Mulan lecture

What Disney (and the Rest of Us) Can Learn from the Earliest Surviving Mulan Film
Christopher Rea, Professor of Modern Chinese Literature, University of British Columbia

Film to preview: Hua Mu Lan (Mulan Joins the Army, Mulan Congjun, 木蘭從軍, 1939), directed by Richard Poh (Bu Wancang)
Recommended film: Niki Caro, Mulan (2020)

Chinese-language Cinemas: Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan
(Virtual Zoom talks and film screenings)

This weekly series of six virtual lectures and accompanying films is curated by Tanya Shilina-Conte, assistant professor of Global Film Studies in the UB Department of English and curator of the annual riverrun Global Film Series. This virtual series is cosponsored by the UB Confucius Institute and UB Center for Global Film.

To register and obtain links for the lectures and films, please email Continue reading

Wei Desheng events

Wei Te-Sheng, director of “Cape No. 7” and “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale,” will be speaking at two free online events this week. The talks are hosted by the Department of Asian Studies of the University of British Columbia, and sponsored by the Taiwan Ministry of Culture, as part of the speaker series “Indigenous Taiwan, Transpacific Connections.”

Wei will be speaking about the making of, as well as representations of Indigenous peoples in, his films.

On Thursday, October 21 at 4pm Pacific Time, Wei will be in conversation with UBC Assistant Professor of Chinese Popular Culture Dr. Renren Yang.

On Friday, October 22 at 4pm Pacific Time, Wei will be in conversation with UBC Assistant Professor of Indigenous Lifeways in Asia (and Indigenous filmmaker) Dr. Aynur Kadir.

Details and free registration for both events at:

About the “Indigenous Taiwan, Transpacific Connections” speaker series:

Indigenous Taiwan: Transpacific Connections speaker series

Indigenous Taiwan: Transpacific Connections
A virtual speaker series, October-November 2021
Hosted by the Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia
Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of China

Indigenous cultures make Taiwan and Canada unique. Taiwan has sixteen officially recognized tribes, and, like Canada, is engaged in ongoing public and community discussions about languages, land rights, self-determination, history, and reconciliation. How is indigenous life being represented and experienced by artists in Taiwan today? What commonalities of history, experience, or imagination might be found between Indigenous people of Taiwan and First Nations of Canada? This fall, join us for the first event of its kind in Canada: a series of conversations with writers and filmmakers who have been at the forefront of sharing Indigenous Taiwan with the world.

Guest speakers:

Writer: Badai
Lecture: Thursday October 14 (4:00p.m PDT.; Online)
Conversation: Friday, October 15 (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), featuring Prof Chiu-Duke Josephine

Filmmaker: Wei Te-sheng
Conversation: Thursday October 21, (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), TBA
Conversation: Friday, October 22, (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), featuring Asst. Prof Aynur Kadir

Writer: Ahronglong Sakinu
TBA: Thursday October 28 (4:00p.m PDT.; Online)
Conversation: Friday October 29, (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), TBA

Filmmaker: Laha Mebow
Lecture: Wednesday November 3,
Conversation: Thursday, November 4, (4:00p.m PDT.; Online), featuring Asst. Prof Aynur Kadir

Register online to reserve your seat and for information on how to access readings and film screenings connected with each live event.

More info: Continue reading

Jia Zhangke and Liang Hong event

Event: Jia Zhangke + Liang Hong: A Conversation about Nonfiction and Documentary Film
Wellesley College and Harvard University co-present:

Walking toward the End of Reality
A Conversation with Liang Hong and Jia Zhangke on Nonfiction and Documentary Film

October 21, 9:00-11:00 p.m. EST
2021年10月22日上午9:00-11:00 (北京时间)
(October 22, 9:00-11:00 a.m. GMT+8)

Free Registration Link免费注册:


David Der-wei Wang 王德威 (Harvard)
Mingwei Song 宋明炜 (Wellesley)

Special Guests 特约嘉宾:

Michael Berry  白睿文 (UCLA)
Jie Li 李洁 (Harvard) Continue reading

The Chinese Atlantic book talk

Virtual Book Talk: The Chinese Atlantic
EASC New Book Series: Sinophone Studies
Sean Metzger and Lok Siu
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 | 5:00PM – 6:30PM (PT) | REGISTER

We hope that you will join us for the next EASC New Book Series: Sinophone Studies event on October 20! This monthly series on Zoom will introduce recent publications about Sinophone studies to the USC community and the wider public. In this event, the series will highlight The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization (Indiana University Press, 2020) with author Sean Metzger (Professor in the School of Theater, Film and Television, University of California, Los Angeles) and discussant Lok Siu (Associate Professor in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, University of California, Berkeley). We hope to see you on Zoom!

