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February 23, 2016

2018‒2019 Japan America Friendship Fund Scholarship


The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures is please to offer multiple Japanese America Friendship Fund Scholarships to students who are planning to study in Japan during the summer 2018 and for the coming school year. The Japan America Friendship Fund is a travel scholarship intended to provide assistance for students who will study Japanese language and culture in country. By so doing, they will be participating in sustaining and improving Japanese/American relations and understanding. This fund is made possible by the generosity of the late University of Oregon Professor Emerita, Yoko McClain.


To be eligible for a Japanese America Friendship Fund Scholarship, candidates must meet the following criteria:

1) Candidates must be U.S. Citizens.

2) Candidates must be majoring or minoring in Japanese in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL).

3) Candidates must have applied to study abroad in Japan for summer 2018 or for the coming school year. When you apply for this scholarship, you donʼt need to have been accepted yet.

Award and Requirements:

1) The recipients, who study abroad for at least one academic term, will be awarded $2000 each. Those students who study abroad for more than a single academic term are eligible to receive $3000 each. No student will be awarded more than $3000 in a single application cycle. The application cycle is from summer to spring each year.

2) To be considered as a candidate for the Japan America Friendship Fund, the applicants will submit the following document via email to Miku Fukasaku by Friday, April 5, 2019: (a) a completed application form (b) language reference form filled out by the instructor of your most recently completed (and graded) Japanese language class.

3) EALL faculty will select the recipients based on their classroom performance and other pertinent factors.

4) The recipients will submit proof of acceptance of the program abroad before receiving the scholarship.

5) Upon completion of their program, the recipients will each turn in a one or two page report reflecting their experiences along with some photos and give a short presentation on their experiences.

If you have any questions, please contact Miku Fukasaku (

Japan America Friendship Fund Application

Japan America Friendship Fund Reference Form

Japan American Friendship Fund Announcement

February 11, 2016

Wegmann Scholarship for Chinese Studies

This scholarship supports undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Chinese and accepted to a University of Oregon-sponsored study abroad program in China or Taiwan. The scholarship may be used to assist students with all standard educational expenses including tuition, fees, books, miscellaneous supplies, room and board, and travel associated with the study abroad experience.

Scholarship Criteria:
-Undergraduate standing
-Study of Chinese
-Academic merit
-Students must have completed at least 1 year of Chinese language study
-Students must be accepted to a UO-sponsored study abroad program in China or Taiwan for a minimum of 6 months of study
*Preference will be given to Oregon residents and Chinese majors.

Deadline for Fall 2016: April 1, 2016
Deadline for Winter/Spring 2017: October 1, 2016

For more information about study abroad programs in China and Taiwan, and to apply for the Wegmann scholarship, please see the Global Education Oregon website here.

February 9, 2016

South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) 2016, Pictures

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January 21, 2016

2015-16 Events

Spring Term


Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 11.23.35 AM

Working Futures: Perspectives on
Labor from the Global South
Carla Freeman,Emory University
Lamia Karim, University of Oregon
Ching Kwan, Lee University of California, Los Angeles
Eileen Otis, University of Oregon
Friday, May 27, 2016
Browsing Room, Knight Library



Communication Technologies and
Urban Neighborhoods in Seoul
Yong-Chan Kim, Yonsei University
Monday, May 23, 2016
191 Anstett Hall
4:00 pm




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The Current Situation in East Asia Amid the Rise of China
Dr. Tosh Minohara, Professor
Graduate School of Law and Politics, Kobe University
Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 4 pm
375 McKenzie Hall




CAPS Jeremiah-Swogger Poster


“Zap, Pow, Dig! Comics, Communications and Pacific Archaeology”
John Gordon Swogger
Freelance Archaeological Illustrator
Friday April 1, 2016 at 4 pm
Browsing Room, Knight Library




Winter Term




Urban Development in China: Experience and Lessons
Shunfeng Song, Department of Economics, University of Nevada
Eileen Otis, Department of Sociology, University of Oregon
Yizhao Yang, Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management, University of Oregon
Friday January 22, 2016 at 2 pm
106 Condon Hall



CAPS SACPAN Jeremiah-Riaz Poster

The Age of Intolerance in South Asia: Contextualizing Extremism in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan
Ali Riaz, Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University
South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) 2016
Friday, February 5-6, 2016
University of Oregon White Stag Building 
Portland, OR
Click here for more information


CAPS Lim-Spartan Creativity poster


Spartan Creativity: The Rise of Korea’s Samsung Empire
Geoffrey Cain, Journalist and Author
Friday, February 12, 2016
185 Lillis Hall, 2:00pm




Fall Term


CAPS reception card 2015


Friday, November 6, 2015
CAPS/Asian Studies Annual Reception
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
Papé Reception Hall
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm



HU event


Wednesday, November 4, 2015
“Shan-Shui City: Exploration of Sustainable Urban Development in China”
Jie Hu, Vice-President of Tsinghua Urban Planning & Design Institute
Lawrence Hall, Room 177
5:30 pm



Saturday,CAPS Chinese Culture poster October 24, 2015
Symposium: “Chinese Culture on a Global Stage”
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Please click here for a full schedule.



CAPS McClain-Hatasa PosterMonday, October 19, 2015
Yoko McClain Lecture Series in Japanese Studies
“ARIS-Adopting Place-based Games in Foreign Language Learning: Examples in Japanese”
Kazumi Hatasa, School of Languages and Literatures, Purdue University
Pacific Hall, Room 119
3:30 pm


Traditional Korean Art Religion


Friday, October 16, 2015
Myung Sup Lim Lecture Series
“Traditional Korean Religion and Art in East Asian Perspectives”
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
10:00 am – 5:00 pm



Hei Ying JeremiahFriday, October 9, 2015
Jeremiah Lecture Series
“Hei Ying’s Pagan Love Song”
Andrew F. Jones, Louis B. Agassiz Professor of Chinese
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of California
Knight Library Browsing Room
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm


Kirch TalkFriday, October 9, 2015
Jeremiah Lecture Series
“Vulnerability and Resilience in Island Socio-ecosystems: The Case of Mangareva”
Patrick V. Kirch, Professor Emeritus and Professor of the Graduate School
University of California
Knight Law Center, Room 175
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm


January 7, 2016

South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) 2016, UO-Portland – Abstracts

South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest: Abstracts

  • Panel One: “Religion and Education”

Thinking With, Against, and Beyond Kaśmir Śaivism
J.M. Fritzman and co-authors Sari Berger & Brandon Vance, Associate Professor, Philosophy, Lewis & Clark College
During the 9th-12th centuries in Kaśmir, India’s northernmost state, interconnected lineages are devoted to Śiva. The monistic lineages believe that everything is Śiva, that the universe is his manifestation. Kaśmir Śaivas are theistic, maintaining that Śiva is analogous to a person with agency. However, they also claim that Śiva necessarily manifest himself, that how he manifest himself is necessary, and that he has no awareness of his manifestation. They accept the doctrine of satkāryavāda, moreover, according to which an effect pre-exists within its cause. This suggests that the universe, as the effect that pre-exists in Śiva, is epiphenomenal, itself has no ability to produce effects. Hence, everything that occurs in the universe is wholly determined.We argue that the claims that Śiva is unaware of and unaffected by his manifestation, as well as the doctrine of satkāryavāda, should be rejected. The universe is Śiva’s manifestation, in the first instance, but humans have agency and freedom. Their actions have an effect on Śiva. Hence, Śiva develops, partially in response to us.

Framing the Avadāna, Framing the World
David Fiordalis, Associate Professor and Chair, Religious Studies, Linfield College

The one-hundredth story of the Avadānaśataka, “A Hundred Buddhist Tales,” dramatically shifts the narrative context from the lifetime of the Buddha to two hundred years after the Buddha’s death to the time of King Aśoka. The primary source of knowledge and authority in the story becomes the Buddhist monk, Upagupta, who tells a past-life story connecting his own context to a time shortly after the Buddha’s death. In this way, the story provides a glimpse of an historical context for the emergence of avadāna literature, but it also frames the preceding ninety-nine stories of the collection in a narrative. This paper will explore how the story achieves this dual purpose: Connecting past-life stories to present-life contexts and the practice of storytelling to concrete circumstances. It argues that the genre itself produces this twofold vision.

