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Indiana University


EASC Newsletter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

May 2008


Science and Technology in the Pacific Century (STIP) Update

After an active fall semester of public lectures and seminars, the Science and Technology in the Pacific Century (STIP) project focused this spring on the recruitment and preparation of research teams for site visits to science departments and laboratories at Sun Yat-sen University and Zhejiang University in June. Funded by a $25,000 Faculty Research Support Program (FRSP) grant, each of the two teams will consist of a specialist in Chinese studies, a historian of science or an ethnographer, a bench scientist, and a graduate assistant with native language skills. The Sun Yat-sen team will be composed of Sue Tuohy (Folklore), David Hakken (Informatics), David Daleke (Biochemistry and associate dean, University Graduate School), and Dasen Hu (Informatics). Heidi Ross (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and director, EASC), Nancy Abelmann (Anthropology, Asian American Studies, and EALC, and director, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Maxine Watson (Biology), and Gary Zhou (graduate student, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) will make up the Zhejiang University team. In preparation for this research trip, Xue Lan (School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University) visited Bloomington in February for a day of orientation on current conditions of scientific development in Chinese universities, delivering a talk on “Reform and Expansion: Challenges and Opportunities for China’s Higher Education System” and meeting with the STIP faculty seminar. The STIP site teams also engaged in intensive training for ethnographic work in a Chinese academic context in April, led by Qiang Zha (Education, York University, Toronto). Please visit the STIP website for information on upcoming events.

IL/IN National Dissertation Workshop: East Asian Education

Eight doctoral students from across the country came to Bloomington May 8-9 to participate in the second annual IL/IN National Dissertation Workshop, sponsored by the Illinois/Indiana East Asia National Resource Center Consortium (IL/IN East Asia NRC). This year’s workshop focused on East Asian education and was led by a team of multidisciplinary and multi-regional faculty: Nancy Abelmann (Anthropology, Asian American Studies, and EALC, and director, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign); Gary DeCoker (professor, Japanese Studies, and director, Japan Study, Earlham College); and Heidi Ross (professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, School of Education, and director, EASC).

Participants were Blaine Connor (University of Pittsburgh), Dan Wang (Syracuse University), Peggy Kong (Harvard University), Kaori Takano (University of Dayton), Hailing Wu (Michigan State University), Lily Hope Chumley (University of Chicago), Yukako Tatsumi (University of Maryland), and Wei-shan Hsu (University of Pennsylvania). The workshop also provided an opportunity for five IU Ph.D. candidates working on East Asian education to discuss their own projects and join in on a session on networking strategies—Akiko Hagiwara (Language Education), Ming-chu Hsu (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies), Jingjing Lou (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies), Hsiang-ning Wang (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies), and Lei Wang (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies).

“Monsters and the Monstrous in Modern Japanese History and Culture”

The second of two workshops on Japanese monsters funded by the Toshiba International Foundation was held in Bloomington in March. Directed by Michiko Suzuki (EALC), “Monsters and the Monstrous in Modern Japanese History and Culture” was divided into three panel sessions, the first of which, “Monsters of Modernity,” explored the fate of monsters in Japan as they confronted modernity. Terry Jackson (History, Adrian College) looked at Japanese adaptations of mermaids and unicorns through visual images and descriptions in “‘Monsters’ and the Curious Authority of the West in Late Tokugawa Japan.” In “Monsters as Misreading: Meiji Era Translations of Western Monster Narratives,” Miri Nakamura (Asian Languages and Literatures, Wesleyan University) explored the different ways in which Japanese writers translated the English word “monster” as they imported texts such as Frankenstein in the Meiji period. Michael Foster (Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University) closed out the session with “Death of the Tanuki (Part Three): Trouble with Trains,” part of a larger work in which he plans to look at the different ways in which tanuki (raccoon dogs) meet unnatural deaths in Japanese lore.

The second session, “Media, History, Cool,” examined monsters in popular culture. In “The Medium is the Monster” Gerald Figal (History, Vanderbilt University) presented an analysis of a chilling anime mini-series titled Paranoia Agent. Christopher Bolton’s (Asian Studies, Williams College) paper, “Angels, Ghosts and Haunted Histories in the Work of Oshii Mamoru,” continued the focus on anime, comparing the heroes of Oshii’s anime and live action films to vampires, werewolves, and angels. The director of last year’s monsters workshop on the premodern period, Thomas Keirstead (East Asian Studies, University of Toronto), presented “Seimei, Then and Now: Magic, Monsters, and the Depiction of Premodernity,” in which he looked at different depictions of the historical figure Abe no Seimei and how modern anime has turned him into a demonic sorcerer. Anne Allison (Cultural Anthropology, Duke University) explored how the likes of Pokeman and Hello Kitty have become part of Japan’s GNC (Gross National Cool), a form of soft diplomacy.

