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January 2010 CEAS Newsletter


CEAS Spring 2010 Teacher Workshop: Kabuki and Japanese Culture

    Furumoto 1.jpg

    On Saturday, January 23 rd, 2010, CEAS held a workshop for pre- and in-service teachers on Japanese culture and kabuki theatre.  Professor David Furumoto, Director of the UW-Theatre and Director of the upcoming kabuki play Narukami: The Thunder God, led the workshop, introducing participants to the world of kabuki performance and tradition.  Prof. Furumoto first outlined the genre’s history, and then illustrated typical performance styles and typical kabuki roles (see illustrations).  

    Furumoto 2.jpg Charo D'Etcheverry , Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, also presented on the literary traditions linking Narukami (originally performed in the eighteenth-century) to the renowned ninth-century female poet Ono no Komachi.  Sarah Thal, Associate Professor in the Department of History, presented on the basics of Buddhism, Japanese esoteric mountain practices, and Japanese deities that are central to Narukami’s story.  Workshop participants also got a glimpse of some rare 18 th and 19 th century Japanese prints (of the Chazen’s E.B. Van Vleck Collection) depicting actors of kabuki and depicting Ono no Komachi, courtesy of Chazen curator of prints, drawings and photographs, Andrew Stevens.

What CEAS Faculty are Reading: Charo D’Etcheverry

    Charo D’Etcheverry

    “During the semester my favorite extracurricular reading comes in the Times Literary Supplement, a weekly review of literature and the arts based in London. Western language texts and topics take center stage, but there are still a good number of Asia-related pieces, including a favorable mention of our own Adam Kern's Manga from the Floating World (Harvard) a couple of years back. ( Bill Nienhauser also frequently appears here, opining on Chinese subjects in the letters section.) In late December the TLS took a look at Hiromi Mizuno's Science for the Empire (Stanford), a study of "scientific nationalism" in early twentieth-century Japan. Reviewer Julia Thomas (formerly of our history department) likes the book and its portrait of how engineering professional groups, leftists, and even kids' publishers helped define "the proper role of science in the imperial state." Thomas is no doubt correct that we should also consider the influence of state policy and funding practices here, but Mizuno's study is definitely on my spring reading list.”

    “Good books that I've read lately include: John Minford's translation of Pu Songling's Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Penguin), full of weird, wonderful, and laugh-out-loud funny stories from seventeenth-century China (and available through the Madison Public Library as part of our Year of Humanities series on Supernatural Presences in East Asian Cultures); Seamus Heaney's The Spirit Level (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), the Nobel Laureate's painfully beautiful collection of poetry about, among other things, memory and balance; and E.O. Wilson's On Human Nature (Harvard), a fascinating reflection on the potential of sociobiology as seen in the 1970s from the perspective of a life spent among ants. All three books are compelling on their own terms, but read together they offer a kind of kaleidoscope of what makes us human, at our best and worst... something you can also glimpse, of course, from reading that Japanese masterpiece, The Tale of Genji (Knopf or Penguin, as you prefer). Why not make time this year to do at least that?!”

    Charo D’Etcheverry is an Associate Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature.  This semester Prof. D’Etcheverry is on sabbatical, but she recently took part in our Center’s K-16 teacher workshop on kabuki and Japanese Culture (see above), and she is also very active in the Supernatural Presences in East Asian Culturesseries.

CEAS Student Profile: Katrina Brown

    Katrina Brown

    This month, we introduce you to Katrina Brown.  Katrina is double-majoring in East Asian Studies and Chinese, she is working on her certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies, and she is enrolled in the honor’s program.  In addition to her academic workload, she is very active at CEAS, where she helps to organize Center events.  She is also co-president of the Wisconsin China Initiative Student Branch, a spin-off of the Wisconsin China Initiative.  In their student organization, Katrina and co-president Brian Richardson strive to make the China Initiative more accessible to students.  Presently they are working to establish more resources for students, and they are creating unique internship and mentorship opportunities for students interested in going to China.  Katrina has organized many events for the China Initiative, as well as for other organizations on campus.

    “East Asian Studies allows students to study East Asia in different disciplines. The major gives us a greater variety of exposure to the culture of the region.” 

    As a graduating senior, Katrina has taken many classes at the UW relating to East Asia.  Her favorite classes were ‘20 th Century Chinese Film’ with Professor Nicole Huang and ‘the History of Chinese Thought,’ taught by Professor Mark Csikszentmihalyi.  When asked why, Katrina responded, “I really enjoyed learning about different aspects of different cultures.  It gave me new perspectives on Chinese culture, both ancient and modern.”  Katrina has taken full advantage of the various disciplines offered by the East Asian Studies major during her undergraduate career, studying fields relating to China, from political science to economics to history.

    In the future, Katrina would like to do research in China, where she hopes to combine her interest in Chinese culture with her interest in gender studies.  In her more immediate future, Katrina is planning for graduate school, traveling to China, or graduate school in China.

    If you attend our Center’s events, or if you happen by our Center’s office, chances are good that you will bump into Katrina!

This newsletter is sent out monthly from the
Center for East Asian Studies
at the UW Madison.
Center for East Asian Studies, International Institute,
333 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive,
Madison, WI 53706-1397 tel:(608)262-3643
You can email us at: email: eas@intl-institute.wisc.edu

To see past newsletters, check our newsletter archive.




Copyright © 2008 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
Center for East Asian Studies, International Institute, 333 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive,
Madison, WI 53706-1397 email: eas@eastasia.wisc.edu tel:(608)262-3643 fax:(608)265-2919