Aesthetics of Embodiment conference

“Aesthetics of Embodiment: Drama, Ritual, and Food in Traditional Sinitic Culture.” The conference will be held at Arizona State University Tempe Campus: West Hall 135 from 8:30am-5:30pm on April 12 and at Heritage Room at University Club from 8:30-5:30pm on April 13, 2019.

This is a conference in honor of Professor Stephen H. West, an occasion for colleagues, friends, and students to celebrate his achievements and contributions to the field of East Asian studies. The conference is generously funded by Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, with contributions from the University of California, Berkeley; Arizona State University; University of California, Davis; and Ohio State University.

For the conference website, see

The cultural past of imperial China is predominantly represented by literary canons despite the fact that virtually all textual traditions stemmed from the context of the everyday and orality. Yet the canonization of an established tradition necessarily excludes what was considered not to be conforming to the elite standards—lost in the historical crevices are “minor” modes of cultural productions that captured the discursive, transient, and incoherent plurality of everyday life happenings and interactions. Consequently, what is viewed as traditional Chinese culture cannot be complete without due consideration of its manifestations in everyday life. Drama, ritual, and food are “three major legs of ordinary Chinese life.” It is the aim of this conference to bring these three facets of everyday life in dialogue with one another in order to understand these defining yet understudied dimensions of traditional Chinese culture in the larger context of the Sinitic cultural sphere.

Conference Schedule

<April 12>

Panel 1: Ways of Looking at Drama (8:30 am – 10:30 am)
Chair: Robert Ashmore (UC Berkeley)

Regina Llamas雷伊娜 (IE Universidad): “Where Precisely is the Theater in the Ritual?”

Julian Siyuan Wu 吳思遠 (Western Washington University): “Interpictorial Travels: A Study of the “Travel Scene” Illustrations in Chinese Performing Literature”

Wang Ayling 王璦玲 (National Sun Yat-Sen University): “Using Keys and Modes for a Legacy of Teaching: Yang Enshou’s Six Plays of Tanyuan and his Vision on Theater”

Will Hedberg (Arizona State University): “Why You Never Have Read a Work of Chinese Drama: The Invention of ‘Chinese Literature’ (Shina bungakushi) in Meiji-Period Japan”

Panel 2: Ritual of the Mundane (10:45 am – 12:45 pm)
Chair: Yuming He (UC Davis)

Robert Ashmore 羅秉恕 (UC Berkeley): “Loss, Performance, and Overflow in Jin Aesthetics”

Harrison Huang (Columbia University): “Squaring the Ordinary and the Ordained: Home Habits and Ritual Abodes in the Shishuo xinyu

Liu Yuan-ju 劉苑如 (Academia Sinica): “A Disciple in His Quest for the Way: Everyday Life of the Religious Practitioner in Zhou shi mingtong ji

Xiaoqiao Ling 凌筱嶠 (Arizona State University): “Sharp-Tongued Bride: Orality, Ritual, and Comedy”

Panel 3: Semiotics of Food (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm)
Chair: Patricia Sieber (Ohio State University)

Christian de Pee (University of Michigan): “Food for Thought: Competitive Consumption and the Withdrawal from the City in Eleventh-Century China”

Paola Zamperini 曾佩霖 (Northwestern University): “Pan Jinlian’s Dumplings: Aphrodisiacs, Delicacies, and Consumption in Jin Ping Mei

Young Kyun Oh 吳英均 (Arizona State University): “How to Eat (or How to Pretend to Know How to Eat) Culturally: Leishu, Food, and Literati Life”

Wilt Idema 伊維德 (Harvard University): “Ritual, Food, and Drama: Banquets in Court Drama of the Qing”

Roundtable: Will Real Stephen H. West Stand Up? (4:30 pm – 5:30 pm)

<April 13>

Panel 4: Embodied Aesthetics: Construction (8:30 am – 10:30 am)
Chair: Stephen H. West (Arizona State University)

Meghan Cai 方耿美 (Grand Valley State University): “Six Degrees of Ouyang Xiu: Name-Dropping in Song Miscellany”

Hu Siao-chen 胡曉真 (Academia Sinica): “Female Chieftains’ Tribute Products”

Lee Fong-mao 李豐楙 (National Chengchi University): “The Observing Eye: Buddhist and Taoist Guard Gods and the Rites of Passage in Journey to the West

Hua Wei 華瑋 (Chinese University of Hong Kong): “The Golden Precepts of Exhortation from the Great Ceremonial Plays of the Qianlong Court and the Aesthetics of Excess”

Panel 5: Embodied Aesthetics: Disruption (10:45 am – 12:45 pm)
Chair: Xiaoqiao Ling (Arizona State University)

Kimberly Harui 春井雅子 (Calvin College): “Traveling Across a Landscape of Dreams: Jōjin’s Encounters with Memory and Place in Medieval China”

Karin Myhre (University of Georgia): “Performative Slips, Apprehensive Gaps: Communicative Obstacles in Yuan Songs”

Yuming He 何予明 (UC Davis): “Mundane Reading: Easy Poems and the Performance of Social Aggression”

Jiwon Shin 申智媛 (Arizona State University): “Odes to the West(ern Capital): Shijing Poems and the Future’s Past in Late Eighteenth Century Korea”

Panel 6: Embodied Aesthetics: Creation (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm)
Chair: Young Kyun Oh (Arizona State University)

Xiaojing Sun 孫小靖 (Loyola Marymount University): “Festival, Ritual, and Performance: Literati and the ‘Musical Words’ (yueyu) of the Song”

Patricia Sieber 夏頌 (Ohio State University): “Up, Down, Left, Right: Chinese Theater, Song-Drama Publications, and the Printed Image”

Guo Yingde 郭英德 (Beijing Normal University): “Guardians of Civilization: Drama-Related Activities of Wang Shimin’s (1640–80) Clan from Taicang”

Tina Lu 呂立亭 (Yale University): “Reading, Rereading, and Yizhongyuan

Roundtable: Drama, Ritual, and Food (4:30 pm – 5:30 pm)

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