101 students of the Chinese Language Program participated in the 10th Chinese Speech and Skit Contest on November 16, 2019. Throughout the competition, the contestants demonstrated their Chinese speaking skills enthusiastically. The first-prize winners in the category of speech are Cynthia Li from EAS 300 and Yunqi Shi from EAS 401. The first-prize winners in the category of skits are Victoria Lor, Ariani Mooney and Mika Wrightson-Rivard from EAS 100; Jerry Li and Lucy Lu from EAS 101; Carlos Arceo, Josephine Brooks and Daniel Feijo from EAS 200; Mary Ao, Matthew Cao, Yueqi Huang and Kaori Kuwahara from EAS 201. Congratulations to the above and all other contestants in a fun-filled and challenging event!
New Book by Yurou Zhong: “Chinese Grammatology: Script Revolution and Literary Modernity, 1916–1958”
We are excited to announce that Professor Yurou Zhong,
who teaches Chinese culture and literature, has released
her first book: Chinese Grammatology: Script Revolution and Literary Modernity, 1916–1958.
The book was published on November 12, 2019 by Columbia University Press. Chinese Grammatology is a groundbreaking work that brings together the history of writing, literature, and cultural modernity in China and beyond.
(Photo courtesy of Columbia University Press.)
“I have mostly been interested in and consumed by this curious thing called modern Chinese script revolution – the movements at the turn of the twentieth century to eliminate Chinese characters and implement a Roman-Latin alphabet – and its impact on Chinese writing, literature, and culture. I want the readers to join me in working through a series of puzzles triggered by the script revolution: Why did it happen? How did it unfold? Why was it contained? Together we will make sense of the intertwining of script and literature, writing and politics in modern China as an encounter between alphabetic and non-alphabetic writings and worlds.” – Yurou Zhong
For a full summary of the book and to purchase a copy, please visit the publisher’s website.
Natalie Bell won the second prize in the Toronto Final of the 2019 “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition.
Students from EAS’s Chinese language courses participated in the 18th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition Preliminary Competition (Toronto Final) on Saturday, May 18, at the Confucius Institute at Renison University College, University of Waterloo. At the competition, each contestant had to give a speech on “天下一家 One World, One Family” and present a talent performance related to Chinese culture. Our EAS200Y student Natalie Bell ranked second among all the participants after both the speech and the talent show; she won the second prize. Our EAS200Y exchange student Ryutaro Nakamura ranked the seventh and received the excellence in participation prize. Natalie will represent the University of Toronto as an observer at the 2019 “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Students in China in the summer. Congratulations to Natalie Bell and Ryutaro Nakamura!
Natalie Bell is giving her speech, “Do not talk to a stranger.”
Ryutaro Nakamura is doing his speech, “A Trip to China.”
Students and parents gathered at the University of Toronto on Saturday, March 2nd for the 37th Annual Ontario Japanese Speech Contest.
Among the contestants, Yi (William) Yang, a Ph.D student at the Faculty of Pharmacy, U of T, who has previously taken EAS220Y in 2016-2017, won the first prize of the intermediate category. He also won the Shinkikai-Sagamihara City prize, and will be officially invited to the City of Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture. In addition, he has been invited to participate in the 30th Annual National Japanese Speech Contest on Sunday, March, 24th, which will be held at the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa.
As well, two students who are currently taking the EAS Department’s Japanese language courses have won special prizes in the contest: Chenhao Gong, who is currently in EAS220Y, won the Humour Prize, and Fengjia Zhang, currently in EAS120Y, has won the Special Effort Prize.
The Department congratulates the winners in their accomplishments, as well as all the participants for their great speeches.
Photos belong to OJSC.
The EAS Students’ Lounge is now open after renovations
The new lounge has a modern design, with individual couches as well as conference tables for students to work from. To ensure students’ comfort at the lounge, the ceilings have been raised and re-designed, and the lighting has been brightened. The EAS Department Office has also been renovated, and can now be accessed outside the lounge. EAS students are welcome to come in to study and work quietly.
