click here to read more about the project.

Squid Game:

Streaming TV in the Platform Era Workshop

November 10-11, 2023


Examining how streaming platforms are changing the global circulation of television, this workshop brought together scholars who work on East Asian television, social media, and digital platforms to think about how streaming platforms are changing the global circulation of tele-visual content.


Using the success of Netflix’s Squid Game as a starting point, the participants considered how streaming has changed what and how the world watches television; how it is reconfiguring the relation between producers and consumers across local contexts, particularly in East Asia; and how its interaction with other cultural platforms, like social media, encourage us to reconceptualize past ideas about audience response and the social uses of television.


This event was sponsored with generous support from a CEAS Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.


Click here to read more.

This three-part film series took place during the Winter Quarter of AY 2023-2024 and featured films that sought to understand the concept of adaptation broadly to investigate how cinema repurposes other media and why specific genres emerge more prominently at certain historical conjunctures. Each film selected encompasses three genres: comedy, documentary, and opera film, each respectively characterized by thematic and formal engagements with television, regional theater, and screen-based news.


Some of the screenings featured the films' directors in attendance, including Nothing News (庚子新年)'s Gu Xue, and Qiu Jiongjiong who directed A New Old Play (椒麻堂會) and Ode to Joy (彩排记). Audience members had the opportunity to engage in discussion with our special guests and ask questions immediately following the screenings.


This series was made possible by generous support from a CEAS Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and was co-sponsored with the Franke Institute for the Humanities, Film Studies Center, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and Asian Pop-Up Cinema who supported Part 1's screenings.

100 Years of China's All-Female

Yue Opera: Commemoration, Contemplation & Celebration

April 5-6, 2024


An exhilarating celebration of 100 Years of Women’s Yue Opera, this event marked the first time that Yue Opera was commemorated in a concentrated, multimedia manner that connected academic and practitioner perspectives outside of China.


The program consisted of a film screening and commentary on curated excerpts from five, Yue opera film classics, a keynote speech by Jiang Jin (Johns Hopkins University/East China Normal University), presentation panels engaging faculty specialists, a performance lecture, as well as a final roundtable discussion that reflected on the future possibilities for Yue Opera.


International House Assembly Hall was packed with a huge audience for the moving lecture and stunning performance featuring contemporary Yue Opera star actress Jun’an Wang, whose magical rendition of excerpts from Liu Yong, was a highlight of this fascinating program dedicated not only to 100 years of Women's Yue Opera's history, but also to all women artists.


This event was organized by Susanna Sun, a Ph.D. student in the joint program of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Theatre and Performance Studies, and was generously supported by a CEAS Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the International House Global Voices Program, and the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.

Wu Fei Mini-Residency

April 7-8, 2024


This year, CEAS was honored to support the mini-residency of Wu Fei, a genre-bending composer, guzheng virtuoso, and vocalist from Beijing, China. The residency was part of the UChicago Presents Music Without Borders Series that showcased Wu Fei's solo guzheng/vocal suite Moon Hunter which draws on the singing form of ancient Chinese poetry. Wu’s original work weaves together traditional guzheng, folk songs, and Chinese opera.


Wu's live performance at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts featured a program on Sunday, April 7, encompassing the history of the guzheng and the regional linguistic character of different singing styles of Chinese operas. A free masterclass took place with Jade Chinese Music Ensemble the same evening.


On Monday, April 8, Wu Fei provided an outreach performance for local high school students and then participated in a lunch conversation at the International House. Beginning with a short guzheng performance, the lunch program featured a conversation and audience Q&A session moderated by Anna Schultz, Associate Professor of Music. Audience members were able to learn more about Wu Fei’s career, her creative process, her chamber orchestral work “Hello Gold Mountain” and her growth as an artist and immigrant in creating new languages, tropes, and cross-cultural communication through music.


This event was sponsored with generous support from a CEAS Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and presented in partnership with UChicago Presents and the International House Global Voices Program.

A Night of Japanese Storytelling with San’yūtei Ponta

April 15, 2024

Co-sponsored with the International House’s Global Voices Program, the Japan Business Society of Detroit, and with support from a CEAS Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for East Asian Studies hosted an exciting evening of Japanese storytelling (rakugo) by rakugo-ka San’yūtei Ponta II.


Ponta’s demonstration of rakugo storytelling illustrated for the crowd how a single performer uses physical cues and simple props to bring to life multiple characters and scenes in the imagination of the audience. Making the audience laugh with a humorous tale about how laidback and impatient personalities clash before sharing a more haunting tale of a grim reaper by rakugo-ka San’yūtei Enchō, the most famous storyteller of the late nineteenth century, Ponta’s performance also highlighted the incredible diversity of this dynamic storytelling tradition with 200+ years of history in Japan. A rare opportunity to experience live Japanese storytelling in the United States, the event brought together an audience of approximately 130 faculty, students, staff, and local Chicago residents for an evening of education, laughter, and chills.

Nails and Eyes

Author & Translator Event ft.

