Writing and Literacy in Early China, Columbia University
The Columbia University Early China Seminar held a two-day conference titled Writing and Literacy in Early China on February 7-8, 2009. The Seminar is an inter-university forum for the study of early Chinese civilization from the Neolithic period to the end of the Han Dynasty (A.D. 220), founded in 2002. Between 2006 and 2008, with the support of the CCK Foundation Inter-University Center for Sinology, the Seminar has hosted a number of papers and discussions dealing with problems of literacy and the social uses of writing, under the leadership of Professors Li Feng of Columbia University and David Prager Branner of the American Oriental Society. From these discussions, Professors Li and Branner are now preparing a book on the subject of "Writing and Literacy in Early China."
During the second half of 2008, eleven of the Seminar's members prepared substantial revisions of their papers for a public conference on writing and literacy. Each of these papers was cross-reviewed by at least three other participants, and the topics were carefully vetted by the chairs so that a representative array of topics would be covered. On February 7-8, all eleven papers were presented at a public conference at Columbia University, with over 60 participants attending. The program concentrated on how literacy was related to the nature and origin of the Chinese script and what the social context was for its use and transmission.
Renowned novelist Yu Hua speaks at Harvard University
Renowned Chinese novelist Yu Hua gave a talk to a eager crowd at Harvard University on March 12, 2009. Joined by the translators of his latest novel, Brothers, Professors Eileen Cheng-yin Chow (who also served as interpreter) and Carlos Rojas, as well as acclaimed English-language novelists Ha Jin and Gish Jen, the talk became a lively discussion on the role of language in the creative process of writing and the state of contemporary literature in translation. Yu Hua was also the featured speaker at a more intimate event attended by graduate students and professors of Chinese literature and history at Harvard.
Novelists Yu Hua (right) and Ha Jin discuss literature at Harvard University
The Eighth International Junior Scholars' conference on Sinology
The Eighth International Junior Scholars' Conference on Sinology was held at National Cheng-Chi University in Taipei on March 14-17, 2009. Nearly three dozen scholars representing nineteen universities from around the world convened at NCCU for the conference, titled "Late Qing and Republican Era Print Culture." The event was the eighth in a series of Chinese-language conferences initiated by Harvard University professor David Der-wei Wang that aims to promote scholarly exchange between a global community of Ph.D. students, early career scholars, and established scholars working in various disciplines of Chinese studies. This year's event was the first opportunity for face-to-face interaction for many scholars who had previously met "virtually" on a new late Qing and Republican print culture blog established by Professor Cheng Wen-huei and her students at NCCU.
NCCU President Dr. Se Hwa Wu kicked off the festivities with words of welcome and opening remarks about the importance of humanities research in Taiwan. Also speaking at the opening ceremony were Dr. Lin Chi-ping, Chair of NCCU's Department of Chinese, Dr. Liao Ping-hui, Director General of the Social Sciences of the National Science Council's Department of Humanities, and Professor Rudolf Wagner, Director of the Centre of East Asian Studies at the University of Heidelberg.
Over three days, twenty-three individual papers were presented in eight panels, each led by senior scholars from Taiwan and abroad. Papers encompassed a diversity of topics, ranging from theoretical debates on drama in the Shenbao newspaper to Malaysian-Chinese diasporic literature; from the cinematic adaptation of the novel Jade Pearl Spirit to satirical cartoons and theories of popular visuality; from illustrated dictionaries of Shanghai slang to revolutionary thought in Japanese-occupied Taiwan; from the influence of Emma Goldman on anarchistic thought during the Northern Expedition to the translation of La Dame aux Camelias; and from Republican tabloids in Beijing and Shanghai to literary periodicals in Nanjing during the Pacific War. Professors Jin Guantao and Liu Qingfeng also gave a demonstration of a powerful research tool they have been building as part of a multi-year project, which is now housed at NCCU: a keyword-searchable database of late Qing and Republican periodicals.
The conference concluded with a roundtable featuring Professors Lin Qi-ping and Cheng Wen-huei of NCCU, Professor Rudolf Wagner, and Professor Theodore Huters of UCLA. As a representative of one of NCCU's partner schools at Heidelberg, Professor Wagner reminded the ensemble to bring a global, multilingual perspective to their research and seek out the resonances between cultural phenomena in late Qing China and turn-of-the-century Europe, Japan, and America.
The conference was co-organized by NCCU professor Cheng Wen-huei and Harvard professor David Der-wei Wang and sponsored by Harvard University's Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Heidelberg's Graduate School of East Asian Studies, University of Heidelberg's Department of Sinology, NCCU's Department of Chinese, and the NCCU School of Humanities' Late Qing and Republican Periodicals and Culture Research Group." Generous funding was also provided by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange and the Department of Humanities of the Social Sciences of the National Science Council.
International Conference on Sixty Years of Contemporary Chinese Literature, Lingnan University
Promotional poster for the international conference "Sixty Years of Contemporary Chinese Literature,"
held at Lignan University in Hong Kong on March 20-21, 2009
Participants of the conference "Sixty Years of Contemporary Chinese Literature"
Urban Splendor: City Life in East Asia Over the Past 1500 Years
After an extended period of preparation, the international conference Urban Splendor: City Life in East Asia over the Past 1500 Years, co-organized by National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Fudan University and East Asian Language and Culture Department of Harvard University, was held from March 26 to 29, 2009, at three locations in China (two days at Fudan in Shanghai, one day in Hangzhou, and one day in Fuyang). The themes of the conference included:
Urban Splendor International Conference at Fudan University, Shanghai
Urban Splendor International Conference at Fuyang
Participants of the Urban Splendor International Conference
Acclaimed poet Yang Lian speaks at Harvard University
Acclaimed Chinese poet in exile Yang Lian visited Harvard University on Wednesday, April 8, in an event sponsored by CCK-Inter-university Center for Sinology and the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. After a welcoming introduction by Harvard Visiting Professor Michel Hockx, Yang Lian lectured on the significance of form, particularly symmetrical and non-linear forms, in his work and discussed the contemporary Chinese poetry scene as a whole.? His speech was illustrated by some readings of his poems, including those from his celebrated collection, Where the Sea Stands Still.? Following his readings, the novelist Yo Yo, added to the discussion on form by applying its poetic sense to narrative writing, and closing with a reading from her latest novel, Ghost Tide.