Cultures of Sound: Lineages and Languages of Sutra Recitation in Goshirakawa's Japan

This talk examines the culture of musical recitation of sutras in and around the Japanese court. I argue that medieval acoustic and performance-based practices – and their attendant literature of codification – open an inter-lingual space in which the tones of Chinese are dropped, without syntax being altered to fit Japanese semantic norms, such that meaningful sound in Chinese is derailed without meaningful sound in Japanese becoming entrained. This, however, is not an emptying out of meaning.

Ships, Savages, and States: the Rover and the Qing on the Sea

In March 1867 an American barque by the name of Rover shipwrecked off the coast of southern Taiwan.  All fourteen people on board made it successfully ashore. A few days later one of them reached a British consulate to tell a story about a beachfront encounter with a band of aborigines – the “raw savages” (shengfan 生番) who were believed to be headhunters.  A young American consul embarked upon an urgent search for the lost.  Qing response to his call for help was tardy though not entirely without empathy.  Nonetheless the consul called in U.S.

The Struggle for LGBT Rights in Mainland China: The Voice of a Student Activist

Xia Xu is originally from Yingtan, a small city in Jiangxi province. She is currently a law student at Shanghai International Studies University. Passionate about LGBT causes, she has been working with LGBT non-profit organizations and leading national campaigns in support of LGBT students’ rights in mainland China since 2014.

Medical Practice during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE) and Changing Perceptions of the Female Body

The clinical space, in which a physician diagnoses a patient, differentiates the disorder based on detected signs and symptoms, and treats the patient, is the epicenter of medicine. It is during these brief moments that years of preparation, study, and training culminate into what the doctor hopes will be the cure of the patient’s disease. In this talk I would like to reconstruct the clinical scene during Song-dynasty China.

Late Medieval Publishing Culture in Japan during the 14th and 16th centuries

Books printed in Japanese Zen monasteries during the medieval period are known as Gozan-ban or “Five Mountains” editions. Originally, Gozan-ban were printed for the self-education of Gozan monks who were expected to imitate the latest Chinese scholarship and act out another culture in Japan. At this time, in the 13th to 14th centuries, Chinese Zen masters visited Japan very often, while Japanese monks also went back and forth between Hakata of western Japan and Ningpo of southeastern China onboard commercial ships that frequently also carried printed Chinese books.

The Significance of Plowing in Early Chinese Texts

When Wan Zhang asked Mencius about how Yi Yin sought an introduction to Tang, Mencius replied that he had done so by “plowing the wilderness of the Youxin Clan, delighting in the principles of Yao and Shun.” Mencius also responded to Zhou Xiao’s question, “Did superior men of old take office?” by quoting a passage on plowing from the Book of Rites: “A prince plows himself, and is assisted by the people, to supply the millet for sacrifice.

Textual Practices of Literary Training in Medieval China: Evidence from Dunhuang

Literature was not only a means of aesthetic expression in medieval China; it was a crucial aspect of social and political life as well. For every seemingly timeless poem by Du Fu pondering the fate of the dynasty, there were countless (now long-forgotten) verses written to impress superiors, pass the civil service exam, or simply entertain friends at a party.

Noh Play Performance and Lecture

Okura Genjiro, sixteenth Grand Master of the Okra School, with SHIMIZU Yoshinari and KIZUKI Nobuyukim will perform an important scene from Aoi no Ue (“Lady Aoi”), an important late-fourteenth century play based on an episode from the Tale of Genji. The specific section is called makura no dan (枕の段)and it is the high point of the first act of the play, where the disembodied spirit of Lady Rokujo, enraged by jealously, takes flight and attacks Lady Aoi as she is near term to give birth. Translation will be provided at the performance.





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