Our Final Online Discussion…

April 12th, 2011

See our online discussion link below for the start of our final online discussion thread for the semester. This time, we’ll be having a look at Jonathan Spence’s book on the Kangxi Emperor…


Also, don’t forget that we also have a reading guide available online here at the site for this book.

“Women and War in 19th Century China” (Talk and Extra-Credit Opportunity)

April 3rd, 2011

Dr. Tobie Meyer-Fong will present a talk entitled “Women and War in 19th Century China” this coming Wednesday (4/6, 4:30 pm, Annex A 114).

Author of Building Culture in Early Qing Yangzhou and a well-known scholar of late imperial China, Dr. Meyer-Fong (Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University) will share her current research on women’s roles amid the violent and devastating Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) that swept China in its days of Qing dynasty rule.

Students who attend can earn extra credit – to do so, please attend the talk and share a short summary of Dr. Meyer-Fong’s presentation plus your own thoughts on what you’ve learned of the topic in an email to Prof. Fernsebner (emails due Thursday 4/7 by midnight).

Spence Reading Guide Now Available

April 3rd, 2011

Front CoverSee our “Handouts” page for a copy of the reading guide to our last monograph of the semester, namely Jonathan Spence’s Emperor of China: A Self-Portrait of K’ang-hsi (1988). We’ll be holding an in-class discussion of this text on Monday, April 18th.

Looking for the Best Chinese Food on the East Coast? Interested in a Trip to NYC’s Chinatown?

March 29th, 2011

An announcement from the UMW Chinese Language Students:

The Chinese language students are coordinating a trip to New York City’s Chinatown from April 15th until the 17th. The cost for the weekend is $57.30 and includes two meals, bus tickets and lodging. During the weekend, we will be visiting the Chinatown museum, looking at landmarks and enjoying amazing Chinese cuisine in the area. The language students will also be conducting interviews with Mandarin speakers in the neighboring Flushing area. We have many spots available but need to know immediately if you would be interested in participating! Please contact Joseph Calpin (jcalpin@mail.umw.edu).

News from Japan

March 16th, 2011

As noted in class, many are saddened by and following the news of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that occurred on March 11th in Japan.  If you’re interested in keeping up with the challenges of recovery in Japan, see the links below for news and reports.

For reports on Chinese responses to the disaster in Japan, see this early article by Adam Minter at Foreign Policy Magazine online as well as this guest post by Yajun on the excellent Granite Studio blog on Chinese history. ChinaSmack has also offered recent coverage of Chinese netizens’ response.

English Language Broadcasts

NHK English TV (Live Feed) – http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-world-tv

Japanese Language Broadcasts

NHK TV – http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-gtv

TBS TV – http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tbstv

Ways to Help?

The Harvard University Reischauer Institute for Japanese Studies offers a list of organizations that are collecting donations from those looking to contribute to the relief efforts underway. For more, see the links provided at their web site here.

Interested in Learning Chinese? A Guest Post from UMW Chinese Language Students…

March 15th, 2011

大家好! Hello Everybody!

The UMW Chinese language students invite all of you to try your hand at learning Chinese. We will be holding classes starting today, 7PM at Combs 215. Over the next four weeks we will have two one-hour class sessions a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays (please come to which ever is more convenient for you). During the class, we will cover basic Chinese phrases as well as some of the foundations of the language (pronunciation and writing). Lessons are five dollars per session and include cookies! If you are unable to make the first sessions, please feel free to show up to following weeks!

If you have any questions please contact Joe Calpin (jcalpin@mail.umw.edu).

Brook Reading Guide

March 13th, 2011

The Brook reading guide is available at our “Handouts” page above. If you have any problem accessing it or downloading it, just drop Prof. Fernsebner a quick email.

Discussion Post due this Friday, 3/18

March 13th, 2011

Papers written, we’re diving back into our online discussions this Friday with an Ebrey text and the early readings in Timothy Brook’s book as our items of focus. See our link for the discussion site to the right to add your own thoughts, ideas, and, always important, follow-up questions.

For the Brook readings for Friday, don’t forget to see our reading guide, available at our “Handouts” page here at this site. We’ll be talking about the ways in which Timothy Brook is imagining and introducing his own study of the Ming dynasty in the first pages of that book itself.

Image: Watching Water Calligraphy in the Park, Beijing, 3 June 2007

In DC Between Now and July? An Exhibit to See

March 13th, 2011

The Freer and Sackler Gallery (the Smithsonian’s museum of Asian art) is hosting a wonderful exhibit on Buddhist sculpture that aims to take visitors — and the art itself, which has been scattered among collections across the globe since the early 20th century — straight back to its original 6th century Buddhist caves. Entitled “Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan,” the exhibit runs through July 31st.

See the Freer and Sackler site here for more information on both the caves and the exhibit, which it has also dubbed “Buddha 2.0” in celebration of the excellent digital reproduction of the caves (see review below for more). It’s quite a scene, as if one is travelling into the cave itself and viewing the statues in all three of their artistic dimensions as well as in their original, digitally restored context.

The Washington Post has also offered their own review, marking the exhibit as one of their top “editor’s picks.”

Image credit: Jason Salavon and Travis Saul.

John Wayne as Genghis Khan?

February 22nd, 2011

See below for a recut trailer for John Wayne’s 1956 film “The Conqueror” in which he played Temujin, who would one day become known as Genghis Khan. This film offers a look not only at some of the problematics of history as cinema (see also Dr. McClurken’s excellent course on U.S. History in Film) but also, of course, contemporary imaginings of a historical and racialized ‘other’…

For a different vision, revisit the trailer from the more recent film directed by Sergei Brodov, entitled “Mongol,” which can be found here: http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/329708/Mongol/trailers