Jiayi Chen

Jiayi Chen (PhD Student, EALC)
“The Ghostly Dicing:
Representations of Gambling and Deception in Ming-Qing Short Stories”
Discussant: Yiren Zheng (PhD Candidate, EALC)
Friday, February 15, 3-5PM
Location: CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)
On February 15th from 3:00pm to 5:00pm the Art and Politics of East Asia workshop will host Jiayi Chen (PhD Student, EALC). She will present “The Ghostly Dicing: Representations of Gambling and Deception in Ming-Qing Short Stories.” Jiayi provides the following abstract:  

This paper examines the literary representations of gambling in three short stories written by Ling Mengchu 凌濛初 (1580-1644), Li Yu 李漁 (1611-1680), and Pu Songling 蒲松齡 (1640-1715). Rather than novels, it is short stories, both “classical tales” and “vernacular stories,” that offer these authors a possible site to well explore the topic of gambling during a time of anxiety when state laws tried to prohibit the activity in vain. This paper showcases that gambling is frequently figured as a deception in the late imperial literary imagination that is far more complicated than a narrative of mere moral didacticism. Supernatural creatures, be it ghosts or fox spirits, are introduced into the narrative to reverse the gambling’s outcomes or processes. A game largely relying on chance notwithstanding, under these authors’ literary “manipulation,” winning is equal to losing, and gambling is “degambled.” The aim of this paper is two-fold. On the one hand, by tracing the ways in which gambling is intertwined with assorted deceptions, this paper attempts to enrich our understanding of how the late Ming and early Qing short story authors perceive and manifest the complex interrelationship between human agency and forces beyond human control. On the other hand, by breaking the long-established dichotomy between “classical tales” and “vernacular stories” in the history of Chinese literature, it intends to investigate the shared narrative techniques which these authors use to invite readers to experience a gambling game of reading that is simultaneously predestined and unpredictable, ordinary and extraordinary, real and illusory.

Sophia Sherry: Ethnography of Loss

Sophia Sherry (PhD Candidate, English)

“Ethnography of Loss: Fumiko Hayashi’s Postwar Women”

Discussant: David Krolikoski (PhD Candidate, EALC)

Friday, January 18, 3-5PM
Location: CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)


On January 18th from 3:00pm to 5:00pm the Art and Politics of East Asia workshop will host Sophia Sherry (PhD Candidate, English). She will present “Ethnography of Loss: Fumiko Hayashi’s Postwar Women,” a chapter of her dissertation. Sophia provides the following abstract:

On one standard account, Western literary “modernism” traces its origins to the metropolitan centers of Euro-America in the fin-de-siècle period. In this genealogy, Jules Laforgue’s symbolist experiments in verse inspire T.S. Eliot’s high-modernist formalism, for instance, and Baudelaire’s squalid Paris of the French Second Empire makes possible James Joyce’s reimagining of Dublin in his Ulysses of the 1920s. On this account, too, that signature, modernist modality of “stream of consciousness” is born in William James’s pragmatist philosophy and it finds its perfect exponents in James’s fellow anglophones Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. Within the modernist (sub)field of English literary scholarship, such geographically constrained myths of influence and derivation appear at once comfortable (familiar) and increasingly short-sighted.

This paper contributes to the growing field of global modernist study by joining the ranks of current scholars engaged in broadening the latitudes of modernist scholarship and inquiry. Transnational imperatives driving new conceptions of cultural modernism encompass, therefore, not just the ethical and political demands of postcolonial literary emancipation but also, I am wagering, merely alternative epistemes and methodologies which are differently inflected, at either the perpetrating or receiving end, by the violent histories of global imperialism. Modern Japan, which Shu-mei Shih has called a member of the “honorary West,” is one case of the latter in point. Meiji Japan is a late-born empire, an instance of an “alternative” and mostly simultaneous, if accelerated, modernity, and yet still, as part of the global East, it lurks as one piece of the West’s projected Other—a modern Orient of reformed despotism whose essential difference serves, in Said’s classic analysis, to consolidate a foreclosed narrative of Western exceptionalism.

Fumiko Hayashi’s “social-realist” modanizumu is the focus of this paper, especially as it manifests at global scale within the Japanese postwar context. Primary texts include Hôrôki (1930) and Ukigumo (1951). Behaviorist in her rendering of diverse human subjects, Hayashi’s “nomadic” modernism (as Seiji Lippit has called it) partakes of a phenomenological logic of revolutionary inversion (tentô), or more simply of a de-naturalizing of naturalized categories of understanding. Such naturalized intellectual and sensuous tendencies would seek to differentiate human subjects from material objects, say, or make history seamless and inevitable when in fact it is always contingent. In this scrambling of epistemological assumptions (tentô), I borrow from Kôjin Karatani’s 1990s deconstruction of the “origins” of Japanese literature. The paper also draws on Sho Konishi’s recent work on Japanese-Russian anarchist modernity and Ann Sherif’s scholarship on Japan in the global Cold War period.

Refreshments will be served at the workshop. We look forward to seeing you there!

2019 Winter Quarter Schedule

Art and Politics of East Asia Workshop (APEA) is excited to announce the Winter 2019 schedule.


Location: Center for East Asian Studies, Room 319, at the Harris School building (1155 E 60th St)

Time: Friday, 3-5PM

Please note special location or time for some events.