Counselling Psychology in India: A Survey of Practitioners
Robinder Bedi (and Pavithra Andrea Thomas), Assistant Professor, Educational Counseling Psychology (and student), University of British Columbia
Being a relatively new field in India, there is little known about the discipline of counselling psychology in India and the characteristics of those who identify as counseling psychologists. We recruited 67 Master’s or Doctoral trained professionals who identify as counseling psychologists from 12 different States in India to complete either an online or paper version of a survey. Participants were asked 5 open-ended questions about the nature and state of the profession and its practitioners. Results indicated that participants believed more intensive training with supervised practice was deeply needed, that they were most concerned about the lack of national accreditation and licensure and the widespread public stigma about seeing a counselling psychologist, and that the government should actively work to raise awareness of and create more jobs for the field. The similarities and differences between the field in India and in North America are discussed.

Teaching History of India and the South Asian Region in Ten Weeks: Keeping it Fun and Real
Sylvia Gray, Instructor of History, Education Advisory Council Chair, Portland Community College
The community college teaches introductory courses covering broad spans of history to beginning college students (at Portland Community College in ten-week terms). How can courses focused on Asia, about which many students know little or nothing, reach students where they are and help them achieve meaningful outcomes within these confines? This presentation will share resources and techniques I have found effective in ͞HST 105: History of India and the South Asian Region, both in face-to-face and on-line class formats. It will also invite ideas from other participants.

  • Panel Two: “Technology and Politics in South Asia”

The Computer in Indian Postcolonial History
Biswarup Sen, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
In 1962, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated TIFRAC, the India’s first computer, thus ushering in the digital age. This historic event marks an important juncture in the eventual emergence of what I call the An investigation into the history of the computer reveals as it were two arrows of postcolonial time. The introduction of digital technology by the Indian state is, I argue, a consequence of a long tradition of governmentality that stretches back to the very beginnings of the colonial era. The early computer thus stands with hydroelectric dams, steel factories and rocket ships as a symbol of statist nationalism. Yet the computer also represents a second arrow, one that charts the uneasy path of neoliberal development that the postcolonial state would subsequently take. The information sector, I show, was one of the very first sites to implement a silent contract between the state and private capital, and its history thus foreshadowed the era of full-scale liberalization that was to follow.

Delivering Democracy: A History of Electronic Voting Machines in India
Patrick Jones, Doctoral Student, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
In India’s 16th general election in May 2014, 551million out of 815 million registered voters turned out to participate. Engineering an election of this size required 8,000,000 security personnel, 935,000 polling booths and 1.7 million portable electronic voting machines (EVMs). Standardized in 1998 as part of India’s national elections, EVMs are a flashpoint in wide-ranging debates about security, democracy, privacy, and political participation in India. The deployment of EVMs has led to two types of security concerns about EVMs. One set of concerns focuses on technological vulnerability: are these technologies vulnerable to cyber manipulation? Research in this area investigates the design of EVMs. The second set of concerns is about the companies that design electronic voting technologies. Two government-owned companies produce Indian EVMs: Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) and the Electronics Corporation of India. This paper addresses this second set of concerns by tracing the historical emergence and evolution of electronic voting machines in each corporate context. In doing so, it will attempt to situate Indian electoral technologies within a broader international political economy of voting and contribute to an emerging literature on the relationships between technology, corporate governance, and democracy.

Displaying Rainbow Colors: Dis-embodied Online Activism in Pakistan
Shehram Mokhtar, Doctoral Student, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
In June 2015, Facebook launched a transnational campaign to celebrate pride week in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision favoring same-sex marriage. Millions of users from all over the world opted to overlay their display pictures with rainbow colors as a part of the campaign. A number of users in Pakistan also followed suit resulting in a huge backlash from various quarters condemning the celebration of pride. In Pakistan, marginalized groups such as Shiites and Baloch still resort to street activism but sexual minorities have not been able to show street presence. In a country where homosexuality is a punishable crime and strict Islamic interpretations make no room for debates on sexuality, technology granted sexual minorities some space to survive. Online presence of queer groups in Pakistan has been mostly confined to secret or anonymous online forums until Facebook’s pride campaign. In the US, the campaign has been critiqued for “co-opting” the rainbow flag, ignoring the long history of street activism for LGBTQ rights. This paper attempts to understand and track the history of dis-embodied online activism of the sexual minorities in Pakistan in place of street activism in the context of its post/colonial history.

Imagining Outsourcing through Television
Sareeta Amrute, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Washington
The computer is a fraught technical artifact, linked in the popular imagination simultaneously to the power of the machine over human life and the power of the people over state authority. In this paper, I follow how the computer as technical artifact is used to reimagine economic and social subjects on two sides of the ‘outsourcing’ divide, in the United States and in India. I consider the computer and the computer programmer as they make their way into popular culture through television as my cases in point. The two shows I discuss, “Outsourced” in the U.S. and the Marathi-language “Eka Lagnachi Dusri Goshta” in India, condense the already circulating meanings of the computer for U.S. and Indian audiences, and produce an American and Indian version of the computer through explicit comparison with how the ‘other side’ organizes computer-human relationships. They help produce a version of computer as artifact that both sets in motion and responds to national scenes of economic and social aspiration and anxiety. Through comparison, I will shed light on how the economics of global IT work enact tropes of technical knowledge, masculine aspiration, and the life of the nation.

  • Panel Three: “Gender”

On Cell Phones and Social Capital for Women in South Asia-Pakistan
Farah Azhar, Doctoral Student, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
The research looks at the use of cell phones in a fragile state of South Asia-Pakistan. More specifically, the research examines how the use of mobile money impacts social capital of rural women. It analyses which relationships are strengthened or weakened by the use of mobile money and to what degree does mobile money lead to rural women’s empowerment in Pakistan. Furthermore, to what extent is the literacy barrier hindering the adoption of mobile money among rural women is also examined. The theoretical groundings of this research stem from Roger’s Theory of Diffusion of Innovation and Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice and Cultural Reproduction. For this research, mixed method approach would be used. A sample size of 50 women would be surveyed which would allow me to identify 15 women for in-depth interviews. The research would be carried out in outskirts of Lahore which is predominantly rural.

On Interracial Marriage between Indian and British Citizens
Katie Blank, Doctoral Student, History, University of Washington
Throughout the first five decades of the twentieth century, scores of British women wrote to the India Office in London about the legality of their marriage (with Indian men) outside of Britain. In nearly every case, they replied that the women would immediately be subject to their husband’s personal law and left vulnerable if their husband decided to take another wife. This fear that a British woman would eventually be subjected to a polygamous marriage against her will became so prolific that it appeared in news tabloids consistently for decades. This issue of the legality of interracial marriage (rather, the implications of cross national and cross cultural marriage) was at the crux of many diplomatic conflicts, wherein the British government argued that interracial marriage between a white woman and Indian ruler was both legally and culturally incompatible, rendering their marriage illegitimate and thus unable to produce legal heirs. My paper will consider both commonplace and notable instances of such marriages, and how the taboo of marriage between a British woman and Indian man became a way to further convey the depravity of Indian culture and acquire more territory through the doctrine of lapse.

Wailing to be Heard: Sikh Women’s Mourning an the Culture of Reform
Kiran Sunar, Doctoral Student, Asian Studies, The University of British Columbia
Siyapaa, loosely defined as mourning, is the ritual practice of Punjabi women’s expression of collective grief at the loss of a loved one. The ritual involves the performance of grief in the public, including wailing and self-flagellation. Today, whenever the word siyapaa is mentioned in India, the response is laughter; in fact, siyapaa has come to stand in for the word, “problem.” How does a word that means wailing and mourning come to be regarded as a site of humor? The concept of siyapaa provides a fecund site for investigation into the politics of gender, marginality, and Sikh reform. Examining literary representations of siyapaa from 1898 to 1999, this paper will use three texts: Bhai Vir Singh’s Sundari, hailed as the first Punjabi novel and an important source for Sikh ideals and ethics, Bhai Sadhu Singh’s 1921 poem Churrelan which holds the form of a siyapaa while wholly disapproving of the practice, and Shauna Singh Baldwin’s 1999 What the Body Remembers, a post-memorial site for siyapaa.

“This is Where You Belong” –Representations of the Ideal Woman in Pakistani Television Serials from the 1980’s to the Present
Nabeeha Chaudhary, Graduate Alumnus, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
A certain realism, and complexity of characterization of women, in earlier Pakistani television serials has made way for one-dimensional characters stereotyped along rigid dichotomies and understandings of traditional/Western, conservative/modern, religious/liberal, and good/evil. Limited functions and setting, along with the themes of present day plays, seem to focus on the idea that good women belong in the private sphere (i.e. at home). Themes drawn on include these serials’ definitions of public/private spaces and the boundaries between them, the role of marriage and companionship, and the constant negotiation of tradition with the “modern.” Two broad factors explaining how these themes are tackled are: (i) state-media relations at the basic level of media censorship and liberalization and (ii) the intersection of state-media relations with popular piety culture and broader aspects of mainstream politics. Through the lens of the representation of gender, I view how all these forces interact and how they influence popular culture.