In the final session on “The Big, the Small, and the In-Between,” Leslie Winston (Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, UC Riverside) returned to the topic of mermaids with her paper “Mermaids Betwixt and Between in Taish­ō Literature.” William Tsutsui (History, University of Kansas) presented theories exploring the immense height of Godzilla and his growth in proportion to Tokyo’s skyline. The last paper of the workshop was presented by Sharalyn Orbaugh (Asian Studies, University of British Columbia), “Monstrous Utility: Ethics and Affect in Cyborg Anime.” Orbaugh returned to Shelley’s Frankenstein and the manga and anime Gunslinger Girl, which explores the lives of pre-pubescent girls unwillingly transformed into cyborgs to serve a fictional nefarious Italian government as assassins with no free will.

Special Lectures

While in Bloomington for the “Monsters and the Monstrous in Modern Japanese History and Culture” workshop, Anne Allison (Cultural Anthropology, Duke University) delivered a public lecture on “Sociality of the Present: Family, Affect, and Japanese Kids.” Her talk focused on “hikikomori,” adolescents who refuse to go to school and instead sequester themselves in their rooms for months or years, and adults who, unlike their parents, opt for roaming jobs rather than lifetime careers. This Horizons of Knowledge lecture was co-sponsored by EASC, and the Departments of EALC, Communication & Culture, and Anthropology.

In April Yoshioka Sachio, a specialist on Japanese ritual textiles, presented two demonstrations on dyeing techniques and a talk titled “Color, Design, and Ritual in Japan’s Heian Court.” Yoshioka is the fifth-generation owner of a dye shop in Kyoto and researches and creates religious and court textiles through a technique employing natural dyes extracted from plants and insects that was also used in the Heian period. Presented by the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts Textiles Area, his visit to IU was co-sponsored by EASC, the Departments of EALC and Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, and the Fine Arts Student Association.

In April Susan Mann (History, University of California, Davis), presented a talk titled “Sexuality in Modern Chinese History,” co-sponsored by EASC, the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, and the Department of History. Interested in integrating sexuality into our understanding of historical change in China, she presented some preliminary findings from research for an undergraduate textbook organized around three themes: family and state, body and person, and modernity and globalization.

National Consortium for Teaching about Asia Celebrates its Tenth Anniversary

This summer the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) will mark its tenth year of providing Teaching about Asia seminars and study tours to middle and high school educators. NCTA, which uses a grassroots approach to foster the teaching and study of East Asia in world history, world cultures, and world geography classes, began when five East Asian studies specialists from around the country answered a call by the Freeman Foundation to help make education about East Asia a more permanent part of the U.S. classroom. In 1997 Columbia University, the Five College Center for East Asian Studies, Indiana University, University of Colorado, and the University of Washington became the five national coordinating sites of NCTA.

The backbone of the NCTA program is the Teaching about Asia seminar, a thirty-hour course offered free of charge to middle and secondary school teachers nationwide. These seminars, led by experts in East Asian history and cultures, offer professional stipends, course materials, curriculum materials, and graduate course credit or recertification credit. Since the inception of its seminars in 1999, NCTA has continued to grow through the addition of annual study tours to East Asia and partner sites offering the Teaching about Asia seminars.

In its tenth year, NCTA’s thirty-three coordinating and partner sites offer seventy seminars annually. Participants teach a wide variety of subjects, including history, geography, religion, economics, and language arts. In all, more than nine thousand teachers and their three million students have been impacted by the Freeman Foundation’s desire to work with NCTA in making East Asia a permanent part of the American curriculum.

NCTA Years 11-12 Funding Received

In May EASC received the first installment of a Freeman Foundation grant totaling more than $1 million to fund the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia seminars and study tours for an additional two years, Years 11 and 12 of the NCTA program. EASC will coordinate one study tour to East Asia and five seminars per year in Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, and Minnesota and oversee four seminars per year in Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan. For more information on our seminars and study tours, see EASC’s NCTA Web site.

“Early Modern Japanese Literature: Research and Translation” Project

In March EASC was awarded a grant from the Toshiba International Foundation for the project “Early Modern Japanese Literature: Research and Translation.” Directed by Faculty Emerita Sumie Jones (Comparative Literature and EALC), this grant will fund the completion of volumes one and two of Jones’s three-volume anthology of translated Edo and Meiji-period literary texts, a project currently funded by an National Endowment for the Humanities grant.

Two scholars collaborating with Jones on this project delivered public lectures in April. Kenji Watanabe (Japanese Literature and Chancellor, Rikkyo University) is a leading specialist of Edo period literature and culture, best known for cultural historical studies of daimyos’ writings and of pleasure quarters and courtesans. His talk, titled “Women’s Dandyism and the Formation of Popular Culture in Japan,” was presented by the Institute for Advanced Study. Charles Inouye (German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literatures, Tufts University), translator of Izumi Kyoka’s stories and author of the recent book Evanescence and Form: An Introduction to Japanese Culture, delivered two lectures: “A Lover’s Quarrel: The Original, the Translator, and the Lose/Lose Situation” for the Seminar on Translation and “The End of the World, Plan B: Figurality and the Development of Modern Consciousness” for the EASC colloquium series.

