Thinking Through Things in Qing China Workshop, held at Johns Hopkins University, September 22-23, 2016
On September 22-23, 2016, a multi-generational group of scholars gathered for an interdisciplinary workshop on material culture in early modern China. The program, “Thinking Through Things in Qing China,” featured historical, literary, and art historical approaches to objects ranging from used clothing to jade chimes to steppe mushrooms. Several papers dealt specifically with lens technology; others treated questions of craftsmanship, rulership, and ethnic identity as expressed in material culture. Some papers dealt with things-as-objects; others dealt with representations of things in text. Thus, in some papers, the authors “thought through things” in order to draw conclusions about Qing society; whereas in others, the authors reflected on how people in the past used representations of things to comment on their lived experience. Dorothy Ko of Barnard College set the stage by highlighting the contributions of the papers that followed—framing the contributions by way of the children’s game rock (material), paper (text), and scissors (craft/skills). Her introduction was followed by panels titled: “Things in the World,” “The Stuff of Empire,” “Quotidian Things,” “Efficacious Things,” and “Seeing Things.” The workshop is the second in a series of three annual programs on late imperial Chinese culture and society supported by a grant from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation and to be held at Johns Hopkins University.
Sinophone Studies: New Directions International Conference, held at Harvard University, October 14-15, 2016
“Sinophone” is arguably one of the most provocative concepts of world literary studies since the turn of the new millennium. The Sinophone Studies: New Directions International Conference, held at Harvard University on October 14-15, 2016, was co-organized by Professor Jing Tsu of Yale University and Professor David Der-wei Wang of Harvard University, following their joint effort on the same subject matter in 2007. The conference focused on four themes: site and sight, sound and script, roots and routes, history and potentiality. Professor Shu-mei Shih of UCLA and Professor Ng Kim Chew from Taiwan were the two keynote speakers. The two-day program was packed with more than 40 presentations by scholars from Asia, Europe, and North America, including two young scholars’ panels featuring a total of 12 Ph.D. students from America, Taiwan, and Singapore. The program also included a writers’ forum, which gathered renowned writers from all over the Sinophone world including Ng Kim Chew, Lo Yi-chin, Shih Shu Ching, Ha Jin, Ge Fei and the publisher of Linking, Woo Kamloon. The conference drew a sizable audience, including not only faculties, graduate students, and visiting scholars at Harvard but also graduate students from Yale and UCLA. The latest publication by Linking, Hua yi feng: Huayu yuxi wenxue duben (Sinophone/Xenophone: Contemporary Sinophone Literature Reader), co-edited by David Der-wei Wang, Ko Chia-cian, and Woo Kamloon made its debut at the conference and was highly commended by scholars in the field of Sinophone studies.
The Modern Chinese Culture Seminar, held at the University of British Columbia,