Recitational Readings: The Politics of Sound and Meaning in Women’s Quranic Engagement in Pakistan
Nadia Loan, Instructor, Women and Gender Studies, University of Oregon
Everyday rituals of worship in the Islamic tradition conventionally depend on the materiality of sound rather than the symbolic meaning of the word to shape Quranic textual engagement.However, in recent years in Pakistan, this form of Quranic engagement (recitation) is increasingly viewed by urban Pakistani women as inadequate for the demands of modern Islamic life. As such programs of religious learning privileging an interpretation (tafsir)of the Quranic word, have grown exponentially over the last two decades in many Pakistan cities. This paper explores the manner in which interpretive modalities (tafsir) are recombined with sonic practices of audition and recitation to mediate women’s engagement with the Quran. I suggest that rather than consider the emphasis on interpretive modalities as a substitution of sound with meaning, we consider how sound and meaning are productively reconfigured to give shape to a new form of religious textual engagement that I term recitational readings.

Re-conceptualizing Women’s Agency in Rural Punjab, Pakistan
Sarah Ahmed, Doctoral Student, Sociology, University of Oregon
What is agency in the South Asian context? Agency, as defined by notions of Western Feminism, means little to South Asian women, especially in rural areas. What, then, does women’s agency in South Asia look like? Theoretical ideas of agency must contend with the lived experiences of women. In this talk, I discuss participant observations and interviews conducted in small rural villages across Southern Punjab, Pakistan, wherein women express ideas of agency radically different from the Western context. I contend that agency for women in these areas is transforming, given the changes occurring as a result of socio-economic factors: including the changing pattern of men’s employment, and WHO’s polio campaigns. Consequently, I argue that agency, as we recognize, needs to be reconceptualized to enable us in seeing and understanding agency in every day activities in places where we think it unlikely so, such as rural villages in Southern Punjab, Pakistan.

  • Panel Four: “Politics and History”

On the Relationship Between South Asian and the Commonwealth of Nations
Taylor D.H. Rockhill, Doctoral Student, South Asian Studies, University of Washington
My research focuses on the evolving relationship of South Asia with the Commonwealth of Nations, particularly focusing on the Commonwealth after the 1991 Harare Declaration which shifted the Commonwealth’s focus away from preserving ‘cultural ties’ and history to focusing on expanding trade ties, increasing government accountability, and development. My research begins looking at the connections between India and Commonwealth countries in southern Africa, particularly India’s connections to Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony that had joined the Commonwealth in 1996.
I am keenly interested in the Commonwealth as a mechanism for South-North linkages as well as its potential as a ‘driver for development’. I believe that closer inspection of the Commonwealth could provide us insight into the very nature of International Organisations (IO), particularly how they connect with member governments, NGOs, and local populations. I seek to expand existing Political Science/International Relations literature on the nature of IO-Government interaction, and attempt to figure out how IOs affect both national sovereignty as well as whether or not IOs possess a certain amount of autonomy themselves. (The Commonwealth being no longer inherently British). I am excited for the opportunity to present this at the 2016 SACPAN conference, and am eager to receive feedback.

On the Third Indo-Pakistan War and the Emergence of Bangladesh
Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman, Doctoral Student, Political Science, University of Oregon
The nine-month long violent civil war in East Pakistan in 1971, its culmination through the third Indo-Pakistan War and emergence of Bangladesh as an independent country is arguably the most significant series of political events in South Asia since 1947. Legacies of those events are still vigorously present in current Subcontinental domestic politics and international relations. Srinath Raghavan has argued in a recent widely-read book that the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 was not an inevitable outcome but a product of contingency, world historical developments and choices made by political actors. In this paper I argue from a framework of Neoclassical-realism that not only the separation of the two halves of Pakistan was determined but also a violent parting was highly probable. I also argue that contingent and individual choice-based accounts of the events in 1971 help perpetuate misperception in current politics of the subcontinent and accepting the inevitability of the emergence of Bangladesh would go a long way in normalizing relations between countries.

On Narendra Modi’s Election Campaign for India’s Parliament
Rucha Ambikar, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Bemidji State University
Narendra Modi ran an American Presidential style election campaign in the last Parliamentary elections of India and in his victory has emerged as one of the most charismatic leader of India in recent years. His savvy use of social media, his fiery speeches, his self positioning as a humble tea seller – all have been credited for his charismatic leadership style. While the caste and class designations of his supporters – who often border on the fanatical – are well known to analysts of Indian politics, I propose to examine the nature of their support for Modi. Are his followers supporting a cult of personality, or does Modi signify an aspirational form of nationalism that speaks to their patriotism? I seek to uncover why Modi succeeds in retaining the loyalty of his supporters and what this insight might inform us as about the changing imagination of the future of India’s polity.

The Great Game Abroad – Late Imperial Internationalism and Britain’s South Asian Intelligence Agents
William Bamber, Doctoral Student, Near and Middle East Studies, University of Washington
Much has been written in recent years on the Ghadar movement and its subversion of international imperial linkages and cosmopolitanism for anti-colonial ends. Yet the Ghadarites were far from the only players in this game. This paper considers their less-heralded counterparts, the many South Asians who exploited these same possibilities as agents or informers in the service of the British state. Not only were they widely engaged against ‘seditious’ activities concerning India itself, but also in pursuit of British interests in the Middle East and beyond, where South Asian identity opened up possibilities and confidences unavailable to British operatives. Drawing on Ottoman and Turkish sources, this paper reflects on one of the elite, educated cadre of agents employed directly by the SIS, Mustapha Sargil, who was sensationally unmasked in revolutionary Ankara in 1920, and the issues of identity, agency and allegiance in this period arising from his case.

From Bo Trees to Buddha Bones: Nehruvian Buddhism and the Poetics of Power
Douglas Ober, Doctoral Student, Asian Studies, University of British Columbia
As soon as Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru gained rule over a newly independent India in 1947, his Cabinet began orchestrating a number of state programs to promote Buddhism both in and outside of the new state borders. From the export of Buddhist relics to distant lands to Buddhist symbols on the nation’s flag, the secular Indian state took on cakravartin (wheel-turning)-like qualities in ways that were entirely conducive to the political and social visions of Nehru and key members of his Cabinet. This “Nehruvian Buddhism,” as I call it, had two key features: 1) it was a secular force aimed at integrating divergent loyalties into a wider national consciousness and 2) it was a ‘soft power’ aimed at yielding wide influence among the postcolonial order in Asia. I will discuss how these programs fit Nehru’s international diplomatic objectives and briefly consider their continued influence in India today.

Nationalism, Language Policy and Peoples’ Mother Tongue Rights in Bangladesh
Zahid Akter, Doctoral Student, Linguistics, University of Oregon
Bangladesh has at least 40 small languages with Bangla spoken by about 90% of its population. Historically, the country played an important role in fighting for its people’s mother tongue when on Feb 21st, 1952 scores of Bangladeshi students gave blood to assert their linguistic rights (the day that UNESCO later recognized as the International Mother Tongue Day). However, such a great example for people’s mother tongue rights seems to have been appropriated largely by a Bangla-based nationalism since the nation’s constitution recognized Bangla as the only national language while granting no status to other languages. A Bangla-based nationalism is also manifested in the way that the post-independence regimes have implemented Banglee (majority ethnic group speaking Bangla) settlements and unleashed military repressions in the regions where small ethno-linguistic groups live. Amid these continued setbacks, however, the country has taken at least two positive steps toward the indigenous groups. One of them is the initiation of Parbatya Chattagram Chukty (Chittagong Hill-Tracts Treaty in 1996) and another is passing of the National Education Policy-2010 that makes some commitments to indigenous peoples’ linguistic rights. It is in these contexts that I will critically examine Bangladesh’s multifaceted political-social-educational approaches and actions toward its small ethno-linguistic groups to see what possible ramifications they have for their languages and language rights. In doing so, I will also take stock of the diverse forms of resistance arising in the grassroots that must play a role in shaping the de facto language policy and the peoples’ linguistic rights.

  • Panel Five: “Media, Language & Literature”

On “Orientalism” and Portrayals of South Asian Culture in Video Games
Ranjini Ray Chaudhury, Doctoral Student, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
As our awareness expanded form Edward Said’s 1978 publication “Orientalism,” any and all popular representations of South Asia took on a predictable nature. Entertainment media, for example, have always used the profitability of exoticism to sell their own imagined depictions of South Asian culture. But how has this imagination changed in recent years in new forms of entertainment, such as video games? Ubisoft Montreal, the creators of the popular video game Far Cry 4, have endeavored to release a video game to allow players to appreciate an authentic Nepali cultural experience, albeit in a fictional narrative world. From as early as five months prior to the game’s release in late 2014, the online public burst in protest over the promotional images released. Since then, the game, its images, and its corresponding documentary have been scrutinized by the global online public. In my paper, I reconsider Orientalism through my analysis of Far Cry 4.

