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Indiana University

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EASC Newsletter

A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

November 2007

Faculty Updates

  • Christopher I. Beckwith (Central Eurasian Studies) was in Tokyo for two months this summer on a short-term research grant from the Japan Foundation to work on Old Chinese loanwords in Japanese and Korean. The former project focuses on Old Japanese words for specific animals of the Chinese twelve-year cycle. The latter project identifies several Old Chinese loanwords in Korean, focusing on Middle Korean forms.

  • Gardner Bovingdon (Central Eurasian Studies and EALC) gave a talk titled “Naming and Claiming in China and Taiwan: The Role of Representation in Modern Politics” at the Institute of Political Science at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. This fall he is a visiting scholar at the Academia Sinica Institute of Ethnology.

  • Paul Fischer (Religious Studies) (Ph.D., EALC, University of Chicago) is a visiting lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies. This fall he is teaching an introduction to East Asian religions and a course titled “Religion and Literature in Asia.” He will teach classes on Daoism and Zen in the spring. Fischer’s current research is centered on what he calls “personal self-cultivation,” which he defines as “ways of correctly aligning the self with the cosmos.” Although personal self-cultivation is common to all of East Asia, he is currently focusing on early Chinese manifestations. Subsequent research will take him into later Chinese history, Korea, and Japan.

  • Ho-Fung Hung’s (Sociology) article “Changes and Continuities in the Political Ecology of Popular Protest: Mid-Qing China and Contemporary Resistance” recently appeared in China Information 21 (2007). He presented a paper, “Elite Reproduction and Class Politics in Early Modern China: Transition to Capitalism Debate Revisited,” at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in August. He also presented the paper “Rethinking Confucianism and Democracy: The Case of Neo-Confucianist State and Docile Protesters in Eighteenth-Century China” at the North American Chinese Sociologists Association annual meeting in the same month. He was awarded an EASC conference travel grant to present “A Rocky Road from Empire to Nation: The Tibet, Taiwan, and Hong Kong Questions in China’s Modernity” at the Social Science History Association annual meeting in Chicago in November. In the same meeting, he chaired an Author Meets Critics panel on Kathleen Thelen’s book How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States, and Japan (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

  • Sumie Jones (EALC and Comparative Literature) has served as one of two consulting editors for the four-volume Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender, which was edited by Fedwa Malti-Douglas (Macmillan, 2007). Jones’ article, “Japan: Erotic Literature,” is included in the second volume. Her paper, “Lying about Flying: The Invention of Science Fiction and the Fictions of Colonialism in Modern Japan,” is forthcoming in Travel in Japanese Representational Culture: Its Past, Present, and Future: Proceedings of the Midwest Association for Japanese Literary Studies 8 (2007). Jones presented part of this paper at an EASC Colloquium in October.

  • Greg Kasza (EALC) was awarded an EASC conference travel grant to present his paper “Area Studies and Policy Research: The Quest for an East Asian Welfare Model” at the East Asian Social Policy research network conference in Tokyo in October.

  • Scott Kennedy (EALC and Political Science), RCCPB director, gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Indiana Association of Family and Consumer Sciences in September in Indianapolis. His talk “Made in China: Is the American Consumer Safe?” emphasized the responsibility of the Chinese government and producers, multinational firms, and the U. S. government with regard to product safety. He was also awarded an EASC conference travel grant to present his paper “Keeping the Door Open: Transnational Political Alliances and Chinese Trade Policy” at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association this summer.

  • Yoshihisa Kitagawa (Linguistics) has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for a collaborative research project titled “Wh-interrogatives at the Prosody-Syntax-Pragmatics Crossroad,” which investigates correlations among sound, structure, and meaning in Wh-questions in Japanese. The project involves many co-researchers in Japan who specialize in phonetics, psycholinguistics, and dialectology, among other areas. Partly funded by the NSF grant, he organized the Workshop on Prosody, Syntax, and Information Structure 3, which was held in September on the Bloomington campus. The workshop attracted many top-rated researchers from the United States, Japan, and Europe as speakers and attendees. His research paper titled “When We Fail to Question in Japanese” is being published in S. Ishihara, M. Schmitz, and A. Schwarz (eds.), Interdisciplinary Studies on Information Structure 9 (Potsdam, 2007). He also presented a poster titled “Prosody-Scope Correlation in Wh-interrogatives: Production and Perception Studies” with Yuki Hirose at the International Conference on Processing Head-final Structures at the Rochester Institute of Technology in September.

