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Lent & Easter 2014

Department of East Asian Studies

Postgraduate Research Seminars

Lent & Easter Term 2014


Please join us for the newly created 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 wine and nibbles!

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

Seminars meet on Tuesdays in the Rushmore Room, St Catharine’s College
The seminar starts at 5:00pm and ends at 6:30pm

For questions, or if you’re interested in presenting, please contact Rudolph Ng ().

Tentative Program in Lent & Easter Terms

  • Tuesday, 11th March, 2014

    Before Yasukuni: The Dynamics of Commemorating Class A War Criminals in Japan, 1945-78
    Jurei YadaPhD Candidate in Japanese Studies

    This talk will explore the dynamics involved in the commemoration of Class-A war criminals in Japan in the period from 1945 -78. Much attention has been paid to the controversial enshrinement of Class-A war criminals at Yasukuni Shrine since 1978. However, such memorialization was not an isolated phenomenon, nor did it only emerge in the late 1970s. This presentation shifts the focus to the three decades before this event, and examines the religious, social, and political contexts and motivations behind the commemoration of Class-A war criminals. In particular, it focuses on the actors involved in establishing these memorials and monuments.

    New Perspectives on the Taiping and Qing Civil War: Rediscovering Anqing, as a Place of Innovation in Nineteenth Century Warfare
    Kang TchouPhD Candidate in Chinese Studies

    This paper presents an early rough draft of a section from my thesis based on rediscoveries made during an eleven-month-long field work trip in southern Anhui Province when I studied battle sites from the Anqing Campaign---a turning point in the civil war. The scope of the paper analyzes new information gleaned from archaeological surveys, digs, local histories and gazetteers to support the over-arching argument that Anqing was a place were warfare changed in the Nineteenth Century. This presentation gives weight to this argument through evidence that exists in Huaining County, Anqing, Anhui, China and will contextualize field work findings within the larger framework of a new type of military history.

  • Tuesday, 29th April, 2014

    Note: This session will take place in the Ramsden Room, St Catharine's College (instead of the Rushmore Room).

    Perceptions of the South: Notions of Regionalism in Early Imperial China
    Hajnalka EliasMPhil Candidate in Chinese Studies

    This paper introduces some of the views of the ‘south’ as a region by examining early textual sources, with reference particularly to the Lüshi chunqiu 吕氏春秋, the Huainanzi 淮南子 and the Shiji 史記, combined with information obtained from excavated material evidence. It will explore the discrepancies between the imagery projected in early texts and other evidence which suggests that, despite its great distance from the centre, the south may have played a more prominent role in the development of the early empires than hitherto suggested. The paper also questions views that suggest the south remained of little political or economic importance to the early empires.

    How to Negotiate Foreign Medicine: Tanba-no Yasuyori and Abū Bakr al-Rāzī
    Mujeeb KhanPhD Candidate in Islamic and Japanese Studies

    The negotiation of medicine has occurred on different levels and in different forms throughout history. However, my talk specifically looks at two instances of this in Japan and the Islamic world. By the tenth century, both civilizations had received a foreign medical tradition that would establish itself as the local medicine. In other words, while Japan had “China” and the Islamic world “the Ancients,” each civilization negotiated these traditions. In the tenth century, Tamba-no Yasuyori submitted his Ishinpō to the court and Abū Bakr al-Rāzī composed works such as the Ḥāwī, Doubts on Galen, and the Large Compendium. I will discuss their approaches to their foreign predecessors and probe how they negotiated medicine. 

  • Tuesday, 27th May, 2014

    Note: This session will take place in the Ramsden Room, St Catharine's College (instead of the Rushmore Room).

    Beyond Great Texts: Toward an Intellectual History of the Confucian Tradition in Sixth and Seventh centuries China
    Yang FuPhD Candidate in Chinese Studies

    Viewed as less intellectually vibrant, the study of Confucian tradition in medieval China has long been overshadowed by those of Buddhism and religious Taoism. This is more obvious when we look at the intellectual history of medieval China before the ninth century, since there exists only a few, if any, great texts which dedicate to elucidate Confucian ideas. My talk will provide with some observations about the ways in which the intellectual history of medieval Confucian tradition can be further explored. It will survey three valuable research frameworks, and draw evidence to show how Confucian tradition was recognized, its engagement in scholarly pursuits and politics, and the notion of civilised governance.

    Hidden Music: Late Shang-Early Western Zhou Ritual Vessels with Bells
    Kirie Stromberg, MPhil Candidate in Chinese Studies

    Since the excavation of the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng scholars have paid much attention to bronze bells, but few have taken note of vessels with ling 鈴 bells suspended inside. Belled objects – which include Shang gu 觚, Western Zhou 簋, as well as various other typologies – are not so uncommon as the lack of attention given them would indicate. Belled vessels have been found along the northern border of the Shang and Zhou states in areas such as Baoji, Shaanxi. Interpreting objects on the margin as products of interaction with foreign polities(/cultures?) is one goal of my research. Moreover, I believe belled vessels demonstrate that categories of food vessel and musical instrument as scholarship has constructed them might not be so distinct. They present rich possibilities for a new envisioning of ritual in ancient China – at the center and periphery.

  • Tuesday, 10th June, 2014

    Note: This session will take place in the Ramsden Room, St Catharine's College (instead of the Rushmore Room).

    Narratives of Defeat: The Struggle of the Japanese Former Military General Staff Officers in the Postwar Contexts
    Aiko Otsuka, PhD student in Japanese Studies

    This paper examines postwar narratives and struggles of Japanese former military general staff officers, who had instigated various instances of aggression in Asia and the Pacific regions during WWII. They were able to escape war criminal charges during war crimes trials conducted by the Allied powers and occupy critical positions during and after the US Occupation (1945-1952). This paper explores social, political, and international contexts surrounding the general staff officers in the immediate postwar period, focusing on how they confronted Japan’s defeat and war responsibility, and how they influenced, and were integrated into, postwar society.

    Self-Empowerment of Female Catholics in the Construction of Catholic identity in a Northern-Chinese Village from the 1960s to the 1990s
    Yanjie Niu, MPhil Candidate in Chinese Studies

    Abstract: This talk will explore how female Catholics in rural China defended their religious faith from the Maoist era to the reform era. On the topic of Chinese Catholicism during the Maoist era, scholars have focused on the suppression and persecution of state policies and practices, with relatively limited literature on the Catholic villagers’ resistance in detail. Also, regarding Catholicism in the reform era, research on the efforts of rural female Catholics to promote Catholicism in the context of economic modernization and cultural diversity has not gained sufficient attention. Thus, this presentation aims at exploring how Chinese rural female Catholics as a grass-roots and disadvantaged social group empowered themselves to defend their religious beliefs when confronted with the discourse transgression from the state and the challenges from the diverse worldviews in the modernizing society. Through my fieldwork findings in a village, I argue that it was the dynamic self-empowerment process of these female adherents that maintained Catholicism as the identity of this rural community in the changing secular society.

For further information, contact:

Rudolph Ng