Music, Dramaturgy & Mourning Rituals: Locating the Performance of the Karbala Narrative in Sehwan, Pakistan
Shehram Moktar, Doctoral Student, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
On the tenth of the first Islamic month of Muharram, Shi’ite Muslims all over the world annually commemorate the martyrdom of prophet Muhammad’s grandson Husain. Husain died in the ten-day battle of Karbala, Iraq, with his followers in 680 AD. Highly ritualized and dramatic public performances in commemorative ceremonies all over the world have kept the memory of Husain’s tragic death alive for centuries. Some rituals in Muharram mourning processions are common across national and regional boundaries but they can vary according to local customs and traditions. This paper attempts to explore the rituals of mourning in Sehwan, a small town in the Southern province of Sindh, Pakistan. Rituals in Sehwan are unique as they make use of music, mainly Shehnai, a musical instrument generally associated with festivities, along with drums, an important part of their mourning processions with synchronized movements and other dramaturgical elements to create a memorial narrative of the past. Sehwan is known for the ritual of spiritual ecstatic dance, dhamaal, performed at the shrine of Sufi saint, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, all year long except for the first ten days of Muharram. Embedded in its local expressive traditions, rituals of Muharram create their own unique identity. In the context of national and transnational reformist movements, this paper posits that rituals in Sehwan help reconstitute national and transnational identities by their very existence.

Zumurrud Shah in the Mughal Imagination: The Historiography of the Hamzānāma and Afghan-Mughal Relations in Pre-Modern India
Mariam Sabri, Doctoral Student, South Asian Studies, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
In recent years the Hamzānāma, undoubtedly the greatest oral epic of Mughal India, has generated considerable interest amongst scholars. While the Hamzānāma has been studied at great length by philologists, literary historians and art historians, it has received relatively little attention from cultural and political historians, specifically from an oral history perspective. This is also representative of a larger trend in pre-modern Islamicate intellectual history, where the role of oral tradition in Islamicate societies has been under-studied, as is apparent in the context of Mughal India. The case of the Hamzānāma also signals the larger gap in the political history of Afghan-Mughal relations. Through a study of the portrayal of the character of Zumurrud Shah, the villain of the Hamzānāma, in both material and textual sources from the period, my presentation will analyze the gaps in the existing scholarship on the Hamzānāma and Afghan-Mughal relations and the value of historicizing sources as the Hamzānāma corpus (and the dastāngenre in general) for developing a richer understanding of Islamicate intellectual history and Mughal India.

The work of the Mahāvaṃsa: Poem or Charter?
Kristin Scheible, Associate Professor, Religious Studies, Reed College
The Pāli Mahāvaṃsa  is central to the real and imagined community of Sinhalese Theravādin Buddhists of Sri Lanka, and has been read by scholars, monks, and laypeople as a political “charter” for the moral authority of its particular textual community. Yet within its proem the text explicitly announces its objective: to present a narrative that will engender certain reading strategies and emotional consequences. The Mahāvaṃsa exclaims its literary prowess outright, declaring its purpose to “avoid the faults of that one [the earlier narratives]” and to be “easy to grasp and bear in mind, producing anxious thrill (saṃvega) and serene satisfaction (pasāda), and handed down through tradition.” Moreover, the proem reiterates this claim in the imperative: “Listen to this one causing saṃvega and pasāda, in this way the grounds for making [more] saṃvega and producing [more] pasāda.” The proems explicitly place the two vaṃsas in a literary realm where narrative has power, through the manipulation of human emotions, to transform the hearer and, by extension, the community that sustains the continued relevance of the text. I’ll present some ideas on the literary work of a Buddhist history derived from my forthcoming book (Columbia University Press).

Embracing Humor and Eroticism: Bitextuality in the Vidagdha-madhava by Rupa Gosvami
Genoveva Castro, Doctoral Student, Asian Languages and Literature, University of Washington
The sixteenth century play Vidagdha-madhava by Rupa Gosvami narrates the love story of Kṛishna and the gopis in Braj. Shlesha or punning is a common device used in the play, and often humor and eroticism are the basis for double readings. The puns help to amplify the erotic meaning which plays an important role in Vaishnava theology. I will analyze various instances of humorous and erotic puns in the Vidagdha-madhava using the framework of Yigal Bronner on simultaneous narration in Sanskrit literature.Bronner states that shlesha gives the poet the possibility to disguise and reveal simultaneously two aspects of the same identity. Krishna’s erotic behavior constitutes a part of his manifold identity and his sensuality is brought up frequently in the puns.The shleshas vary from some words with double meaning in prose to very complex puns in verses that have two completely different readings.

  • Panel Six: “Economics and Development”

Counter-Conduct in the Mohallas: New Houses in the Old City
Tariq L. Rahman, Doctoral Student, International Studies, University of Oregon
Urban planning has been a cornerstone of development throughout Pakistan’s history. Modernist housing has been central to the state’s aspiration to move beyond the country’s inherited past, which it associates with backwardness. The construction of everything from modern cities to housing schemes demonstrates Pakistan’s potential to be modern, providing an exemplar to the rest of the nation and legitimating the nation to the rest of the world. Located in the margins of the state, Bhakkar City embodies the past the state simultaneously excludes and desires to include. The latter has entailed the development of the city’s first housing scheme, Gulshan-e-Madina. The emergence of Gulshan-e-Madina initiated a housing transformation in the city, consisting of modern houses being constructed not only in the housing scheme, but the surrounding area as well. Invoking Foucault’s concept of counter-conduct, I argue that the construction of modern houses in mohallas, or the unplanned neighborhoods that characterize Bhakkar City, problematizes the state’s binary of housing schemes and mohallas as modern and backward spaces, respectively. While not external to development discourse, the construction of new houses in the old city nevertheless undermines it by questioning its natural appearance.

Aging the ‘Transnational’: Gender, Sexuality, and Political Form(ulation)s Among Elderly South Asians
Sri Craven, Assistant Professor, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Portland State University
My paper theorizes social justice politics from the perspective of conversations that I had with senior Indians about feminism, queerness, gender, and sexuality. The respondents span two types of ‘transnationals’: Indian diasporics who are citizens of the U.S.; and itinerants who visit the U.S. and live in India. Examining the respondents perceptions of and attitudes to “sex” as it unfolds via social justice politics, as well as consumer and popular cultures, I analyze and theorize how transnational/(im)migration viewed through the lens of my age may be a valuable predictor of what becomes relevant politically to different communities.

Alternate Conceptualizations of Value and Space: Learning from the slum-dwellers of Delhi
Susmita Rishi, Doctoral Student, Interdisciplinary Program in Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
The relationship between informal settlements or slums, and planning has always been complicated. With rapid urbanization, informal settlements are more than ever emerging as the places for not only the underprivileged to live, but also the middle-classes. In opposition to the “use” value that others may find in the space, based in conceptions of “exchange” value of land, informal settlements are positioned as the unregulated and “illegitimate” use of land against the backdrop of legitimate notions of planned land use and settlement. Under this paradigm when planners, bureaucrats and middle-class citizens look at these settlements, they see spaces of filth and degradation, having no value except for the land that they stand on. In this paper, I focus on moving beyond this contradiction between exchange and use to reconceptualise value grounded in the residents’ valuing of their everyday spaces. Based in the analysis of 135 semistructured ethnographic interviews and observations at Kathputli Colony, Delhi, I challenge the understanding of informal settlements as spaces of no value to show that for the residents of such settlements, their spaces hold value/s beyond this narrow understanding. Highlighting the different ways in which residents find value in their spaces, I attempt to reconceptualize informal settlements as spaces of legitimate Value.

Corporations, the state, and rural development in India’s new ‘Company Villages’
Sunila Kale, Associate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
The poorest parts of India measured by per capita income are also some of its richest in terms of natural resources. Throughout this region—which covers a broad belt of eastern and central India—private mining and metallurgy firms have been rapidly establishing new plants and mines over the last twenty years. In displacing populations through rural land acquisition, these firms are reshaping rural socio-economic worlds in large arcs of land peripheral to their mine and plant sites as well as in the newly built settlements that house displaced communities. In these villages and in other peripheral locations, firms through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budgets are undertaking activities traditionally associated with the state. My project seeks to investigate the new socio-political forms that are emerging out of these processes. I speculate that rather than re-creating the company towns of the past, private firms are creating a new form, the ͞company village.  

