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Indiana University


EASC Newsletter


A publication of the East Asian Studies Center, Indiana University

November 2008

Faculty News

• Christopher Beckwith (Central Eurasian Studies) received the Fulbright-University of Vienna Distinguished Chair in Humanities and Cultural Studies award. He will leave Bloomington at the end of February to begin this teaching position, which will run until the end of June.

This spring Beckwith was Professeur Invité and Directeur d’Études at the École Pratique des Hautes Études at the University of Paris, where he delivered four lectures: “The Comitatus and the Barrow: The Central Eurasian Culture Complex in Early Japan, Merovingian France, and the Tibetan Empire;” “Old Chinese Loanwords in Proto-Tibetan and the Problem of Old Chinese Dialects;” “On the Name and Identity of the Tokharians [Yuezhi]: The Solution to an Old Philological and Historical Question;” and “Central Asian Sources of Thirteenth Century Scholasticism in Paris and Tibet.” In June he was the Numata Distinguished Lecturer in Buddhism at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies at University of Oxford and delivered two lectures: “The Central Eurasian Culture Complex and the Tibetan Empire” and “The Introduction of Sarvāstivādin Buddhist Scholasticism into Tibet.” Papers based on revised parts of these lectures have been accepted for publication next year.

Beckwith’s book Koguryo, the Language of Japan’s Continental Relatives: An Introduction to the Historical-Comparative Study of the Japanese-Koguryoic Languages, with a Preliminary Description of Archaic Northeastern Middle Chinese: Second Edition (Brill, 2007) has sold out and was reprinted this summer. His article “The Frankish Name of the King of the Turks” has just appeared in Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 15 (2006/2007). His joint article with Gisaburo N. Kiyose (emeritus professor, University of Hawai’i), “The Origin of the Old Japanese Twelve Animal Cycle,” was published in Arutaigo kenkyû—Altaistic Studies 2 (2008).

Beckwith has begun a Central Eurasian Colloquium that will start at 4:00 p.m. every other Wednesday, and many of the presentations are expected to be on topics connected to East Asian studies. In October he delivered the inaugural lecture, “The Central Eurasian Culture Complex: Engine of Dynamic Change in Pre-Medieval Japan, France, and Tibet.”

• Sheena Choi (Educational Studies, School of Education, Fort Wayne) received a 2008–09 Fulbright research award to conduct research on her project “Multicultural Korea: Changing Demographics and Challenges for Education” at Chonnam National University in Korea.

• Laurel L. Cornell’s (Sociology and EALC) analytic landscape “Iidabashi, an Intersection in Tokyo: Space or Place?” appeared as part of a group show, Beyond Bloomington: Urbanscapes—Through the Lens of 7 Photographers, at the Prima Gallery in Bloomington in June. An analytic landscape is a large-scale graphic piece that uses maps, graphs, photographs, and drawings to examine some question about a specific landscape. In this piece, she explored the landscape of an ordinary road intersection at a variety of levels, from the subway through the river system and the pedestrian overpass to the air corridors above. She addressed a question that has puzzled urban planners and community activists for several decades: what makes a physical location (a space) become a location with meaningful human activity (a place)? Cornell also presented a special gallery talk on this work at the Prima Gallery.

Laurel Cornell Iidabashi analytic landscape,

• Michael Dylan Foster (Folklore and Ethnomusicology) joined the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology in August. His book Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yōkai was released this month by University of California Press. He also published “The Otherworlds of Mizuki Shigeru” in Mechademia 3: Limits of the Human (University of Minnesota Press, 2008).

• Ho-fung Hung’s (Sociology) paper “Agricultural Revolution and Elite Reproduction in Qing China: The Transition to Capitalism Debate Revisited” was published in American Sociological Review 73:4 (2008). In August, he presented the paper “Can China Survive Success? The Political Sociology of a Developmental Miracle” at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. He also presented the paper “Flexible Nationalism: 1950s Tibet and 1980s Hong Kong in Comparative Perspectives” at the annual meeting of the Historical Society for Twentieth-Century China at the University of Hawai’i in June and at the conference “China Plural: Local Identity, Contesting Visions, and Constructing Nation” at Ohio State University in October.

