Apr
3
5:30pm 5:30pm

Dr Lauri Kitsnik:War, Work and Witnessing: aesthetics and ideology in Shindō Kaneto’s cinema

Speaker: Dr Lauri Kitsnik (Sainsbury Institute)
Date:       Monday, April 3rd, 17:30-19:00
Venue:    David Hume Tower, LG.08

 

 

Abstract

Shindō Kaneto (1912-2012) was a prolific Japanese film director noted for works such as Children of Hiroshima (1952), The Naked Island (1960) and Onibaba (1964). He maintained an active and uninterrupted career for over seventy years, perhaps the longest in the entire cinematic history. His films have been both praised and criticised for their strong leftist agenda when dealing with social issues such as crime, poverty, disease and discrimination. However, there is currently a lack of consensus as to whether his work displays enough thematic or stylistic unity to be evaluated in auteurist terms.

In this talk, by looking at Shindō’s works from different decades, I argue that his visual style underlined by excessive repetition effectively created a self-referencial system of cumulative images which offers insights into his worldview in both aesthetic and ideological terms.

Speaker

Dr Lauri Kitsnik (MA Tokyo PhD Cantab) is Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in Norwich. His interests include (but are not limited to) film history and theory, adaptation and screenwriting. His work has appeared in the Journal of Japanese and Korean CinemaJournal of Screenwriting and Women Screenwriters: An International Guide.

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Mar
8
5:00pm 5:00pm

Felix Wemheuer - Rebels in Power: Shandong and Shanxi in China's Cultural Revolution

Wednesday, March 8, 17:00-19:00

Appleton Tower, 2.12, University of Edinburgh

Abstract: In late 1966, thousands of students, workers and local cadres were inspired by Mao’s call for rebellion and contributed to overthrow of the party committees in their work units. In Shanxi and Shandong Province, the rebels “seized power” in early 1967. While some rebels grained important positions in the newly founded Revolutionary Committee, others rebel groups were destroyed immediately and their members ended up in prison or under house arrest. Many winners of the early Cultural Revolution became victims themselves. In 1977 after the fall of the “gang of four”, former rebels from all factions faced repressions.

In order to understand how former rebels are making sense of these turbulent and traumatic experiences today, I conducted Oral History interviews with former student and worker rebels. Why did they become rebels? How do they see their fall? How did factionalism affect their memories? The project combines oral and written sources from private archives including underground newspapers, diaries or internal documents from the Cultural Revolution. While most of the research on the Cultural Revolution focuses on Beijing and Shanghai, I want to understand how ordinary people provinces like Shanxi and Shandong experienced the rise and fall of the rebels.

Felix Wemheuer is Chair Professor of Modern Chinese Studies, Cologne University, Germany. His publications include Famine Politics in Maoist China and the Soviet Union (2014), the co-edited volumes Eating Bitterness: New Perspectives on China’s Great Leap Forward and the Famine (2011) and Hunger and Scarcity under State Socialism (2012).

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Feb
28
4:00pm 4:00pm

Dr Ellen Zhang: Philosophy of Peace: Thinking through Laozi’s Daodejing

Tuesday 28 February

4pm-5.30pm Martin Hall,

New College, EH1 2LU

The Daodejing (DDJ) is an ancient Chinese text traditionally taken as a representative Daoist classic expressing a distinctive philosophy from the Warring States Period (403–221 BCE).  It is one of the most influential examples of its genre in the intellectual tradition of China with hundreds of commentaries, written over two millennia.
There have been many Western studies of the text over the past one hundred years either from a philosophical or religious point of view. These offer a wide range of interpretations due to the laconic and polysemic nature of the text, as well as the hermeneutic interests of contemporary readers. This lecture analyses the ethical dimensions of the DDJ paying attention to issues related to war and peace. The lecture also locates the Daoist thinking in the matrix of contemporary explications and comparative discussion.

Dr. Ellen Zhang holds a PhD in Philosophy of Religion from Rice University (USA). She is currently serving as associate professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Hong Kong Baptist University. She is also a research fellow at the Centre for Applied Ethics at HKBU and editor-in-chief for the International Journal of Chinese and Comparative Philosophy of Medicine. Her research projects and publications are related to Chinese philosophy (Buddhism and Daoism), ethics, and comparative studies.