Development Rhetoric in Bangladesh: A Feminist Critique
Melissa Tennyson, Instructor, ESL Program, Latino Network
In this paper I interrogate the development rhetoric in Bangladesh, particularly the rhetoric of two major development institutions: the Grameen Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). While these institutions approach the question of development in different ways, and with different tools, I argue that they are fundamentally linked on an ideological level—they both announce their aim as developmentalist in character. Second, while they both claim to work in the service of poor women in Bangladesh, they end up exploiting and oppressing poor women.

An Analysis of fuel efficient stoves in Arandu valley of CKNP, Gilgit Baltistan
Razia Bano, Lecturer, Business Management, Karakoram International University – Pakistan
This paper assesses the impact of fuel efficient stoves that have been introduced to 42% of households in the Arandu Valley of the Central Karakoram National Park. This area has suffered severe deforestation during the last several years. It used to take local women one hour to fetch wood but now takes four or five hours; the amount of time necessary is growing at an alarming rate. Furthermore, conventionally used stoves release a lot of smoke inside houses, and smoke inhalation is a significant cause of poor health in these areas. This study assesses how the new stoves helped the local community to save firewood while still enabling local people to have a regular fire to remain warm during the harsh winter. Women have been notable beneficiaries of the new stoves, saving them time and contributing to hygienic conditions.

On Social Movements and Alliance Building in Maharashtra, India
Rucha Chandvankar, DoctoralAnthropology, University of Oregon
Contemporary democratic discourse highlights the role of social movements in negotiating across social difference so as to build sustainable realities. The work done by social movements towards building alliances across caste and racial boundaries, often disrupts dominant structures of power, while fostering a respect for difference, and an articulation of democratic values. In this paper, I present an analysis of the relationship between social movement organizing, collective action, and alliance building between Adivasis and Dalits in Maharashtra, India. Power exercised through dominant caste ideologies customarily strips Adivasis and Dalits of their dignity. By looking at Sarvahara Jan Andolan, an Adivasi and Dalit social movement in Maharashtra, I stress the link between alliance building and the claiming of dignity by Adivasis and Dalits. I argue that by building alliances, social movements are engaged in a particular form of resistance, which constructs a Gramscian ‘good sense’, enabling the marginalized to articulate just visions of democracy.

  • Panel Seven: “New Directions in South Asian Film and Media Studies”

Indian Feminism and the Communicative Network
Sangita Gopal, Associate Professor, English and Cinema Studies, University of Oregon 
The emergence of second wave feminism in India in the 1970s-80s was closely linked to the media revolution that India was concurrently undergoing with the introduction of television and an unprecedented expansion of print and telephony. Feminism’s communicative agency inhered, to a great extent, on how deftly women activists and filmmakers adapted to a new media – television. My paper will examine the career of one such pioneer Sai Paranjpe, a self-described media-meddler, who worked in a variety of genres from comedy sketches to made-for-TV documentaries and drama, but all of whose projects found a popular and accessible idiom for addressing questions of gendered experiences and structural exclusions. I will conclude by looking briefly at how figures such as Paranjpe who migrated between media – television, print, film, theatre and radio – helped assemble an informal but durable feminist communicative network comprised of media-makers, journalists, activists, artists who used their social connections very effectively to get the message out.

On the Portrayal of Women  in Bangladeshi Cinema
Abritty Abdullah, M.A. Student, Women Gender and Sexuality Studies, Oregon State University
This paper discusses about the portrayal of women in commercial Bangladeshi cinema and how these movies are representation of the larger patriarchal picture of the country. The paper looks at the problem that how commercial movies promote male chauvinism and can help to intensify the discrimination between men and women among the group which these movies are targeted to, which are the wage earners. This paper gives a few examples from the commercially successful movies and connects it with transnational and postcolonial perspective. With help of these two feminist theories the paper builds an argument and provides a framework of the never ending cycle of oppression in this society.  

Transnational Strategies of Resistance
Alka Kurian, Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington (Bothell)
This paper looks into mobilization of transregional strategies of resistance embodied and aestheticized through cultural artifacts (posters, paintings, photographs) and documentary cinema in response to political violence, civil strife, and violation of human rights in Nepal and Kashmir. The paper focuses on the tension between women-led peace initiatives and armed resistance to make the point that narratives of social justice founded on the ethics of solidarity, compassion, and empathy tend to get marginalized in a world that is fascinated by mediatized images of women engaged in militarized violence and suicide missions. While debunking the oversimplified arguments that essentialize women as inherently non-violent, the paper nevertheless problematizes the transformative potential of revolutionary violence for the gendered subaltern in postcolonial societies. By focusing the analysis on Julie Bridgham’s Sari Soldiers (Nepal), Kavitha Pai’s There was a Queen (Kashmir), and the visual and performative strategies marshaled by the Association of the Parents of Disappeared Persons (Kashmir), this paper investigates the articulation of feminine agency and voice that locates itself outside heteropatriarchal structures that promote uncritical submission to masculinist leadership.

The Movie Theater as a Technology of Film Form: a Historical Consideration
Sudhir Mahadevan, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, University of Washington
Is there a relation between what a movie looks like and the space in which it is seen? How has the black box of the movie theater served as an “aesthetic technology” informing the very “look” of the movies? Recent transformations in exhibition spaces have been quite explicitly theorized along with transformations in the form of the popular film. My aim is to draw on this recent work, and ask if similar questions about the relationship between exhibition space and film form, may be posed for earlier periods of Indian film history. What can a consideration of exhibition spaces contribute to historical poetics of Indian cinema?

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South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) 2016, UO-Portland – Program

CAPS SACPAN Jeremiah-Riaz Poster


South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest

Friday February 5, 2016
3:30pm – Registration 

4pm – Opening Ceremony

4:15-5:15pm, Main Conference Room 142/144 – Keynote Speaker:

“The Age of Intolerance in South Asia: Contextualizing Extremism in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan” 

Dr. Ali Riaz – University Professor and Chair Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University

5:30pm, Light Court Commons – Reception

Saturday February 6, 2016
8:00am, Room 142/144 – Coffee, tea, and light refreshments

View all presenter’s abstracts here

8:30-10am, Room 150 – Panel One: Religion and Education”, moderated by Professor Lamia Karim

J.M. Fritzman  
Associate Professor, Philosophy, Lewis and Clark University
“Thinking With, Against, and Beyond Kasmir Saivism” 
David Fiordallis
Associate Professor and Chair, Religious Studies, Linfield College
“Framing the Avadana, Framing the World”
Robinder Bedi
Assistant Professor, Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, University of British Columbia
“Counseling Psychology in India: A Survey of Practitioners”
Sylvia Gray
Instructor of History, Education Advisory Council and Chair, Portland Community College
“Teaching History of India and the South Asian Region in Ten Weeks: Keeping it Fun and Real”

10:15-11:45am, Room 150 – Panel Two: Technology and Politics in South Asia”, moderated by Professor Jeff Hanes

Biswarup Sen
Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
“The Computer in Indian Postcolonial History”
Patrick Jones
Doctoral Student, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
“Delivering Democracy: A History of Electronic Voting Machines in India”
Shehram Mokhtar
Doctoral Student, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
“Displaying Rainbow Colors: Dis-embodied Online Activism in Pakistan”
Sareeta Amrute
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington
“Imagining Outsourcing through Television”

10:15-11:45am, Room 152 – Panel Three: “Gender”, moderated by Professor Arafaat A. Valiani

Farah Azhar
Doctoral Student, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
“On Cell Phones and Social Capital for Women in South Asia-Pakistan”
Katie Blank
Doctoral Student, Department of History, University of Washington
“On Interracial Marriage between Indian and British Citizens”
Kiran Sunar
Doctoral Student, Asian Studies, University of British Columbia
“Wailing to be Heard: Sikh Women’s Mourning and the Culture of Reform”
Nabeeha Chaudhary
Graduate Alumni, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
“This is Where You Belong- Representations of the Ideal Woman in Pakistani Television Serials”
Nadia Loan
Instructor, Women and Gender Studies, University of Oregon
“Recitational Reading: The Politics of Sound and Meaning in Women’s Quranic Engagement in Pakistan”
Sarah Ahmed
Doctoral Student, Department of Sociology, University of Oregon
“Re–conceptualizing Women’s Agency in Rural Punjab, Pakistan

Noon – 1pm, Room 142/144 – Lunch

1-2:30pm, Room 150 – Panel Four: “Politics and History”, moderated by Professor S. Charusheela

