David Andrew Knight

David Andrew Knight, “Plain Becomes Patterned: Li Deyu and the White Lotus”

Discussant: Yiren Zheng (EALC)

Friday, November 11, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)

We are delighted to host David Andrew Knight next Friday, 11/1, in co-sponsorship with the East Asia Transregional Histories workshop. Below is a brief abstract of the work:

This paper is part of a larger project that situates the fu poetry of the ninth century minister Li Deyu 李德裕 (787-850) within the context of his life. Through the focal point of a fu poem about a white lotus flower written by Li Deyu, one of the most powerful men of his day, I will demonstrate how this poem captures a retrievable moment of poetic creation. I have discovered that Li Deyu’s fu poem on the white lotus is a literary recreation of his encounter with the fifteen year old Xu Pan who was soon to become his concubine. By analyzing a key stanza in the poem, I will illuminate the links between Li’s literary life and his real life.

The paper is available at this link. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact Alex Murphy at murphya1@uchicago.edu.

Marianne Tarcov

 Marianne Tarcov, “Poets as Benshi: Navigating and Subverting Censorship in Wartime Japanese Poetry and Mass Media”

Thursday, October 27, 12:00 – 1:30 in Wieboldt 301N

This Thursday, we are pleased to host a mock job talk by Marianne Tarcov (Visiting Lecturer, EALC, University of Chicago). She summarizes her talk as follows:

This talk discusses several Japanese 1930s lyric poets’ use of formal motifs drawn from mass media in their works of propagandistic nationalism during the Pacific War, and argues that these writers endued their works of nationalistic poetry with oblique criticism of wartime censorship. Their strategies include reinventions of techniques to evade the censors once employed by silent film narrators, or benshi. In oral performances for recordings and radio, the writers discussed here broadcast their ambivalence towards their place as nationalized poets enlisted in a militaristic enterprise.

Please note the special time and location of this event. This is a lunchtime talk, and pizza and refreshments will be served. We hope to see you there!

Mi-Ryong Shim


Friday, October 21, 3-5 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)

Mi-Ryong Shim, “Aesthetics of New Regionalism and Korean Local Color in the Wartime Japanese Empire”

Discussant: Hyun Hee Park (EALC)

Please join us this Friday to welcome Mi-Ryong Shim, Assistant Professor of Korean Literature and Culture in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at Northwestern University. Professor Shim will present a chapter-in-progress from her current manuscript project. She summarizes the chapter as follows:

The years that followed the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War have long been remembered in Korean national history as the period of imperialization (Korean: hwangminhwa, Japanese: kōminka), a wartime campaign that targeted the transformation of the colonized population into loyal subjects of the Japanese empire. It included infamous policies, such as the push for “Japanization” of Korean names and the promotion of Japanese language as the “national language” for Koreans. These measures have long been remembered as the colonial authorities’ attempts to fundamentally eliminate Korean cultural identity. However, when looking at the journals and newspapers published in colonial Korea in the 1940s, one finds that the topic of “Korean literature” (J: Chōsen bungaku) and “Korean culture” (J: Chōsen bunka) continued to be hotly debated well into the wartime years, even as venues for Korean language publication and instruction were being systematically shut down at this time.


In this paper, I examine the debates about Korean cultural identity from the late colonial period to argue for an understanding of “Koreanness” as a contested site where contradictory frameworks within the wartime Japanese imperial discourse – namely assimilationism and Pan-Asian regionalism – competed and intersected. In relation to this broader context, I analyze two of the Japanese-language local color fiction written in the early 1940s by Yi Hyo-sŏk, one of the most celebrated writers of nativist aesthetics in the Korean literary canon. Through close reading, I shed light on how the aesthetics of regionalism and local color constructed the imperial subject by continually redrawing the boundary between the foreign and the native. I also demonstrate how these texts, even as they were part of the wartime imperial discourse, articulated moments of disruption and rupture by pointing to spaces of irony and ambivalence from within.

A draft of Professor Shim’s chapter is available at this link. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact Alex Murphy at murphya1@uchicago.edu.

Friday 10/7: A Conversation with Ryo Kagawa

October 7, 3:00-4:00 PM
CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St.)

Join us this Friday, October 7 for an informal conversation with visiting Japanese singer-songwriter Ryo Kagawa. Debuting in 1970 in the midst of Japan’s folk music boom, Kagawa has released more than a dozen albums over a forty-six-year career, and continues to tour extensively in Japan, where he plays around 100 shows annually. A highly eclectic musician and accomplished lyricist, Kagawa strenuously resists the label of ‘folk singer,’ despite his clear association with that genre and its moment. What is music for Ryo Kagawa? What is important to him in performance and in composition? How has music in Japan changed between 1970 and today? We invite you to come and meet Ryo Kagawa, and to engage him in conversation on these topics and more.