• Scott Kennedy (EALC and Political Science) received a 2008–09 Fulbright Research Award and is spending the year at Peking University’s School of International Studies, where he is conducting research for his project “Mandarins Playing Capitalist Games: How China is Reshaping Global Governance.” Rather than focus on the degree to which China complies with its international commitments in this project, Kennedy analyzes how well Chinese agencies and companies “play the game” of employing the existing rules of the global economy to their advantage and, when they do not like the rules, attempt to change them. Areas of focus include fair trade, setting technical standards, credit risk analysis, competition policy, commodity markets, and the Doha Round. In addition, he is currently editing a book on China’s capitalist transformation in comparative perspective and pursuing a research project on the evolution of corporate political activity in China. More information is available on his Web site.

• Yoshihisa Kitagawa (Linguistics) made the following presentations: “Informational Boost” at the Workshop on Prosody and Information Structure at the University of Tokyo in January; “Production-Perception Asymmetry in Wh-scope Marking,” a poster presentation at the 19th Annual CUNY (City University of New York) Conference on Human Sentence Processing in April; “Asymmetry between Encoding and Decoding of Wh-scope in Japanese,” a poster presentation at the 27th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles in May; “Statistical Anatomy of Unacceptability” with Kenji Yoshida (Ph.D. student, Linguistics) at the 18th International Congress of Linguistics at Korea University in July; “Emphatic Focus in Japanese” at the 18th International Congress of Linguistics at Korea University in July; “Matrix Phenomena in Wh-questions” at the “Workshop on Syntactic Structure and Force—Beyond Thematic Structure and Proposition” at the Center for Language Sciences at Kanda University of International Studies in July; and “Speaker-Listener Asymmetry in the Use of Prosodic Cues,” part of the “Mini-Workshop on Prosodic Cues in Japanese Grammar” at the University of Delaware in September.

• Scott O’Bryan (EALC and History) received Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute 2007–08 First Book Award for his forthcoming book, The Growth Idea: Purpose and Prosperity in Postwar Japan (University of Hawai’i Press, 2009). The $2,000 award, which recognizes the best first book by a scholar in the early stages of his or her career, will help cover editing and printing costs.

• Harold Pepinsky (Criminal Justice) is retiring in December after spending half of his life at IU. He will move to Columbus, OH to join his wife, Jill Bystydzienski, who is the chair of the Department of Women’s Studies at Ohio State University. “It has been a privilege and pleasure teaching at IU,” said Pepinsky.

• Michael Robinson (EALC) co-taught History of Modern Korea this summer to a group of international students enrolled in the six-week Seoul National University (SNU) International Summer Institute on East Asia, which was sponsored by the SNU Department of International Affairs. Co-taught with Andre Schmid (East Asian Studies, University of Toronto), the course was one of three courses on Korea offered to 230 students from Europe, the United States, and Korea.

• Aaron Stalnaker (Religious Studies) published a journal article, “Judging Others: History, Ethics, and the Purposes of Comparison,” in the Journal of Religious Ethics 36:3 (2008). He also wrote a book chapter, “Transforming the Self: Confession and Performance in the Thought of Augustine and Xunzi,” for Augustine and World Religions (Lexington Books, 2008). In October he was a respondent at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion as part of a panel of critical appraisals of new work in Confucian ethics. Also in October he delivered a presentation titled “Confucian Democracy and the Question of Deference” as a Bristol Lecture in Ethics for the Department of Religion at Florida State University.

• Lynn Struve (History and EALC) will retire this December. She plans to remain in Bloomington where she can pursue her research with the help of IU’s librarians and library resources and have more time to enjoy everything that Bloomington has to offer. She will be a visiting scholar at the Academia Sinica in Taipei and a visiting professor at National Central University in Taiwan for nine months next year. While she is in the region, she hopes to renew contacts with colleagues in Singapore, Hong Kong, and mainland China.

New Faculty Profile: Michael Dylan Foster
Assistant Professor, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology

Michael Foster Michael Dylan Foster spent his undergraduate career studying English literature, dreaming of traveling and becoming a novelist. After graduating he lived in Scotland for a year, working short-term jobs, including a stint as a scallop farmer. In pursuit of more exotic travel adventures, he applied to the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme to teach English in Japan. “It was like looking out a window that was completely opaque. I couldn’t see a thing,” Foster said of his experience adjusting to life in Japan. “And gradually, gradually, as I started to understand the language, the window became cleaner and clearer, I could see more, and it was more and more exciting and interesting to be immersed in a different culture.” As he acquired a greater understanding of Japanese culture, he realized that there were things he could not learn outside of a classroom and decided to become a student again.