Taylor Rockhill
M.A. Candidate, South Asian Studies, University of Washington
“On the Relationship Between South Asian and the Commonwealth of Nations”
Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman
Doctoral Student, Political Science, University of Oregon
“On the Third Indo-Pakistan War and the Emergence of Bangladesh” 
Rucha Ambikar
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Bemidji State University
“On Narendra Modi’s Election Campaign for India’s Parliament”
William Bamber
Doctoral Student, Near and Middle East Studies, University of Washington
“The Great Game Abroad- Late Imperial Internationalism and Britain’s South Asian Intelligence Agents”
Douglas Ober
Doctoral Student, Asian Studies, University of British Columbia
“From Bo Trees to Buddha Bones: Nehruvian Buddhism and the Poetics of Power”
Zahid Akter
Doctoral Student, Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon
“Nationalism, Language Policy and People’s Mother Tongue Rights in Bangladesh”

1-2:30pm, Room 152 – Panel Five: “Media, Language & Literature”, moderated by Professor Biswarup Sen

Ranjini Ray Chaudhury
M.A. Candidate, South Asian Studies, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
“On “Orientalism” and Portrayals of South Asian Culture in Video Games”
Shehram Mokhtar
Doctoral Student, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
“Music, Dramaturgy & Mourning Rituals: Locating the Performance of the Karbala Narrative in Sehwan, Pakistan”
Mariam Sabri
Doctoral Student, South Asian Studies, University of Washington
“Zumurrud Shah in the Mughal Imagination: The Historiography of the Hamzanama and Afghan-Mughal Relations in the Pre-Modern India”
Kristin Scheible
Associate Professor of Religion, Reed College
“The work of the Mahavamsa: Poem or Charter?”
Genoveva Castro
Doctoral Student, Asian Languages and Literature, University of Washington
“Embracing Humor and Eroticism: Bitexuality in the Vidagdha-madhava by Rupa Gosvami”

2:30-4:30pm, Room 152 – Panel Six: “Economics and Development”, moderated by Professor Angela Joya and Zahid Akter

Tariq L. Rahman
M.A. Candidate, Department of International Studies, University of Oregon
“Counter-Conduct in the Mohallas: New Houses in the Old City”
Sri Craven
Assistant Professor, Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Portland State University
“Dilemmas of Change: Gender in the ‘Global’ Gated Community”
Susmita Rishi
Doctoral Student, Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
“Alternate Conceptualizations of Value and Space: Learning from the slum-dwellers of Delhi”
Sunila S. Kale
Director, South Asia Center / Associate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
“Corporations, the state, and rural development in India’s new ‘Company Villages'”
Melissa Tennyson
Instructor, ESL Program, Latino Network
“Development Rhetoric in Bangladesh: A Feminist Critique” 
Razia Bano
Lecturer, Department of Business Management, Karakorum International University – Pakistan
“An Analysis of fuel efficient stoves in Arandu valley of CKNP, Gilgit Baltistan”
Rucha Chandvankar
Doctoral Student, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon
“On Social Movements and Alliance Building in Maharashtra, India”

2:45-4:15pm, Room 150 – Panel Seven: “New Directions in South Asian Film and Media Studies, moderated by Nadia Loan 

Sangita Gopal
Associate Professor, English and Cinema Studies, University of Oregon
“Indian Feminism and the Communicative Network”
Abritty Abdullah
M.A. Candidate, Women Gender and Sexuality Studies, Oregon State University
“On the Portrayal of Women in Bangladeshi Cinema”
Alka Kurian
Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Science, University of Washington – Bothell
“Transnational Strategies of Resistance”
Sudhir Mahadevan
Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, University of Washington
“The Movie Theater as a Technology of Film Form: a Historical Consideration”

4:30-5:30pm, Room 142/144 – Closing Ceremony & Remarks 

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October 20, 2015

Chinese Culture on a Global Stage

CAPS Chinese Culture poster

Saturday, October 24th

Chinese Culture on a Global Stage

A symposium in honor of Wendy Larson

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
1:00 – 4:30 pm



Symposium Program

1:00 pm
Welcome Remarks
Bryna Goodman, Professor of Chinese History, University of Oregon

1:10 pm
“The Obscure Face of Modernity in Early 20th-Century Chinese Literature,” Theodore Huters, Professor Emeritus, Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA

1:45 pm 
Filial Piety in Motion: From Mother Love to Spiritual Love in Modernizing China,” Maram Epstein, Associate Professor of Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon

2:20 pm 
“The Measure of Mind: Interiority and Internationalism in Wendy Larson’s Work,” Roy Chan, Assistant Professor of Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon

2:55-3:05 pm
Coffee Break

3:05 pm 
“‘The Women’s Voice’: The Chinese Independent Feminist Movement,” Rui Shen, Associate Professor of Chinese and Director of the Chinese Studies Program, Morehouse College

3:40 pm 
“Tak tahu cakap, Ah! Awak apa bangsa? Cina, bukan? [Can’t you speak, Ah! What ethnicity are you? Chinese, no? ]: Representing the Sinophone Truly in Tsai Ming-liang’s I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone (黑眼圈)  Pheng Cheah,Chair of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies; Professor of Rhetoric, UC Berkeley

4:15 pm
Closing Remarks
Steve Durrant, Professor Emeritus of Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon

This event is presented by the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies and is cosponsored by the Asian Studies Program, the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, the National Resource Center for East Asian Studies, and the UO Confucius Institute for Global China Studies.  For more information, please call 541-346-1521.

October 14, 2015

Traditional Korean Religion and Art in East Asian Perspectives

Traditional Korean Art Religion

Traditional Korean Religion and Art in East Asian Perspectives
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Ford Lecture Hall
Friday, October 16, 2015 at 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

This cross-disciplinary workshop investigates the interrelationship between the religion and art of traditional Korea in East Asian perspectives. In three panels (death and religion, Buddhism and power, religious objects in art museums), the panelists examine the issues of religion, art, and social power from archaeology, art history, history, and religious studies. This event is open to the public.

Workshop Schedule

10:15 am: Opening Remarks
Lori O’Hollaren (Associate Director, Center for Asian and Pacific Studies)
Gyoung-Ah Lee (Anthropology, University of Oregon)

10:30 am: Panel I, Death and Religion

10:30-10:50 am: Texts, Tombs, and Tomb Texts: Writing and Death Ritual in Early China
Luke Habberstad (Religious Studies/East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon)

Over the last several decades, archaeologists in China have recovered many manuscripts from tombs that date from the late 5th century BCE to the second century CE. The sheer diversity of these manuscripts is their most striking feature: written on bamboo, wood, and silk, they include a stunning variety of textual material, from philosophical treatises to almanacs to ceremonial records. All of them, however, should be understood as ritual objects that played important roles in funeral rites. Even this ritual significance of interred manuscripts, however, defies easy categorization, and their idiosyncratic nature is just as striking as any overall pattern. Only when analyzed in the context of tomb architecture and interred funerary goods, which transformed significantly over the period under consideration, do we gain purchase on the significance of written manuscripts to notions of death and the afterlife in early China. Starting as early as the 5th century BCE, tombs started transforming into structures akin to palaces or residential structures, while collections of interred goods, previously populated by ritual bronze sets used in ancestral rites, became dominated by items for use in everyday life. Without denying the myriad purposes of and interpretive possibilities presented by funerary architecture, material goods, and written manuscripts, this talk emphasizes that in the early Chinese context all three collectively comforted and protected tomb occupants as they moved into the afterlife.

About the Speaker
Luke Habberstad studies the history, literature, ritual, and material culture of early China (5th century BCE-3rd century CE). He is especially interested in the intersection of politics and ritual practice during the Qin and Han dynasties. His work has been published in several edited volumes and journals, including Early China and the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture. He is currently completing a monograph entitled “Writing the Court in Early Imperial China: Politics, Institutions, and Status.”

10:50-11:10 am: Everland for the Deceased in Ancient Silla: New Findings from the Sacred Burials in Gyeongju, South Korea
Gyoung-Ah Lee (Anthropology, University of Oregon)

Gyeongju grew as a cultural and political center of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms that emerged in southeastern Korea well before the Common Era and unified the other two states, Goguryeo and Baekaje (Unified Silla, 676 to 935 CE). Royal tumuli have grabbed most of the archaeological attention in the Silla region since the turn of the century, but excavations have been limited to more or less visible tombs in the area called the Grand Tomb Park (Historic Sites of South Korea No. 512). Since 2007, long-term systematic fieldwork and a ground-penetrating radar survey in the area have mapped over 150 tumuli (mound burials) and underground burials. These findings illustrate mortuary practices over 300 years from the 3rd to 6th centuries and reflect social dynamics and the authority of Silla elite classes as well as the influence of indigenous beliefs and Buddhism.

