May God Bless the Manchukuo: Manchuria and the Transformation of China-Vatican Relationship
On October 19, 2017, the renowned historian of modern China, Dr. Thomas Dubois, gave a speech at the Sigur Center of Asian Studies of the George Washington University. Dr. DuBois has taught at universities in the US, Singapore, and Australia, and is currently a fellow of the History and Anthropology Project at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The speech was co-sponsored by the Sigur Center and the Department of Religion at the George Washington University and the CCK Foundation’s Inter-University for Sinology grant.
The title of Dr. Dubois’s speech was: “May God Bless the Manchukuo: Manchuria and the Transformation of China-Vatican Relationship.” He points out that the relationship between China and the Vatican remains one of the global touchstones in the diplomatic personality of religion. Before the mid-twentieth century, this relationship was further mediated by national missions, resulting in a series of doctrinal and administrative struggles over the Catholic Church in Asia. This long-simmering dispute was brought to a head in 1932 by the question of who within the Church had the political authority to respond to the formation of a Japanese client state in Manchuria. The response to this crisis initiated a new era of Catholic diplomacy, and presaged the changes that would reshape global Catholicism after the Second Vatican Council. This perspective shows that recent rapprochement between China and the Vatican is not an aberration, but a return to the normal state of Catholic diplomacy.
Musha 1930: History, Memory, Culture (An International Conference)
From October 9-11, 2017, The University of California, Los Angeles hosted the international conference “Musha 1930: History, Memory, Culture.” An unprecedented gathering, this marked the first conference on the subject of the Musha Incident to ever be held outside of East Asia. The event was interdisciplinary in nature, bringing together literary scholars, filmmakers, historians, oral history specialists, translation studies scholars and cultural studies scholars to discuss the historical impact of the Musha Incident from a variety of perspectives.
The 1930 Musha Incident was a violent conflict between the indigenous Seediq and the Japanese colonial powers in Taiwan. The incident has historically been marginalized in ROC history, but has recently been brought to the public’s attention thanks to popular culture interpretations, such as the graphic novel of Qiu Ruolong, the concept album by Chthonic, and the feature film by Wei Te-sheng. Through a series of lectures, panels, and discussions, “Musha 1930: History, Memory, Culture” explored the lingering impact of this conflict and how it has been constructed in contemporary Taiwanese cultural memory. Topics discussed included: How the memory of the Musha Incident has transformed over time; the conflation of politics and historical memory regarding Musha; and how cultural texts have appropriated the history of the Musha Incident. The conference featured keynote panels featuring the award-winning filmmaker Wan Jen, the historian Deng Shian-yang, and indigenous scholars Dakis Pawan and Bakan Pawan. The event was attended by more than 100 people and in addition to leading scholars such as Leo Ching, Ping-hui Liao, Paul Barclay, Kuei-fen Chiu, and Darryl Sterk, the conference also highlighted several young scholars. Several UCLA faculty, including Michael Berry, Robert Chi, Katsuya Hirano, and Shu-mei Shih also participated. Currently plans are moving forward to turn the conference proceedings into an edited volume.