2019 EAS Chinese Speech Contest
Students from EAS’s Chinese language courses participated in the 2019 EAS Chinese Speech Contest on Saturday, February 2, in the renovated EAS Lounge. Seven groups of students from EAS100, EAS101, and EAS200 competed for the Best Skits. Six individuals from EAS300 and EAS401 participated in the speech competition. Two groups won the Best Skits. Nolan Terrell, Dong Hyung Kim, and Jiwon Lee won by their excellent performance in “Green Hat.” Natalie Bell, Ryutaro Nakamura, and Ryan MacDonald won by their humorous story in “Two Boyfriends.” Man Wang grabbed the Award of Best Speech by her clear elaboration of the meanings of colours in the Chinese culture.
Judge and the Best Skit winners. From Left to right: EAS300 course instructor Dr. Mingyu Zheng, Contestants Jiwon Lee and Dong Hyung Kim
Judge and the Best Skit winners. From left to right: EAS200 course instructor Yu Wen, Contestants Natalie Bell, Ryan MacDonald, and Ryutaro Nakamura
Group photo of the contestants, judges, and community friends
Remembering Professor Vincent Shen
With heavy hearts we have to convey the news that Professor Vincent Shen passed away in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday November 14, after being taken suddenly ill on Monday. He was surrounded by his loving family, who had travelled from all over the continent, and he was at peace.
Professor Shen joined the East Asian Studies Department in 2000, as the Lee Chair in Chinese Thought and Culture and served as Department Chair from 2007 to 2010. He held a joint appointment in the Department of Philosophy. A specialist in Chinese philosophy, specifically Daoism and Confucianism, Professor Shen was a prolific and widely admired scholar, the author of 29 books (with another forthcoming) and 150 articles and book chapters. He was greatly respected in his field. Professor Shen was the Executive Director and past president of the Chinese Philosophical Association, the Executive Director of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy and a Vice President of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.
Alongside Professor Shen’s commitment to research we witnessed everyday his great care and devotion to his students. Many of those students now occupy research positions throughout Asia, Europe and North America. But Professor Shen generously shared his passion for Chinese philosophy with students of all levels. His warm guidance and encouragement has left a deep impression on many University of Toronto students over the years and set a high standard for his colleagues to follow.
Professor Shen was planning to retire at the end of this academic year and we were preparing a party to celebrate his many years of research, teaching and service to the department. Sadly, he has left us too soon, but we will be sure to find an occasion to celebrate his profound commitment to scholarship, his dedication to his students and his joyful interactions with us all as colleagues. He was a true philosopher and teacher.
The funeral service for Professor Shen will be held this coming Monday, November 19, at 10am at St. Basil’s Church (50 St Joseph St, Toronto, ON M5S 1J4). The family has made arrangements for flowers; if you would like to make a donation in his memory, please consider donating to St. Basil’s Church.
Further tributes and information on ways to remember Professor Shen will be posted here and we have created an online memorial page for people to share memories.
Faculty of Arts & Science In Memoriam: Vincent Shen (1949-2018)
In the meantime, please hold Professors Shen and Johanna Liu and their family in your thoughts over the coming days.
Yours in sadness,
Janet Poole, Acting Chair
Department of East Asian Studies
Photo credit: New Asia College, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Students and faculty members gathered at the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library on Thursday, October 4th to attend the event, “Translating Korean Literature: A Conversation and Book Launch,” hosted by the East Asian Library and the Centre for the Study of Korea. The event celebrated the recent publication of Dust and Other Stories, by Yi T’aejun, translated by Dr. Janet Poole (University of Toronto). Dr. Poole was joined by Dr. Samuel Perry (Brown University). The two speakers shared their experiences translating Korean literary works.
