AL&L hosts unprecedented number of lectures

This past year, the Department sponsored more talks, symposia, and the like than it has done in any past year. The following is a partial list of the many presentations that took place in Spring Quarter alone:

April 9. Seiji Lippit (UCLA) discussed the representation of the black market in Japanese literature of the immediate postwar era, focusing in particular on the conceptualization of the black market as temporal and spatial borderline, mediating between the nation and its outside and between the implosion of the Japanese empire and the construction of the postwar state.

April 16. Alan Tansman (UC, Berkeley) talked about the pedagogy of teaching about catastrophic violence to university students. His methodology encourages students to consider the psychic, cultural, historical, and political dimensions of responses to violence.

May 4. Zev Handel (UW) talked about his investigation of Old Chinese medial elements and ideas surrounding the reconstruction of Old Chinese phonology. Handel explored all the major medial elements and worked to trace back developments from Old Chinese to its ancestral language, Proto-Sino-Tibetan.

May 11, Nobuyuki Kanechiku (Waseda University) and Kiyoe Sakamoto (Japan Women’s University) held a workshop on waka recitation and writing.

May 12. Stephanie Jamison (UCLA) delivered the annual Andrew L. Markus Lecture on her work, conducted jointly with Joel Brereton, on translating the Rig Veda, a poetic corpus of over one thousand verses composed in an early form of the Sanskrit language. The Rig Veda is the oldest text of Indian civilizations and one of the most influential works of world literature.

May 13. Kiyoe Sakamoto (Japan Women’s University) talked about the function of regional dialect to differentiate roles in Japanese puppet theater. Vocal scores for the early modern Japanese puppet theater (also known as bunraku or ningyō jōruri) provide valuable information regarding accent and pronunciation of Osaka-dialect Japanese during the 17th century.

May 17. Doug Slaymaker (University of Kentucky) spoke about the role that the city of Paris has occupied in the Japanese imagination. Through a comparison of the imagery produced by painter Fujita Tsuguharu (1886-1968) and that of poet and painter Kaneko Mitsuharu (1895-1975), Prof. Slaymaker explored variations in the Japanese expatriate experience in the early twentieth century.

May 19. Steven D. Carter (Stanford University) argued that the latent social realities of mainstream linked verse (renga) as a performative and literary genre in medieval Japan may be usefully examined under a rubric of deference. This “attitude” or “posture” is apparent among the works and practices of the master poet Sōgi (1421‐1502).

May 27. Zev Handel (UW) spoke about his recent work with publishers of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language to revise the etymologies of 173 English words of Chinese origin, such as “chopstick” and “typhoon.” The etymologies of these words touch on many questions related to word history and the interaction of Chinese with other languages.

May 28. James Fujii (UC, Irvine) discussed Tokyo’s rise as a modern, urban capital and metropole of imperial Japan. Using two novels from the 1920s, Tokunaga Sunao’s proletarian novel Sunless Streets and Sasaki Kuni’s satire of suburban developments “Life in Culture Village: A Comedy,” Prof. Fujii reconceives Tokyo as ringed and riddled with newly marginalized space.

June 3. Michael Shapiro (UW) discussed the metrical structure of 20th century Hindi poetry. He argued that paying close attention to the intricacies of metrical structure, and more particularly to its manipulation, produces a deeper reading of Hindi poetry.

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