Indiana Roundtable on Post-Communism: “Islam and Post-Communism”

The topic of this year’s Indiana Roundtable on Post-Communism was “Islam and Post-Communism” and featured Edmund Waite (Institute of Education, University of London), a specialist on the anthropology of Islam in Central Asia and China. The annual event is run by the Russian and East European Institute and co-sponsored by EASC and EALC. For more details, please see the Roundtable’s Web page.

Midwest Japan Seminar in Bloomington

Sponsored by EASC and the Japan Foundation, twenty-eight members of the Midwest Japan Seminar gathered in Bloomington in February to discuss two papers: David Frost’s (History, Xavier University) “‘Japan’s Number One’ Goes to War: Baseball, Militarization, and Memory” and Christopher D. Scott’s (Asian Languages and Cultures, Macalester College) “Ghost Writing: Kim Sok-pom and the Specter of Japanese Colonialism.” Founded in 1970, the Midwest Japan Seminar meets five times per year at different Midwestern institutions to discuss two papers, allowing scholars to offer and receive more in-depth critique of their papers than they would receive at a larger meeting.

East Asia Fair: “Rigidity and Flexibility in Japanese Arts”

Students dress in kimono at the April East Asia Fair held at Whitney Young High School in Chicago. The 2008 East Asia Fair, “Rigidity and Flexibility in Japanese Arts,” was held in April at Whitney Young High School in Chicago. This Title VI-sponsored annual event brings together high school students from Indiana and Illinois to learn about a topic related to East Asia. Fifty-five students from northern Indiana and Chicagoland high schools attended the event, which included lectures on the guiding principles in Japanese arts by Kimiko Gunji (director, Japan House, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), one of the Midwest’s leading experts on traditional Japanese arts. In her presentations and demonstrations, Gunji emphasized that although it is commonly thought that Japanese arts follow strict, unbendable rules, in reality those constraints allow for a flexibility that inspires creativity. Students had an opportunity to experiment within the rules with hands-on activities: students were dressed in kimono, experienced the etiquette and the feeling of community in a traditional tea ceremony, and tried their hand at arranging flowers in an ikebana session. This event was organized by EASC and its Title VI consortium partner, the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies (EAPS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Geography and History of the World workshops

To help prepare Indiana high school teachers for the new Geography and History of the World state standards, EASC and IU’s Center for Social Studies and International Education (CSSIE), along with four other IU area studies centers (African Studies Program, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center, and Russian and East European Institute), presented three workshops this spring providing geography and history content to teachers in Indianapolis and Connorsville. Five IU graduate students, including Travis Selmier (Ph.D. candidate, Political Science), and presented the workshops, which centered on two themes: “Exploration, Conquest, Imperialism, and Post-Colonialism,” and “States, Nations, & Nation States.”

China Wave III Orientation

China Wave III tripEASC hosted an orientation for China Wave III, the third annual trip to China for teachers and administrators from Indiana. This year, educators from ten participating elementary, middle, and high schools, including Harmony School in Bloomington, toured Beijing, Dailan, and Anshan in China to learn about Chinese culture and visit with partnering schools. The China Wave trip was funded largely by the Freeman Foundation and supported by the Indiana Council for the Social Studies and Global Indiana: A Consortium for International Exchange.

4th Annual Midwest Conference on East Asian Thought

IU hosted the 4th Annual Midwest Conference on East Asian Thought April 26–27. Bringing together scholars and graduate students from around the nation, six panels addressed a range of issues, including comparative examinations of Confucius and non-Asian philosophies, spiritual freedom, and “the unspoken” in traditional Chinese thought. Edward Slingerland (Asian Studies, University of British Columbia) delivered the keynote address, “Vertical Integration and the Study of East Asian Thought,” in which he discussed integrating humanities and natural sciences in early Chinese thought. This conference was sponsored by Horizons of Knowledge, EASC, the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, and the Departments of Religious Studies, EALC, and Philosophy.

NCTA Enrichment Event: “East Asian Bodies and Sports: From Tradition to the Beijing Olympics”

In April EASC held an NCTA enrichment event for NCTA alumni and middle and high school teachers interested in taking the NCTA seminar in the future. This year’s event, “East Asian Bodies and Sports: From Tradition to the Beijing Olympics,” was held in Indianapolis and was attended by fifteen teachers from Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. The event included presentations by three academic specialists who discussed historical, cultural, and political aspects of past Olympics in Japan and Korea and the upcoming Games in Beijing. Elise Edwards (History, Butler University) gave a historical overview of past Olympic Games in East Asia, Scott Smith (Ph.D. candidate, History, IU and lecturer, History, Butler University) provided a critical perspective on the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and Sue Tuohy (Folklore and Ethnomusicology) shared through video clips the pop culture and Chinese media coverage of the Beijing Olympics. The event also included an interactive presentation on T’ai Chi, a Chinese martial art, by Brian Flaherty (M.A. student, EALC). John Frank of Center Grove High School led a group discussion following the presentations, in which participants shared ideas for incorporating this content into their curriculum. There will also be a lesson plan competition, with the creator of the best lesson plan winning $100. Funded by the Freeman Foundation, the goal of the annual enrichment event is to keep NCTA alumni engaged in learning and teaching about East Asia.