IU East Asia News: January 2012: Archive: EASC Newsletter: Publications: East Asian Studies Center: Indiana University

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Indiana University


EASC Newsletter


A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

January 2012

IU East Asia News

Visiting Scholar from Chiba University Discusses Ecological Issues in Inner Mongolia

In November, Kanako Kodama (Eurasian Languages and Cultures in the Faculty of Letters, Chiba University) traveled to IU Bloomington to meet with faculty and students as well as deliver two public lectures on ecological issues facing Inner Mongolia. Professor Kodama’s first talk was part of the Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business’ Colloquium Series and examined China’s policy of ecological migration (生态移民) roughly translated into English as the “forced relocation of people for preserving and/or restoring the ecological environment”. Ostensibly an integrated conservation and development project targeting grassland communities, the overall aim is to help relieve poverty resulting from desertification. Professor Kodama examined the situations, problems, and reactions of the regional administration and the local people and the importance of pastoralism for Mongolian culture and environmental conservation. Kodama’s second talk explored strategies for combating natural disasters among sedentarized pastoralists in Inner Mongolia, China. Professor Kodama discussed land use, markets, and agriculture as they relate to the effects, as well as the amelioration, of natural disasters in Mongolia in general and among the Mongols of China in particular. Responding to Professor Kodama’s remarks, Professor Li Narangoa of The Australian National University, joined the discussion by videoconference.

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Northwest by Southeast:  Zomia – Redrawing Our Boundaries of Knowledge

In November, with significant support from the Institute for Advanced Study, the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute sponsored a workshop to explore the concept of Zomia and its utility in reconsidering traditional area studies paradigms. Past research on borderland regions was often marginalized in favor of studying “heartland” areas of nation-states. One such region is sometimes called “Zomia”, an area that embraces over 100 million people running roughly through the highlands of Southeast Asia, eastern South Asia, western China, and throughout large parts of Central Asia. This workshop enabled five scholars from the Australian National University, the University of Bern, University of Washington, and Washington University of St. Louis to join IU faculty members and graduate students in exploring the Zomian model and its relevance to Inner, North, and South Asian Studies. Participants representing a variety of academic disciplines and regional specializations examined such issues as historic migration patterns based on linguistic mapping, the limits imposed by geography and technology on the reach of state power, and ethnic demographic considerations in the interplay between state and non-state actors.

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Visiting Scholar from National Taiwan University Explores Constitutionalism and Gender Equality in East Asia

In November, Chao-Ju Chen (College of Law, National Taiwan University) delivered a lecture on “Constituting and Contesting Equality” as part of the Maurer School of Law’s Center for Constitutional Democracy’s visiting lecturer series. It is often assumed that feminism is a Western product and that the inclusion of gender equality provisions in most East Asian constitutions is part of the modernization project under which Western values of equality, freedom, and justice were introduced to East Asia and established as common constitutional values. Professor Chen critically revisited this assumption through an exploration of feminist constitutional activism in Taiwan, and shared with the audience counter-evidence to refute the claim that gender equality is a Western notion foreign to Asian societies. Professor Chen’s visit was sponsored by the Center for Constitutional Democracy, EASC, the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, and the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute.

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Keith Luse Lectures on U.S.-North Korea Relations

In November, Keith Luse, affiliated with the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered a lecture at IUB on contemporary US-North Korea relations. Luse, a senior professional staff member for Senator Richard Lugar, has visited North Korea five times and participated in diplomatic meetings with North Korean counterparts. Timothy Rich, a doctoral candidate in political science, invited Luse to speak to his undergraduate course “Introduction to North Korea”. The course, offered at IU for the first time this semester through the Collins Living-Learning Center, is one of the few undergraduate courses in the US devoted solely to “the Hermit Kingdom”.

Luse focused his talk on misperceptions between North Korean and U.S. policy makers and the public, as well as potential areas of conflict in the future. Luse explained that while the U.S. pays great attention to North Korea’s nuclear program, Pyongyang’s interest in biological and chemical weaponry remains largely ignored. Luse highlighted the roles that North Korea’s neighbors can play in reducing tension and dealing with North Korea’s concerns of regime survival.

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Workshop goes “Beyond the Xinjiang Problem”

Xinjiang Studies predominantly highlights issues of ethnic conflict and realist geopolitics in analyses of Xinjiang’s past, present, and future. As a consequence, research in the field frequently fails to consider the impact of human-level interaction on national and international affairs. In November, a joint IU-ANU workshop was convened at Australian National University to redirect the focus of Xinjiang Studies from the macro to the micro and go “beyond the Xinjiang problem”. Gardner Bovingdon (Central Eurasian Studies and EALC; Associate Director of the Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business) delivered the keynote address for the workshop via videoconference. IU Bloomington doctoral students Timothy Grose and Sandrine Catris traveled to Canberra and joined doctoral students from around the world to share their research on Xinjiang. The workshop was sponsored by the Australian National University’s Centre on China in the World, the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute, the Department of Political and Social Change at ANU, the Monash Asia Institute at Monash University, and the University of Tasmania.

