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Indiana University


EASC Newsletter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

June 2014

Faculty Updates

Christopher I. Beckwith (Central Eurasian Studies) has authored the following publications:

  • “Science Spun on the Silk Road” (Review article) Nature Vol. 502, 24 October 2013, pp. 445-446;
  • Tufan zai zhongya: zhonggu zaoqi tufan, dashi, tangchao zhengduo shi. Chinese translation of The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). Urumchi: Xinjiang renmin chubanshe, 2012.
  • “On the Ethnolinguistic Position of Manchu and the Manchus within Central Eurasia and East Asia.” Manzokushi kenkyū 10 (2012), pp. 17-30.

He also gave three lectures at the Academy of Korean Studies’ Lecture Series of World Distinguished Scholars in Seoul, November 25-30:

•  “’The God of Heaven will know your thoughts’: The formative impact of the Central Eurasian Culture Complex on society and religion in early Asia and Europe”

• ”Attested Early Buddhism: The dated testimonies in Greek, Chinese, and Prakrit versus scholarly tradition”

• ”Sources of the Axial Age: Western Old Indic elements in Old Persian and their influence on China and Korea”

With an EASC travel grant, Heather Blair (Religious Studies) presented "Genre, Mode of Representation, or Sheer Eclecticism? Thinking through Medieval Engi" at the 14th International Conference of the European Association of Japanese Studies.

Michael Dylan Foster (Folklore and Ethnomusicology) was an invited panelist at theInter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies 50th Anniversary Symposium held in Yokohama, Japan on December 7. In early 2014, his encyclopedia articles on "Kappa" and "Tanuki" were published in theAshgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters. This summer, he will doresearchat Waseda University in Tokyo as arecipientoftheIU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs Short-Term Faculty Exchange Program.

Sara Friedman (Anthropology; Gender Studies; EALC) presented the paper, “Men who “Marry Out”: Redefining Chinese Masculinity and Patriarchy through Cross-Strait Marriages,” to the Gender Studies Workshop, Fairbank Center for East Asian Studies, Harvard University. Feb. 7.

She is also co-editor with Deborah Davis of the volume, “Wives, Husbands, and Lovers: Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China,” forthcoming from Stanford University Press in June 2014.

Jennifer Goodlander (Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance) taught a workshop on Chinese performance and shadow puppets for the Indianapolis Children's Museum for the upcoming exhibit on China. A video of her performing with the puppets will be featured in the exhibit.

Jennifer also received an EASC travel grant to present the paper “Understanding Puppets as Heritage: Three Case Studies to Explore How Puppets Perform Culture” at the First Asia-Pacific International Puppetry Festival sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Commission of UNIMA in Nanchung, China.

Additionally, she received the Robert A. Schanke Research Award, which is given annually to an untenured faculty presenter at the Theatre History Symposium for the Mid-American Theatre Conference (MATC) for her paper “Khmer Identities through the Arts after the Killing Fields in a Post 9/11 New York City.”

Michael Ing (Religious Studies) was awarded travel funding from EASC to present “The Harmony Thesis and the Invulnerability of Integrity” at the Midwest Conference on Chinese Thought in April.

Yoshihisa Kitagawa (Linguistics) delivered a paper titled “Fortition and Lenition in Japanese” at Formal Approaches to Japanese Linguistics (FAJL) 7 with EASC travel funds.

Keiko Kuriyama (EALC) used an EASC travel grant to present “A Multi-Level Curriculum: Integration of Online Learning, the 5 c’s and Content & Task-Based Instruction” at The 46th Annual Central States Conference of the Teaching of Foreign Languages in March.

Charles Lin presented “Attuning to cohesion: English count-syntax, the Mandarin general classifier ge, and wholeness” (coauthored with Jessica Harding, M.A. EALC) at the 27th Annual CUNY Sentence Processing Conference in March.

In spring 2014, Manling Luo (EALC) was awarded a First Book Subvention from the Association for Asian Studies. She has also received the following awards:

  • Research Travel Grant, College Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana University  
  • New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Exploratory Travel Fellowship, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Indiana University

Manling’s research was featured in the 2013 Vice President for Research Annual Report, page 35. A description can be found at

With EASC travel funds, Rowland Ricketts (Studio Art) presented “I am Ai, We are Ai: Confirming and connecting through the collective tradition of indigo in Japan through a public art at Japan’s 2012 National Cultural Festival” at the College Art Association Annual Conference.

Jonathan Schlesinger (History) received EASC travel funds to present “From Mukden to Manchuria: the Shifting Logic of Qing Rule in the Northeast” at the 2014 Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference.

