Current CEAS Newsletter
Taiwanese Arts Week and Imaginary Spaces Workshop
September was a month full of East Asia activities, two large portions of which where shared with campus partners. Professor Jin-wen Yu (Dance) organized a series of events in celebration of Taiwanese Arts, and CEAS hosted two guest lectures by Hsiao-hung Chang, distinguished professor of Foreign Languages and Literature at National Taiwan University, on "Fashioning the Cityscape in Taiwan" and about the films of director Hou Hsiao-hsien. Other events in the series were a lecture by Yu-Chien Ann, Dean of College of Design, Shih-Chien University, a Taiwanese photo exhibit at the Memorial Union, nightly performances of Jin-Wen Yu Dance Tiers, a showing and discussion of Swing, a new film by environmentalist documentary filmmaker Chin-Yuan Ke. Later Chai Found Music Workshop performed at Madison's World Music Festival, and A Sea of Puppets also performed at MMoCA. Finally there were classic Taiwan films at Cinematheque.
Tobias Zuern (Graduate student in EALL) and the Students for Chinese Studies also organized and led a workshop entitled "Imaginary Spaces and Intertextuality in East Asia". The workshop featured guest lectures and seminars from Wilt Idema (Harvard), David Boyd (United States Air Force Academy), Tae Hyun Kim (University of California-Berkeley), and from CEAS faculty: Mark Meulenbeld, Steve Ridgely, Adam Kern, Richard Miller, Gene Phillips, Rania Huntington.
Dissident Author and Poet Liao Yiwu
On September 26th, CEAS hosted a special event with dissident author and poet Liao Yiwu. Liao is internationally known for transmitting the stories of people in China who don't often have a public voice: those in prison convicted of various crimes, and those who practice unsanctioned religion in China. The event itself was an emotional one, begun with soulful use of the Chinese vertical flute and vocalizing with with a Tibetan singing bowl accomaniment. The mood was set for his reading from his new book God is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China, of persecution and hope, among underground Christians of Yunnan Province.
After his reading, Professor Melanie Manion of Public Affairs and Political Science moderated discussion with Liao about his experiences in prison and in traveling around China's Southwest collecting stories.
Liao received a Freedom to Write Award from the Independent Chinese PEN Centre in 2007. Continually harassed by the Chinese government, he has been living in Berlin since escaping from China this summer.
What CEAS Faculty are Reading:Richard Miller
"This semester I am teaching a course on East Asian crime fiction for the second time. Titled "Murder, Mayhem, Modernity," the course takes a social science approach to crime fiction in China, Korea, and Japan, considering not just literary structures and practices, but also the linkages between literature and the social, cultural, and political history of the region. Although of the three countries China has the longest history of written crime fiction (represented in the course by Van Gulik's translation of The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee), Japan has the most vibrant modern scene, and the most developed secondary literature. Two books I am using in this regard are Sari Kawana's Murder Most Modern: Detective Fiction & Japanese Culture and Christine Marran's Poison Woman: Figuring Female Transgression in Modern Japanese Culture. Although the former is more concerned with fiction and the latter with fact, both books present the relationship between representation and society as a fundamentally bidirectional one, each changing the other in an endlessly shifting embrace. Kawana traces the history of detective fiction in Japan from the 1880s to the immediate postwar period, looking simultaneously at related genres from amateur detective manuals to science fiction, seeing the literary changes as both stimulating changes in Japanese ideas of modernity and national identity, and proceeding from them. Marran, on the other hand, examines the reading, writing, and re-reading of classic tales of real-life female poisoners (particularly Takahashi Oden and Abe Sada, both repeatedly enshrined in literature and film) as a way of understanding the change position of women in 19th and 20th century Japanese society. Reading these two scholars' works alongside crime fiction, both classic and new, gives new depth to the tales of criminals and detectives--and reveals the importance of fictional narratives in the self-construction and reception of true crimes."
CEAS Student Profile: Kristen Roth
Kristen Roth first became interested in Japan when she was a junior in high school, but it wasn’t until she started college that she began to learn Japanese. For her first semester at UW-Madison, Kristen decided to take the Japanese FIG (First-year Interest Group) so that she could meet people with similar interests. The FIG included the Introduction to East Asian Studies class, a class on Japanese Cinema, and a Japanese language class. From there she fell in love with the language and culture and is now currently in her fifth year majoring in Japanese and East Asian Studies, with an ESL certificate.
Over the summer Kristen went to Japan through a study abroad program called Langubridge. For three weeks in August she took Japanese classes in Tokyo at the Kudan Institute of Japanese Language and Culture. While taking classes she stayed with a host family that consisted of her host mom, host dad and two little host sisters. Through the program, not only was she able to practice her Japanese, but she was also able to experience Japanese culture in a way that she wasn’t able to before. The program also took her on weekend trips to other cities in Japan like Yokohama and Kyoto. After finishing the program, Kristen spent another week and a half with two of her Japanese friends’ families’ homes in Tokyo and Mishima.
After graduation in the spring, Kristen hopes to return to Japan and teach English through the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program. She wants to teach English there for one or two years and then afterwards return back to the US to teach ESL.
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