Early Modern Chinese Encyclopedias Workshop
With the joint support of the Central Academy’s History and Language Institute, the Center for Research on Culture and Thought, and Harvard University’s Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation’s Inter-University Center for Sinology, the Early Modern Chinese Encyclopedias Workshop was held October 5-7, 2007 in Academia Sinica.
More than fifty scholars participated in this workshop including noted scholars of sinology such as Professors Milena Doleželová-Velingerová, Chen Pingyuan, Wang Ailing, Benjamin Elman, and Rudolf Wagner. Discussions among participants of the ten submitted essays was a great constructive and exceeded the original expectations.
From the dialogues, the participating scholars agreed that continuous research on the lexicon and content of encyclopedias will greatly enrich the field. Among the native Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese scholars who participated in the workshop, many have conducted exceptional research into the relevant topics, and many have received extensive Western historical training in Europe or America, and could therefore engage in substantial and profound discussions with their European and American counterparts, allowing all the participants to create stimulating panel discussions. This kind of experience, rarely seen at most conferences, was achieved through communication and dialogue between Chinese and foreign scholars, the mutual benefits of which will create lasting effects.
Enlightenment at the Turn of A Modern Century: Cultural Reform and Educational Transformation (1895-1949)
On October 26, 2007, the international symposium “Enlightenment at the Turn of A Modern Century: Cultural Reform and Educational Transformation (1895-1949)” was held at Harvard University. The symposium was well-attended with more than forty people, including thirteen presenters from Taiwan and the US, and noted sinologists such as Professors Patrick Hanan and Ellen Widmer.
The interdisciplinary symposium started with welcome remarks by Professor Chia-ling Mei of the National Taiwan University, who also presented a topic on two late-Qing journals on children’s education. From an innovative study on Chinese history textbooks in the late Qing (Peter Zarrow) to an engaging discussion of the significance and function of the Chinese university during the Republican period (Fabio Lanza), and an informative introduction of the ambiguous role Japan played in twentieth-century Chinese/Taiwanese cultural construction (Karen Thornber), the breadth and depth of the paper topics received enthusiastic exchanges of constructive comments
Vernacular Fiction, Book History, and History of Reading: New Perspectives on the Study of Ming-Qing Chinese Literature
The inaugural meeting of The Annual Workshop on Ming-Qing Literature was held at the New School University on Saturday, November 3, 2007. The Annual Workshop aims to further our understanding of the various literary traditions of the late-imperial China by offering an on-going forum for the exchange of ideas between junior and leading scholars. The workshop is organized by a specific theme each year. The topic for the 2007 meeting was “Vernacular Fiction, Book History, and History of Reading: New Perspectives on the Study of Ming-Qing Chinese Literature.”
Nine projects were presented in four panels, including “Hand-copying and the Dissemination of Kun Opera in the Qing Dynasty” by Catherine Swatek (University of British Columbia), “Youmengying and the Making of Printed Text” by Suyoung Son (University of Chicago), “The Difficulty of Performance: Problems of Xu Wei’s (1521–93) The Mad Drummer” by Yuming He (University of Chicago), “Between Performance, Manuscript, and Print: Imagining the Score in Seventeenth-Century Plays and Songbooks” by Judith Zeitlin (University of Chicago), “Reconsidering Fiction Pingdian: Zhang Zhupo’s How to Read the Jin Ping Mei” by Shang Wei (Columbia University), “Fictional Medicine: The Curative Properties of the Chinese Novel” by Andrew Schonebaum (State University of New York at New Paltz), “The Story of The Stone: The Making of Honglou meng” by I-Hsien Wu (The New School University), “Is Two Less Than One?: Making Meaning and Authority in Late Qing Translation” by Michael Gibbs Hill (University of South Carolina), and “Writing the Acoustic Landscape of the Capital: The Sound of Vendor Calls in Late Imperial Vernacular Literature” by Paize Keulemans (Yale University). David Rolston (University of Michigan), Ling Hon Lam (Vanderbilt University), and Lydia Liu (Columbia University) served as discussants. Faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from Columbia, The New School, and NYU also attended the event.
The Annual Workshop is cosponsored by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, Columbia University, and The New School University. The generous and continuous support by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation is particularly important to the success of this annual event. A detailed report in Chinese regarding the 2007 meeting, written by Hui-lin Hsu, a Ph. D. candidate on Ming-Qing fiction at Columbia University, will be published in Academia Sinica’s Newsletter of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy (Zhongguo wen zhe yanjiu tongxun).
Wang Hui Engages Harvard Audience
On Thursday, November 8, Professor Wang Hui of Tsinghua University headlined a roundtable event organized by Harvard University’s “Cultural Studies Across Borders” Workshop. His dialogue partners for the event, titled “Asian Modernities: The Public Intellectual in Today’s Globalized World,” were Taek-Gyun Park, Assistant Professor of Modern Korean History at Seoul National Univeristy and Dr. Lindsay Waters, Executive Editor of the Humanities Division of Harvard University Press. After a brief and cordial welcome from Professor David Der-Wei Wang of Harvard, the three distinguished speakers each addressed the current dilemmas facing intellectuals in Asia, with particular attention to China.
Wang Hui, currently a visiting professor at New York University, spoke first on the contemporary situation in China, discussing the difficulty of utilizing conventional polemics to explain the intellectual debates happening right now, as the labels of “New Left” and “Neo-Liberal” often end up breaking down under closer scrutiny. Despite the extent of its global dominance, capitalism is assuming new directions in China according to specific local conditions, which, according to Professor Wang, need to be evaluated on their own terms.
Professor Park responded to Professor Wang’s lecture by discussing the similarities and differences between Chinese and South Korean intellectual circumstances, noting the popularity of Professor Wang’s ideas among scholars in Korea. Dr. Waters followed with an eloquent and entertaining discussion of the future of scholarly production in Asia and the West. An engaging question and answer period followed before the conclusion of workshop.
The event, attended by more than 75 people, was sponsored by the CCK Foundation, along with the Harvard Humanities Center and the Fairbank Center.
Globalizing Modern Chinese Literature: Sinophone and Diasporic Writings, Harvard University
Harvard University hosted the “Globalizing Modern Chinese Literature: Sinophone and Diasporic Writings” December 6-8, 2007. The conference, organized by Professors David Wang of Harvard University and Jing Tsu of Yale University, focused on emerging sites of Chinese-language literary production and brought together scholars from Southeast Asia, Taiwan, China, and North America to analyze these new currents of the Chinese literary diaspora.
Taking cue from the opening panel’s stimulating discussion, the conference panels each sought to theorize the nature of the Sinophone as a concept, as well as its possibilities and limitations for use as a tool of analysis. The conference’s accommodation of a variety of perspectives and viewpoints on this emerging field of Chinese literary studies inspired many provocative debates and fascinating discussions throughout the weekend.
Of particular interest was the conference’s closing roundtable, featuring Chinese literature scholars Haun Saussy (Yale University) and Rey Chow (Brown University), renowned author and scholar Ha Jin (Boston University), along with two scholars from outside China studies, Brent Hayes Edwards (Columbia University) and Mark Shell (Harvard University). The unique and fresh perspectives offered in this roundtable not only inspired a lively and stimulating discussion, but provided an exhilarating conclusion to the conference.
The conference was jointly sponsored by the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University, the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature at Yale University, CCK Foundation Inter-University Center for Sinology U.S.A., and the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University.