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Asian Studies | News and Events

2015-2016 Events

Fifth Asian Studies Research Luncheon

March 31

A lecture by Dr. Ying-chen Peng of the Art Department of American University, entitled "Purchasing for Reselling: Samuel P. Avery (1822-1904) and the Collecting of East Asian Ceramics in the United States."

"Collecting art became phenomenal in the United States since the second half of the nineteenth century. It was also during this time when wealthy banking and industrial tycoons such as William Thompson Walters (1820-1894) and newly established Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine arts, Boston (both established in 1870) began purchasing non-Western art. An art dealer is closely related to this trend, but his name, Samuel P. Avery (1822-1904), is seldom mentioned in the study of this field."

Women in War History & Comfort Women

March 17

Testimony by Ms. Lee Yong-soo, a former comfort woman from south Korea and one of the youngest comfort women still alive. Ms. Lee was forced to serve as a sex slave during World War II with the Imperial Japanese Army. As well as, a talk by Meehyang Yoon, Standing Representation of the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan about the current state of the comfort women issue.

Essay Contest

The Asian Studies Program is pleased to announce its 3rd annual essay contest for the 2015-2016 term! Submit your paper discussing aspects related to Asia--Asian cultures, history, religions, philosophy, literature, fine arts, politics, economics, and more--for the opportunity to win the contest.

The deadline is March 7, 2016.

Fourth Asian Studies Research Luncheon

November 19

A lecture by Dr. Adam Auerbach of the School of International Service of American University, entitled "Community Organization and Development in India's Urban Slums." 

"This talk will examine how residents in India's urban slums organize and demand development from the state. It is based on nearly two ears of ethnographic field work and survey research in the north Indian cities of Jaipur, Rajashan and Bhopal, Madha Pradesh." 

Faculty Lecture 

November 11

A lecture by Dr. Soon-Won Park, American University, entitled "Divided Memory and Reconciliation in North East Asia." 

"China, Japan, and Korea have a hot controvery over history going more than 70 years since World War II. It has, paradoxically, paralleled the rapid socio-economic-cultural integration of the region, centering around the newly rising economic power, China. After addressing a series of issues such as comfort women, the Nanjing Massacre, wartime forced labor, the 731 Unit, Yasukuni shrine, historical textbooks, and territorial disputes, the redress issues now broadly narrow down to reparations/textbooks/Yasukuni Shrine visits/territorial issues. The region has experienced a deepening understanding of the difficulties of historical redress and its long-term, on-going, open-ended nature.

The talk addresses four issues: 1) the 90's background, 2) internal history redress, 3) Japan-Korea, Japan-China inter-governmental Historical Research Committees in the 2000's, and 4) comparison of history redress in East Asia and Europe. The talk will illuminate how the history redress issue is an Asian reaction to globalization and the challenges to forming a cooperative regional community and identity."

Third Asian Studies Research Luncheon

October 15 

A lecture by Dr. Zhang, American University; Department of World Languages and Cultures. 

"With more traveling of missionaries and merchants to and from China, the late Ming and the Qing dynasty had witnessed the introduction of moral novel objects into China. Some of these objects appear in fiction starting from the mid 16th century. We will examine in what way the objects from outside of China play a role in enhancing the theatricality and novelty in fiction of late imperial China."

2014-2015 Events

"Aspiring to Ramarajya? The Epics and Good Governance in India."

Lecture by Naina Dayal

April 7th, 2015 12:00-1:30
A lecture by Naina Dayal, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of History, St. Stephan's College.

"The Sanskrit Ramayana of Valmiki describes Rama's reign as a utopian period. So righteous is Rama's rule is supposed to have been that Ramarajya became and continues to be synonymous with moral governance. But what exactly does the ideal world of Ramarajya denote in Valmiki's Ramayana? What does it mean in our times, when, for instance, the anti-corruption leader Anna Hazare's 'model' village is hailed as Ramarajya?"

"Buddhist Art in a Secular Space: Case Studies from the Metropolitan Museum of Art."

Denise Leidy

March 27th, 6:00-8:00 pm

A lecture by Denise Patry Lediy, Ph.D., Curator in the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Denise Patry Leidy is the author of numerous articles, and co-author, with Robert A. F. Thurman, of Mandala: The Architecture of Enlightenment.

2nd Asian Studies Luncheon: "Transforming the U.S.-South Korea Alliance in a Changing Asia"

Ji-Young Lee

Tuesday, February 17
12:00 pm –1:00 pm
Butler Board Room

A lecture by Ji-Young Li, School of International Service

"A product of the Korean War (1950-53), the longstanding U.S.-South Korea alliance is undergoing important transformations beyond defending against North Korea. This talk will examine what drives such efforts and how they are reshaping East Asia's strategic landscape."

