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Easter Term 2017

Department of East Asian Studies

Postgraduate Research Seminars

Academical Year 2016-2017

St John's College Library

Venue: Seminar Room, St John’s College Library (source)


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! To enrich our experience of inter-institutional academic communication, this year we will have several guest speakers (all postgraduate students themselves) from other departments around the UK and around the world!

The Seminars are generously sponsored by the Chinese Studies Group of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

Unless otherwise noted, seminars meet on Tuesdays at the Seminar Room, St. John’s College Library, CB2 1TP

Old Divinity School Location Map

* Location may change. Please follow the information on the website, as well as information sent by email prior to each seminar session.

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

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

Easter Term, 2017

  • Tuesday, 2nd May, 2017 

    Ivy Chan, PhD candidate, Department of History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS
    Edward T. Chow and Chinese Art Collecting in Hong Kong during the 20th Century

    Edward T. Chow 仇炎之 (1910-1980), a leading Chinese art dealer-collector of his time, was part of a large group of Shanghai intellectuals and businessmen who relocated to Hong Kong after the Communist takeover of China in 1949, bringing with them significant art collections and expertise to the British colony. Chow’s successful career coincided with the rise of Hong Kong as a global hub for collecting, studying and institutionalising Chinese art, while a further influx of Chinese art objects came through the border as the Cultural Revolution went underway in 1966.

    Through reconstructing Chow’s biography from fragmented sources – mapping his early training in Shanghai (1920s-1940s), his stay in Hong Kong (1950s-1960s), his move to Geneva and his legacy after his death (1960s-1980s) – this paper examines how Chow’s activities reflected as well as triggered broader trends in the consumption and perception of Chinese art, such as a new impetus for collecting early Ming Dynasty porcelain. This case study exemplifies how historical and socio-political events enabled Hong Kong to provide unique opportunities for individuals like Chow to build his career and status in the Chinese art world, where interaction between Chinese migrants, Hong Kong citizens and British expatriates gave rise to a distinctive pattern of Chinese art connoisseurship which transcended pre-existing cultural boundaries. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, this is the first in-depth study on Chow which incorporates Chinese history, studies on material culture and collecting theories. In addition to archival research, interviews have been conducted to document the unrecorded oral history of related individuals and to offer new perspectives on the subject.

    Naomi Kojen, FAMES MPhil Alumna, Independent researcher (Serbia)
    Reconstructing the past: expressions of collective memory in the art of Chen Chieh-jen and Wu Tien-chang

    This presentation will examine the artistic phenomena of engaging with themes of history and collective memory in Taiwanese contemporary art. Sociologist Maurice Halbwachs introduced the idea of collective memory as a social structure, which is acquired, recalled, recognized and localized in society. According to his theory of social memory the past is continuously reconstructed and reshaped in light of present conditions and concerns. Exploring collective memory is a means of understanding an identity that unites a certain social group. How do artists translate collective memory into visual mediums? Why are images effective methods for translating collective memories? What does the artist achieve with this strategy? I will address these issues through the analysis of two prominent figures in Taiwanese contemporary art, the artists Chen Chieh-jen and Wu Tien-chang. Through their critical reflections, collective memory becomes a medium for understanding issues of Taiwanese society and identity. Chen Chieh-jen works with local communities, unemployed laborers, sanatorium patients and foreign spouses to expose marginalized identities and alternative histories, rarely included in official narratives and public life. On the other hand, Wu Tien-chang focuses on developing an aesthetic based on local Taiwanese culture and visual habits.

  • Tuesday, 16th June, 2017

    Please note: This session will be held in the Arthur Quiller Couch room, Old Divinity School, St John's College

    Pontus Ljungberg, MPhil 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) Moriarty, PhD 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 Schäfer, MPhil 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.

For further information, contact:

Avital Rom