After introductions, Dr. Poole and Dr. Perry began the event by discussing the historical context in which Yi T’aejun lived. Yi T’aejun was born in 1904 in northern Korea. He lived, and wrote his influential works, throughout the periods of colonial and post-liberation Korea. Dr. Poole described various instances where the situation under which the work was written had a significant influence in the way the story was presented. Although certain characteristics in his work never changed—his interest in marginal figures, for example—political influences such as literary censorship greatly impacted the style of his works. It is through this historical lens that Dr. Poole composed the anthology. She also explained that it is by focusing on one author and his works specifically, that she was able to examine the changes in style that were brought forth by the historical context.
Dr. Poole read two short excerpts from her book to the audience. She first read a few paragraphs from the end of the “A Tale of Rabbits,” a tale that speaks of a family in financial crisis raising rabbits. The tale describes the struggles between morality and sustainment faced by many native Koreans during the colonial period. She then read a part of “Tiger Grandma,” which is a tale about a kind and helpful, but stubborn old woman in a village. Dr. Poole explained that “Tiger Grandma” was written for a campaign promoting literacy, but the majority of the story was spent describing the character, Tiger Grandma. This tale was classic in demonstrating Yi T’aejun’s unique style of focusing on characters more than a central plot.
Dr. Perry and Dr. Poole also shared some stories behind the translation process. They both agreed that a part of the fun in translating modernist literary works is in trying to decipher the enigma of “what did the author try to convey?” Dr. Poole explained that it took her 17 years to translate this anthology, because the translation process involved a lot of re-drafting of previous translations she made. She also stated that it is vital to take that time to re-draft as translators have a responsibility toward the original authors, as well as to the audiences that engage with their texts.
The event ended with a brief Q & A session, during which she shared more information on the cultural-historical contexts Yi T’aejun lived in, some stylistic decisions she made when translating, and the composition of her book. It was Dr. Perry that asked the last question, one that was on everyone’s mind: Which author is Dr. Poole looking to translate next?
After the panel, a reception was hosted. Students and faculty members enjoyed some refreshments while they discussed about Dr. Poole’s new book. Dr. Poole also kindly gifted two copies of her book to two lucky students in the audience.
The Department is excited to be undergoing renovations to our lounge and administrative spaces, as well as many faculty offices. The end result will be a lighter, updated, more user-friendly space with better, much-needed directional signage!
During renovations, you will find EAS reception in RL14211. From the elevator, turn right and follow signs to the room.
If you have any questions or concerns about the renovations, please do not hesitate to contact EAS’s Office Manager, Natasja VanderBerg at firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know the University of Toronto has its own library dedicated to the Studies of East Asia?
The Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library is located on the eighth floor of Robarts Library. It contains rich materials covering various topics in relation to China, Japan, Korea and Tibet, as well as in Asian Canadian studies. You can find publications written in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tibetan on literature, history, religion, international relations, arts, pop cultures, social sciences and more. The Mu Rare Books Collection and Tibetan Collections within the library also offer precious historical primary sources unique to this library. With over 600,000 volumes of print publications and a variety of scholarly electronic resources, it is one of the most extensive East Asian Studies collections in North America.
The library is open for all to use, no TCard check is required. And if you are still hesitant about visiting, you can learn more about the library by watching the video below.
This video is composed of an interview with Hana Kim, the director of the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, along with a visual tour of the library to give you a sense of what it can offer you. Much more remains to be seen and it is up to you to discover it.
Students from EAS’s Chinese language courses participated in the 17th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition Preliminary Competition – Toronto Final on Saturday, March 24, at the Confucius Institute at Brock University. At the competition, each contestant had to give a speech on “天下一家 One World, One Family” and present a talent performance related to Chinese culture. Our EAS200Y student Benjamin McDonald won second prize; our EAS402H student Moon Yong Zong won third prize. Benjamin will represent the University of Toronto as an observer at the 2018 “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Students in China in the summer. Congratulations to Benjamin McDonald and Moon Yong Zong!