201st Washington-Asia Forum: "Europe's Past Could Be Asia's Future? Possible Pathways toward East Asian Historical Reconciliation"

Seiko Mimaki

Tuesday, February 17
2:30pm – 4:00pm
SIS Founders Room

A lecture by Seiko Mimaki, Waseda University

Dr. Seiko Mimaki is a postdoctoral fellow from the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University. She was an academic associate of the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard (2013-2014). Currently, she is a visiting scholar at the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at SAIS/Johns Hopkins University, and an Ethics Fellow for the Future at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. She received her BA, MA, and Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo.

 Essay Contest Winner:

The Asian Studies Program is happy to announced Denis Muftic as the winner of the 2014-2015 Essay Contest for Group Two for his essay "Mao, Art, and Transexperience: Toward a New Understanding of Zhang Hongtu." 

202nd Washington-Asia Forum: "China's New Silk Road Strategy"

202nd Washington Asia Forum

Wednesday, February 25
2:30pm – 4:00pm
SIS Founders Room

A lecture by Shino Watanabe, Sophia University

Shino Watanabe is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Global Studies, Sophia University in Japan. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, she received her M.A. from Tufts University and earned her Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. She also studied at Peking University. Before joining Sophia University, she taught at Saitama University (2010-2014).

Essay Contest

2nd Essay Contest

The Asian Studies Program is pleased to announce its 2nd annual essay contest for the 2014-2015 term! Submit your paper discussing any aspects related to Asia--Asian cultures, history, religions, philosophy, literature, fine arts, politics, economics, and more--for the opportunity to win the contest.

The deadline is February 15, 2015.


Husserl and Heidegger: Phenomenology, Eurocentrism, and Buddhism


Monday, October 20
5:30 pm –8:00 pm
McDowell Formal Lounge

A lecture by Eric S. Nelson, University of Massachusetts Lowell and Hong Kong University of Technology and Science

"Recent works have argued for a phenomenological account of Buddhism and the relevance of classical phenomenology to interpreting Buddhist philosophy. In this paper, I examine the extent to which Buddhism can be understood as phenomenological by considering whether: (1) the conception of Europe as well as the reception of Buddhism in the works of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger reveal the limited and ultimately Eurocentric character of their thought;(2) the primary forms of Buddhism employed in interpreting Buddhism as phenomenological can be adequately conceived in accordance with Husserl's and Heidegger's models of transcendental and ontological phenomenology."

Owen Flanagan Talk

Owen Flanagan

April 7, 6-8pm, Butler Board Room
Buddhism Naturalized?

A lecture by Owen Flanagan, Duke University

Buddhism appeals to many secular Westerners because it seems naturalistic, e.g., friendly to secular philosophy, secular values and science. But is this so? Can we make sense of Buddhism apart from such notions as karma, rebirth, nirvana, no-self, and emptiness and, if not, can these notions be tamed and naturalized?

Essay Contest

Asian Studies Essay Contest

The Asian Studies Program has conducted its first annual essay contest for the 2013-2014 term! Students enrolled in classes pertaining to Asia, including South or East Asian cultures, fine arts, politics, economics or religions, have successfully submitted their term papers for the chance to win a $100 prize. Students could submit their essays to one of three categories: Group One (freshmen and sophomores), Group Two (juniors and seniors) or Group Three (graduate students). 

The submitted essays are under review. The winners of the different categories will be announced at the beginning of April 2014.

Asia Studies Related Events 2014

3rd Annual Celebration of the SIS Korean Garden with Ambassador Ahn Ho Young

Ahn Ho Young

Friday, April 18, 2014 from 11:00 to 12:00 pm, Founders Room SIS

The 3rd year anniversary of the SIS Korean Garden will be celebrated with South Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho Young, who deliver remarks on Korean affairs.

The event will be opened by SIS Dean James Goldgeier and SIS Dean Emeritus Dean Louis Goodman. 

No RSVP required. In case you have any questions, please email Brian Kim:

Facebook Event: Click here.

Confucian Role Ethics: A Challenge to the Ideology of Individualism

Friday Mar 21, 2-5 pm, Butler Board Room
A talk by Dr. Roger T. Ames Professor, University of Hawai'i

Roger T. Ames is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hawai'i. He received his doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He currently serves as president of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (SACP), and as editor of both Philosophy East and West and China Review International.

His primary areas of research are comparative philosophy and Confucian philosophy, and he has published widely in these areas. Professor Ames often works in collaboration with other scholars to produce explicitly philosophical translations of classical texts. These have included Confucius' Analects, the Daodejing, and most recently, the Classic of Family Reverence. He is presently advocating Confucian role ethics as an attempt to take this philosophical tradition on its own terms.