After a curiosity about Japanese scallop farming led him to northern Japan, Foster found himself stranded in the rain in a little town in Iwate Prefecture. While there, the innkeeper recommended that he see Tōno, a town located nearby. In exploring Tōno the following day, he came into contact with a previously unknown world—that of Japanese folklore studies, begun by a Japanese scholar named Yanagita Kunio nearly a century earlier. Yanagita’s Tōno Monogatari (or Tales of Tōno) helped spark a strong national interest in Japanese folklore in the 1920s, and it would prove to be the hook that drew Foster into folklore as well.

Upon returning to the States, he enrolled in an M.A. program in Japanese literature in the Group of Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. While at Berkeley, he discovered that the campus was also home to the famous folklorist Alan Dundes, who had helped carve out folklore as an academic discipline in the United States, much like Yanagita did for Japanese folklore. Excited to be able to combine his love of literature and folklore, Foster went on to complete a Ph.D. in Stanford University’s Department of Asian Languages.

This fall Foster joined the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and has just released a book, Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yōkai (University of California Press, November 2008), about yōkai—“monsters,” “goblins,” or “shape shifters”— and the discourse surrounding them in Japan from the 1600s to the present. Meanwhile, he is teaching Introduction to Folklore and a graduate seminar on the development of Japanese folklore studies. In the future he would like to offer courses for undergraduates about the folk tales of East Asia, such as ghost stories or legends of the samurai, and address issues of nostalgia, tourism, and authenticity with graduate students to share something of the fascinating world he discovered while wandering in Japan, wondering about scallop farming.

New Faculty Profile: Heon Joo Jung
Assistant Professor, EALC

Heon Joo JungHeon Joo Jung’s motivation for studying political economy in East Asia might resonate with Americans, given the current tumult in financial markets. Although Jung had an interest in political science as an undergraduate majoring in German language and literature at Korea University, he had never thought of it as a career until his senior year in 1997 when a major financial crisis rocked the South Korean economy. “Most Korean people, including myself, had never experienced banking crises and failures to such a great extent or realized the importance of sound financial regulation in the lives of ordinary people,” he said. “Bank failures were simply unthinkable.”

Jung decided to focus his studies on an examination of why the crisis occurred and whether post-crisis financial reform could prevent a recurrence. Hoping for some perspective, he decided not to examine South Korea in a vacuum, but rather in comparison to other countries that had weathered similar financial storms. His doctoral dissertation for the Political Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania compared the financial crisis of South Korea to that which famously burst Japan’s bubble economy in the early 1990s. Jung believes comparing countries’ politico-economic systems can help political scientists better understand key characteristics such as party politics, capitalist development, and war-making. It is this approach that he brought with him when he joined EALC as an assistant professor this fall.

One example of an issue affected by a country’s political economy is the question of Korean reunification, a topic Jung examines in EALC-E 350 Studies in East Asian Society: Understanding the Two Koreas: Politics, Society, and U.S. Policy. “I think it becomes increasingly difficult to say ‘South Koreans want reunification,’” Jung said, adding that an increasing number of South Koreans, especially the younger generation, now seem to favor gradual reunification or the status quo rather than North Korea’s sudden collapse and rapid reunification. Although one important obstacle to reunification is economic—the disparity between the two countries would likely exacerbate South Korea’s current financial situation—the dynamics of Korean society present even higher hurdles. Contrary to the Western misconception of South Korea as socially homogenous, the country is in fact deeply divided along several cleavages—such as generation, gender, political orientation, and even center (Seoul) and periphery. Jung believes any rapid changes in the relationship with North Korea would worsen these divisions. Whatever the difficulties, the reunification question demands continued attention, and Jung was instrumental in bringing two experts on reunification to IU as part of the East Asian Colloquium Series this November: CHUNG Dong-Young, the former minister of unification and a presidential candidate in South Korea’s 2007 election, and KWON Manhak, a professor of international relations at Kyung Hee University in South Korea.

As Jung prepares his dissertation for publication, he’s already planning his next project, an examination of anti-Americanism in South Korea. He plans to focus on the younger generation’s ambivalence towards the United States, as its critique of U.S. involvement in the region can at times seem to contradict a desire to adopt more American culture, a topic that will no doubt appear in a future course offering as Jung continues to develop the Korean studies program in EALC.


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