Kaori Fujino & Kendall Heitzman

April 19, 2024


Best known for fiction that reimagines tropes from horror, science fiction, Hollywood thrillers, urban legends, fairy tales, and museum culture, Kaori Fujino has been awarded the Akutagawa Prize, Japan's most prominent literary prize, for Nails and Eyes.


Featuring a reading of Nails and Eyes in Japanese by Kaori Fujino, with the English version translated and presented by Kendall Heitzman (University of Iowa), this program was followed by a Q&A session which featured Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Nick Ogonek, who assisted with translation for the author.


This event was co-sponsored with the Japan Foundation, New York, the University of Iowa's Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, and the Seminary Co-op Bookstores.

Sound and Writing in East Asia

April 26-27, 2024


This two-day conference hosted scholars from around the country, including graduate students and faculty from the University of Chicago, to present new or ongoing research aimed at developing innovative approaches to sound and writing in East Asia. It facilitated interactions between established and emerging scholars whose work is situated at the interdisciplinary crossroads of sound studies, literary studies, East Asian studies, and historical studies of sound and script.


Rich discussions unfolded throughout the program with panel topics including poetics, music, language, and media. Jina E. Kim (University of Oregon) closed out events by delivering the keynote speech derived from her second book project, Auditory Texts in Colonial Korea, introducing the concept of the “situated listener” as a means to access the understudied interplay between radio and print media, narratives, and artists in 1930s Korea.


The conference garnered more interest in the community beyond its participants than originally anticipated. Given the passion that each presenter brought to this intersection, a palpable sense of excitement permeated the event, as researchers from across both disciplines and the three areas of East Asian studies took mutual inspiration from one another’s work.


This event was organized by Ph.D. students in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations Ethan Waddell and Siting Jiang; and UChicago alumni Alex Murphy (Clark University); and was supported by a CEAS Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Franke Institute for the Humanities, the University of Chicago Library, and the Arts & Politics in East Asia Workshop.

Meiji Art and Visual Culture:

A Symposium in Conjunction with the Exhibition

"Meiji Modern: Fifty Years of New Japan"

May 3-5, 2024

On May 3-5, over 100 attendees gathered to hear scholars from the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom present their research on the art and visual culture of Meiji Japan (1868-1912). The largest conference devoted to Meiji art in recent years accompanied the Meiji Modern exhibition at the Smart Museum of Art and was initiated by a presentation from renowned art historian Dōshin Satō, who recently retired from his position as Professor of Art History and Aesthetics at the Tokyo University of the Arts. Satō's talk was accompanied by simultaneous translation into English and was followed by a lively question and answer session moderated by organizer Chelsea Foxwell along with two graduate student interpreters. 


A total of twelve experts in Meiji art and culture delivered research presentations, with questions moderated by symposium co-organizers and exhibition co-curators Chelsea Foxwell and Bradley Bailey (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), who also curated the exhibition. On Sunday, seven Ph.D. students from Harvard, University of Maryland, Duke, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University of California, Irvine presented their research and received feedback from a panel of scholars and curators, including Foxwell, Bailey, and Satō. 


Click here to read more about the program.

To read more about the exhibition at the Smart Museum,

click here.


The Third Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Japan Symposium entitled "Ecological Thought and Practice Across the Disciplines," was held this year from May 10 through May 11, and provided a unique opportunity to further develop a conversation between researchers in the natural sciences, and researchers in the social sciences and humanities. At the center of the discussion were questions concerning ecological governance, resilience, and restoration, design, and science, with special attention to the relationship between ecological thought and practice in Japan. The conversation also considered the efficacy of environmental policies and measures adopted in the wake of previous techno-natural disasters in Japan alongside policies and measures being currently being developed in anticipation of future techno-natural disasters. The program included a special screening of the film "Double-Layered Town/Making a Song to Replace Our Positions" and Q&A session with one of the film directors Haruka Komori.


For the final component of the symposium, participants discussed the work of the Japanese ecologist/anthropologist/philosopher, Imanishi Kinji as well as the work of the British and American biologist and writers, David Haskell.


This program was co-sponsored with the University of Chicago Library, and was supported with a CEAS Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

WILLIAM F. SIBLEY MEMORIAL SUBVENTION AWARD FOR JAPANESE TRANSLATION

"With a deft translation by David Boyd, Takaoka’s Travels is a fun adventure story by a 9th century Showa-era master filled with amazing and imaginative creatures from Japanese mythology."


DC Palter, Japonica Publication


The 2022-23 Subvention Award was made for David Boyd's (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) translation of Takaoka's Travels, by award-winning Japanese author, Tatsuhiko Shibusawa (1928-1987), that was recently published by Stone Bridge Press and MONKEY imprint.


For more information, click here

CEAS YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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CEAS PHOTO ALBUM

Check out the many photos taken at CEAS events that took place this year by perusing through the photo albums on the

CEAS Facebook page!

Initiated in 2019, the Faculty Spotlight initiative provides readers with in-depth information on our faculty including a glimpse of their journey into academia, their professional and personal interests, as well as insight into their groundbreaking research.


Read NEW faculty profiles by clicking here!

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Keep updated on recent highlights, stories, and important information relating to CEAS faculty and students,

and the East Asia Studies community at the

University of Chicago!


FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.

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