Posted by: Li-Ping Chen

U of Sydney China Studies lectures

The University of Sydney China Studies Centre
Lecture Series for October and November, 2021

Chinese Asianism: Discussions on China-Centred International Regionalism in the 1920s

Date: Friday 15 October 2021
Time: 12:00PM–1:00PM AEDT
Location: Online

This seminar is free and open to the public!


This event is co-presented with the Department of Chinese Studies, The Australian Society for Asian Humanities and the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at UNSW.

With the rise of China and the development of ambitious international projects, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, discussions of China-centred international regionalism have found new prominence, but many of these ideas have a long history in twentieth century China.

This talk will examine the rise of a discourse promoting China as the future leader of Asia in 1920s publications. After President Sun Yat-sen made a speech titled ‘Great Asianism’ in 1924, intellectual and political leaders created a number of organisations to forward the ideals of Asian unity in major Chinese cities. Journals with titles such as New Asia and the Asiatic Review provided avenues for publication, while international conferences brought Chinese intellectuals in touch with Asianists from other Asian countries. Although the Chinese intellectuals who established these organizations initially focused upon uniting with Indians and Koreans to further the fight against imperialism, Japanese members of their organizations soon brought them into contact with Japan-based Pan-Asianist organisations. Due to their cooperation with Japanese Asianists, the organizations and their members were highly criticized by the Chinese media. However, these events and the subsequent critical responses set the stage for wartime Chinese Asianism and the belief that China had a duty to lead the oppressed nations of the world in the struggle with imperialism.

About the speaker

Craig A. Smith is Senior Lecturer of Translation Studies at the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. He is the author of Chinese Asianism: 1894—1945 (Harvard University Asia Center, 2021) and co-editor of Translating the Occupation: The Japanese Invasion of China, 1931—45 (UBC Press, 2021). Continue reading

Chinese Independent Cinema Observer event

Launch Event for Issue 2 of the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer: Chinese Avant-Garde Art of the 1980s: A Conversation with Cui Weiping and Wen Pulin

About this event

The second issue of the Chinese Independent Cinema Observer, ‘Pre-History of Chinese Independent Cinema’, aims to explore the conditions that allowed Chinese independent films (including documentaries and fiction films, but with more emphasis on documentaries) to emerge. Chinese independent cinema is rooted in the 1980s and was an important consequence of the emancipation of social thought and avant-garde literary and art movements after the Cultural Revolution. The contributors to this issue explore the origins of Chinese independent cinema. Based on historical analysis and their own experience, they push back the start of independent documentary filmmaking from the previously accepted 1990s to the mid-1980s.

This issue also includes an exhibition of photographs and paintings made by the Stars Art Group, a Chinese avant-garde group of artists that emerged in 1979, and reviews of four films in the 1980s that were bold exploratory and controversial at the time. We look at intellectual connections and aesthetic legacies between the 1980s and the 1990s in order to trace the origins or pre-history of independent cinema, hoping to suggest some new directions and offer first-hand research data for future studies in this field. Continue reading

The Future Is Now lecture

SEPTEMBER 17 @ 12:00 PM-1:30 PM
Speaker: Laurence Coderre, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies, New York University
Presented via Zoom Webinar
Register at:
Also streaming on YouTube