This talk is organised by the School of Divinity’s Project on Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace with the support of the Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh.  It  will take place in Martin Hall, New College, University of Edinburgh, EH1 2LU from 4pm-5.30pm on Tuesday 28 February 17.  No booking is required.                             

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Feb
15
5:00pm 5:00pm

Alison Hardie -- Chinese Gardens: History, Design and Meanings

  • Appleton Tower, 2.14, University of Edinburgh (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Wednesday, February 15, 17:00-19:00
Appleton Tower, 2.14, University of Edinburgh

Abstract: This illustrated talk will cover the historical development of Chinese gardens, relating this to parallel or contrasting developments in European garden history. It will outline the different types of Chinese gardens, including imperial, private and institutional (temple or academy) gardens. It will consider the cosmological ideas and design principles underlying the layout and features of Chinese gardens. Finally it will discuss the social significations and uses of Chinese gardens, particularly in the late imperial period.

Alison Hardie retired in 2015 as a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds, UK, and has recently been a visiting lecturer in the Chinese department at the University of Iceland. She holds degrees in Classics from the University of Oxford and in Chinese from the University of Edinburgh, and a doctorate in Art History from the University of Sussex. Her main research interest is in the social and cultural history of early modern China. She is the translator of Ji Cheng’s 17th-century garden manual, The Craft of Gardens (1988, repr. 2012), revised the 3rd edition of Maggie Keswick’s The Chinese Garden: History, Art and Architecture (2003), and has written extensively on Chinese garden history. She is currently completing a monograph on the late-Ming poet, playwright and politician Ruan Dacheng (1587-1646), the original publisher of The Craft of Gardens, and is finalising the editorial work on a major anthology of Chinese texts on gardens in English translation to be published by Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in the USA.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Feb
13
5:30pm 5:30pm

Dr Jerome De Wit: Rousing the Reader to Action: North Korean Literature from the Korean War (1950-1953)

  • Project Room, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh (map)
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Speaker: Dr Jerome De Wit (Assistant Professor, Tübingen University)

Date:       Monday, February 13th
Time:      5:30pm-7pm
Venue:    Project Room, first floor, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh


Abstract
North Korean wartime literature has never been valued highly by literary scholars. The lack of literary qualities in these wartime stories have deterred many from looking more seriously at this type of literature as its heroes, seemingly without any obstacles in their way, defeat the enemy and attain victory.
Add to this that North Korean literature has a subservient role to the demands of the Communist Party and the North Korean leaders, and it is obvious why one would shy away from analysing these texts.

However, even under such conditions of prescribed rules and top-down directives, the writer still needs to imbue the story with sufficient literary qualities to make it interesting to readers. This is because the author is still constrained by the fact that the novel should not stray too far from reality or else the reader will not be persuaded. The author, therefore, also needs to address issues that are politically and socially sensitive in society. Condemnation of these issues in itself is not enough: to make an ideological claim the issue needs to be foregrounded, and the author must give a satisfactory interpretation of the issue.

This led to the creation of quite interesting propaganda literature in wartime North Korea: The characters are imbued with heroic but down-to-earth characteristics that portray both the wartime experiences of North Korean soldiers and citizens, but also express the reader’s wartime concerns.
 
Jerôme de Wit received his Ph.D. from Leiden University, Netherlands. He is a Korean specialist on North and South Korean Wartime Literature and modern Korean culture. He is the author of articles that have appeared in the Memory Studies Journal and in several Korean journals. His research interest in Korean culture is focused on public discourses concerning history and society and how cultural sources can provide us with different viewpoints on debates such as nationalism, identity, and history. His recent projects deal with such topics as postcolonialism in contemporary South Korean alternate history novels, a study on North Korean children’s animated cartoons, and a study on the representation and the changes in identity in the literature and movies of ethnic Koreans in China. He has been a Research Fellow at both the Asiatic Research Insitute (Korea University, 2012) as well as the Kyujanggak (Seoul National University, 2014).