About the Speaker
Lee investigates human-environmental interactions in terms of cultural relationships and social complexity in East Asia, aiming to document and to understand cultural niche construction, the transition to agriculture and complex society, crop domestication, and political economy in prehistoric and early historic East Asia. She is involved in projects in the Yellow River basin and the Dongbei region of China and in South Korea. She has secured multiple grants by the Henry Luce Foundation, National Geographic, Korea Research Foundation, Academy of Korean Studies, Korean Studies Promotion Service, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and University of Oregon. Her work appears in English, Korean, and Chinese, including Anthropocene, Anthropological Archaeological Science, Antiquity, Current Anthropology, The Holocene, Journal of Archaeological Science, PLOS ONE (Peer-Reviewed Open Access Publication of Public Library of Science), and PNAS (Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences US).

11:10-11:40 am: Moderated Discussion and Q&A
Moderator Ina Asim (History, University of Oregon)

Ina Asim is Associate Professor of History with a focus on pre-modern intellectual, social and material culture of China, including the material witnesses brought to daylight through contemporary archaeological excavations. She is working on a city biography of Nanjing and several projects in the Digital Humanities. She has served as Head of the Asian Studies Program and the Humanities Program at the University of Oregon and is currently the Director of the UO Confucius Institute for Global China Studies. She received her Ph.D. and her Habilitation from the University of Würzburg in Germany.

11:40 am-1:00 pm: Lunch Break

1:00 pm: Panel II, Buddhism and Power

1:00-1:20 pm: Rethinking Sŏkkuram, the Stone Grotto Chapel
Sunkyung Kim (Korean Studies Institute, University of Southern California)

Sŏkkuram is arguably the most representative monument in Korea, functioning as a proud “national emblem.” Scholarly discussions over the past century have agreed on such fundamental issues as its date, benefactors, construction methods and stylistic lineage. There have been, however, unwarranted assumptions and disputes about the prototype of its overall design, iconographic program, doctrinal/sectarian orientation as well as the identity of its primary deity. Here I reflect on the conventional master narrative of its donor and construction, to tease out Sŏkkuram’s role and even essence during eight-century Silla. This talk incorporates recent developments from studies of Korean Buddhism and its visual culture, reading Sŏkkuram as a “Heavenly Palace (K. Ch’ŏn’gung天宮)” and searching for its architectural origin within the Central Asian tradition.

About the Speaker
Sunkyung Kim got her B.A and M.A in Art History from Seoul National University, Korea, and Ph.D from Duke University with a dissertation entitled “Decline of the Law, Death of the Monk: Buddhist Texts and Images in the Anyang Caves of Late Sixth-century China.” She has received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, a research fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council, and a travel grant from the Sejong Society of Korean Studies. During her time as a postdoctoral fellow and visiting scholar/lecturer at the University of Southern California, she also served as a research associate for the “InscriptiFact Project” at the Archeology Center at USC and worked with the Korean National Museum on optimizing digital images of inscriptions of the 7-8th century stone steles and sculptures. Her research interests encompass Buddhist art, mortuary practices and visuality in early medieval China and Korea, East Asian visual culture and religion in general.  Her publications have appeared in Archives of Asian Art, The Journal of Korean Studies, Asia Major, Art History Forum, and Art History and Visual Culture.

1:20-1:40 pm: Resonances: Translated Words and Transmitted Ideas in Early East Asian Reliquaries
Akiko Walley (History of Art and Architecture, University of Oregon)

The centrality of relic worship was acknowledged and often eagerly embraced as Buddhism made its way eastward through dynasties and kingdoms in China, on the Korean peninsula, and in the Japanese archipelago. The early reliquaries discovered from these regions often came in multiple containers nested inside each other, generally following the South Asian and Gandharan precedents. Beyond this general similarity, however, the reliquary sets typically included varying combinations of vessel types, materials, and ornamentational schemes, and the total number of vessels used also frequently varied from one set to another. Focusing on the vessels used in the fifth- to eighth-century reliquary sets found in China, Korea, and Japan, this study proposes the mediation of translation—a required process in the transmission of the religion from India to China—as a possible source of the commonalities and diversities observed in the East Asian reliquary sets.

About the Speaker
Akiko Walley received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2009. She specializes in Japanese Buddhist art and archaeology from the 7th and 8th centuries. Her monograph, Constructing the Dharma King: The Hōryūji Shaka Triad and the Birth of the Prince Shōtoku Cult, is scheduled to be published in 2015 from Brill Press as Volume 15 of their Japanese Visual Culture series. Other recent publications include: “Flowers of Compassion: Tamamushi Shrine and the Nature of Devotion in Seventh-century Japan,” Artibus Asiae 72, no. 2 (2012); “Inscribing and Ascribing Merit: Buddhist Vows and the Hōryūji Shaka Triad,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 73, no. 2 (2013); and a forthcoming article, “Figuring Salvation: The Hōryūji Clay Sūtra Tableaux,” Archives of Asian Art 64, no. 2 (2015).

1:40-2:00 pm: The Hidden Buddha of Zenkōji and the Sacred Geography of Kaichō Exhibition in Early Modern Japan
Nam-lin Hur (Centre for Korean Research, University of British Columbia)

Kaichō denotes “opening of a curtain,” and it refers to the special, public exhibition of a hi-Butsu or a “secret Buddha,” which is otherwise enshrined in a sealed receptacle and kept “secret” behind its “curtain.” A kaichō is a special religious event designed to provide an opportunity for Buddhist followers to appeal directly to the divine compassion of a secret deity. Among many kaichō Buddhist temples, Zenkōji, which had a secret Amida, stood out in terms of popularity and reputation in the early modern period. In this presentation, Hur discusses one of the contributing factors that helped the Zenkōji Amida enjoy the highest status as a hi-Butsu in early modern Japan – its association with the Western Paradise, which was successfully pronounced in the sacred geography of temple’s location, layout, and ritual formula. This sacred geography helped establish both Zenkōji as an entrance to the other world and the Zenkōji Amida as a guide who would lead the worshippers to the Western Paradise.

About the Speaker
Nam-lin Hur (Ph.D., Princeton) is a professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia. His teaching focuses upon pre-modern Japanese history and international relations in pre-modern East Asia. His publications include: Prayer and Play in Late Tokugawa Japan: Asakusa Sensōji and Edo Society (Harvard University Asia Center, 2000) and Death and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan: Buddhism, Anti-Christianity, and the Danka System (Harvard University Asia Center, 2007). His current research involves Japan’s invasion of Korea in 1592-1598, kaichō and Buddhist culture in early modern Japan, and Confucian cultural politics and society in Chosŏn Korea.

2:00-2:30 pm: Moderated discussion and Q&A
Moderator Mark Unno (Religious Studies, University of Oregon)

Mark Unno is Associate Professor of Japanese Buddhism, and served as Head of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. His research is in Classical Japanese Buddhism, in particular Shin Buddhism, Zen, and Shingon. He also works in the areas of comparative religious thought, Buddhism and psychotherapy, and interrreligious dialogue. He is the author of Shingon Refractions: Myoe and the Mantra of Light (2004), editor of Buddhism and Psychotherapy Across Cultures (2006) as well as articles and translations in the foregoing fields.

2:30-3:00 pm: Coffee Break

3:00 pm: Panel III, Religious Objects in Art Museums

3:00-3:20 pm: From Temple to Museum: Exhibiting Korean Buddhist Art
Hyonjeong Kim Han (Asian Art Museum of San Francisco)

Korean objects in museums outside of Korea are all displaced from their original contexts and places. In order to provide accurate backgrounds and stories of Korean artworks on display in their galleries, curators have tried to develop creative display methods. Exhibiting Buddhist art is more complex as religion and iconography of the objects must be discussed in the display and explanations of religious objects. How would Korean Buddhist artwork be perceived by modern viewers who are unfamiliar with Korean traditional culture? How much religious content should be incorporated when displaying Buddhist art in museums? Can Buddhist objects be looked at more as works of art than religious icons? This presentation will examine ways to these questions, and will review examples of how to display Korean Buddhist art.

About the Speaker
A specialist in Korean and Chinese painting, Hyonjeong Kim Han joined the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco in July 2010.  In 2011 she was the curator for the presentation of a special exhibition, Poetry in Clay: Buncheong Ceramics from Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art.  She organized a special exhibition titled In Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art during the Joseon Dynasty, and guest curated for the SFO Museum, Dual Natures in Ceramics: Eight Contemporary Artists from Korea, a show focusing on ceramics comprised of contemporary artists from Korea. She is now preparing a special exhibition, Mother-of-Pearl Lacquerware from Korea, the first show in the States solely focusing on the subject, opening April 29, 2016. Prior to this, Hyonjeong Kim Han worked at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) as Associate Curator of Korean and Chinese art as well as the acting head of the Chinese and Korean Art department since 2006. In Korea, from 2004 to 2006, Hyonjeong worked as a senior researcher in the Institute of Korean Painting and was concurrently a lecturer of Asian art history at Seoul National University.

