Religion, Political Identities and Sacred Symbols in East Asia

Religion, Political Identities and Sacred Symbols in East Asia

JEASC Annual Conference & Graduate Student Professional Development Workshop

Friday, November 15, 2013
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
6275 Bunche Hall

The UCLA-USC Joint East Asian Studies Center (JEASC) is proud to host its fourth annual conference and graduate professional development workshop entitled "Religion, Political Identities and Sacred Symbols in East Asia." The European distinction between religious and secular so basic to modern conceptions of political authority and the separation of church and state do not address contemporary relations among religion, governments and the ways in which people develop commitments to either their religions or their countries. We invite students and faculty who work on religious practices in both historical and contemporary Asian contexts to join those who work on politics, especially political identities and the ways in which such identities involve the generation of symbols that either call upon or represent an alternative to religious symbols and rituals. Together we want to encourage students and faculty working on historical subjects to ponder the contemporary relevance of their work and those working on contemporary topics to recognize the ways in which historical materials matter to their research.

This workshop is sponsored by the UCLA-USC Joint East Asian Studies Center (JEASC) with funding from the US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grant. The workshop is intended to give UCLA and USC graduate students and faculty studying East Asia an opportunity to meet in an interdisciplinary forum on a topic of common interest and comment on each other’s work as a kind of professional engagement and development. 

12:00-1:00 PM: Lunch
1:00 PM: Welcome by R. Bin Wong, Distinguished Professor of History and Director, UCLA Asia Institute
1:10-2:30 PM: Panel I: Buddhist Iconography
  • Di Luo, PhD Candidate, East Asian Languages & Cultures, USC
    Ruichuan Wu, Senior Student, Asian Languages & Cultures, UCLA
    “The World in a Grain of Sand: Buddhist Cosmos in a Revolving Sutra Case”
  • Sonya Lee, Associate Professor, Art History, USC
    “Buddhist Cave Temples as Cultural Heritage Sites in China”
  • Mya Chau, PhD student, Art History, UCLA 
    “Female Iconography and Buddhist Inscriptions from Đông Dương (Vietnam)”
  • Discussants: Katsuya Hirano, Associate Professor of History, UCLA; Claudia Huang, PhD Student in Anthropology, UCLA
2:30 - 2:45PM: Break
2:45 - 4:05PM: Panel II: Symbols of Political Economy
  • Jihyun Shin, Ph.D. student, Political Science and International Relations, USC
    "Dokdo/Takeshima: A 'Territorial' Dispute or a Territorial 'Dispute'?"
  • Joonbum Bae, PhD Candidate, Political Science, UCLA
    “Impossible Allies? Korean Views of Japan in a Changing World Order”
  • Jonathan Slakey, MA student, Public Policy, UCLA 
    “Moving the Gods: The Omikoshi Tradition in Japan”
  • Discussants: Brett Sheehan, Professor of  History, USC; David Kang, Professor of International Relations and Director, East Asian Studies Center and Korean Studies Institute, USC
4:05 - 4:15PM: Break
4:15 - 5:00PM: Keynote by Katsuya Hirano, Associate Professor of History, UCLA
"Our National Essence is Maintained!": Emperor's New Clothes in Postwar Japan

Please RSVP by Friday, November 8 to


Sponsor(s): Center for Buddhist Studies, Asia Pacific Center