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Feb
10
5:00pm 5:00pm

Professor Chieko Hiranoi: What is Expected for Kabuki Performances Overseas? Programmes and Venues

  • Room G.05, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh (map)
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Speaker: Professor Chieko Hiranoi (Hosei University) 
Date: Friday, February 10th, 17:00-19:00
Venue: Room G.05, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh

Abstract:

This presentation will discuss the history of kabuki performances overseas and the outstanding aspects of its recent trends, both in terms of programmes and venues. The first kabuki performance overseas took place in 1928 in the Soviet Union with a great variety of items on the programme, including jidai mono(historical plays), sewa mono (contemporary plays in Edo era), shosa mono (kabuki dancing) and even shin kabuki (kabuki drama written by authors with another profession who were not involved with any specific kabuki theatre). They might have struggled to understand the expectations overseas about kabuki. During the ninety years to date, some items have been added or repeated and others have disappeared from kabuki repertoires for overseas performances. However, it is quite common that each performance has tended to consist of shosa mono or extracts from a long drama. On the other hand, Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII (Nakamura Kankuro V) started a series of overseas performances by Heisei Nakamura-za in 2004 showing the entire drama of Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami with a modern director, Kushida Kazuyoshi. Although Kanzaburo XVIII passed away in 2012, the idea of performing an entire drama overseas has been passed on to his sons. This presentation will contribute to analyzing expectations overseas about kabuki.

Chieko Hiranoi is Professor in the Faculty of Humanity and Environment, at Hosei University in Tokyo, Japan, teaching comparative theatre and regional theatre in Japan. Her research interests include British theatre, Japanese theatre, regional theatre, theatre festivals and dramatic works applied to education. Her most recent publications related to the presentation are "A Shameless Priest Travelling Overseas -The Entertainment of Hokaiboor Sumidagawa Gonichi no Omokage-" and "Aida as a Drama: Aida Directed by Olivier Py and Noda Kabuki Version of Princess Aida". She is currently conducting research on Edinburgh festivals and theatres in Edinburgh, being associated with Asian Studies, the University of Edinburgh, from April 2016 to March 2017.

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Feb
8
5:00pm 5:00pm

Professor Kan Sakurai: A Reconsideration of Nishida Philosophy and Japanese Nationalism

Speaker: Professor Kan Sakurai (Nihon University) 
Date: Wednesday, February 8th, 17:00-19:00
Venue: Room 2.14, Appleton Tower, University of Edinburgh

Kitaro Nishida (西田幾多郎, 1870-1945) is one of the representative philosophers of modern Japan and the founder of the Kyoto school. Based on both the Western and Eastern tradition, Nishida developed his unique system of philosophy, which includes such essential concepts as ‘junsui keiken’ (純粋経験, pure experience), ‘basho’ (場所, place) and ‘rekishiteki sekai’ (歴史的世界, historical world). Nishida assumed that the good was ‘the actualization of personality’ (Zen no Kenkyu『善の研究』An Inquiry into the Good, 1911), and thus his works centred on the ideas of individual awareness and the formation of individual identity in modern Japan. 

Asserting that ‘our self, as the creative element of the creative world, is forming the historical world’, Nishida’s discourse emphasises the ‘world’ even during the wartime. It is undeniable that Nishida’s universalism was ironically compatible with imperialist ideology, and the vulnerability of his philosophy to excesses of nationalism and imperialism should be thoroughly examined. However, it is also important to recognise that Nishida dealt with a key question in modern thought, that is, the foundation of the individual’s awareness and identity in the holism. 

In this presentation, I hope to demonstrate the difficulty in overcoming nationalism in the holistic framework. 

Kan Sakurai (1972- ) is an associate professor in Liberal Education for Art at the College of Art, Nihon University, Tokyo. Specialising in history and philosophy of education, his research involves two fields: (1) the study of educational thought in modern Japan focusing on Kitaro Nishida’s concept of the formation of the individual identity, and (2) critical review of moral education in contemporary Japan, especially from the viewpoint of freedom of conscience. His research centres on the conflict of individuality and collectivity. Sakurai is the author of Nishida Kitaro: Sekai no Naka no Watashi (『西田幾多郎 世界のなかの私』Nishida Kitaro: I in the Midst of the World, Tokyo: Chobunsha, 2010, new edition). He has carried out postgraduate study at the Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo.