3:20-3:40 pm: When/Where Religious Items Become ‘Art’: Early Korean Buddhist Material in the JSMA
Anne Rose Kitagawa (Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon)

Art museums are repositories of many types of artifacts, including icons and ritual objects associated with various religious traditions.  The nature of these sacred works creates potential for both cultural understanding and inadvertent misappropriation.  This presentation will introduce a variety of ritual objects whose existence in the art museum reflects a shift from religious to aesthetic/cultural function and provides context for teaching not just art historical, but also ethical and philosophical issues.

About the Speaker
The child of professors, Anne Rose Kitagawa had the privilege of early exposure to the arts of Asia. After graduating from Oberlin College with a degree in East Asian Studies and Art History, she worked at the Intermuseum Conservation Association in Ohio and the Art Institute of Chicago before receiving a Mellon Fellowship to study Japanese Art and Archeology at Princeton University. Later she worked at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Harvard Art Museums before coming to Oregon in 2010 to become Chief Curator of Collections & Asian Art and the Director of Academic Programs at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. She now curates and collaborates with UO faculty and students to research and present this museum’s distinguished collections of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese art and has published about postwar Japanese prints, Tale of Genji illustrations, the JSMA’s Korean collection, Japanese lacquer, Asian painting conservation, and the teaching of Asian art in a museum context. Her most recent publication Expanding Frontiers: The Jack and Susy Wadsworth Collection of Postwar Japanese Prints was an exhibition catalogue co-edited with UO Professor Akiko Walley and includes original research and writing by many of their students.

3:40-4:10 pm: Moderated Discussion and Q&A
Moderator Charles Lachman (History of Art and Architecture)

Charles Lachman holds a Ph.D. in East Asian Studies (Toronto) and an M.A. in Buddhist Studies (McMaster). His publications include  “Images” In Oxford Bibliographies in Buddhism. Ed. Richard Payne. New York: Oxford University Press [In Press]; “Buddhism: Image As Icon, Image as Art,” Chapter 27 in the Oxford Handbook of Religion and the Arts, ed. Frank Burch Brown (Oxford University Press, 2014); and “Art,” in Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism, ed. Donald Lopez (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).

4:10-4:20: Short Break

4:20-4:50 pm: Open Floor Discussion

4:50 pm: Closing Remarks
Akiko Walley (History of Art and Architecture, University of Oregon)


The link below will take you to the program for the workshop:
Traditional Korean Religion and Art in East Asian Perspectives Workshop


September 14, 2015

South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) 2016, UO-Portland

CAPS SACPAN Jeremiah-Riaz Poster

The University of Oregon will host the South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest (SACPAN) on February 5-6, 2016 at the UO White Stag Building in Portland, Oregon.

Following on the successes of previous SACPAN meetings, we invite faculty and graduate students from UW, UBC, UO, Portland State University, Oregon State University, Reed College, Lewis and Clark and area institutions to informally outline on-going, evolving, and new research on South Asia and its diasporas. We have two types of presentation formats; individual presenters and organized panels. Each presenter will get 15 minutes to present their research. Organized panels will be in a roundtable format that leaves more time for discussion of critical issues.

  • Each session will have 15 minutes dedicated to comments from the audience
  • For organized panels, panel chairs may include a discussant as part of the panel
  • Individual paper presenters will be grouped thematically
  • Each session will run for 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • We encourage lively collegial critique and feedback



Press Release
South Asia Conference of the Pacific Northwest 2016

Forum Location
The University of Oregon White Stag Building is located at 70 NW Couch Street in the Old Town Chinatown Historic District. The entire conference will take place in this building. Check-in will begin at 3:30pm outside of room 142/144.


This event is cosponsored by the University of Oregon, the University of Washington, and the University of British Columbia.  For more information, please call Jonathon Campbell at 541-346-5068 or

Conference Pictures

August 19, 2015

2014-15 Events

2014-15 Events

Spring Term

CAPS Lim-Jong Poster

Thursday, April 9, 2015
“South Korea as the World’s Most Wired Nation: Its Digital Democracy as a Real-Life Case Study”
by Jo Jong, Seoul National University School of Law, Korea
110 Knight Law Center
7:00 – 8:00 p.m.



CAPS Jeremiah-Adams Poster
Monday, April 20, 2015
“Contemporary Human Rights Challenges in Asia”
Brad Adams, Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch
Oak Room, EMU
3:00 pm



CAPS Jeremiah-Perry Poster
Saturday, April 25, 2015
“China’s Higher Education Reform: A New Great Leap Forward?”
Elizabeth J. Perry, Harvard University
White Stag Building, Room 142/144 (Portland)
4:15 pm



CAPS Jeremiah-Pepinsky poster
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
“The Problem with Peripheries: Lessons from Southeast Asia and Beyond”
Thomas B. Pepinsky, Cornell University
Browsing Room, Knight Library
12:00 pm



CAPS Jeremiah-Majumdar Poster
Thursday, May 7, 2015
“The Indian History of a Global Category”
Dr. Rochona Majumdar, University of Chicago
Gerlinger Lounge
3:00 pm



CAPS Jeremiah-Takamiya Poster

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
“The Prehistory of the Ryukyu Archipelago in Japan, with a Special Focus on Discoveries from Amami and Okinawa”
Professor Hiroto Takamiya, Research Center for Pacific Islands, Kagoshima University
Knight Library Browsing Room
3:00 pm



CAPS Jeremiah-Holden Poster
Tuesday, May 26, 2014
“Divorce (Khul) at the Women’s Initiative in Pakistan and in the Diaspora”
Dr. Livia Holden, Karakoram International University, Pakistan
110 Knight Law Library
4:00 pm




Friday and Saturday, May 29-30, 2015
“Japanese and Korean Mediascapes: Youth, Popular Culture, and Nation”
Gerlinger Alumni Lounge
For more information, [click here.]



Winter Term

CAPS Ancient China Poster


February 13-14, 2015
Ancient China: Texts, Traditions, and Transformations
A symposium in honor of Steven Durrant
For conference program, [click here].




CAPS Jeremiah-Rymeski Poster

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
“Bhutan: Can Happiness Sustain Tourism?”
by Jay Rymeski
375 McKenzie Hall
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm



CAPS Jeremiah-Griffen Poster


Friday, February 27, 2015
Jeremiah Lecture Series
“‘Ping Pong Diplomacy’: Mao, Nixon and the Art of Soft Power”
by Nicholas Griffin
Knight Library Browsing Room
4:00 pm

Fall Term

CAPS reception card 2015


Friday, October 3, 2014
CAPS/Asian Studies Annual Reception
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art 

Papé Reception Hall
3:00 – 5:00 pm




Monday, October 6, 2014

Jeremiah Lecture
“Linguistic Politeness in Korean: Phonetics and Multimodality”
Bodo Winter,  University of California, Merced
Knight Library Browsing Room
3:30-5:30 pm


Friday, October 10, 2014
Conference: Comparative Historical Ecology in Ancient Northeast Asia
Many Nations Longhouse
9:00 am – 5 pm
For conference schedule please [click here].




CAPS Lim-Robinson Poster

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lecture: Moral Society and Amoral State: Political/Social Controversies in South Korea
Michael Robinson, Indiana University
McKenzie Hall, Room 375
12:00 pm



October 25-26, 2014
Conference: China in Asia: Historical Connections and Contemporary Engagement
Alumni Lounge, Gerlinger Hall
Oct 25: 9:00am – 5pm
Oct 26: 9:00am – 1pm
For the full conference schedule please [click here].

CAPS Vietnam poster
November 5-8, 2014

Conference: Engaging with Vietnam
EMU Ballroom
For more information about registering please [click here].




CAPS City in S. Asia Poster

November 13-14, 2014
Conference: The City in South Asia and Its Transnational Connections
Knight Library, Browsing Room
Nov 13: 11:00am – 4pm
Nov 14: 10:00am – 5:30pm
For the full conference schedule please [click here].




CAPS Jeremiah-Kern Poster

Friday, December 5, 2014
Lecture: Comix East and West?! The Shocking Transnational Affair of Japanese and Euro-American Comics (And Their Manga, Manhwa, Manhua Lovechildren)
Adam Kern, Professor of Japanese Literature and Visual Culture
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Browsing Room, Knight Library
1:00 pm

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