Category: Events

EVENTS: “Binding Maritime China” BU-NEU-Brandeis Conference at Boston University, May 29-30, 2015

May 7th, 2015



Frederick S.  School of Global Studies, Boston University,  121 Bay State Road, Boston, Massachusetts, 02215

ALL DAY both days on Friday and Saturday,  May 29 and 30, 2015

Boston University and its Center for the Study of Asia have joined forces with Brandeis and Northeastern University to organize an upcoming international conference on the history of maritime China between the 16th and 20th century, entitled Binding Maritime China: Control, Evasion, and Interloping.” Given the importance of maritime East and Southeast Asia as a crucible of conflict and cooperation today, this timely gathering of major senior and innovative junior scholars will offer a deep historical perspective on the formation of the region and its social, economic and religious dynamics. Please visit the website of the conference for detailed information, program, and abstracts. The conference is free and open to the public.



May 7th, 2015



Please join this exciting workshop, the coronation of several meetings of the BU Travel Literature Group, and learn about travel in Asia, the Middle East, the Atlantic world, and the world of literary imagination.


Thursday MAY 14, 2015

Boston University, School of Theology Building, room 636; 745 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 


Panel 1: 10-11  am

“Travel, Adventure, and Self-fashioning: A Frenchman’s Journey to New Orleans in 1729″  (Elizabeth Goldsmith, Romance Studies, BU, emerita)

“Fable, Truth, and Propaganda: Lay and Ecclesiastical Travelers from Europe to China in the Long 18th Century” (Eugenio Menegon, History, BU)

11-11:15 am – BREAK

Panel 2: 11:15 am -12:15  pm

“Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819): Monstrous Travel and the Seductions of Ancient Greece” (James Uden, Classics, BU)

“The Chameleonic Identities of Mohan Lal Kashmiri and the Great Game of the 19th Century”  (Sunil Sharma, MLCL, BU)

12:15-1:30 LUNCH

Panel 3: 1:30-2:30  pm

“Marie Dugard Takes Notes: A Parisian Schoolteacher’s Spirited Reaction to 1890’s America  (Mary Beth Raycraft, Romance Studies, BU)

“Travels of a Cosmopolitan Girl: Yoshiya Nobuko’s 1929 World Tour”  (Sarah Frederick, MLCL, BU)

Panel 4: 2:30-3:30 pm

“Travel and Imagination: Halide Edib’s Encounters with an Illusory India” (Roberta Micallef, MLCL, BU)

“True Stories from the Moscow Dorms: Sonallah Ibrahim and Mohammad Malas at VGIK”  (Margaret Litvin, MLCL, BU)

3:30-4 BREAK

KEYNOTE:  4-5 pm 

 Professor James Buzard (M.I.T.)

“Postcolonial Valediction: Durrell’s Bitter Lemons of Cyprus and the Legacies of the Grand Tour”

SPONSORS: Boston University Center for the Humanities, Middle East and North Africa Studies/, Center for the Study of Asia,  Modern Languages and Comparative Literature,  Romance Studies 


EVENTS: Producing the Political: Religious Authority and Local Governance

April 16th, 2015

Join us for this  co-sponsored BUCSA-Fairbank Center one-day conference on April 22, organized by Professors Robert Weller (Anthropology and CURA Institute, BU) and Michael Puett (East Asian languages and Civilizations, Harvard). 



What are the interactions between ritual practices, religious authorities and political contestations in the production of political authority and the practices of local governance? Papers will consider how religious authority is conceived, legitimized, negotiated and integrated into modes of local authority, based on the idea that enactments of local governance are part of the constitution of day-to-day politics itself, not just the nation-state. The hope is to begin to craft an anthropology of governance based on the comparative analysis of religiously framed processes of state-making Asia.

9:00-10:00  Indira Arumugam (National University of Singapore), Visceral Politics: Sacrificial Rituals and Political Theorizing in a Tamil Nadu Village

10:00-11:00  Jeremy Kingsley (National University of Singapore), Everyday Practices and the Fabric of Local Governance in Eastern Indonesia

11:20-12:20  Keping Wu(Harvard-Yenching Institute), Rituals of Pluralistic Local Governance: State and Religion at the Sino-Burmese-Tibetan Borderlands

1:45-2:45  Huwy-min Lucia Liu (Boston University, HK University of Science and Technology), Pluralist Ritual and Ritual Pluralism: Modes of Religious Authority and Political Contestation in Urban Shanghai Funerals

2:45-3:45  Rebecca Nedostup (Brown University), Graves through Time and Space: Place, Peace, and Sovereignty in the Aftermath, Late 1940s Jiangsu

4:00-5:00  Michael Szonyi (Harvard University), A Temple with Two Gods: Finding the Political Past and Present in a South China Community


EVENT: Sushi Lecture (04/09/2015)

April 1st, 2015

zinn 2015 B small

Please join us next Thursday for this year’s “Sushi Lecture” with professor Ann Sherif of Oberlin College. For those of you who don’t know, Howard Zinn was a well known historian and social activist who taught here at BU until his death in 2010. Zinn wrote powerful, popular books on American history from the perspective of the disenfranchised, exposing the racism, inequality, and violence that has marked the history of the United States. His most famous book, “A People’s History of the United States” is a must read, says one reviewer, for “every American, student or otherwise, who wants to understand his country, its true history, and its hope for the future.” Professor Sherif will tell us what happened when Zinn traveled from Boston to Tokyo in 1966 together with the African American civil rights activist Ralph Featherstone to make common cause with Japanese anti-nuclear activists Tsunami Shunsuke, Oda Makoto, and others. Please join us for this fascinating talk exploring this important chapter of BU history between Boston and Japan! And stay for the sushi reception afterward! 

