AAS small grants

China and Inner Asia Council Small Grants Program
Accepting Applications

Dear AAS Members Working on China, Taiwan, and Inner Asia,

The AAS/CIAC has funds to support small grants for members working on China, Taiwan, or Inner Asia. The CIAC Small Grants program is supported by generous funding by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, as well as from independent donations from AAS members that are currently in the process of being solicited (please see the following AAS webpage, bottom, to donate: http://www.asian-studies.org/About/Donate). We are typically able to award approximately 20 – 25 CIAC Small Grants annually (and we are hoping we can garner as much in donations as we did last year to enable this number of awards).

Qualified individuals can apply for small grants up to $2,000 in a number of categories including: research travel, travel for translation projects, conference and seminar organization, specialist or regional newsletters, and website development. Travel to conferences and book subventions are explicitly excluded, unfortunately. Continue reading

Arif Dirlik (3)

As a graduate history student, I am too young to know Prof. Dirlik personally. Nonetheless I am shocked and saddened by the news. He is still young, and I honestly thought there was still time for me to introduce myself to him, meet him, and talk to him about history, culture, various ideological -isms, philosophy… I thought there would be time for me to learn more and be better prepared to discuss such subjects with someone like him.

I discovered Prof. Dirlik too late. I only started reading him when I was working on my first year research paper on the historiography of the Taipings. I was immediately struck by his depth, complexity, deep understanding of Chines intellectual history and sharp perception. He is as much a historian as a philosopher, and I thought no one studying Chinese intellectual history (or modern Chinese history really) can afford not reading him. I wish I had been brave enough to make his acquaintance.

Lin Yang <yal210@ucsd.edu>
History, UCSD

Arif Dirlik (2)

I met Arif Dirlik in 1989, the Fall of 1989 to be exact, at a dinner banquet organized in his honor by the History Department at Nanjing University. I had been brought there by a friend, who thought I would enjoy meeting this Professor from Duke University. I had laryngitis and could barely croak. Somehow, Arif and I managed to have a deep conversation that evening, between my hoarseness and the continual demands to down more shots of baijiu. I have been involved in a conversation with Arif ever since.

Arif was my PhD advisor at Duke University. He was a marvelous advisor. He taught me many things. Most important, I think, is that he taught me how to be fearlessly radical and radically fearless in my intellectual work, my personal life, and my institutional practice. As many of us know, Arif was not an easy person to get along with sometimes, and he sure did know how to insult folks and hold grudges. But he was a serious thinker and a serious scholar and deeply committed to the radical proposition of possibility. One could forgive him much because of that. Continue reading

Navigating the MLA for East Asianists

MLA Session “Navigating the MLA for East Asianists”

This year at the MLA annual meeting in NYC, I will lead Session #275 on Friday, January 5, 2018 at 10:15 am – 11:30 am in Concourse G, Hilton Hotel, entitled “Navigating the MLA for East Asianists.” I welcome literary/cinema/cultural studies scholars in East Asia to attend, and others as well. The MLA is a complicated, multifaceted academic association, and it could be described as “byzantine” and “arcane.” But as the largest humanities academic association in the world, it is important. The good news is that in recent years the MLA has undergone a massive structural transformation and now there are FORUMs dedicated to the following: “Chinese Literature before the 14th Century”; “Ming and Qing Literature”; “Chinese Literature and Culture from 1900”; “East Asian Literatures” (mainly comparative); “Japanese Literature before 1900”; “Japanese Literature and Culture after 1900”; “Korean Literature”; and most recently “Southeast Asian Literatures and Cultures.” I have noticed with the influx of participants and increased interest from scholars in East Asian Studies that many people have questions about the MLA. Thus, we decided to organize this session to provide an introductory outline. The session will be split in half with the first half essentially me describing the various components of the MLA and the second half open discussion and questions. Here are some of the facets that will be covered: Continue reading

Afternoon with Huang Wenhai and Zeng Jinyan

The Exilic Gaze and the Activist Lens:
An Afternoon with Documentary Filmmakers Huang Wenhai and Zeng Jinyan

Saturday, December 2, 2017, 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Michelson Theater, Department of Cinema Studies, NYU
721 Broadway, 6th Floor

Huang Wenhai and Zeng Jinyan are two important members of the Chinese independent documentary community that emerged in Beijing in the 1990s. The community has since flourished and transformed into a complex cluster of groups with diverse social, political, and aesthetic aspirations, as well as wider regional dispersal. Currently based in Hong Kong, veteran independent director Huang Wenhai (Dream Walking 2005, We 2008) and human rights activist, feminist scholar, blogger and filmmaker Zeng Jinyan(Prisoners in Freedom City, 2007), joined hands in making We the Workers (2017). The epic-scale film documents migrant workers of two generations in Southern China who have tried to organize themselves to protest against the unfair compensation and sub-human workingconditions that have been part of the price tag of the economic miracle in China.