1/9  Hye-ryoung Lee (Associate Professor, Academy of East Asian Studies [AEAS] & Dept. of Korean Language and Literature, Sungkyunkwan University)

Presentation Bright Constellations: The Birth and Significance of South Korean Woman’s Literature in the 1980s

Time and location: Wednesday, 1/9, 5-7PM, Regenstein Library, Room 523


1/11  Jin-hee Ryu (Feminist scholar, Ph.D. in East Asian Studies, Sungkyunkwan University) and Hye-ryoung Lee  

Presentation: Shifts in Masculinities Since the 1990s and Contemporary Feminist Issues in South Korea


1/18  Sophia Sherry (PhD Candidate, English)

Ethnography of Loss: Fumiko Hayashi’s Postwar Women

Discussant: David Krolikoski (PhD Candidate, EALC)


1/25  Marjorie Burge (Postdoctoral Fellow in Classical Japanese Literature)

Mock Job Talk: Sinographic Writing in Seventh Century Japan: Before and After the Battle of the Paek River


2/15  Jiayi Chen (PhD Student, EALC)

The Ghostly Dicing: Representations of Gambling and Deception in Ming-Qing Short Stories

Discussant: Yiren Zheng (PhD Candidate, EALC)


3/8  Susan Su (PhD Candidate, EALC)

Beyond Censorship: Language and Literary Networks in Tibetan-Language Online Literature Websites of the 2000s


Yuqian Yan: Sorrow for the Fall of the Ming

Yuqian Yan

Sorrow for the Fall of the Ming:
Wartime Representation of the Late Ming on Stage and Screen”

Friday, November 30, 3-5PM
Location: CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)
Discussant: Pao-chen Tang, PhD Candidate (EALC & CMS)

On November 30th from 3:00pm to 5:00pm the Art and Politics of East Asia workshop will host Yuqian Yan (PhD Candidate, EALC & CMS). She will present “Sorrow for the Fall of the Ming: Wartime Representation of the Late Ming on Stage and Screen,” an article in preparation for publication. Yuqian provides the following abstract:

This article examines the effect and affect of historical representations in wartime Chinese theater and cinema, and the interplay between the two media. Focusing on one of the most popular historical play during the war Sorrow for the Fall of the Ming and its screen adaptation, the paper teases out the layered concerns behind the representation of the fall of the Ming and the adaptation strategy of the filmmaker. By analyzing how the fall of the Ming became a common trope, a “chosen trauma” that connects the nation’s past with its historical presence, this paper demonstrates that history mattered not just as a reflective mirror of contemporary situation, but provided an affective space that enchanted and reassured people in the midst of national crisis.

Nicholas Lambrecht

Nicholas Lambrecht
“Life After Return in Postwar Japan: From Fujiwara Tei to Miyao Tomiko”
Friday, November 16, 3-5PM
Location: CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)
Discussant: Nicholas Wong, PhD (Comparative Literature)
On November 16th from 3:00pm to 5:00pm the Art and Politics of East Asia workshop will host Nicholas Lambrecht (PhD Candidate, EALC). He will present “Life After Return in Postwar Japan: From Fujiwara Tei to Miyao Tomiko,” a chapter of his dissertation. The abstract is as follows:
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, an event that brought global attention to the issue of postwar repatriation, and November 6 was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Japanese writer Fujiwara Tei (1918–2016). Fujiwara Tei and Miyao Tomiko (1926–2014) were among the more than one million Japanese civilians who repatriated from Manchuria to Japan at the end of the Second World War, a journey that cost tens of thousands their lives. The repatriation literature (hikiage bungaku) of returnees like Fujiwara and Miyao has struggled to maintain the memory of the hardships of postwar repatriation and pass it down to new generations. This paper examines popular narratives about the large-scale repatriation to Japan that took place in the aftermath of the Second World War. The paper traces the development of tropes about repatriation, shows how depictions of repatriation have reflected the postwar lives and evolving perspectives of their authors, and points to factors that influenced the dissemination and style of Japanese-language repatriation literature.

Lilian Kong

 Lilian Kong

Wolf Warrior II: Chinese Nationalism in the Popular Culture and Media Age

Friday, October 26th: 1 p.m*

Location: CEAS 319 (1155 E. 60th St.)

Poster of Wolf Warrior II (2017)

Discussant: William Carroll, PhD Candidate

Cinema and Media Studies + East Asian Languages and Civilizations

*Screening of Wolf Warrior II [战狼2] (2017, 126 minutes) begins at 1 p.m.

with a discussion of Lilian Kong’s paper to follow.

Lunch will be served during the film screening.

On November 2nd, the Art and Politics of East Asia workshop will host Lilian Kong (Master of Arts Program in the Humanities). She will present a draft of an essay intended for publication entitled, Wolf Warrior II: Chinese Nationalism in the Popular Culture and Media Age.” Lilian offers the following abstract:

Amidst economic reforms in the 1980s, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SPPRFT or SARFT) initiated and financially supported main melody (zhu xuanlü) films to reunify public opinions at a time of national transition toward a capitalist China. Since the beginning of the 21stcentury, these films have solidified their nationalist agenda, attracting China’s young consumer generation with hyper-commercialization, but rarely deviating from state-administered political ideologies and Han Chinese glorifications of socialist history. Wu Jing’s military-action drama Wolf Warrior II (2017), China’s largest grossing domestic film to date, represents a new development in the Chinese main melody genre. Scholars have paid particular attention to the film’s setting in Africa instead of China, arguing that the film embodies a bold expansion of nationalist power to the international arena (Liu, Amar, Osnos). On the premise of this current scholarship, my paper explores Wolf Warrior II’s character formations and its construction of inter-racial relationships to reveal how the film has altered the foundational components of China’s contemporary nation-state. I argue that ambiguities of nation and state manifested in Wolf Warrior II signal a transformation in main melody films’ nationalist agenda due its surfacing of the contradictory, entangled relations between international commercial media networks, particularly in the film’s collaboration with the American superhero franchise Marvel Studios, and the continuous surveillance of domestic state-administered networks that structures its production process.