Congratulations to Michiko Suzuki (EALC), who was awarded the 2013 Florence Howe Award in Foreign Languages and Literatures for an outstanding essay by a feminist scholar by the Women's Caucus for the Modern Languages. She received this award for her article, "The Husband's Chastity: Progress, Equality and Difference in 1930s Japan" published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 38 (2013): 327-52.

Michiko guest edited a special issue for the U.S.-Japan Women's Journal, titled "Women's Voices, Bodies and the Nation in 1930s-40s Wartime Literature." This issue includes her article, "Fat, Disease and Health: Female Body and Nation in Okamoto Kanoko's 'Nikutai no shinkyoku,'" U.S.-Japan Women's Journal 45 (2013): 33-49.

In December, she also gave an invited talk at Nihon University, titled "Jendaa kara bushitsu bunka e: Nihon kindai bungaku e no apurochi no kanosei to mondai (From Gender to Material Culture: Possibilities and Problems in Approaches to Modern Japanese Literature)." In April, she gave a talk titled "Reading and Writing Material: Koda Aya's Kimono" at the University of Washington. She was also an invited speaker at the Seattle Asian Art Museum's Saturday University lecture series, and gave a talk titled "Love and the 'Modern Girl' in Japan, 1920s-30s."

Michiko has also received the College Arts and Humanities Institute Travel Grant for her project titled "Representing Repatriation: Narrating War and Gender in the ‘Autobiographical’ Fiction of Miyao Tomiko" to conduct archival research in Kochi, Japan, in summer 2014. She will be conducting research on representations of kimono in 1950s-60s film in Tokyo at Waseda University, through the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs Short-Term Faculty Exchange Program.

With an EASC travel grant, Tie Xiao (EALC) presented “‘In the Red Zone’: Hu Yepin, Collective Intimacy, and Narrative Desire” at the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Conference.

Faculty Profile
Jonathan Schlesinger
Assistant Professor, History

Jonathan Schlesinger found his way into the field of history, like many other scholars, through language. After trying out Spanish in college and realizing it was not the best fit, Schlesinger decided to take on Chinese. A study abroad experience in Beijing solidified his resolve to turn an interest in China and its rich history into an academic career. Initially drawing support from Qing historian Pamela Cressley at Darmouth, with whom he worked on an undergraduate thesis, Schlesinger began exploring the fascinating discourses surrounding environmental degradation in 18th and 19th century China. He continued this research at Harvard under the mentorship of Mark Elliot, during which time he received language training in Manchu, Russian, and Mongolian, three languages critical to his archival research. It was a perfect storm of sorts that landed him his first teaching job here at IU in fall 2012: “I entered the job market and a position in the History Department opened up,” he noted. “It’s my first time living in the Midwest. I really like Bloomington.” He went on to acknowledge that, given its faculty strengths in both Central and East Asian languages, IU couldn’t be a better fit.

Addressing his dissertation work in more detail, Schlesinger explained that between 1700 and 1850 the population in China tripled and land cultivation doubled, precipitating a consumer boom that decimated oyster populations, which were prized for their pearls, as well as sables, that were hunted for furs. He noted that official expressions of Qing concern for nature were mapped onto racial discourses that served to highlight the asymmetrical power dynamics between conquered and conqueror. But whence the interest in the environment? “I worked for park services when I was younger, and my parents also instilled in me an appreciation for nature,” Schlesinger explained.  “Environmental history has also grown quite large as a sub-field. It’s exciting.”

So far, Schlesinger has been more than pleased with the students he has instructed at IU. In spring, he taught a graduate seminar as well as a capstone course for undergraduates titled “Beyond Opium.” “The more time I spend with students, the more I respect them. My graduate students especially are doing very unique research,” he gushed. That China appears almost daily in American news headlines adds special import to education about the Middle Kingdom. For Schlesinger, this means having students gain the critical capacity to “see implied historical narratives in media.” “I want students to see how rich and complex Chinese history is; I hope they can learn to empathize with individuals in history.”

In the coming years, Prof. Schlesinger related that he would like to teach a course on environmental history. In addition, he intends to collaborate with incoming historian Fei Hsien Wang to enhance the department’s offerings in Chinese history. Before then, Prof. Schlesinger will be spending the 2014-15 academic year at Yale University while he works on the manuscript of his first book: Inventing Nature in the Qing Empire.

EASC wishes Prof. Schlesinger continued success at IU and a most productive year in New Haven. Best of luck!

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