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Andrew L. Markus Memorial Lecture

Andrew Markus portrait photo

This lectureship was established in memory of Andrew L. Markus, Associate Professor of Japanese Literature at the University of Washington from 1986-1995.  Established through the generosity of family and friends, this annual lecture honors Professor Markus's contribution to the study of Asian languages and literatures.

The lecture series brings to the University of Washington distinguished scholars in the field of Asian Languages and Literature.  The annual lecture is considered the premier public event sponsored by the department and is the highest honor that the department can bestow on a scholar in the field.

Future Lectures

**UPDATE: The 2020 Markus Memorial Lecture and Reception has been postponed until spring 2021.**

In light of Governor Jay Inslee's announcement requiring the University of Washington, and all higher education institutions in the state, to discontinue in-person instruction through April 24 and public health advisories on social distancing, the 2020 Andrew L. Markus Memorial Lecture and Reception has been postponed until Spring 2021.


"Half-bird, Half-Fish: The New Grammar of Time Past in Seventeenth-century Tamil, Telugu, and Sanskrit."

Although every generation has to discover, or rediscover, or reinvent its own links to the cultural past, there are extended moments of civilizational change when the presence of the past, and the modes of linking past to present, become highly charged themes. Such was the case in thirteenth-century Florence and Sienna, in fourteenth-century Shiraz, and in early-modern South India (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries). This was a period when a new genre-- the self-contained literary prabandha, meant to be read from beginning to end over a few days, in homes, literary salons, royal courts, or temples, with a range of unusual themes-- appeared in Sanskrit and all the south Indian languages. The Tamil case is particularly interesting because of the continuing influence of very ancient poetic grammars within a literary and intellectual ecology that had rendered these grammars largely obsolete and put in place a new vision of what constitutes poetry and truth. The lecture will look at a story that develops this topic in a particularly dramatic and lyrical way-- the tale of the pedantic poet Nakkīrar and his transformation into a "modern" intellectual, as told by the famous author Tuṟaimaṅkalam Civappirakāca Cuvāmi in his Cīkāḷattippurāṇam, set in the beautiful temple site of Kāḷahasti in the Tamil-Telugu border region. We will also look at an earlier Telugu version, by Dhūrjaṭi, of this same emblematic narrative, and at parallel Sanskrit texts, with the aim of formulating a more general understanding of how early-modern South India came to terms with novel ideas about time, history, and expressive speech.

Professor Shulman is an Israeli Indologist and regarded as one of the world's foremost authorities on the languages of India. His research embraces many fields, including the history of religion in South India, Indian poetics, Tamil Islam, Dravidian linguistics, and Carnatic music. He is now a Renee Lang Professor Emeritus of Humanistic Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities since 1988.

Past Lectures

2019 - “Yi In-jik’s ‘The Widow’s Dream’ and the Origin of Modern Korean Literature in Japan"  
Professor John Treat, Professor Emeritus of Yale University
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in Kane Hall - Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)   

2018 - "The Appropriation of Tang Poetry in Later Chinese Painting"
Professor Ronald Egan, Confucius Institute Professor of Sinology from Stanford University
Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 6:30p.m. – 8:00p.m. in Kane Hall - Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2017 - "On Native-Speaker-Hood, Translingual Competence, and Asian Language Education"
Dr. Junko Mori, Professor of Japanese language and linguistics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
May 9, 2017, 6:30-8:00pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2016 - "Clouded Mirror: The Uttarakāṇḍa of the Vālmīkirāmāyaṇa as an Occluded Guide to Statecraft"
Robert P. Goldman, William and Catherine Magistretti Distinguished Professor of Sanskrit, UC Berkeley
May 10, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2015 - "Manuscript Cultures of Asia"
Michael Friedrich, Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures
May 12, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2014 - "Transplanting Buddhism on the Korean Peninsula"
Robert E. Buswell, University of California, Los Angeles
May 13, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2013 - "Family Memorials, Waka, and Material Culture"
Edward Kamens, Yale University
May 7, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2012 -" Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown: Some Buddhist approaches to kings and their problems"
Paul Harrison, Stanford University
May 8, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2011 - "Literary Languages, Koines, and the Emergence of Modern Standard Chinese"
South Coblin, University of Iowa
May 11, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2010 - "For the Gods Love the Obscure: On Translating the Rig Veda"
Stephanie Jamison, University of California in Los Angeles; Head, Program in Indo-European Studies
May 12, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2009 - "What Counts as Literature? The Astonishing Revival of The Cannery Ship (1929) in Recession-era Japan"
Norma Field, University of Chicago
May 7, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2008 - "Figures for Memory: Personal Moments in Medieval Chinese Poetry"
Paul W. Kroll, University of Colorado at Boulder
May 14, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2007 - "Heterodox Reasoning in Early Modern North India: To What Consequence?"
Monika Boehm-Tettelbach, University of Heidelberg
May 16, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2006 - "The Pleasures of Japanese Poetry"
Edwin Cranston, Harvard University
May 15, 7:30pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2005 - "Travels of a Culture: Chinese Poetry and the European Imagination"
Pauline Yu, American Council of Learned Societies
May 11, 8:00pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2004 - "What's 'Lovely' About It? (Korean) Poetry's Appeal and Survival (even in English)"
David McCann, Harvard University
May 12, 8:00pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2003 - "With Kindness at Heart, a Song on the Tongue, and Gold and Steel in Hand: Religion, Power, and Ideology in the Mahabharata, the Great Epic of India"
James L. Fitzgerald, University of Tennessee
May 15, 8:00pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2002 - "Reading (or Not) the Tale of Genji"
Royall Tyler, Harvard University
May 16, 8:00pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2001 - "Cognitive Approaches to Chinese Historical Linguistics"
Christoph Harbsmeier, University of Oslo
May 22, 8:00pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

2000 - "On the Evolution of Hindi as a Language of Literature"
Ronald Stuart McGregor, University of Cambridge
May 23, 7:00pm, Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall 225)

1999 - "Hong Taeyong and the Korean Rediscovery of China in the Eighteenth Century"
Gari Ledyard, Columbia University
May 3, 7:00pm, Seafirst Executive Education Building, Boeing Auditorium

1998 - "A Scene in Natsume Soseki's Last and Uncompleted Novel, Meian"
Edwin McClellan, Yale University
May 15, 7:00pm

1996 - The Andrew L. Markus Memorial Symposium on Tokugawa Japan
May 10

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