2:00 pm -5:00 pm We the Workers 凶年之畔, directed by Huang Wenhai & produced by Zeng Jinyan, 2007, 173 min.

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Panel discussion with Huang Wenhai, Zeng Jinyan, Prof. Angela Zito (Center for Religion and Media, NYU) & Prof. Feng-Mei Heberer (Cinema Studies, NYU), moderated by Prof. Zhen Zhang (Cinema Studies, NYU).

Co-sponsored by the Center for Religion and Media, NYU.

Free and open to the public.

Yangdon’s death

Dear all,

I’m deeply saddened to pass on the news of the death of the author Yangdon (Ch. Yangzhen 央珍). She passed away in Beijing in October. Yangdon was best known for her novel Wu xingbie de shen 无性别的神 (A God Without Gender), and for blazing a trail for Tibetan women’s writing in Chinese. She will be greatly missed.

Here are two links about the news:

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/Y6jAlKESYpleSRl0eg7ffg

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MzA3Njk5MTIzMA==&mid=2649039684&idx=1&sn=5bfd76f73ce5aade37d26c43b10c73de&open_source=weibo_search

And a profile of Yangdon in English:

https://www.wagic.org/blank-2/2017/11/15/In-Profile-Yangdon

Christopher Peacock <cp2657@columbia.edu>

MLA New Permanent Forum in SE Asian Literature

The Modern Language Association (MLA) has approved our proposal for a permanent Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (CLCS) forum in Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Diasporic literature and culture.  The forum welcomes proposals on any aspect of literature and cultural production related to Southeast Asia and Southeast Asian diasporas, including Sinophone studies (the 2018 Convention in New York City will feature several panels related to Southeast Asia, including presentations on Sinophone topics).  The inaugural forum chair is Cheryl Narumi Naruse of Tulane University.

All MLA members are invited to the first business meeting of this newly established forum at the 2018 MLA Convention on 4 January 2018, 8:45-10:00 p.m., room Clinton, in the New York Hilton Midtown. This meeting will be an opportunity to meet other scholars working on Southeast Asian related topics as well as a time to discuss future MLA sessions, elect executive committee members, and plan forum activities.

We look forward to seeing you.

Yours,

The Executive Committee of the Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Diasporic CLCS Forum

Cheryl Narumi Naruse (chair)
Ben Vu Tran (secretary)
Sheela Jane Menon
Brian Bernards <bernards@usc.edu>

Dazibao exhibition

Source: Sup China (11/14/17)
When Words Kill: ‘Big-Character Posters’ Are Testament To Tenacity And Suffering In One Of China’s Darkest Periods
By ELEANOR GOODMAN

In China in Ten Words, translated into English by Allan H. Barr, author Yu Hua gives a trenchant description of big-character posters (大字报 dàzìbào) as he experienced them as a child:

At the outset of the Cultural Revolution “big-character posters” started to appear. Political screeds rendered in clumsily handwritten characters — and now and again some elegantly written ones, too — these were the first acts of the disenfranchised masses in challenging the power of officialdom. Written on broadsheets are big as decent-sized windows and posted on the walls that ran alongside city streets, shorter versions took the form of two sheets of paper mounted one on top of another, while longer ones involved five or six sheets set out in a horizontal row. In the years to follow, these big-character posters would become the largest exhibition of calligraphy China has ever seen: all across the country, in cities and towns, big streets and small, walls were decorated with them. People would gather in the streets and read the posters with undisguised relish, for although they all employed much the same revolutionary rhetoric, they began to criticize officials and their high and mighty ways. Continue reading

Xu Zhimo event

I’m one of the organizers for the Xu Zhimo event in New York tomorrow. The reason that we are conducting the event in Chinese is that the event is not in the form of a symposium, but rather readings of Xu’s poems and music tributes. We do have some speeches and readings in English such as the remarks by Dr. Tony Hsu, Xu Zhimo’s grandson and a UN interpreter (on a poem he translated into English). See the event program at:

http://chineselectures.org/program_en.pdf (in English)
http://chineselectures.org/program_chinese.pdf (in Chinese)

For people who are interested, you are welcome to tune in live streaming from 2 to 4:30 pm tomorrow at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYloBzl4EWCXn0pXIOa9SOg/live.

The event description is at http://chineselectures.org/upcoming.html

Yong Ho <ho@un.org>

ACCL membership and conference survey

Dear Colleagues,

Recently, many of you have participated in the leadership election for the Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature—thank you for taking the time to vote!

