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EAS Postgraduate Research Seminar

When Jun 16, 2017
from 05:00 PM to 06:30 PM
Where Arthur Quiller Couch room, Old Divinity School, St John’s College Library
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Pontus LjungbergMPhil Student in Chinese Studies, FAMES
Hui Transnationalism – Chinese Muslims between China and the Middle East

China's largest Muslim minority, the Hui, have historically been seen to be on the margins of both Chinese and Islamic culture, removed from the Muslim heartlands and occupying a position as "familiar strangers" within China. Connections with the Muslim west have however been maintained throughout history, with three main tides of Islamic ideas and practices influencing Chinese Islam. It has been argued that a "fourth tide" of Islam in China has been taking shape in the Reform era, with increased interaction with Muslim communities outside China. This presentation looks at some of the ways in which the worldwide Islamic ummah becomes a meaningful concept for Hui Muslims. In more concrete terms, overseas migration for work and study and learning Arabic for religious and secular purposes are some examples of this, but transnational Islam also appeals in less tangible ways, as when Middle Eastern connections serve to authenticate orthodoxy of Islamic belief and practice, or when the Gulf is seen as a Muslim alternative to China's state-led minzu paradigm of modernisation. Based on experiences from time spent living in Muslim areas of China as well as fieldwork in the UAE, this presentation will explore the interplay of the personal, the ethnic and the national in the construction of Chinese Muslim identity in these transnational spaces.

William (Bill) MoriartyPhD Student in Chinese Studies, FAMES
Nationalist Radio during the New Life Movement

This talk shares my research findings on Nationalist Radio during the New Life Movement (NLM) from 1934 to 1936. It begins and ends with a look at Sun Yatsen symbolism and its relationship to propaganda in the Nationalist party-state. Sun was many things in life—a medical doctor and dedicated revolutionary, a cosmopolitan Christian and triad member, a charismatic party leader and skilled propagandist. In death, he became the core symbol of Nationalist party-state propaganda, and his political and economic thinking, collectively known as Sunism, became the ideological foundation of governance. In this talk, I examine the integration of NLM values and Sunist principles on Nationalist Radio and demonstrate that a radical transformation of programming content occurred in 1935. To this end, I first introduce Chinese radio from a global perspective and analyse Nationalist Radio as an institution. I then draw from educational, entertainment, news and information transcripts published in Broadcast Daily (廣播週報) and apply a concept from Walter Benjamin called 'aestheticisation' to explain how Nationalist Radio transformed its programming in 1935. To conclude, I discuss the significance of this aestheticisation of Nationalist Radio content and Sun symbolism during the NLM and its role in the making of the new citizen in modern China.

Simon Sevan SchäferMPhil Student in Chinese Studies, FAMES
How I set out to write a Chinese-English bilingual reader and textbook and what I learned in the process

What started as a playful idea over time became a serious project very dear to me: Writing the textbook/reader I would have wanted to have when I started out learning Chinese. Together with a little help from my friends I have up to date written over 350 pages - some of which I hope to publish in a book at some point. I am looking forward to presenting my unfinished book project next postgraduate Student Seminar.

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Welcome to AMES

Cambridge has a long and distinctive tradition in the study of the Middle East and Asia. This Faculty prides itself on exploring these fields through the local languages and encourages students to learn through real world engagement. If you are interested in these world regions and want to discover their languages, cultures, histories, religions, and politics, then this is the home for you. 

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