Archaeologist Zhao Kangmin dies at 82

Source: NPR (5/20/18)
Archaeologist Who Uncovered China’s 8,000-Man Terra Cotta Army Dies At 82

Lifelike clay soldiers at the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi’an, northwestern China. The first figures were reconstructed by archaeologist Zhao Kangmin, who died Wednesday. Ludovic Marin /AFP/Getty Images

A Chinese archaeologist who identified a long-lost clay army consisting of 8,000 soldiers died Wednesday, according to China’s state media.

Zhao Kangmin first laid eyes on fragments of terra cotta warriors in 1974. Farmers some 20 miles from China’s central city of Xi’an were digging a well and struck into the pieces.

They had no idea what they had found — an army that had been interred for more than 2,000 years to guard China’s first emperor. Continue reading

Man Booker reverses decision on Wu Ming-Yi

Source: The Guardian (4/4/18)
Man Booker prize reverses nationality decision on Taiwanese author
The literary prize announces that it will no longer list authors by nationality, but by country or territory, after drawing criticism when it bowed to pressure from China
By Alison Flood

Proudly Taiwanese … Wu Ming-Yi, pictured in Taipei in 2016.

Proudly Taiwanese … Wu Ming-Yi, pictured in Taipei in 2016. Photograph: Wu Ming-Yi/EPA

The Man Booker International prize has backed away from its decision to change a Taiwanese author’s nationality to “Taiwan, China” after it was criticised for bowing to pressure from Beijing.

Author Wu Ming-Yi, who has been longlisted for his novel The Stolen Bicycle, was originally described by award organisers as a writer from Taiwan, when his nomination was announced in March. Following a complaint from the Chinese embassy in London last week, his nationality was changed on the prize’s website to “Taiwan, China”.

Beijing maintains that the self-governed island is part of China, and has recently ramped up pressure on foreign companies that describe Taiwan as a country, with German airline Lufthansa and British Airways dropping Taiwan from their lists of countries.

The switch was noted by Wu on his Facebook page, where he said it was “not my personal position on this issue”. The cause was also taken up by Taiwan’s ministry of culture, which stated that Taiwan was “a sovereign state that participates in international affairs with respect and fairness”, and called on the Booker Prize Foundation not to “bow to external influence and … respect authors and their home countries”.

As the Man Booker International prize’s Facebook page was flooded with one-star reviews and petitions were launched calling on it to reverse its decision and identify Wu’s country as Taiwan, the organisers announced on Wednesday morning that “following correspondence with stakeholders and additional guidance on the appropriate terminology from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office”, in the future it would list the “country/territory” of authors up for the prize, rather than their nationalities. Wu will again be listed as “Taiwan”.

“The prize is not about defining nationality; all global citizens are eligible, provided they are published in translation in the UK,” said the organisers in a statement.

A spokesperson for the prize added: “It is the country/territory of origin rather than nationality. Taiwan is officially designated a territory rather than a country by the FCO.”

The Chinese embassy, which initially complained to the Foundation about how it had identified Wu, said in a statement: “China’s position on the Taiwan issue is consistent and clear. There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inseparable part of China. This is the universal consensus of the international community. China opposes any words or deeds that violate the one-China principle and are contrary to the international consensus.”

Khan Award for Asian/Asian American folklore

The Transnational Asia/Pacific Section of the American Folklore Society (AFS) is proud to present the Saboohi I. Khan Award for Student Scholarship in Asian and Asian American Folklore.

The award aims to mentor graduate and undergraduate students and to foster and encourage scholarly research and publication on Asian and/or Asian American folklore and folklife. The $500 prize winner will be announced at the AFS annual meeting for the best student paper that contributes to Asian and/or Asian American folklore studies through research and analysis.

