Events

May
19
Wed
Dr. Lily Anne Welty (Asian American Studies, UC Los Angeles) | Mixed-race Black identities in post-war Japan and Okinawa
May 19 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Join us via Zoom: http://bit.ly/EACTalks (Zoom ID: 925 5728 2471)

Mixed-race people born at the end of World War II made history quietly with their families and their communities. Wars and the military occupations that followed, coupled with increased migration across the Pacific, created a surge of interracial relationships, resulting in a mid-century multiracial baby boom. Easily identifiable by their mixed-race features, they were the children of the enemy: in Japan they symbolized defeat and racial impurity. In the U.S., they represented an extension of America’s democratic intervention abroad and for mixed-race adoptees in particular, they embodied the salvation that the U.S. offered Japan during the postwar occupation. Interracial communities, families, and mixed-race individuals challenged the default narrative of White normativity in the U.S. military and in the post-war period, while also expanding our understanding of the transnational Black Pacific, or the diaspora of Blacks in the Pacific Rim. While Black soldiers migrated west across the Pacific, some of their mixed-race children migrated east to the U.S. in the decades following World War II. This presentation with center the voices of mixed-race Black Japanese in post-war Japan and within the militarized borderland of Okinawa to examine the tropes of hybrid degeneracy and hybrid vigor as these individuals navigated their lives between invisibility and hyper-recognition.

SPEAKER: Lily Anne Welty Tamai earned her doctorate in History from UCSB. She conducted research in Japan and in Okinawa as a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellow and was also a Ford Foundation Fellow. Her forthcoming book titled, Military Industrial Intimacy: Mixed-race American Japanese, Eugenics and Transnational Identities, documents the history of mixed-race American Japanese and American Okinawans born after World War II and raised during the post-war period. Dr. Tamai was formerly the Curator of History at the Japanese American National Museum and served on the U.S. Census Bureau National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. She is currently a lecturer in Asian American Studies.

May
27
Thu
Professor Shao-yun Yang (History & East Asia Studies, Denison University) | Thinking about Race and Ethnicity in Imperial China
May 27 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Join us via Zoom: http://bit.ly/EACTalks (Zoom ID: 925 5728 2471)

For much of the twentieth century, discussions of imperial-era Chinese identity were framed according to three conceptual categories then current in the social sciences: culture, race, and nation. In the 1980s, Western historians began shifting to a new conceptual framework: ethnicity. Despite skepticism in some quarters, ethnicity remains the framework within which most historians analyze politicized identities encompassing aspects of both culture and nation. But does “race” as a concept still have any place in this picture? What if we applied the broader and more structural understanding of race used by critical race theory (CRT), as scholars in the fields of Classics and Medieval Studies have lately begun to do? In this talk, I will survey the development of imperial Chinese ethnic discourses from the Han to the Qing and propose that “race”—as understood by many CRT scholars in terms of institutionalized, legally enforceable hierarchies of ethnic inequality within a state—was applicable primarily to “conquest dynasty” situations of minority rule. I will also argue that certain discourses previously characterized as racist or nationalist could be more usefully interpreted as two distinct but related traditions of foreign relations thinking that I term “Chinese supremacism” and “civilization-state discourse.”

SPEAKER: Shao-yun Yang is Associate Professor of East Asian History at Denison University. An intellectual historian specializing in medieval Chinese ideas relating to empire and ethnicity, he is the author of The Way of the Barbarians: Redrawing Ethnic Boundaries in Tang and Song China (University of Washington Press, 2019) and several articles, book chapters, and translations. His current projects include a sourcebook on race and ethnicity in imperial China and a Cambridge Element on “Tang China and the World.”

Oct
14
Thu
Professor Pierce Salguero (Asian History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania): Metadisciplinary Reflections on Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China
Oct 14 @ 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Professor Pierce Salguero (Asian History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania): Metadisciplinary Reflections on Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China

The transmission of Indo-European medicine to China in the medieval period represents one of the most significant and best-documented instances of cross-cultural medical exchange anywhere in the premodern world. A survey of medieval Chinese Buddhist texts from approximately 150-1000 C.E. shows that Buddhism played a surprisingly central role in facilitating this instance of medical exchange. Dr. Salguero, organizer of a large international research project on this subject, will discuss how Buddhism and medicine were intimately intertwined in this period, and will raise a series of methodological and interdisciplinary challenges this fact poses for contemporary researchers in the History of Medicine and Religious Studies alike.

 

Dr. Pierce Salguero is a transdisciplinary medical humanities scholar who is fascinated by historical and contemporary intersections between Buddhism, medicine, and crosscultural exchange. He has a Ph.D. in History of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (2010), and teaches Asian history, medicine, and religion at Penn State University’s Abington College, located near Philadelphia.

The major theme in his scholarship is discovering the role of Buddhism in the global transmission and local reception of knowledge about health, disease, and the body. He approaches this topic using methodologies from history, religious studies, translation studies, ethnography, and documentary filmmaking, among other fields.

Nov
3
Wed
Professor Tobie Meyer-Fong (Director of East Asian Studies, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland): A Life in Print: The Paradoxical Worlds of a Late Qing Traveler @ SS&MS 2nd Floor Conference Room 2135
Nov 3 @ 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm

Publishing in the late 1870s and 1880s often under the byline “The Circumnavigator,” Li Gui (圭) made himself known as a cosmopolitan, a reformer, a commentator, and a victim.  He attended the Philadelphia World’s Fair in 1876, making him one of the first Chinese to travel around the world first class via the then newly opened Suez Canal and the Transcontinental Railroad.  He published dispatches from his journey in Shen bao, making use of new communications technologies to share insight into the wonders and challenges that he encountered abroad.  His travelogue, A New Record of a Trip Around the World (環遊地球新錄), and his memoir of captivity among the Taiping army, A Record of Pondering Pain (思痛記), both were published in book form after his return to China.  They also were advertised in contemporary media.  By looking both at advertisements and articles, this talk will examine the life of a late Qing traveler in its global and local contexts, with particular attention to the changing market for print in the very late 19th century.

Tobie Meyer-Fong, Professor of History and Director of East Asian Studies, received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University (1989) and her doctoral degree from Stanford University (1998). She served as editor of the journal Late Imperial China from March 2007-December 2018. Professor Meyer-Fong is broadly interested in the history of China especially from 1600 to the present.  She is the author of Building Culture in Early Qing Yangzhou and What Remains: Coming to Terms with Civil War in 19th Century China.  Her recent research deals with a survivor of the Taiping civil war who circumnavigated the globe in 1876 and on recollections of childhood in the Zhoushan archipelago during the 1940s from the vantage point of both subsequent emigration and the island’s rapid 21st century urbanization.