You can watch their talent performances here:
The Centre for International Experience is inviting a delegation from Akita International University to host an information session for students on Monday, February 12 at 11 am. It is a great opportunity for you to pose questions you have regarding the exchange program, get to know the University, and network with other students who are going.
Students who are interested can register for the event at the Student Life Calendar.
The Department is pleased to be hosting the American Association of Teachers of Korean (AATK) conference from June 21-23, 2018. The conference is sponsored by the Korea Foundation, and co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto, the Korea Education Centre of the Korean Consulate in Toronto, and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Toronto. Professor Alister Cumming is the keynote speaker, with Professors Eunice Jang and EAS’s own Andre Schmid giving plenary talks. There will be a special presentation by Professor Junghee Lee, president of IAKLE.
Professor Yoneyama awarded Best Book in Humanities and Cultural Studies by the Association of Asian American Studies for Cold War Ruins
Congratulations to Professor Lisa Yoneyama for receiving the 2018 best book award in Humanities and Cultural Studies from the Association of Asian American Studies for her book, Cold War Ruins: Transpacific Critique of American Justice and Japanese War Crimes (Duke University Press). The AAAS selection team commended Prof. Yoneyama’s latest book:
“Cold War Ruins presents a stunningly masterful engagement with the most pressing concerns in the fields of Asian American studies and Asian studies/area studies today. In recent years, there has been much discussion in both fields about the necessity for dialogue and engagement across these disciplinary divides. Cold War Ruins exemplifies the very best this cross-fertilization can offer.”
Prof. Yoneyama’s award will be recognized at the upcoming AAAS annual conference in San Francisco, California in March, 2018.
The Munk School of Global Affairs Centre for the Study of Global Japan, Department of Political Science, and the Consulate General of Japan in Toronto presents Security Cooperation in East Asia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.
The East Asian Studies Graduate Student Union is inviting Dr. Gavin Walker (McGill University) for a talk entitled “Area Studies, Capital, and the Anthropological Difference” on Thursday January 25th from 4:30 – 6:30 pm, to be held in the Purple Lounge (Robarts Library, 14th Floor).
“Today, in a world characterized by the dispersion of the concentration of the productive forces, an increasingly multinational composition of global finance capital and its specialized class of handlers, it is relatively common to hear that the problems of “area studies” and its critique are no longer relevant. This argument tends to be made as follows: area studies depended on a world characterized by the classic mid-20th century structures of alignment: the US-aligned world, the USSR-aligned world, the so-called “non-aligned” world, and so on. But, so this logic goes, today the world that is implied by this organizational schema itself no longer exists, and therefore the problem of area studies has ceased to be an essential target: it is a “remnant” which is “withering away.” But I want to argue here that it is in fact exactly the opposite, that we will miss something crucial in the question of area studies if we imagine that it is no longer a problem for thought and politics simply because of the process of “globalization.” In fact, paradoxically, it is the current moment of the integration of the world in which the problem of area studies becomes most decisive. What possibilities remain today for area studies after its critique?”
We hope that you can join us for this event.
On Wednesday January 17 at 4 PM, the Jackman Humanities Institute is hosting a talk by Dr. Audra Simpson from the Anthropology Department of Columbia University. In Savage States: Settler Governance in an Age of Sorrow, Dr. Simpson considers the world of settler colonialism, which demands a newness and a world in which Native people and their claims to territory are whittled to the status of claimant or subject in time with the fantasy of their disappearance and containment away from a modern and critical present.
The event is hosted at Room 100 in the Jackman Humanities Institute building (170 St. George Street). It is free and open to all, we hope to see you there!
EAS Speaker Series: Mobility and Borders between Russia and Asia: Claiming Korean Migrants in the Late Nineteenth Century by Dr. Alyssa Park
The East Asian Speakers Series presents a talk by Dr. Alyssa Park, Mobility and Borders between Russia and Asia: Claiming Korean Migrants in the Late Nineteenth Century on Friday, January 19, 1 – 3 pm at the Purple Lounge (Robarts Library, 14th floor).