The co-conveners of the Transnational Asia/Pacific Section will form the selection committee, together with three additional members, including Dr. Fariha Khan, who sponsors this award. At the time of submission, the applicant must be a registered full-time graduate or undergraduate student. He or she may be enrolled in any discipline in any U.S. or international academic institution. The work must show compelling prospects for the publication of his or her scholarly work and demonstrate a dedication to research and/or teaching folklore studies. Continue reading

The sincere indignation of Simon Leys

Source: LA Review of Books, China Channel (3/19/18)
The Sincere Indignation of Simon Leys
By Josh Freedman
Josh Freedman reviews Philippe Paquet’s biography of the iconoclastic sinologist

Simon Leys

If there is a single climactic moment in Philippe Paquet’s exhaustive, colorful account of the life of the writer Simon Leys, it occurs on a staid French television show about books. It was 1983, and Leys had recently published his fourth collection of acerbic essays on China’s ruling party; yet the host of the popular show Apostrophes had to work hard to cajole Leys into coming to Paris to talk about his book on the air. Leys had no interest in doing publicity for his books, and rarely granted interviews to the media; plus, in this instance, he knew that any discussion on the show would inevitably stir up controversy. Paris had been the epicenter of pro-Maoist sentiment in the 1960s and 1970s, and Leys had spent more than a decade as one of the few critics unswervingly standing up to the tide of revolutionary fervor in the Francophone world. He was, for many Parisian China-watchers, public enemy number one. Continue reading

The Stolen Bicycle nominated for Man Booker

Source: Taipei Times (3/14/18)
‘The Stolen Bicycle’ to compete with 12 books for prestigious Man Booker prize
Staff Writer, with CNA

A copy of The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-yi, published in Australia by Text Publishing, is pictured in a publicity photograph. Photo from Grayhawk Agency’s Facebook page

The Stolen Bicycle (單車失竊記), a novel written by Taiwanese author Wu Ming-yi (吳明益) and translated into English by Darryl Sterk, has been selected to contend for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize.

The novel is about a writer who embarks on a quest in search of his missing father’s stolen bicycle.

It was included on a list of 13 novels revealed on Monday by the UK-based Booker Prize Foundation, the organizer of the prize, which rewards the finest work in translated fiction from around the world that is published in the UK and available in English.

This is the first time a work by a Taiwanese writer has been included on the list.

“I’m honored to be listed among them, and the nationality [was listed] as ‘Taiwan,’” Wu said in a Facebook post, expressing his appreciation to the book’s translator, publisher and readers.

The judges considered 108 books this year, the foundation said. Continue reading

Arif Dirlik’s Life and Work–cfp

“Memorial: Arif Dirlik’s Life and Work”
CFP: China Book Review

China Book Review (ISSN1002-235X), one of the most famous journals of book review, will publish a special issue of “Memorial: Arif Dirlik’s Life and Work.” Everybody is welcome to contribute, including academic papers and reminiscence essays related to Professor Arif Dirlik, either in Chinese or English is fine, but the final versions will be published in Chinese (English papers will be translated into Chinese by professional translators), all contributions will be submitted to the editorial board for review.

Please contact Sunny Han at <> if you are interested in sharing your opinion, please send a short bio as well as a 6000-word or 5000-Chinese character paper to Sunny Han by April 26, 2018.

Sunny Han HAN PhD
Associate Professor of Art History at Shenzhen University
Member Fellow, China Writers Association
Managing Editor, Journal of East Asian Humanities

New MA program at Florida State

New MA Program in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Florida State University

The Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at Florida State University is pleased to announce that we will shortly start accepting applications for a new Graduate Program (MA) in East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), scheduled to begin in Fall 2018.

Emphasizing second language instruction and an extensive knowledge of Chinese and Japanese literatures and cultures, this MA program will offer two tracks: (1) Chinese and (2) Japanese. Students entering this program will elect one of these two tracks. EALC encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary interests, correlating linguistic knowledge with numerous intellectual disciplines. Expertise of our core faculty and affiliated members is wide-ranging, including, for example: literary studies, religion, second-language acquisition, visual culture and film studies, and modern history. Our diverse curriculum, which emphasizes language and cultural proficiency, trains students who wish to continue studies in a compatible PhD or professional program, and prepares students for work in federal and foreign service, NGO fields, and language instruction. Continue reading

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: 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 <>
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:

And a profile of Yangdon in English:

Christopher Peacock <>