An interdisciplinary graduate student conference celebrating the creative spaces that arise in the (de)construction of "China", May 30-31, 2008.
8:30-9:00 Continental Breakfast
9:00-10:00 – PANEL THREE Outsiders from Within – The Tibet Case
Discussant: Richard von Glahn
Here we have two different approaches to discussing the formation of Tibetan tradition and identity. How much of Tibet’s identity is linked to its tradition, and how is this translated in the modern day? How is this process similar to or different from similar movements related to the definition of Chinese identity? How is the creation of Tibetan identity and tradition created within a Chinese space, and can this process be compared with other attempts to emphasize local or ethnic distinctions in the PRC? How has Tibet reacted to attempts to incorporate its tradition into an overarching Chinese narrative?
10:00-11:00 – PANEL FOUR Translating Modernity
Discussant: Brian Bernards
These two papers focus (in very different ways on the translation of modern thought or modern technology in late imperial China. In light of recent criticisms of modernization theory and other Eurocentric narratives of change and history, what might we learn about the limitations of inquiries based on teleological assumptions about progress through an analysis of the initial reception of certain ideas in China? What problems or advantages or possibilities do we discover in the translation of such concepts, and what possibilities for different ways of understanding the Chinese past and future emerge?
11:00- 12:15 – PANEL FIVE Colonial Education
Discussant: Nathaniel Kenneth Isaacson
These examinations of national and colonial enterprises involve questions that span a number of boundaries, and encourage questions about the purposeful creation of identity and the confusions that ensue. What role does education play in the imagination of national identity and relationships to outside communities? What technologies are employed in the process of configuring a more modern society, and how do these play against notions of Chinese-ness – especially in a place like Taiwan?
12:15 – 1:15 Lunch
1:15 – 2:30 – PANEL SIX Early China, Contemporary Theory
Discussant: Maura Dykstra
These three presentations contemplate the experiences and rhetoric of early China in conversation with more recent theories of understanding the past and present. How well do today’s methods of understanding the world apply to the past, and what might we learn about our own approaches to academic production through more careful attention to earlier categories of thought and action?
2:30-2:45 Coffee Break
2:45- 4:00 PANEL SEVEN China and Chinese
Discussant: Yan Yunxiang
In our attempts to overcome national boundaries in our understanding of the Chinese tradition, questions about language, literature, and historical identity have become increasingly important. How have more recent understandings of the Chinese language and Chinese-speaking communities outside of the mainland challenged or reinforced our assumptions about China? What meaningful categories of analysis may we create to encourage more encompassing fields of inquiry, and what dangers should we consider in the process?
4:00-5:00 – Discussion
Tel: (310) 825-8683
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