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2011 Institute for Advanced Study Branigin Lecturer Speaks About China

In October, Geremie Barmé (Pacific and Asian History, Australian National University; Director Centre on China in the World) travelled to Bloomington as an Institute for Advanced Study Branigin Lecturer with support from EASC and the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute. In addition to serving as a keynote speaker at the Symposium on the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the Republic of China, Barmé gave presentations for members of the Emeriti House and for IU doctoral students. In the first lecture Barmé introduced Australian National University’s new Centre on China in the World and in the second talk addressed anxieties over “China Literacy” in an age of Chinese economic ebullience, historical revival, and national aspiration. A special breakout session after the talk allowed doctoral students from several departments and schools to discuss these topics and their own research in greater depth.

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IU Takes Lead Role in Creating New High Performance Research Network between US and China

IU Bloomington has been chosen to lead a high performance research network between the US and China.  Completed by the Indiana University Global Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC) and partners, the new link will connect the China Education and Research Network (CERNET) with Internet2 and U.S. research and education networks. According to IU President Michael A. McRobbie, “a high-speed connection between the countries has become very important to leading American scientific and medical collaborations which promise technical innovations and breakthroughs in healthcare.” Jim Williams, director of international networking at the Indiana University GlobalNOC, further states that the new network “will allow university scientists to move larger sets of data between the U.S. and China more quickly and easily.” With financial support from the Chinese government, CERNET is leading implementation of the network and creating the needed cyber infrastructure within China while the National Science Foundation (NSF) has given IU Bloomington a grant to lead the international network project. To learn more about growing links between IU and East Asia go here.

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American Folklore Society Meets in Bloomington

In October hundreds of members of the American Folklore Society (AFS) took Bloomington by storm, including a dozen scholars from Japan. A featured event was the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the American Folklore Society and the Folklore Society of Japan. At a ceremony held in the IMU Distinguished Alumni Room the agreement was formalized by C. Kurt Dewhurst (English, Michigan State University; President of AFS) and Suga Yutaka (Folklorist, University of Tokyo; Chair of the International Issues Committee of the Folklore Society of Japan). Eight Japanese “new scholar” folklorists also participated in a special session, titled “The Future of Japanese Folklore: Looking to the Past and Paving New Directions.”  Another Japan-related panel, “Folklore Performance in Japan: Policies, Practices and Recontextualizations,” focused on cultural heritage policies, tourism, and post-earthquake reconstruction.

On a more informal level, new connections and friendships were created, for example between American folklorists who have worked with Hurricane Katrina survivors and Japanese scholars currently engaged on research projects with people in regions affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Scholars found much to talk about and much to learn from each other, and have continued their conversations and are already beginning to pursue collaborative projects.  To read more about the annual meeting click here.

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Bridges Program Offers Ya Ya Chinese for Bloomington Children

EASC partnered with the Center for the Study of Global Change to teach Chinese in the Global Center’s popular Bridges: Children, Languages, World program, which engages young learners from the Bloomington area in the study of less-commonly taught languages. Jen Pearl, program manager for the Global & Community Health program in HPER, has been teaching for the Bridges Chinese language program, Ya Ya, since January 2011. According to Jen, the experience--and the commitment children have to learning Chinese--is incredibly rewarding. Jen explained, “by educating ourselves and others about other cultures and connecting with international peers, we can all build positive international relations—one interaction at a time.” The Bridges programs are an excellent example of how area studies programs collaborate on community outreach. Read more about the Center for the Study of Global Change’s Bridges program here.

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Chinese Tidings Lecture Series

The IU Chinese Flagship Program continued its Chinese Tidings lecture series this fall with a series of four engaging presentations. In September, Vivian Ling (Visiting Professor, EALC; director Chinese Flagship Center and Center for Chinese Language Pedagogy) gave a talk titled “From Rapprochement to Engagement: How American-Chinese Interpersonal Relationship Have Evolved Since the Reopening of China.” Wei Yan (Visiting Scholar,  Department of Literacy, Culture, and Language Education; Assistant Professor, North University of China) presented in October on “The Transformation of China Since the Reform and Opening-Up: From the Perspective of Food, Clothing, Housing, and Transportation.” In November, Sara Friedman (Anthropology; Gender Studies; EALC) delivered the third lecture, titled “Dashed Immigration Dreams: Cross-Strait Marriages, Domestic Violence, and Spousal Murder”. The final lecture of the semester, “The Mystery of Chinese and Global Philanthropy” was presented by Li Li (Visiting Scholar, Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) in December. The lecture series will continue in the spring with lectures by Jackson Boyar (B.A., EALC; Chinese Flagship program) and Gardner Bovingdon (Central Eurasian Studies and EALC).

