During the busy summer of 2017, Weatherhead East Asian Institute faculty and scholars participated in conferences, delivered lectures, led undergraduate study abroad programs, met with alumni and leaders in East and Southeast Asia, conducted research, and offered their expertise to the media. Please read below to learn about some of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute community’s summer activities:
Paul Anderer, the Fred and Fannie Mack Professor of Humanities and Professor of Japanese Literature, presented lectures at Tokyo’s Waseda University and Sophia University about his recent book Kurosawa’s Rashomon: A Vanished City, a Lost Brother, and the Voice Inside His Iconic Films.
Gerald L. Curtis, the Burgess Professor of Political Science Emeritus, spoke in June at the Institute for Global Economics in Seoul, where he was also interviewed by South Korea’s Munhwa Ilbo about numerous diplomatic and security issues related to East Asia. The Munhwa Ilbo published two articles based on the interview. Professor Curtis was also quoted in articles in Reuters, The Economist, and The Wall Street Journal about the LDP’s summer loss in the Tokyo Metropolitan Election.
Qin Gao, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work, was an invited participant of a workshop on “Expanding Public Services under Xi Jinping” hosted by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin, Germany. Professor Gao’s presentation at the workshop focused on the policies, organizational arrangements, and e-solutions of China’s initiative to eradicate poverty by 2020.
Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History, travelled to Seoul in late June for the fourth annual AAS-in-Asia Conference. Held at Korea University, the conference brought together an impressively large and diverse group of scholars, highlighting the range and reach of new research on Asia “beyond borders and boundaries,” as the conference title rightly claimed. Professor Gluck participated in a special roundtable, “Towards an Asian Community,” which addressed the question in local, national, regional, and global context from the disciplinary perspectives of history, political science, and anthropology. The participants from universities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Britain, Canada, South Korea, and the US agreed that the main challenge lies in the tension between the uncertainties of the changing world order and the resurgent nationalism of nation-states.
In a similar, though non-Asia-related, conference on “Nationalism, Populism, and the Future of Global Governance” held at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in June, Professor Gluck spoke about “Views from the Global Elsewhere…in this Instance, Japan,” questioning the overly broad brush that paints the world “populist” and misses the force and forms of nationalism that underlie the so-called populist international.
In a different register entirely, Professor Gluck again moderated two seminars at the Aspen Institute, which use classic and contemporary texts to address questions of good government, the good society, and the good life. As always, the readings from Confucius and Mencius struck a chord with the participants, who found them a welcome change from the individual-centeredness of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and others, though they also concluded that, like it or no, we are living in particularly Hobbesian times.
Peter E. Hamilton, Dorothy Borg Postdoctoral Scholar in the Making of the Modern Pacific World, published an article titled “Pop Gingle’s Hong Kong” in the new anthology Pacific America: Histories of Transoceanic Crossings, edited by Lon Kurashige and out now from the University of Hawai’i Press.
Takako Hikotani, the Gerald L. Curtis Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy, published an article in August in Foreign Affairs titled “Trump’s Gift to Japan: Time for Tokyo to Invest in the Liberal Order.” She was also quoted in an August New York Times article about Japan’s diplomacy with the United States.
Theodore Hughes, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Humanities, spoke at AAS-in-Asia’s special roundtable “Korean Studies Past, Present, and Future: Moving Beyond Boundaries Towards Multi-Disciplinary, Transnational, and Alternative Approaches” in Seoul in June. The roundtable examined the evolution of Korean Studies from multi-generational, transnational, and cross/multi-disciplinary perspectives and also discussed the possibilities for the future.
Kristy E. Kelly, Associate Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, received a grant from The Luce Foundation for a two-year research project on gender and corruption in Vietnam. Professor Kelly has also been invited to serve as Associate Director of the Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture, and Society, housed at Temple University.
Professor Kelly also spent ten weeks throughout June, July and August at the University of Helsinki as a Visiting Scholar hosted by the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies. There, she met with gender and politics scholars working on Southeast Asia and worked on her book manuscript.
Dorothy Ko, Professor of History at Barnard College, discussed her recently published book The Social Life of Inkstones: Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China, a Study of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, with the New Books in East Asian Studies Podcast in May.
Paul Kreitman, Assistant Professor of Japanese History, presented “Wildlife and Sovereignty Conservation in the Northwest Hawaiian and Senkaku Isles” in an AAS-in-Asia panel that he organized titled “Wildlife Conservation in the North Pacific Borderlands.” The panel brought together five case studies involving the borderlands of the North Pacific–where territorial boundaries have proved particularly prone to contestation and flux–to examine the rarely explored relationship between border production and wildlife conservation.
Eugenia Lean, Associate Professor of Chinese History and Director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute (on leave AY 2017-2018), attended the AAS-in-Asia conference held in Seoul, Korea where she presented the paper “Everyday Expertise in 1920s China: Creating Common Knowledge in an Era of Global Manufacturing” on a panel that she had organized, titled “Knowledge in Motion: Global Flows of Information, Domestic Strategies, and Ways of Knowing in Early Twentieth Century China.”
During the stay in Seoul, Professor Lean met with the Director of the Academy of East Asian Studies at Sungkyunkwan University, Professor Jae-kyo Jin, a renowned scholar in the fields of Chinese Classics and Korean literature, and Professor So-hyun Park, a scholar in Chinese literature, to learn more about the academic directions of comparable East Asian Institutes in Korea, as well as discuss potential collaborations. Part of the trip was spent on generating interest in WEAI’s Professional Fellows program. To this end, she met with former Weatherhead Professional Fellows from Munwha Broadcasting Corporation and the daily newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, to discuss ways to deepen ties with Korean professionals and foster continued interest in WEAI’s Professional Fellows Program. Along with Professor Xiaobo Lü, she also hosted a Professional Fellows and MARSA alumni dinner.