Whereas the contemporary era in China is often depicted in terms of rampant, ideologically vacuous commodification, the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) is typically cast as a time of ubiquitous politics and scarce goods. Indeed, with the exception of the likeness and words of Mao Zedong, the media and material culture of the Cultural Revolution are often characterized as a void out of which the postsocialist world of commodity consumption miraculously sprang fully formed. I instead argue that the Cultural Revolution media environment and the ways in which its constituent elements engaged contemporaneous discourses of materiality and political economy anticipated the widespread commodification now so closely associated with the Reform Period (1978-present). Continue reading

Pushing the Boundaries lecture

The University of Sydney China Studies Centre
Pushing the Boundaries: Assessing the Potential of Intersections between China’s Current National Self-image, Tianxia (‘all under heaven’) and the Traces of Confucian Morality and Aesthetics
Date: Wednesday, 8 September 2021
Time: 1:00PM-2:00PM AEST
Location: Online
This seminar is free and open to the public!


In recent years, the People’s Republic of China has become increasingly assertive in the upholding of its national territorial limits. The reasons for this assertiveness are not far to seek. Exponential domestic economic growth over the last four decades has greatly enhanced the PRC’s confidence on the world stage in addition to strengthening the country’s military reach, regionally and internationally. Alongside a desire to re-establish Greater China’s former geographical integrity following the divisions wrought by civil conflict as well as Euro-American and Japanese colonialism/imperialism there is also a necessity to secure vital trading routes and access to resources. Less materially to the fore, but also important, are intersections between the PRC’s current national territorial assertiveness and the recent revisiting by Chinese academics of an uncertainly bounded governmental authority signified by the term tianxia (‘all under heaven’)—and by association cognate Confucian conceptions of morality and aesthetics—during China’s dynastic-imperial past as the basis for a new harmonious, non-interfering “post-West” world order. It will be argued that while those intersections are open to interpretation as tracing a durable Chinese civilization-specific cultural habitus in support of the PRC’s contemporary national self-image they have by turns a potential to shape China as a renascent world power deconstructively/reciprocally—as a matter of parallaxic discursive positioning—somewhere (and nowhere) between the dual imaginaries of empire and the nation-state. Continue reading

Discussion with Xi Chuan / Reading by Mang Ke and Xi Chuan


As the last event of this year’s International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong “Break Out: Reading & Dialogue” Series, Chinese poets Mang Ke 芒克 and Xi Chuan 西川 gave readings, followed by a discussion between Xi Chuan and me, covering topics from the Chinese classics to world literature to poetry and art and the creative process. The readings were in Mandarin, with Chinese and English text (translations by Jonathan Stalling and Huang Yibing and by me), and the discussion was in Mandarin. The hour-and-a-half-long event can be viewed on youtube, here:

Lucas Klein

Chinese Heritage in the Indian Ocean

The University of Sydney China Studies Centre
Chinese Heritage in the Indian Ocean : A Cultural Anthropological Perspective
Date: Friday 13 August 2021
Time: 12:00 pm–1:00 pm AEST

Location: Online

About this event

Organised by the Department of Chinese Studies in collaboration with the China Studies Centre ‘Language, Literature, Culture and Education’ cluster, The Australian Society for Asian Humanities and the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at UNSW.

Early overseas Chinese communities and their legacies are often disconnected from and overshadowed by grand historiographic narratives that attempt to legitimise China’s footprint in the world today. Drawing on the strength of a museological project commissioned by the Foshan municipal government, Guangdong, on the Cantonese societies in the Southwest Indian Ocean, this talk will unveil with anthropological evidence how during the late 19th and early 20th centuries Chinese migrants established themselves along the western coast of the Indian Ocean (i.e. the Mascarene Islands, Madagascar, Tanzania and Mozambique) and how varieties of Chinese heritage in this particular region are being rediscovered and re-evaluated for the present-day political and economic needs. It offers an alternative and bottom-up view of the role culture plays in China’s global strategy, distinct from the official tones of cultural diplomacy and people-to-people exchange.

About the speaker: Xuefei Shi is a postdoctoral researcher in the ERC-project TransOcean at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), Norway, and currently an affiliated researcher at the Department of Chinese Studies, USYD. His research looks into the mobilities of Chinese fishermen and fishing communities in the Indian Ocean, in particular Madagascar. With a Ph.D. in development studies from Radboud University, the Netherlands, he has extensive fieldwork experience in East Africa in the past decade. Continue reading

No regrets for telling the truth

Listen to “No Regrets for Telling the Truth.”
Free to Think Podcast with Dr. Jo Smith Finley, July 25, 2021.
Also available at Scholars at Risk.