  • Yan Luo, a visiting professor from Tsinghua University, is working with Heidi Ross (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) on the Faculty Research Support Program (FRSP)-funded project “Developing National Student Engagement Surveys for Chinese Secondary and Higher Education: Effective Practice for an Era of Mass Schooling.” The project will also involve a workshop for the Ministry of Education and pilot surveying at Beida and Tsinghua universities in Beijing in May.

  • Misako Matsubara (EALC) joined the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as a lecturer this fall. She is interested in language variations in Japanese, gender and language, second language acquisition, and Japanese pedagogy. She is currently exploring how and why young Japanese in Tokyo adopt regional dialects from other areas in their casual speech. She is also interested in teaching reading skills in relation to learning Chinese characters (kanji). This year Matsubara is teaching Elementary Japanese 1 and 2 and Third-Year Japanese 1 and 2.

  • Ethan Michelson’s (Sociology and EALC) article “Lawyers, Political Embeddedness, and Institutional Continuity in China’s Transition from Socialism” appeared in the American Journal of Sociology this September, a piece that focuses on the difficulties faced by lawyers in China. He also presented the paper “Dispute Processing in Urban and Rural China: Findings from Two Surveys” at the Conference on Dispute Resolution in China, held in Honolulu in September. The goal of the conference was to examine law in operation by drawing on recent empirical work that explores the way conflicts are addressed across a range of public and private forums and the development of mechanisms that seek to address citizen complaints and concerns.

  • Klaus Mühlhahn (History) participated as invited speaker in the Colonialism and Chinese Localities conference in Qingdao, China in September. He presented a paper titled “Negotiating the Nation: Colonialism and Resistance in Qingdao, 1897-1914.” His article “Visions of Order and Modernity: Crime, Punishment and Justice in Urban China during the Republican Period” has just been published in the volume Cities in Motion: Cost and Diaspora in Modern China (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, 2007).

  • Masato Ogawa (Education, IU Kokomo) was awarded an EASC conference travel grant to present four papers at the National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference this fall: “Teaching about North Korea from a Human Rights Perspective: Frameworks for Curriculum and Instruction,” “International Abductions: North Korea is Not Our Home,” “Whose History?—North Korea in History Textbooks from Different Countries,” and “Social Studies Pre-service Teachers’ Knowledge and Notions of Citizenship.”

  • Jean Robinson (Political Science and EALC) was appointed the interim dean for the Hutton Honors College and the director of graduate studies for the Department of Political Science.

  • Richard Rubinger (EALC) presented a paper titled “Signs, Ciphers, and Seals: Literacy in Early Tokugawa Villages” at The Ohio State University in October.

  • Lynn Struve (History and EALC) was a visiting professor at Taiwan’s National Central University in May and June. She conducted a seminar in historical memory studies for faculty and graduate students and gave other talks for the NCU History Department and Humanities Center on early Qing history and the convergences between the humanistic study of memory and findings in neuroscience. She also spoke on late-Ming “dream culture” and the psychological approach to history for the Ming-Qing Study Group at the Academia Sinica and on the importance of historical memory in the study of the Ming-Qing transition for the History Institute of Tsinghua University. In September, as part of her participation in the IU Poynter Center seminar on Memory, Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics, she delivered a paper titled “Using Dream Testimonies: In the Synapses of Historiography, Psychoanalysis, Ethics, and Brain Science.”  Two related articles by Struve are appearing this year: “Dreaming and Self-search during the Ming Collapse: The Xue Xiemeng Biji, 1642–1646” in T’oung Pao: International Journal of Chinese Studies 93(2007) and “Ancestor Édité in Republican China: The Shuffled Journal of Xue Cai (1595–1665),” in East Asian Library Journal 13:1(2007).

  • Michiko Suzuki’s (EALC) article “Consumption and Leisure: An Intratextual Reading of Hisao Jū-ran’s Kyarako san” was published in the Proceedings for the Association for Japanese Literary Studies 7 (2006).

  • Yuan Wang, visiting professor from Northeast Normal University in Hong Kong and Fulbright Scholar affiliated with EASC, will be working with Heidi Ross (Educational Leadership and Policy Studies) on a project titled “International and Global Education in the U.S.” The project will evaluate the impact of the U.S. government on international education by examining the origins and history of federal support for international education. The project aims to make the U.S. experience in international education an example for China and other emerging powers.

  • Lin Zhou (EALC) was awarded an EASC conference travel grant to present “Protocols of Love in The Dream of the Red Chamber” at the 2007 Modern Language Association Convention in December.