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Feb
1
5:00pm 5:00pm

Giulio Pugliese: Sino-Japanese Power Politics: Might, Money and Minds

Room G.01, 50 George Square

Sino-Japanese Power Politics: Might, Money and Minds
 
The post-2012 standoff over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands has unveiled the antagonistic quality to Sino-Japanese relations, with an important addition: a massive information war that has cemented the two states’ rivalry. Under the Xi and Abe administrations, China and Japan insisted on their moral position as benign and peaceful powers, and portrayed the neighbor as an aggressive revisionist. By highlighting great power rivalry, this study makes a theoretical contribution in favor of the power politics behind Sino-Japanese identities. The work is multidisciplinary in spirit and aims to speak both to academics and to general readers who might be curious of understanding this fascinating --if worrisome-- facet of Sino-Japanese relations. In turn, the assessment of the diplomatic, economic and identity clash between the world’s second and third wealthiest states provides a window in understanding the international politics of the Asia-Pacific in the early 21st Century. 

Giulio Pugliese is Lecturer in War Studies at Kings College London. He specialises in the politics, both domestic and international, of the Asia-Pacific with a focus on Japan, China and the United States. He has presented at a variety of venues, and has published articles and chapters concerning academic, policy-oriented and commercial themes in Italy, the U.S. and Japan.

 

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Jan
25
5:00pm 5:00pm

Vincent Goossaert (Professor at École pratique des hautes études (EPHE), France) Bureaucracy and Salvation: Self-divinization in Chinese Religious History

  • LG. 09, David Hume Tower, University of Edinburgh (map)
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Vincent Goossaert (Professor at École pratique des hautes études (EPHE), France)
Bureaucracy and Salvation: Self-divinization in Chinese Religious History
 
Wednesday, January 25, 17:00-19:00
David Hume Tower, LG. 09, University of Edinburgh
 
Abstract: The earliest Chinese documents show that dead humans could become (under certain conditions) ancestors or else suffering, possibly malevolent, and ultimately forgotten ghosts. The late warring state period saw the more or less concurrent emergence of two new postmortem destinations: one is direct access to transcendence via self-cultivation techniques, the other is promotion into the ranks of the otherworldly bureaucracy. While initially opposed, these two options became over the following centuries intermingled in many ways, as the divine bureaucracy continued to expand, to complexify and to incorporate those who had attempted to escape it.
 
This presentation will argue that the aspiration to become a god (divinization) has ever since played a key role in Chinese religious, intellectual and cultural history. While families work at transforming their dead into ancestors, individuals tend to rather prefer divinization for themselves, and often take steps in that direction while alive. The two main ways to divinization that opened during the late warring states have basically stayed the same, but while the first (salvation through self-cultivation) remained elitist, the second (gaining initial access in the divine bureaucracy and then working one’s way up) gradually opened to all and sundry, most remarkably as a consequence of the religious changes of early modernity (10th-13th centuries). Becoming an otherworldly bureaucrat has become in modern time the main way to saving oneself from postmortem suffering and oblivion. This will lead us to reflect upon the intimate connection between two categories not often examined in tandem: bureaucracy and salvation.
 
Vincent Goossaert is a historian, professor at EPHE, France. He was guest professor at Geneva University and Chinese University of Hong Kong. He works on the social history of modern Chinese religion, and has focused on Daoism, on religious specialists as professionals and social roles, on the politics of religion, and on the production of moral norms. He has directed an international project on “Temples, Urban Society, and Taoists” (grants from CCKF, Taiwan and ANR, France), and is now co-directing the international project on “Chinese Religions in France” (grants from CCKF, Taiwan and ANR, France).
 
The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.
 
We look forward to seeing you there!

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Dec
2
5:00pm 5:00pm

Alexander Jacoby: Hirokazu Koreeda's Family Values

Time: December 2nd 5pm

Location: LG. 11, David Hume Tower

Decades ago, Donald Richie declared that the one subject of the Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu was the Japanese family and its dissolution. Hirokazu Koreeda, whose work often invokes Ozu in style and theme, focuses with equal attention on the Japanese family, an institution increasingly challenged in the face of the growing atomisation of modern Japanese society. In Nobody Knows, Koreeda depicts a family on the verge of disintegration, characterised by culpable parental neglect, and focuses on children trying vainly to reconstitute traditional structures. Yet Koreeda's more recent films, including Still Walking, I Wish, Like Father, Like Son and Our Little Sister, frequently suggest that the decline of the traditional family opens up a space for a positive process of re-evaluation. In these films, Koreeda champions unconventional, improvised, voluntary family structures, based not necessarily on biological relations, but premised on mutual affection and mutual need.