The late nineteenth century was the era of mobility and bordermaking around the globe. States defined borders and claimed space within them to an unprecedented degree, and people traveled across space, transgressing those borders. This talk explores these topics in a single analytical lens through the case of Korean migrants living in the Maritime, the Russian side of a newly delineated border area (Korea, Russia, China). Why they migrated, how officials viewed them, and what kinds of conflicts and questions arose from their respective claims on Koreans are subjects that will be discussed, as are the possibilities for the writing of transnational history for Russia and East Asia.
How Have the ‘North Korea Factors’ Shaped Japan-South Korea Relations?
The Centre for the Study of Global Japan, Asian Institute, and the Centre for the Study of Korea from the Munk School of Global Affairs present a talk from Dr. Seung Hyok Lee, Professor at the Department of Political Science at University of Toronto, and Associate Professor of Centre for the Study of Global Japan at the Munk School of Global Affairs.
The event will be held at 1 Devonshire Place, North House Room 208N on Friday, January 19, 2018 2:00 – 4:00 PM.
South Koreans and Japanese citizens have become influential in shaping their respective countries’ bilateral relations. This societal-level sway on government interactions is especially evident when a publicized shared issue linked to national security prompts the mainstream citizenry’s emotional involvement. This presentation will focus on Japan-South Korea bilateral relations during the last decade to illustrate this.
In the midst of the fast-changing regional security environment of the past ten years, the two societies have begun to re-evaluate and re-examine their respective Cold War period national security identities.
Interestingly, both countries’ identity-shifts were first fuelled by the changing domestic public attitude toward North Korea. The normative transformations sparked by the ‘North Korea factors’ has also led to a ‘mutual security anxiety’ between Japanese and South Koreans, as they learn to embrace a sense of uncertainty about the other side’s possible future trajectory. This societal-level mutual distrust continues to provide a powerful ideational limit to government-level bilateral interactions.
More information: Click Here
Register for the Event Here: http://uoft.me/japansouthkorea
On Thursday December 7, an exhibition on maps of East Asia was held at the East Asian Library. Students from EAS308 brought in their beautifully designed posters to present various research topics they have researched.
The topics that students have chosen ranged from looking at comparisons between maps of the East versus the West, specific foci on maps of a certain period in Japan, China, or Korea and how they developed, landmarks on historical maps and where they are today, ways sea routes and floras are depicted in maps, and more.
Students shared their insights into the maps and provided interesting observations about them. Here are some of their discoveries:
“Both the Japanese and American maps during the wartime are drawn as cartoons, since they were meant for kids. The Japanese map had text on it, whereas the American one does not. This is because the audience for the American one is younger than the Japanese one. It is also interesting that except for the soldier controlling navy ships from Britain, the rest of the countries in Europe are portrayed as dogs with flags wrapped around them.”
— Wartime Cartography – Children’s Edition
“This map depicts a region in China called Ning Bo. On the side we’ve made a legend which shows various symbols used by the cartographer to represent religious institutions. While the prominent religion seems to be Buddhist and Daoist, Catholic churches and Mosques were also found in the region.”
— The Map and Land of Ning Bo
“The Cheonhado portrays land as round because of the influence of Chinese Buddhist and Daoist views. With China and Korea in the middle, they saw themselves as the centre of the world. Surrounding them are the ‘mystical lands’ which include the West and all the places they have not travelled to yet. Among them are also some fictional lands.”
— Cheonhado & Kangnido: Choson’s
Relationship with the World
“From the maps you can see the expansion of Edo through the changes in the waterways across time. Although major waterways remained constant, the smaller ones were filled up in order to make more land.”
— Tokugawa Edo: Dawn to Dusk Social Control and Social Change Seen in Maps