After the Korea trip, Professor Lean was in Taipei, Taiwan for two months conducting final research for her forthcoming book, “Manufacturing Matters: Chen Diexian (1879-1940), a Chinese Man-of-Letters in an Age of Industrial Capitalism.” During the stay in Taipei, she met with Mayor Ko Wen-je to discuss the Taipei City Hall’s collaboration with WEAI’s Professional Fellows Program, along with issues related to higher education in Taiwan including how to generate interest among Taiwanese students to study abroad at the graduate level. Taiwan-based Columbia alumni association board leaders also welcomed Lean to Taipei, where she was generously hosted by Steven Pan, Chairman, Regents Hotel Group, Stanley Ko, CBS alumnus and restauranteur, Chris Wei, CAA Taiwan President and Osparks AMG, and Su Chi, Chairman, Taipei Forum. Finally, much of her remaining time was spent working on co-editing a forthcoming special issue for Osiris, titled “Science and Capitalism: Entangled Histories.”
Lydia H. Liu, the Wun Tsun Tam Professor in the Humanities and Director of Columbia University’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, took part in Columbia Global Centers I East Asia – Beijing’s July symposium and exhibition surrounding the first public release of V.K. Wellington Koo‘s archive of personal papers. Professor Liu also took part in such Columbia Global centers I East Asia – Beijing summer events as “Creative Labor and Economies of Trash: Documenting Labor and Environment in an Era of Global Capital” and a discussion about the documentary “The Ivory Game.”
Xiaobo Lü, Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, met in Seoul with alumni from Columbia and from WEAI’s Robert M. Immerman Professional Fellows Program. Additionally, he spoke on “The Rise of Global Populism” at Shanghai’s East China University of Political Science and Law. Professor Lü also spent time conducting research in and around Shanghai.
Duncan McCargo, Visiting Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, had a busy summer travelling around Asia. He spoke to the Columbia Philippine Alumni in an event jointly organized with Asia Society in Manila in June, after which he gave an in-depth interview on populism and politics on national television, and published an op-ed in Nikkkei Asian Review on nostalgia for the Marcos regime. In Singapore, he attended a July gathering for alumni and Columbia-bound students as well as meeting various alumni leaders.
Professor McCargo also gave keynote addresses for a Southeast Asian politics conference at the University of Sydney in May, and for the Thirteenth International Conference on Thai Studies held in Chiang Mai in July. He presented on Southern Thailand at a conference on illiberal peace co-organized by ANU, LSE and the University of York in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the end of June, as well as speaking at the Busan University of Foreign Studies annual Southeast Asia conference in May. During his June visit to Cambodia, Professor McCargo held a workshop for researchers at the Cambodia Development Research Institute, as well as informally observing the commune council elections. In insurgency-afflicted Southern Thailand he interviewed a range of key informants about the ongoing peace process.
Additionally, Professor McCargo presided over the Ninth European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS) conference held at the University of Oxford in August, where he convened three roundtables (on populism and elections, a Thailand update, and a session on getting published). More than 400 papers were presented at the event, the world’s largest biannual conference dedicated to Southeast Asian studies. At the end of the conference he stepped down from the presidency of EuroSEAS, following a four year elected term of office.
Andrew J. Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science, attended a planning meeting for the Asian Barometer Survey (ABS) in Taipei in July. He also worked on a couple of chapters for a coauthored book called Ambivalent Democrats that will be produced by members of the ABS. Additionally, Professor Nathan wrote the July 13 article “Remembering Liu Xiaobo: The West’s Responsibility in Upholding His Legacy” in Foreign Affairs .
Lien-Hang Nguyen, Dorothy Borg Associate Professor of the History of the United States and East Asia, published the August New York Times op-ed “North Vietnam Had an Antiwar Movement Too” about the lesser known history of the antiwar efforts within North Vietnamese society.
Stephen Noerper, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs, spent much of the summer addressing the spike in tensions between the United States and North Korea and international concerns about North Korea’s missile and nuclear development. His summer was spent with such outlets as CNN, Bloomberg TV, The Guardian, WNYC, CBC, NY 1, Wall Street Journal, and others.
Ying Qian, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, along with Debashree Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, ran the undergraduate Global Scholars Program “Media Practices in India and China.” During the program, which took place from May 22 to June 30, Professor Qian and Professor Mukherjee led twelve undergraduates on a six-week exploration of contemporary media in Mumbai and Beijing. Through visits to sites of media production, exhibition, and consumption, and meetings with a wide array of media practitioners, including independent documentary filmmakers, minority media activists, media corporations, and state institutions for media regulation and creation, the students and faculty discussed media in relation to (post)colonial conditions, authoritarianism, politics, urbanization, and globalization. Organized by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the Office of Global Programs, and Columbia Global Centers, the Global Scholars Program utilized the vast resources of both Columbia Global Centers I Mumbai and Columbia Global Centers I Beijing.
At Columbia Global Centers I East Asia – Beijing, Professor Qian, along with Professor Lydia H. Liu, took part in the summer event “Creative Labor and Economies of Trash: Documenting Labor and Environment in an Era of Global Capital” and a discussion about the acclaimed documentary “The Ivory Game.”