More on Kagawa From the Asahi Shinbun (Japanese)

Fall 2016 Schedule

All meetings will be held in Room 319 in the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS 319).

CEAS is located in the Harris School of Public Policy, 1155 E. 60th St.

9/30 Orientation and Planning Meeting

3:00 – 4:00 PM

10/7 A Conversation with Ryo Kagawa

3:00 – 4:00 PM

10/21 Presenter: Mi-Ryong Shim

Assistant Professor of Korean Literature and Culture, Northwestern University

Title: Aesthetics of New Regionalism and Korean Local Color in the Wartime Japanese Empire

3:00 – 5:00 PM

11/11 Presenter: David Andrew Knight

University of Chicago, co-sponsored with EATRH

Title: “Li Deyu and the Golden Pine”

4:00 – 6:00 PM

11/18 Presenter: Yuqian Yan

Cinema and Media Studies/East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Title: “Bringing the Past to the Silver Screen: The Burgeoning of Chinese Costume Films in the 1920s”

3:00 – 5:00 PM

12/1 Presenter: Scott Aalgaard

East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Title: “Untimely Voices: Hearing Critique in Japanese Cultural Production”

3:00 – 5:00 PM

Anne Rebull

Friday, May 20, 3-5 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)

Friday, June 3, 3-5 p.m. in CEAS 319 (1155 E 60th St)

Anne Rebull, “Locating Theatricality on Screen: Performance Practice and Xiqu Film in the Changing Tides of Reform”

Anne Rebull will present a work-in-progress version of one of her dissertation chapters. If short on time, she asks that readers concentrate on the second half of the file, starting from page 24. Anne summarizes the chapter as follows:

In this chapter, I ask what role, if any, opera film played in influencing the outcomes of the Opera Reform Movement. In the mid-50s, the theater world was forced to take a serious look at its objectives and progress when it became apparent that the restrictions on the repertoire–meaning both the canon of plays and the embodied knowledge of how to perform them–were causing audiences to abandon traditional theater. The contours of this reassessment can be traced through the re-evaluation of traditional performance practice, or theatrical gesture, in high level governmental critiques between 1954 and 1956. In those same years, opera film directors were engaging in debates that asked should there be a genre of opera film? And how should such a genre render an expressionistic art in a realist medium? How should theatricality and especially theatrical gesture be used in film? These questions and the crisis in the theater world all came to a head in 1956, unfolding right along with the smash hit kunqu production Fifteen Strings of Copper. Using this play and its film adaptation as a springboard, I explore the connection between opera film and the fate of theatrical gesture in opera reform.

A draft of Anne’s chapter is available at this link. If you have not received the password for the post, or if you have concerns about accessibility, please feel free to contact David Krolikoski at davidkroli at uchicago.edu or Brian White at bmwhite at uchicago.edu.

Reading and Spectating in Colonial Korea

Professor CHEON Jung-Hwan has taught modern Korean literature and culture at Sungkyunkwan University since 2006. He is the author of Reading Books in Modern Times: The Birth of Readers and Modern Korean Literature (2003), one of the most influential South Korean literary and cultural studies monographs of the 2000s. His recent book publications include 1970s Modernism: From Yusin to Sunday Seoul (coauthored, 2015), On Suicide: Between Suffering and Knowledge (2013), Questioning/Burying 1960, The Era of Mass Intellect (2008), and Revolution and Laughs: The April 19 Revolution in Kim Sŭng-ok’s Cartoon Mr. Pagoda (2005), among others. English translations of his articles have appeared in the Journal of East Asian History and The Korean Popular Culture Reader.

Professor SEO Jaekil received his Ph.D. degree from the Seoul National University in 2007 with a study on the radio and literature of colonial Korea. Having worked as a researcher in Tokyo Foreign Language University and as a research professor at Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies (SNU), he is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Korean Language and Literature at Kookmin University. His research interests range widely from colonial Korea to Manchuria, covering the topics of literature, radio, film, and musical theater. His publications include recent English-language articles on the broadcasting of colonial Korea and wartime films. He also translated monographs by Yoshimu Shunya and Kuroda Isamu, respectively about the university and the birth of radio gymnastics, into Korean.