The Chinese Tidings lecture series features both native and non-native speakers presenting entirely in Chinese and is offered to stimulate discussion on a range of topics and to foster language skills and cultural literacy. Simultaneous summary translations are displayed throughout the lectures to accommodate those with little or no Chinese proficiency.

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Chinese Instruction for Pre-K through 8th-Grade Students

This fall, EASC, the Center for the Study of Global Change, and the Center for Chinese Language Pedagogy (CCLP) are co-sponsoring Chinese language classes for pre-kindergarten through 8th-grade students and their families in Bloomington. The classes take place at the Monroe County Public Library and on the IU Bloomington campus. The Chinese program is part of a larger project coordinated by the Center for the Study of Global Change—Bridges: Children, Languages, World—that also provides instruction in other less-commonly taught languages, such as Arabic, Mongolian, Dari, and Swahili. You can find additional information on the Chinese Bridges program here.

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Center for Chinese Language Pedagogy’s Summer STARTALK Programs

The Indiana University Center for Chinese Language Pedagogy (CCLP) hosted the summer 2011 Chinese language programs for teachers and students of Mandarin Chinese.

The Chinese Pedagogy Institute conducted its 5th annual two-and-a-half week program for secondary school teachers of Chinese. In June, attendees spent the first week of the program at IU’s Bradford Woods before moving to the Bloomington campus for a one-week practicum.

Twenty-two high school students from around the country with little or no exposure to Chinese participated in an intensive, semi-immersion program, receiving two hours of college credit from the Chinese Language Institute (CLI).The programs were funded by STARTALK grants totaling $200,000 with additional support from the IU College of Arts and Sciences and the IU School of Education.

STARTALK is a National Security Language Initiative project that supports summer programs for critical languages. For more information about IU’s STARTALK Chinese programs, please visit the Center for Chinese Language Pedagogy Web page.

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IU Bloomington Art Professor Shares Response to Japan’s 2011 Tsunami and Earthquake

After leading IU Bloomington’s Summer Photography Overseas Program in Osaka, Japan this summer, James Nakagawa (Photography, School of Fine Arts) continued his stay in Japan to photograph the caves in Okinawa where thousands of civilians were killed or committed suicide at the end of World War II. Professor Nakagawa also spent five days in Tohoku, the region of Japan devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Initially hesitant to visit Tohoku, where so many were still struggling to cope with destruction and loss, Professor Nakagawa was encouraged to travel to the area by his friends in the art world and museum curators.

Even after his haunting work in Okinawa, Professor Nakagawa recalls that he “was left speechless by the 100km coastal stretch of debris that had been home to the cities of Kamaishi, Kesennuma, Rikuzentakada, Onagawa, and Ishinomaki. I have never experienced anything of this magnitude. I was stunned.” Nakagawa’s reaction was to turn away from the “crushed cars, upended buildings, washed up ships, and other shocking evidence of the disaster” and stand by the sea in deep thought.

contemplation 1

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IU Bloomington Students Participate in
Asia Pacific Week 2011

close up of five Indiana University studentsIU Bloomington students Matthew Chambers (Maurer School of Law), Nathaniel Kenninger (Kelley School of Business), Jing Tong (School of Public and Environmental Affairs), and Mateus Yumarnamto (School of Education) joined 100 students from around the world in Canberra, Australia for a week-long program in July devoted to Asian-Pacific affairs in the 21st  century. Hosted by the Australian National University (ANU), Asia Pacific Week explored a variety of topics ranging from the transformation of political and economic power in the region and Japanese recovery efforts following the Tohoku earthquake to gender and human rights in the Pacific Rim, climate change, and Indian and Indonesian perspectives on the Asian century.

Through lectures by ANU faculty and war game exercises that enabled participants to gain a greater understanding of the realities of policy making in an imperfect world, Asia Pacific Week delegates had the opportunity to learn from and interact with a broad cross-section of academics, Australian political leaders, and journalists. Brooke Treadwell (Ph.D. student, School of Education), at ANU as a Pan Asia Institute visiting graduate student, was a volunteer for the organizing committee. IU delegates were selected from over 600 applicants and received funding for their participation from the ANU-IU Pan Asia Institute.

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