Episode Description

Free to Think talks with Dr. Jo Smith Finley, a reader in Chinese studies at Newcastle University, UK. In March 2021, Dr. Smith Finley, among others, was sanctioned by the government of the People’s Republic of China, including a ban on traveling to China, a freeze on assets, and a ban on collaborating with Chinese counterparts, whether in China or abroad.

The sanctions were in retaliation for Dr. Smith Finley’s research about reported human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. These include the forced internment of over one million Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority, in what some have labeled an ongoing attempted genocide. By targeting the careers of scholars outside of China, the sanctions represent a dramatic escalation in the Party-state’s campaign to censor information that is contrary to the official national narrative, and a threat to academic freedom everywhere.

yrs. sincerely,

Magnus Fiskesjö

Street Angels talk

Christopher Rea will be speaking about the history and artistry of the film “Street Angels” (1937) at an online event hosted by the China Institute NYC

Street Angels (1937): Tragedy meets comedy in a time of war”
July 28, 2021, 4:30pm Pacific Time / 7:30pm Eastern Time

Street Angels, the most celebrated Chinese musical of the 1930s, was released in Shanghai in July 1937 just as full-scale war broke out with Japan in northern China. Its themes—sexual and economic exploitation offset by fun and camaraderie—were at once shocking and entertaining. Set in the slums of Shanghai in 1935, the film presents the precarious lives of the urban lower classes in a tragicomic mode. War looms in the background of this story of a refugee singer. The Japanese army was soon to invade Shanghai, but, to accommodate China’s censors, the film never mentions the enemy by name.

Synopsis: Teenaged songstress Zhou Xuan sings two hit songs in director Yuan Muzhi’s masterpiece. At the center of these “street angels” is a young woman who has fled fighting in the Northeast only to find herself threatened again in Shanghai. She seeks refuge from her abusers with her lover across the alley, played by heartthrob Zhao Dan, and other downtrodden friends. But will Xiao Hong and her sister, who has been forced into prostitution, be able to escape?

The film showcases the popularity of film musicals, the charm and charisma of its “golden voice” star, the multiple influences of Hollywood on the Chinese talkies, and the violent realities of 1930s China. In Mandarin, with English subtitles.

Translating the Occupation book launch

Translating the Occupation: Online Book Launch
Vancouver: 5pm (5 Aug)
Toronto: 8pm (5 Aug)
Taipei/Beijing: 8am (6 Aug)
Melbourne 10am (6 Aug)

We are proud to launch Translating the Occupation: The Japanese Invasion of China, 1931-1945. Coedited by Jonathan Henshaw, Craig A Smith, and Norman Smith and published with UBC Press, this volume brings together two dozen academics from Canada, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, and Australia in a novel approach that combines translation with the study of East Asian history. Join us for a discussion with the three coeditors and Professor Emerita Diana Lary.

Hosted by: Professor Emerita Diana Lary (UBC)


Norman Smith (University of Guelph)
Jonathan Henshaw (Academia Sinica)
Craig A Smith (University of Melbourne)

Register for this book launch: Eventbrite registration for Zoom event

From 1931 to 1945, as Japanese imperialism developed and spread throughout China, three regions experienced life under occupation: the puppet state of Manchukuo, East China, and North China. Each did so in a distinct manner, but making sense of experiences and decisions made during this crucial period has been an elusive goal for historians. Continue reading

Multidisciplinary Work in a Time of Hate

The annual Asian Theatre Journal Lecture (co-hosted by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and Association for Asian Performance) offers a unique opportunity to hear from one of the leading scholars in the field. This year we are excited to welcome Alexa Alice Joubin.

Lecture Title: “To unpathed waters”: Multidisciplinary Work in a Time of Hate
Association for Theatre in Higher Education Annual Conference
Sunday, August 8, 2021 at 1 pm EDT
Sign up through the ATHE conference