About "Confucian Role Ethics: A Challenge to the Ideology of Individualism" 

In the introduction of Chinese philosophy and culture into the Western academy, we have tended to theorize and conceptualize this antique tradition by appeal to familiar categories. Confucian role ethics is an attempt to articulate a sui generis moral philosophy that allows this tradition to have its own voice. This holistic philosophy is grounded in the primacy of relationality, and is a challenge to a foundational liberal individualism that has defined persons as discrete, autonomous, rational, free, and often self-interested agents. Confucian role ethics begins from a relationally constituted conception of person, takes family roles and relations as the entry point for developing moral competence, invokes moral imagination and the growth in relations that it can inspire as the substance of human morality, and entails a human-centered, a theistic religiousness that stands in sharp contrast to the Abrahamic religions.



Dharma Dialogue, September 23

A Socially Engaged Buddhist's Dharma Dialogue: Social Engagement and Buddhist Self-Cultivation in Harmony
A lecture by Korean Zen Master Ven. Pomnyun

Venerable Pomnyun is the founder and Guiding Zen Master of Jungto Society. He entered the Buddhist monastery guided by Ven. Bulshim Domoon Sunim, at Boonwhangsa Temple, South Korea, in 1969, and received full ordination in 1991. Ven. Pomnyun is also a social activist who leads various movements, including an ecological awareness campaign, the promotion of human rights and world peace, and the eradication of famine, disease, and illiteracy.

Ven. Pomnyunbegan humanitarian assistance to North Korea immediately after the 1995 flood when the famine situation arose in 1995. He published reports on the "North Korean Food Crisis," the "North Korean Refugees Situation," and the "Comprehensive Reports on the Human Rights Issues in North Korea." He is the chairman of The Peace Foundationin Seoul, which supports policy research and analysis aimed at Korean unification and humanitarian issues in North Korea. He concurrently serves as the chairman of Good Friends for Peace, Human Rights, and Refugee Issues, whose weekly publication, "North Korea Today," provides detailed, up-to-date information about conditions on the ground in North Korea. Ven. Pomnyun is also chairman of the Join Together Society, an international relief agency with offices worldwide, including in North Korea. He has worked extensively to supply humanitarian aid to famine victims in North Korea and defend the human rights of North Korean refugees in China. He is also a Zen master with the Seoul-based Jungto Society, which he originally established in 1988 to facilitate self-improvement through volunteerism.

Program Related News

USF Visiting Scholar Program

The University of San Francisco's Center for the Pacific Rim calls for applications for its new Visiting Scholar program. The program is designed for domestic and international Visiting Scholars who wish to be in residence for 3-6 months. Independent research will be pursued in interaction with USF's faculty, students, and staff.

University faculty members in the humanities and social sciences with a research focus on the Asia Pacific region (China, Japan, Korea, India and the Philippines in particular) are encouraged to apply.

Application Periods

  • Fall Semester (August 15 – December)
  • Spring Semester (January – May 15)
  • Summer (May 15 – August 15)

The application process is supposed to take up to at least three months. Interested scholars are encouraged to apply early.

For more information on research fields and the application procedure, click on: USF Center for the Pacific Rim.

Faculty highlight: New Faculty member on Asian Art History

Dear Colleagues and Students,

The Art History Program faculty members are very pleased to announce that we have offered the position of Assistant Professor in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art History to Ms. Ying-chen Peng, and she has accepted. Ms. Peng is an ABD candidate at UCLA; she will complete her dissertation this spring. Her study, which is titled "Staging Agency: Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) and the Late Qing Court Art Production," explores the ways in which the empress constructed social identities through a diversified patronage that included architectural and garden design, painting, photography, theatrical costumes, and porcelain. Through a combination of social history, visual culture studies, and a focus on varied media, Peng develops her argument that the empress was able to differentiate between public and private spaces and used discourses of literary and theatrical beauty (bridging high and low culture), maternity, and age to gain respect and political power in late imperial China.
Ms. Peng has published several articles in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals on Asian Art, and is currently a fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for this academic year. She is fluent in three languages, including Chinese and Japanese.
Her mock class at AU addressed several types of transnational influences that can be traced in the development of what westerners think of as "classical" blue-and-white Chinese porcelain, demonstrating her ability to focus not just on Chinese art history but also on the varied developments typical of pan-Asian art as well as its interchanges with art from other parts of the world.
Those of us who heard her scholarly lecture and/or her class were impressed by her energy, the clarity and complexity of her analysis, and her interest in issues related to feminism and gender studies as well as her knowledge of diverse periods and media in the long history of Chinese and pan-Asian art.
Next fall (2014) she will teach two courses: Arts and Material Culture of China (ARTH 396) and Women in East Asian Visual Culture (ARTH 496-696). In Spring 2015 she will teach Buddhist Arts of Asia (ARTH 225) and another upper level course, Modern And Contemporary Asian Art and Architecture (ARTH 496-696).
We look forward to welcoming Prof. Ying-chen Peng to AU and the Art History Program next fall!