Kim-Renaud East Asian Humanities Lecture Series

Spring 18 Lecture Events:

Traversing the Warrior Fantasy-- Martial Culture and The Meiji Restoration
Friday, March 23, 2018
Time and Location to be determined
Speaker: Michael Wert, Associate Professor of East Asian History, Marquette University
Abstract: The Meiji Restoration is typically analyzed in terms of international and domestic politics, intellectual trends, and changes in the commercial economy. This talk adds to that conventional narrative by exploring the role of warrior identity and the widening gap between warrior ideals and warrior realities in the nineteenth century. For samurai and elite commoners alike, martial culture in the form of swordsmanship became a vehicle for acting out the fantasy of the ideal warrior at a time when warrior authority was at its nadir. Rather than see culture as simply a site of resistance, it was the very act of over-identifying with warrior fantasy and ideology that undermined the Tokugawa regime.
Speaker Bio: Professor Michael Wert is an associate professor of East Asian history at Marquette University, with a focus on early modern and modern Japan.His first book Meiji Restoration Losers: Memory and Tokugawa Supporters in Modern Japan engages memory theory by asking how memory can help answer broader historical questions. Specifically, it traces the “memory landscapes” of the Meiji Restoration from 1868 to the present through the lens of those on the losing side. His second project continues to center around the Meiji Restoration, using theoretical tools to investigate the role of martial fantasy, culture, and violence in the early modern period. Professor Wert is a graduate of GW (B.A. East Asian Studies, 1997).

Fall 17 Lecture Events:

Visible Rhymes, Inaudible Echoes: Script and Sound in the Sinitic Poetry of Modern Japan

Friday, November 10, 2017, 3:00pm-5:00pm

Gelman Library Room 702

2130 H Street NW

Washington, DC 20052

Abstract: Through the turn of the twentieth century, Sinospheric intellectuals were bound together by their membership in an intraregional literary culture. Even as a full range of vernacular forms developed and thrived in premodern East Asia, literary Sinitic works continued to flourish: stimulating and in turn being stimulated by vernacular works. But whereas such texts moved relatively unproblematically across the region, the sound associated with such texts varied widely. This talk explores the implications of aural variation for a literary form in which the sound of words is especially privileged: poetry, focusing on Sinitic poetry from Japan’s nineteenth century.

Speaker: Matthew Fraleigh, Associate Professor of East Asian Literature and Culture, Brandeis University


Speaker Bio: Matthew Fraleigh is Associate Professor of East Asian Literature and Culture and chair of the Program in Comparative Literature. His research concerns the literature of early modern and modern Japan, especially kanshibun (Sinitic poetry and prose). His work has appeared in journals such as Japanese Studies, Monumenta Nipponica, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Kokugo kokubun, and the London Review of Books. He has published two books: Plucking Chrysanthemums: Narushima Ryūhoku and Sinitic Literary Traditions in Modern Japan (Harvard, 2016) and New Chronicles of Yanagibashi and Diary of a Journey to the West: Narushima Ryūhoku Reports From Home and Abroad (Cornell, 2010). The latter, an annotated translation, was awarded the Japan-US Friendship Commission Prize, and in 2012, he received the Sibley Prize for his translation of Ryūhoku's prison essay, Super Secret Tales From the Slammer. He is currently working on two book projects. The first concerns literary and cultural interaction between Japan and Taiwan. The second examines theoretical discourse concerning Sinitic poetry published in 17th to 19th century.


A screening of the film Banana Paradise (香蕉天堂), preceded by a lecture on "Historiographies of Home in Wang Tong’s Cinema, Before and After the Lifting of the Martial Laws" by Dr. Guo-Juin Hongr

This event was reported on TV here.

This event is co-sponsored by Taiwan Academy, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U. S., the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.

Friday, October 27, 2017

3:00-3:30: Opening lecture by Dr. Guo-Juin Hong

3:30-5:30: Film screening of Banana Paradise

5:30-5:50: Closing remarks and post-screening Q&A

The Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E Street, NW, Lindner Family Commons, Room 602

Washington, DC 20052

This is part of the film series “Martial Law and After: Reflection of the 30th Anniversary of the End of the Martial Law in Taiwan Cinema (解嚴三十年臺灣電影眾生相)” organized and co-sponsored by Taipei Cultural Center in New York, National Chengchi University, Taiwan Academy, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U. S., Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures Kim-Renaud East Asian Humanities Lecture Series. Join us for a film screening of Banana Paradise (香蕉天堂, 1989, 116min), introduced and followed by a Q&A discussion with Dr. Guo-Juin Hong, Associate Professor at Duke University.



Film: Banana Paradise (香蕉天堂), 1989, 116min

Director: Wang Tung

"Door Latch" and his friend followed the KMT army and moved to Taiwan in 1949. They conceal their real name and get many trials and afflictions to adapt the circumstances in that special situation. Even though there are a lot of embarrassing situations and he suffers many difficulties, Door Latch survives. However, the KMT government released the restriction to visit Mainland China and he is able to visit parents and relatives there, but bigger secrets will unfold.

Title of Talk: Historiographies of Home in Wang Tong’s Cinema, Before and After the Lifting of the Martial Laws

In 1949, “China” officially fractured into two competing regimes, separated by the Taiwan Straits. The year 1949 does not only divide. It connects and reconnects various interrelated parts and fragments, showing not a clear sense of what China is but, rather, “China” as a question. This presentation begins by tracing the changes in the construction of “home” in post-1949 cinema under the Martial Laws, from the Discourse on Militant Literature and Arts by Chiang Kai-shek in the 1950s to the emergence of the New Taiwan Cinema of the 1980s. The lifting of the Martial Laws in 1987 marked a radical change in Taiwan, effecting, however, a gradual shift in the cinematic representation of “home.” The first part serves as an in-depth introduction to Wang Tong’s 1989 Banana Paradise香蕉天堂, one of the earlier masterpieces depicting the 1949 migration and its lasting impact on people in Taiwan. After the screening, Wang’s later films, namely Red Persimmons 紅柿子 (1995) and his most recent Where the Wind Settles 風中家族 (2015) will serve to illustrate a distinctive transformation in the cinematic construction of home in the post-Martial Laws eras. As the relationships across the Straits continue to evolve, this event introduces but one significant example of how the year 1949 remains at the core of the cultural representation of Taiwan after and beyond the Martial Laws.

Dr. Guo-Juin Hong

(Dr. Guo-Juin Hong, Duke University)

Dr. Guo-Juin Hong is Associate Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and Director of the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image at Duke University. Hong received his PhD in Rhetoric and Film from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004. His book, Taiwan Cinema: A Contested Nation on Screen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011; paperback edition 2013; Chinese edition forthcoming, 2017), is the first and only full-length study of Taiwan cinema in English language that covers its entire history since the colonial period. Hong has published articles on topics such as 1930s Shanghai cinema, New Taiwan Cinema, documentary and queer movement. His essay on colonial modernity in 1930s Shanghai received Honorable Mention for the 2009 Katherine Kovacs Essay Awards by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Hong teaches courses on Chinese-language cinemas, Chinese literature and culture, film theory and historiography, melodrama, documentary, and audiovisual culture.


The Kim-Renaud East Asian Lecture series was established with a gift by Professor Young-Key Kim-Renaud, former chair and current professor emeritus of the EALL Department, and her husband, Dr. Bertrand Renaud. The lecture series aims to bring specialists in East Asian humanities and cultures to GW in order to encourage cross-disciplinary discussions.

Past Events

Fall 2013 - Spring 2017