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Michaelmas Term 2015

Department of East Asian Studies

Postgraduate Research Seminars

Academical Year 2015-2016


Please join us for the DEAS Postgraduate Research Seminars, designed for graduate students in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean studies to regularly meet, discuss your ideas, and present your projects – all in front of an interested and supportive audience! Some sessions will be period-specific while others will be region-centered, but all are intended to bring together DEAS graduate students to talk about your research in friendly surroundings while consuming drinks and nibbles!

The Seminars are generously sponsored by the Chinese Studies Group of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. The Needham Institute has kindly agreed for the seminars to be held at their location.

Unless otherwise noted, seminars meet on Tuesdays at the Needham Institute, 8 Sylvester Road, Cambridge CB3 9A. (see for location) 

The seminar starts at 5:00pm and ends at 6:30pm

For questions, or if you’re interested in presenting or organizing, please contact Hajni Elias ().

Michaelmas Term, 2015

  • Tuesday, 10th November, 2015

    Musical Images and the Imagination of Music in the Huainanzi
    Avital H. Rom, PhD Candidate in Chinese Studies 

    In my talk I shall present the conclusions of my M.Phil. dissertation, in which I examined the interactions between music and the social and political spheres in the Huainanzi, a text compiled during the second century BC, in western Han China. In my analysis of musical references in the text, I attempt to examine what motivated the authors in their extensive textual use of music: are there any underlying principles present throughout the musical scene in the whole of the Huainanzi?

    I will firstly suggest two models – one presenting the way in which the Huainanzi authors perceive music itself, the second concerns the way in which they perceive the world around them through the lens of musical references. Then, I will show how several archetypal human images presented throughout the text embody these two models – and represent both the imagination of music by the text, and its imagination of the world through music.

    Exploration of the History and Philosophy of Science in the works of Zhang Zai 
    Elizabeth Li, Researcher, Needham Institute

  • Tuesday, 1st December, 2015

    The Manchu Language in the Late Qing Chinese Language Reform (1892-1911)
    He Jiani, Ph.D. Candidate in Chinese Studies

    In 1911, a resolution on the unification of one national language of China was passed in the Central Education Committee Conference organized by the Department for Education. From then on, the Chinese language gained the legitimate status as a universal and common language to be learnt by Han Chinese and non-Han groups in the Qing Empire. However, the co-existence of “national language” and “dynastic language”, Manchu, reflected the Qing court’s difficult decision on language policy, to either promote the unification of languages or preserve multi-linguistic heritage. This presentation aims to explain what role the Manchu language acted in Chinese language reform in the late Qing period and how the new hierarchy of language influenced the vitality of the Manchu language.

    Koshoku Otogiboko: A Case Study of 'Genre-Marker' and Sexual Manual
    Maria Bugno, Ph.D. Candidate in Japanese Studies

    The case study that is going to be analysed in my talk is that of Kōshoku otogibōko (The Erotic Companion), published in Kyoto in 1695. The date of publication (Genroku 8- 1695) and the name of the publisher, Yamamoto Shichirobei (Kyoto) are known, but there is no mention to the author of the text or to the illustrator. The title of this book refers to Otogibōko (Hand Puppets, the title means literally a doll-shaped talisman for children) published in 1666 by Asai Ryōi (1612-1691), a collection of tales of the supernatural of Chinese origin. Otogibōko is considered in these days as the precursor of the genre called kaidan, which today usually refers Edo period (1600-1868) Japanese supernatural tales. Kaidan-shū (collections of kaidan) were really popular throughout the Edo period, and Otogibōko spurred many imitative works, marking the beginning of a new trend that featured ghosts, demons and other supernatural beings as its protagonists. In the title of Kōshoku otogibōko there are two possible genre-markers: the word ‘kōshoku’ refers to something erotic or at least love-related, while ‘otogibōko’ is a strong allusion to the tales of the supernatural. Consequently, this title entices the public to expect in the contents something ghoulish, or to a certain degree ‘erotic’, or both. After analyzing the actual text, can Kōshoku otogibōko be inserted among the genres recalled by its title? My talk aims to clarify the nature of this work and the relationship of its title with Otogibōko and the previous erotic literature.

For further information, contact:

Hajni Elias