Alexander Jacoby lectures on Japanese film, manga and anime, and world cinema at Oxford Brookes University. He is the author of A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors (2008, Stone Bridge Press), as well as various shorter essays on Japanese and world cinema, and is currently working on a monograph on Hirokazu Koreeda for the BFI and Palgrave Macmillan. He has curated or co-curated film programmes in Britain at the BFI and internationally for the Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna, and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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Nov
23
5:00pm 5:00pm

Joseph Lawson: Inter-Group Violence in Upland Southwest China, 1800-1950s: Causes and Meanings

Wednesday, November 23, 17:00-19:00

David Hume Tower, LG. 06, University of Edinburgh

Abstract: This paper explores group violence in an area of Southwest China that experienced on-going conflicts between 1800 and the late 1950s involving indigenous Yi (Nuosu) peoples, Chinese settler communities, and the Qing and Republican states. Population pressure has been blamed by early nineteenth century governors and later scholarship alike, but this paper argues against this approach. Nor were opium production or the growth of local paramilitary groups as destabilizing as narratives from the early twentieth century might suggest. Instead, conflict resulted from the lack of a common framework for dealing with property disputes, and also the unanticipated impacts of turmoil elsewhere in China, such as the Taiping War, civil war after the fall of the Qing Empire, World War II, and the Nationalist Party’s war on drugs. Although some of the frameworks for interpreting conflict are unhelpful or misleading, those frameworks exercised a powerful influence on the meanings of violence to locals, which shaped their responses to it. Locals developed measures to contain conflict, some of which worked. Others exacerbated it and led to the construction of stereotypical views of indigenous violence. In developing these arguments, the paper integrates this conflict into a world-historical framework, considering points of comparison to other borderlands in nineteenth and twentieth century history.

Joseph Lawson is a lecturer in Chinese history at Newcastle University. His first book, Sustaining Violence: Mountain Land, Paramilitary Mobilization, and Otherness in Southwest China, 1800-1956 will be published by University of British Columbia Press in 2017. He is also the editor and main translator of the new English edition of Mao Haijian’s The Qing Empire and the Opium War (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

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Nov
2
5:00pm 5:00pm

Dr. Chaohua Wang: Chinese Intellectual Life amid Censorship and Commercialization

Wednesday, November 2, 17:00-19:00
50 George Square, G.04 Screening Room, University of Edinburgh

Abstract: In the last two decades of the twentieth century, Chinese intellectual life was highly energetic and extremely influential in the broad socio-cultural realm. In the new century, however, under the dual pressure of censorship and commercialization, it has shrunk and become far less significant. In this talk, the speaker will examine topics that are drawing intellectual attention in today’s China. These include issues related to constitution and revolution, and civilizational heritage vis-à-vis China’s international standing. She will analyze new ways in which the government has used its power not only to restrict political debate but also to drown out intellectual voices with loud commercial noise. The speaker argues that the precarious state of current intellectual life may be causing lasting damage to the quality of Chinese cultural well-being.
 
Dr. Chaohua Wang, trained at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), did her earlier research on Chinese intellectual transformation of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her edited volume, One China, Many Paths (London: Verso, 2003), won an Outstanding Academic Titles prize from Association of College and Research Libraries, U.S.A. She is now an independent scholar based in Los Angeles, currently working on a project on contemporary Chinese literature and intellectual life. She has published research articles in both Chinese and English, and writes in Chinese regular political commentaries on China and Taiwan.

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Oct
27
5:30pm 5:30pm

Patrick Horgan OBE: What Next for International Investment in China, and Chinese Investment in Europe?

Thursday 27 October 2016

Registration from 17.30 Talk 18.00 - 20.00

Surgeons Hall, King Khalid Auditorium, 11 Hill Square, Edinburgh EH8 9DS

Patrick Horgan is Regional Director North-East Asia for Rolls-Royce based in Beijing.

A graduate of Oxford University, and a Mandarin speaker, he began his career in Asia in 1989. As well as working for leading corporations he has held the Chairmanship of the British Chamber of Commerce in China and currently is Vice President of the European Chamber of Commerce in China.

He has also worked as Counsellor for Education at the British Embassy in Beijing, and as Director of the British Council’s programmes across Greater China. 

