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Michaelmas Term 2014

Department of East Asian Studies

Postgraduate Research Seminars

Academical Year 2014-2015


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 wine and nibbles!

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 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 or organizing, please contact Rudolph Ng ().  Extra sessions may be added during 2015.


Michaelmas Term, 2014

  • Tuesday, 21st October, 2014

    The “European War” in the Eyes of the Chinese: A Case Study of Dongfang Zazhi (The Eastern Miscellany)’s Report on WWI
    WU Rong, PhD Candidate in Chinese Studies

    Abstract: The First World War, or “The Great War” was called “The European War” in China at the time. Nevertheless, the Chinese intelligentsia and the newly springing media kept a close eye on this seemingly remote war, believing that it would be closely related to China’s fate in the complicated international background. Dongfang Zazhi (东方杂志), one of the most influential and encyclopedic magazines in late Qing and republican years, was dominated by reports on WWI during 1914 and 1918, under the leadership of Du Yaquan (杜亚泉), the editor-in-chief then. This presentation will try to explore how WWI was depicted through the Chinese prism, and what influence it had on the Chinese minds at the time.

    The Revival of Zhizha (paper offerings) in China since the 1980s in Rural Shandong
    CHEN Zi, PhD Candidate in Chinese Studies

    Abstract: This presentation will try to explore Why have zhizha (paper offerings) been revived, when social conditions in China today are apparently very different to conditions before 1950? Zhizha are a general category of traditional folk handicrafts customarily used extensively for offerings in funerals and religious rituals in Han Chinese society, as well as in other regions nearby, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where there is strong Han Chinese influence. From the extent of its use in Chinese communities, it is not difficult to see that zhizha are important items of material culture, which bear Chinese folk cultural traditions and reflect various characteristics of Han Chinese society, such as it popular religion and folk customs. I will investigate possible continuities are several levels, such as authority within the household, the household’s reputation in the village, beliefs concerning the after-life. I will also investigate differences such as the changing character of zhizha including the replacement of a horse and cart with a car, the introduction of model radios and mobile phones and so forth, to discover whether these are merely superficial expressions of changing technology, or express deeper changes in belief. 

    EAS Postgraduate Seminar 2014-10-21 - 1 EAS Postgraduate Seminar 2014-10-21 - 2

  • Tuesday, 18th November, 2014

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

    Silent Extermination?: On the Confucian Apocrypha in Song China
    Man-Tak KWOKPhD Candidate in Chinese Studies

    The Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) has often been regarded as the ending point for the Confucian apocrypha’s existence as an influential corpus in pre-modern China. Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 (1007 – 1072) and Wei Liaoweng 魏了翁 (1178 – 1237), in particular, are frequently cited as the representative figures of such shift of trend due to their efforts in expelling the apocrypha from the boundary of classical studies. The former submitted a memorial pleading for an entire removal of apocryphal materials from the official commentaries of Confucian classics in 1055, while the latter compiled the Key Meanings of the Nine Classics (Jiujing yaoyi 九經要義), an anthology of hermeneutic expositions said to be following the same anti-apocryphon principle during the late 1220s. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, the idea that “the apocryphal studies had eventually become extinct” (weixue shixi 緯學始息) after Ouyang and Wei appears to be widely known among the intelligentsia. This understanding remains predominant in the modern scholarship even till now, yet only a few attempts have been made to determine the authenticity of this notion. Through an examination of the relevant source materials, this paper shall argue that the neither Ouyang Xiu’s petition nor Wei Liaoweng’s work had substantial contribution to the apocrypha’s gradual disappearance, and that a number of Song Neo-Confucians, albeit unknowingly by themselves, were still under the corpus’ influence.

    Unheard Memories? Ôkunoshima and the Victims of Japanese Chemical Warfare
    Dr Arnaud DOGLIAPostdoctoral Research Fellow in Japanese Studies 

    Abstract: The memories of the victims of Japanese chemical warfare during World War Two are often associated with voices coming from the continent during the beginning of the 1990s. If it is true that lawsuits are conducted by the families of Chinese victims (and with the help of Japanese associations) against the Japanese State at that time, it is also important to note that they are not the first kind of memories related to this war atrocity to emerge. From 1927 until 1944, the island of Ôkunoshima 大久野島 in the Hiroshima prefecture is the site of production of war gas to be later used against the Chinese enemy, and a large number of Japanese citizens, from schoolchildren to volunteers and conscripts are employed in manufacturing these substances. Exposed to them, many are left incapacitated or dead in the years following 1945. This paper seeks to examine the way in which the memories of these people emerge in postwar Japan. As the first Japanese victims of the biological weapons developed by their own country, the analysis of their discourses will not only highlight the initial difficulties they faced in being acknowledged (especially because of the proximity of the city of Hiroshima), but we will also demonstrate that contrary to the usual image of silence surrounding the treatment of memories of biological warfare in Japan, the question is addressed locally in the 1950s already, to become a national and even international question throughout the following decades. 

    EAS Postgraduate Seminar 2014-11-18 - 1 EAS Postgraduate Seminar 2014-11-18 - 2

  • Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014

    The Ishinpō: Conceptualizing Knowledge
    Mujeeb KHANPhD Candidate in Japanese Studies

    This talk considers one aspect of medical knowledge in the Ishinpô, winds, as a case study to understand how the text conceptualizes knowledge. The focus of the talk is to show how the representations of wind in the first few books of the Ishinpô also reveal the text's conceptualization of medical knowledge.

    How languages expand argument structure: Mandarin and three other languages in comparison
    Nana HUANG, PhD Candidate in Chinese Studies

    Theories of verbal argument structure attempt to answer questions about how arguments are licensed semantically and syntactically. Verbs were believed to be accompanied by a number of obligatory participants, generally ranging from one to three, which expressed the core meaning of the event. In recent proposals, however, it is argued that we need to distinguish non-core arguments from core arguments in the sense that there is no evidence that they belong to the basic argument structure of the verb and that argument structures of all human languages can be extended by inserting a non-core argument through the Applicative Operation (AO) introduced by functional heads such as low or high applicative heads. In this presentation, I explore the application and requirement of AO in Chinese, and draw comparison of the very operation from English, Korean, and Spanish. It will be shown that all four languages choose different types of applicative heads when introducing non-core arguments, with Spanish sharing more similarities in the choice with Chinese than the other two languages. The analysis on Chinese data and comparison from different languages form the foundation of my ongoing PhD project, which investigates second language acquisition of Chinese AO, because languages make use of different AO (e.g., LA-source, LA-goal, HA-maleficiary, HA-affected) and the exact make-up of the classes of verbs that allow AO varies in language-specific ways. On this basis, I will examine the effect of L1 transfer including the role of inflectional morphology and lexical scope of syntactic generalizations. 

    EAS Postgraduate Seminar 2014-12-02 - 1 EAS Postgraduate Seminar 2014-12-02 - 2

    EAS Postgraduate Seminar 2014-12-02 - 3 EAS Postgraduate Seminar 2014-12-02 - 4 EAS Postgraduate Seminar 2014-12-02 - 5

For further information, contact:

Rudolph Ng