As the incoming ACCL president, I have posted a survey asking for basic membership registration data, and for your preferences regarding the location of our next biennial conference, in 2019.  Membership is free, and we welcome all those in related fields who are interested.  The survey is online here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ACCL2017

Please forward this link to any colleagues or graduate students whom you think might be interested in joining ACCL, and fill out the survey no later than December 15.  Although in my recent election statement, I did propose holding the next conference in Vancouver, I am serious about following the preferences of the membership.  If there is a clear majority or plurality in favor of a specific location, I will arrange the conference there; if there is a more ambiguous result, I will try hard to arrange the conference at a convenient site which attracted significant support.  In order to be open with you all about these results, I will share with the ACCL membership a summary of the aggregate preferences after the close of the survey, though of course individual identifying information will be kept confidential.

I have confirmed with multiple Chinese scholars that the Survey Monkey website is available from within the PRC, though it loads very slowly.  In case anyone finds it impractical to access the above link, I have attached a form-fillable ballot, which you may return directly to me at dfried@ualberta.ca.

Thanks, and best wishes,
Daniel Fried <dfried@ualberta.ca>
2017-19 ACCL President

Turn It On: China on Film, 2000-2017

Presented concurrently with the exhibition Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, the Guggenheim is screening a film series cocurated by Ai Weiwei and filmmaker Wang Fen.  “Turn It On: China on Film, 2000–2017,” is a series of documentary films from China  produced between 2000 and 2017. You’ve posted about some of the filmmakers before, and I thought you might be interested.

The series is a comprised mostly of daytime screenings, which are free with museum admission. We have one additional film screening on January 4 that is in the evening. Find the screening schedule below

Daytime screenings are free with museum admission and take place in the New Media Theater.

Friday, November 3, 12 pm

Petition 上访, 2009

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10128

Directed by Zhao Liang 赵亮
Mandarin with English subtitles, 315 min.
In this long-form documentary filmed over more than a decade, petitioners at Beijing South Railway Station Petition Office are confronted by contradictions in a system intended to protect citizens from legal injustice and political violation. Continue reading

Exhibition of Dazibao and Woodcuts

Exhibition of Dazibao and Woodcuts from 1960s China at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies
哈佛费正清中国研究中心的大字报特展

Join the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies for a panel discussion and reception to celebrate the launch of our new exhibition of Cultural Revolution-era artworks.

The exhibition will be on display in the CGIS South Building Asia Centers Lounge, 1730 Cambridge Street from November 9 to November 30, 2017.

This is the first time that these dazibao (or “big-character posters”) have been publicly displayed since the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Panelists:
Denise Ho, Assistant Professor of History, Yale University
Jie Li, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
Roderick MacFarquhar, Leroy B. Williams Research Professor of History and Political Science, Emeritus, Harvard University
Julia Murray, Professor of Art History, Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Xiaofei Tian, Professor of Chinese Literature, Harvard University

Moderated by Michael Szonyi, Director, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Professor of Chinese History, Harvard University

A reception will follow the panel discussion.  Continue reading

Zheng Qingwen passes

Zheng Qingwen. http://greenraytheatre.pixnet.net/

It is with sadness that I post that the Taiwanese author Tzeng Ching-wen (Zheng Qingwen 鄭清文) who was born on September 16, 1932 died on Saturday November 4, 2017.

Perhaps he is best known in English translation for his story “The Three Legged Horse.” Chi Pang-Yuan wrote the following of him in her introduction to a 1999 Columbia UP anthology of translations.

“Very few of Taiwan’s writers have so quietly and steadily persevered in their creative work for forty years the way Cheng Ch’ing-wen has. He has never made big waves in Taiwan’s literary circles, but his name is one that commands and receives respect. Cheng has succeeded in maintaining a high level of quality in all of his almost two hundred short stories. Each story has a central character through whom Cheng, with his light-handed application of ink and occasional splashes of color, paints his pictures of specific times, places, and circumstances. His collected stories cover in considerable detail numerous aspects of Taiwan’s past and present. Critics Peng Jui-chin and Hsu Su-lan have both compared Cheng’s approach to writing to a towering royal palm that does not tempt passersby with showy flowers or fruit or intentionally try to attract notice. So many things in contemporary society that use flashiness and glitz to compete for the public’s attention end up leading to emptiness and loneliness. Yet Cheng describes his own stories very positively: “I look at their stick-straight backbones; they are never cringing, nor arrogant. They quietly, stubbornly point in a direction, little bit by little bit, and slowly grow and develop.’ ‘Everyone has to find his own path in this life. As a writer, I wanted to find something of a resting place for the soul in a country without a set orthodox religion; in the process I unexpectedly discovered some truths that look rather simplistic on the outside, but that have far-reaching significance.’” (Chi 1999, ix-x)

Bert Scruggs <bms@uci.edu>