New Faculty Profile: Klaus Mühlhahn
Department of History

Klaus Mühlhahn did not always know he wanted to study Chinese history. In fact, when he enrolled in Freie Universität in Berlin, he did not know what to study so he signed up for either comparative literature studies or theater history (he cannot remember which).  But he is certain that the impetus for his shift to Chinese history came from a desire to study Chinese literature and language. He decided to enroll in a sinology course, beginning what would become a twenty-two-year-long journey to IU’s Department of History.

After obtaining his M.A., he received a five-year teaching position in the area of nineteenth-century colonialism in China and turned his doctoral focus to the German colony in Qingdao. In addition to a dissertation on the history of the German colony from a Chinese perspective, his research also presented him with a new area for study—the Chinese legal system. Specifically, he came to be interested in the history of crime, punishment, and the prison, and upon receiving a two-year research grant from the German Research Foundation he began to pursue his new research interest as a visiting fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. There he began his current project on the documentation of changes in the Chinese criminal justice system during the twentieth century. His manuscript reflecting this research, Criminal Justice in China—A History, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.

MuhlhahnFollowing his two years at Berkeley, Mühlhahn moved to Finland where he spent the past three years as the head of the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku. While there, he played a large role in rebuilding the program, including reinstating the doctoral program and reformatting the undergraduate track. He feels that the administrative focus of this position offered him the chance to try something different, and the less established nature of the program gave him creative freedoms not available at other universities.

As he had never before had the formal opportunity to teach at an American university, when IU’s Department of History contacted Mühlhahn about a job opening, he was intrigued. Although IU has a more established East Asian program than what he had encountered in Finland, he acknowledged the importance of continuing the process of growth within the program. “My hope is that I can bring some of my experiences from Finland . . . and contribute to the further development of the program.”

As for advice to future Chinese Studies scholars, Mühlhahn stresses the importance of language and language studies and “to simply be excited about studying China . . . to be open about the interesting things you can see and study in China.” “There’s so much to do, and so many dynamic things have to do with China,” he adds. “To this day, if I had to choose again, I think I would always choose to study China.”

This fall, Klaus Mühlhahn is teaching two courses in the Department of History, G378 Contemporary China and H675 Topics in Early China Studies.

New Faculty Profile: Kevin Tsai
Department of Comparative Literature, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Program for Ancient Studies

As a boy in Taiwan, Kevin Tsai’s education focused on European culture: he learned to play the violin, he read Alexandre Dumas, and, although he also studied Tang poetry, the first poem he copied out was a German poem by Friedrich von Schiller. Studying about Asia didn’t occur to him then, and when he came to the United States he continued on a “Eurocentric” path. “To this day I still feel greater kinship with Roman literature than with Chinese literature,” he admits. Regardless, Tsai found that comparing the Classics to Chinese literature had more intellectual promise than that of “plowing the well-plowed field” studying only the Classics, and he left his graduate program in classical philology to attend Princeton University and study comparative literature.

Now at IU, Tsai’s major research interests are the comparative development of narrative in Eastern and Western literature, genre, gender, fictionality, and literary historiography. His papers published on Eastern literature, such as “Ritual and Gender in the Tale of Li Wa in Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 25(2005), augment those on Western literature, such as “Hellish Love: Genre in Claudian’s De raptu Proserpinae” in Helios 34(2007), in which he explores an unfinished epic about Proserpina’s abduction and marriage to Pluto, lord of the underworld. He is currently investigating the comparative development of narrative in traditional China and in the Classics and is completing a translation of the poetic corpus of Li Qingzhao, a major female Chinese writer who lived during the twelfth century. In addition to his research, this spring he will teach an undergraduate course called Dangers of Love in Chinese Literature. What exactly are the dangers of love? “You could have your vital essences sucked out,” Tsai explains. “You could lose everything. You could fall in love. You could be swallowed up by a monster.” Although this class will mainly work with Chinese literature, he and his students will also compare love cross-culturally and determine whether the understanding of love from Chinese literature could be applied universally. 

For those students who already know they want to study East Asian literature, Tsai passes along the same advice his mentor gave him: “There are some books in the library,” he said. “Go read all of them.” Although Tsai was initially put off by this advice, he came to realize over the years that there is no substitute for reading widely. He also recommends that students interested in Chinese literature watch more movies, especially early Jackie Chan flicks. “In some ways, martial arts films offer students a really interesting way to get into Chinese traditional culture,” he remarks. “Not only do martial arts films draw from traditional forms like the Peking opera, the moral world and the narrative elements are often more closely connected with pre-modern literature.”