Kim-Renaud East Asian Humanities Lecture Series

2019-20 Lectures:

Civilizing the South: Colonialism and Cultural Changes in Han Times

Time: Friday, Feb. 28th, 2020 3:30-5:30PM

Location: Rome Hall 459 801, 22nd St NW, Washington, DC 20052

Light refreshments will be served.This event is co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Language and Literatures and the East Asia National Resource Center.

Speaker: Erica Fox Brindley, Professor of Asian Studies, Penn State University

RSVP: here

Abstract: Empires and their magisterial roles in history have long sparked the imaginations of scholars, artists, and writers. European legacies have impressed upon us the deep significance of Ancient Rome and its imperial influences throughout the ages and throughout the Western world. Most of us know of faraway places along the northern frontier of the Roman world, such as London, Cologne, and Paris, and we also have a sense of the diversity of the region and how different the cultures that inhabited it might have been from their imperialistic Roman neighbors to the South. But when it comes to the faraway, frontier regions of the Han empire, we draw a blank: who were the peoples of the northern and southern frontiers on the East Asian mainland, and what were their cultures like in comparison to those from the ancient Central States regions around the Yellow River regions? What did the colonial cities and outposts along the borders look like, and how did they differ from each other and the great cities, including the capital, closer to the center of the empire? Was everyday life changed significantly for peoples living in the outer regions of early empires, or did the penetration and transformation of Sinitic languages and cultures in these outer regions occur on a much larger time-scale than the Han? Prof. Brindley’s talk addresses these questions through an inquiry into the civilizing missions along the ancient southern frontier. It revisits issues concerning imperial reach and colonialism, and sheds light on what we can know about Han control and the limited extent of cultural change in this period.


Dragon Editions and Crow Documents: Sinographic Writing in Korea’s Three Kingdoms and Early Historic Japan

Tinaniwa mokkanme: 3pm-5pm, Friday, November 15, 2019

Location: Rome Hall 459 (801 22nd St. NW, Washington, DC, 20052)

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and East Asia National Resource Center.

Speaker: Dr. Marjorie Burge, University of Colorado


Abstract: This talk will explore the connections between the earliest written cultures of the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago.  The earliest Japanese histories, Kojiki (712) and Nihon shoki (720), trace the arrival of Sinographic writing in Japan to scholars sent by the king of Paekche (late third century-660CE), a kingdom on the Korean peninsula.  Other early Japanese works, including the Literary Sinitic poetry collection Kaifūsō (751), emphasize the origins of written culture in Japan as connected to individuals who immigrated to the Japanese court from the Korean kingdoms. While this connection has seldom been disputed by modern scholars, its implications have been generally underestimated. Due to the paucity of extant materials from Korea’s Three Kingdoms period (Koguryǒ [ca. first century-668CE], Silla [ca. third century-935CE], and Paekche), it has been long assumed that written culture on the Korean peninsula during the first millennium was essentially indistinguishable from that of the contemporary Chinese dynasties. However, because recent archaeological discoveries have allowed for a more complex understanding of the uses of Sinographic writing in the southern kingdoms of Paekche and Silla, it is now possible to explore exactly how early Japanese written culture was built upon a foundation developed originally on the Korean peninsula.

This talk will introduce significant inscriptions from the inscribed wooden strips known as mokkan excavated from sites on the southern Korean peninsula and Japan. Based on the evidence from mokkan, this talk will argue that the rapid development of Japan’s written culture in the seventh century was predicated upon the integration of large numbers of already-literate elite immigrants from the Korean kingdoms in the aftermath of the Battle of the Paek River of 663.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Marjorie Burge (Ph.D., UC Berkeley) is Assistant Professor of Japanese in the Department of Asian Languages & Civilizations at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She received her PhD in 2018 from the University of California, Berkeley. Marjorie's 2018 dissertation is titled "Inscriptive Practice and Sinographic Literary Culture in Early Historic Korea and Japan." Marjorie received her B.A. in Asian Studies and Japanese from the George Washington University in 2008.

Dr. Burge

Lecture & Performance


The acclaimed Ohkura School Kyogen actors Daijiro Zenchiku, Noriyoshi Ohkura, and Shinkai Yoshida will perform the popular and humorous “Busu.”

The performance will be preceded by presentations on the history of Kyogen, an explanation of some of the techniques used, and opportunities for participatory learning. Prepare to laugh, and learn how this ancient performing art form still retains never-fading entertainment charm even today.

“Busu (poison)” is the famous tale of two servants who are given a pail and ordered by their master to "carefully guard it, as it contains a deadly poison, "Busu." However, the two servants end up opening the pail and find out…

Kyogen is comic theater which developed alongside Noh. While Noh is musical and solemn, Kyogen provides comic relief with a focus on clever dialogue. Historically Kyogen and Noh alternated in the same program, but now Kyogen is also performed independently, as will be the case in this event.

This program will be presented in Japanese with English translation.

Date: Sunday, November 10

Time: 3:00 p.m. (Door opens at 2:30)

Venue: Amphitheater, Marvin Center, The George Washington University

The event is free of charge, but space is limited and a ticket is required. Please register from the link below..

Register Now

This event is organized by the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and the East Asia National Resource Center, The George Washington University, with the support of Noh Society in New York.



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 2019