 

This lecture will be followed by a drinks reception

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Oct
12
5:00pm 5:00pm

Professor John Yasuda: On Feeding the Masses: The Politics of Regulatory Failure in China

Abstract: On Feeding the Masses explores why China’s food safety system is failing despite concerted state efforts to reform its regulatory framework. Rather than pointing to lack of state capacity, level of economic development, or corruption, the study seeks to gain analytical leverage from the often cited but understudied notion that China’s scale lies at the core of its governance challenges.  The “politics of scale” framework introduced in the book identifies three major sources of conflict in large-scale polities: (1) because scale is a social construct, regulators find it challenging to define the scale – national, provincial, municipal, county, or township - at which a problem is likely to emerge and be effectively resolved; (2) each scale of government operates according to multidimensional logics (temporal frames; types of knowledge; institutional preferences; and managerial styles) that make it difficult to coordinate governance across scales; and (3) scale externalities – decisions at one scale of governance can affect other scales in a nested system in unexpected and costly ways.  In large, heterogeneous polities like China where millions of actors are operating at varying scales or "degrees of zoom" in diverse economic and geographical settings, scale politics are particularly fierce due to evolving social constructs, non-linear dimensions, and scale externalities. Drawing from over 200 interviews with food safety regulators and producers in China’s domestic, export, and organic markets and investigation over a 5 year period, the study seeks to establish new theoretical and empirical ground to explain why China’s fragmented unitary framework is ill-equipped to address its scale politics.  Cross-sectoral illustrations in the aviation, fisheries, and environmental sectors in China highlight how scale politics impact many other economic sectors within China; and cross-national comparisons of Europe, India, and the United States suggest that the politics of scale framework may engage debate about contentious policy arenas and regulatory outcomes in the world's large and complex markets beyond China.

John Yasuda is an assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures at Indiana University's School of Global and International Studies (SGIS) specializing in contemporary Chinese politics. Prof. Yasuda’s research includes the study of regulatory reform in developing countries, governance, and the politics of institutional integration. He has published articles in the Journal of Politics, Regulation & Governance, and The China Quarterly. His book, On Feeding the Masses, which examines the political roots of China's food safety crisis, was recently accepted by Cambridge University Press. Prior to joining SGIS, Prof. Yasuda was post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Contemporary China. He received his PhD in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley, an MPhil in Comparative Government at Oxford University, and his BA in Government from Harvard College.

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Oct
7
5:00pm 5:00pm

Dr Jakub Hruby: "Creating Moral Order: Symbolic Use of Enfeoffment in an Early Medieval Chinese Court Struggle"

Abstract:
Following the death of Jin Wudi in 289, a period of political insecurity and infighting commenced which culminated in an internecine war for the custody of the emperor and the throne itself between various branches of the Sima clan. The struggle was not restricted to the actual fighting on the battlefields, as the ideological war of legitimacy and denigration raged with the same intensity. The rising number of bestowed noble dignities awarded within the system of the recently established Five Ranks (wudengzhi 五等制) testifies to this intensity. The aim of these enfeoffments was not only to strengthen one’s position through raising one’s loyal supporters to a prominent social and political position, but also to gain moral credit and legitimacy so badly needed for the execution of supreme power. For a bestowal of a noble title on the right person at the right time provided an opportunity to act as the restorer of the right order and keeper of the proper traditions, a symbolical role which enabled various princely dictators to claim the obedience of all under heaven.

Dr. Jakub Hruby, is a visiting scholar from the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and expert in the political, social and institutional history of Medieval China

 

 

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Oct
5
5:00pm 5:00pm

Fragrance (xiang) and Its Cultural Meanings in Ming and Qing Literature

  • University of Edinburgh, David Hume Tower, LG.09 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Abstract: Although olfaction is considered secondary among bodily senses, it has vital and important symbolic functions for human beings, especially within the cognitive, semiotic and ritual fields. This is why it has a profound impact on our mood, memory and emotions. From historical and anthropological perspectives, its constructive aspect is interesting for understanding some deep strata of a cultural and psychological life in certain social groups in a certain period. This talk will present some results of a textual analysis conducted mainly on literary works of Ming and Qing China. In particular, the polysemous term xiang 香 (fragrance) with compounds will be examined in connection with its main meanings of incense, perfume and beauty/love hints. Other short comments will be provided on other different kinds of odours.

Prof. Paolo Santangelo specializes in the social, intellectual and anthropological history of Ming-Qing China as well as private history and psychological trends. He also leads an international research project on the textual analysis of literary and non-literary sources in Chinese culture in order to collect and evaluate expressions concerning emotions and states of mind. He is the author of Sentimental Education in Chinese History. An Interdisciplinary Textual Research in Ming and Qing Sources (2003); Materials for an Anatomy of Personality in Late Imperial China (2010), among many others.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.

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Sep
26
5:30pm 5:30pm

A Briefing Session on GTCS Registration for Japanese Teachers in Scotland

Speaker: Ms Ellen Doherty (Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning) from GTCS


Time & Date: Monday 26 September 2016, 17:30 – 19:00 *including reception


Place: Room LG.09, David Hume Tower, University of Edinburgh
Free Entry, but If you would like to attend the session, please send us an email to info@ed.mofa.go.jp with your name and contact details, mentioning that you are coming to the event by Monday 19 September.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) is self-regulating body for teaching in Scotland and it is a legal requirement for any teacher teaching in Scottish schools to be registered with GTCS. From January 2016, some changes are made to the registration rules for Qualified Outside Scotland and Professional Registration applicants. Following this change, the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh is hosting a briefing session on the new GTCS Registration system for those who currently teach Japanese language, are willing to teach it in the future, or have teaching qualifications in Japan and are interested in teaching Japanese in Scotland, and so on. Ms Ellen Doherty (Director of Education, Registration and Professional Learning) from GTCS will explain what exactly has been changed under the new rules, and what kind of preparation you would expect to do to be registered as a Japanese language teacher in Scotland.

For further information on event, please view the link -  http://www.edinburgh.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/GTCS%20registration.html

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Sep
13
12:00pm12:00pm

Social Change of the Longue Duree: A Theory and Its Applications

Speaker(s): Professor Dingxin Zhao (University of Chicago)
Hosted by Sociology (University of Edinburgh)
Introduced by Dr Lilli Riga (University of Edinburgh)
Date and Time: 13th Sep 2016 12:00 - 13:00
Location: Seminar Room 2 (CMB ground floor)

This talk presents a general theory of social change that I have developed in my recent book entitled "Confucian-Legalist State: A Theory of Chinese History". The theory is based on the premise that human nature has political, ideological, territorial and economic aspects, and humans compete for dominance and try to institutionalize the gains along these aspects. The bulk of the theory is to analyze how each of the four aspects of human nature has given rise to distinctive mechanisms and institutions shaping the contours of history. The empirical implications of the theory will be illustrated by the patterns of the world history, particularly the premodern history of China and Europe.


http://www.sociology.ed.ac.uk/events/seminar_series/2016_2017/social_change_of_the_longue_duree_a_theory_and_its_applications

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Sep
12
3:30pm 3:30pm

The Rise of Protestantism in Post-Mao China

Speaker: Dr. Yanfei Sun (Zhejiang University, China)

Room: 8 3F2 Buccleuch Place

Based on fieldwork in a Chinese county, this talk seeks to explain why Protestantism has experienced explosive growth in post-Mao China, but not before. This talk identifies six institutional features of Chinese Protestantism vital to its rapid growth, but it does not make a simple institutional argument. Instead, it contends that each of these institutional features is a double-edged sword: each can facilitate or impede the spread of Protestantism depending on the context. Protestantism flourished in the post-Mao era because the Maoist state had dissolved the locally entrenched social/cultural resistance to Protestantism and because the post-Mao state’s market-oriented economic reform has created an environment conducive to the expansion of Protestantism. Theoretically, this talk makes a claim that the effect of any religion’s institutional features on its growth is contingent on the sociopolitical context of the religion, and that the state is the most powerful actor creating and shaping that context.

About the speaker:

Dr. Yanfei Sun is currently associate professor at the Department of Sociology, Zhejiang University, Yanfei Sun received her PhD in sociology from University of Chicago in 2010. Between 2010 and 2013, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Society of Fellows of Columbia University. She has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University and University of Chicago. Her broad research interest concerns both religion and politics, but particularly the relationships between the two. She is writing a book that examines the transformation of the religious landscape in modern China based on ethnography and archival work. She is also researching on a transnational lay Buddhist movement as it traverses mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other societies.

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