Time: Thursday, April 9 at 5pm

Location: basement auditorium in the Theology building (745 Comm Ave)


EVENTS: BU Asian Film Week: Asia: Love and Other Obsessions

March 27th, 2015



The third bi-annual BU Asia Film Week is on from Monday, April 6, to Friday, April 10, 2015! Our theme this year is “Asia: Love and Other Obsessions.” The theme reflects both Asian societies’ own takes on personal relationships in the face of enormous social transformations and the ways in which these relationships are presented in phantasies and stereotypes of other cultures and societies. The festival will highlight the particular features of different countries. The weeklong event will start on Monday, April 6, with a talk by our invited keynote speaker Yomi Braester (Washington University) on Wong Kar-Wai’s masterpiece In the Mood for Love (2000). All films will be screened in the afternoons and evenings. Activities also include Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Indian food as well as lunch talks focusing on the theme of the film festival. We will conclude with a student symposium which this year features five short films made by COM students which will be discussed by invited student commentators from CAS. The event is sponsored by the BU Center for the Study of Asia, the BU Center for the Humanities, the Geddes Language Center and the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature.

Monday, April 6

Opening Event “Asia: Love and Other Obsessions”

4 – 5 pm | Keynote lecture: Yomi Braester (Washington University)

5 – 6 pm | Reception (SED First floor lobby

6 – 8 pm | Hong Kong Film Screening: “In the Mood for Love” Dir. Kar-Wai

Location: Boston University School of Education, 2 Silber Way, Room 130

TuesdayApril 7

12 – 1 pm | Korean Lunch Talk: Jaemin Roh (BU MLCL)

Location: College of Arts & Sciences, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Room CAS 200

1 – 3 pm | Korean Film Screening: “A Girl at My Door” Dir. July Jung

Location: Geddes Language Center, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Room CAS 537A/C

6 – 9 pm | Korean Film Screening: “3-Iron” Dir Kim Ki-duk; Guest Speaker: Hyon Joo Yoo (University of Vermont)

Location: Boston University School of Education, 2 Silber Way, Room 130

WednesdayApril 8

12 – 1 pm | Sushi Lunch Talk: Anna Zielinska Elliot (BU MLCL) on Haruki Murakami

1 – 3 pm | Japanese film screening: “Tony Takitani” Dir. Jun Ichikawa

Location: Geddes Language Center, 685 Commonwealth Avenue, Room CAS 533B

6 – 9 pm | Japanese film screening: “Vibrator” Dir. Hiroki Ryûichi; Guest Speaker: Tomiko Yoda (Harvard)

Location: Boston University School of Education, 2 Silber Way, Room 130

ThursdayApril 9 

12 – 1 pm | Indian Lunch and Lecture Sunil Sharma (BU MLCL) on “The Very Tragic Tale of Devdas”

Location: MLCL 745 Commonwealth Avenue, STH 6th floor lounge

6 – 9 pm | Indian Film Screening: “Dev.D” Dir. Anurag Kashyap  Guest Speaker: Tejaswini Ganti (NYU)

Location: Boston University School of Education, 2 Silber Way, Room 130

FridayApril 10 

“Short films Asia” Student Symposium

12 – 3 pm | Asian Lunch, students’ film screenings and critiques

Location: College of Arts & Sciences, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Room CAS 200

This is an educational series, conducted in conjunction with undergraduate class instruction. 

Co-Sponsored by BU Center for the Study of Asia, CSA, BU Center for Humanities, Geddes Language Center, and the Department of Modern Languages and Literature


EVENTS: The Ethics of What We Eat: Changing Food Systems in the US and China (03/19/2015)

March 18th, 2015

American Pork Shipped to China


Concerned about the corporate takeover of our food systems? Join us on Thursday, March 19, for a screening of What’s for Dinner? (Jian Yi, 2013, 27 min.) – a short documentary about the climate, public health, ethical, and human impacts of rapidly growing consumption of meat in China and the increasing industrialization agriculture. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the film’s producer, Mia MacDonald, executive director and founder of Brighter Green, a public policy action tank that works to raise awareness of and encourage policy action on issues that span the environment, animals, and sustainability, and Alex Blanchette, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University and author of the forthcoming Porkopolis: Standardized Life, American Animality, and the “Factory” Farm. Moderated by Ben Siegel, Assistant Professor of History at Boston University.

The Ethics of What We Eat: Changing Food Systems in the US and China

Thursday, March 19 | 6 PM

BU College of Communication, 640 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 101

About the Film:

What’s For Dinner? (29 minutes, Mandarin and various Chinese dialects with English subtitles) examines the rapidly increasing consumption of animal-based foods in China that has mirrored the country’s swift economic growth in recent years. Average pork consumption has doubled over the past ten years, with both western and home-grown fast food chains becoming commonplace in urban centers and creating a $28 billion-a-year market in the country. None of this would be possible without the adoption of U.S.-style systems of intensive production.


But strains are showing: manure run-off from so-called “factory farms” housing thousands of pigs, chickens, and ducks is fouling groundwater and rivers; only two generations after a national famine killed millions, nearly a quarter of Chinese adults and a fifth of Chinese children are overweight or obese; and diet-related chronic diseases now kill more people in China than any other cause.

In the film, award-winning independent director Jian Yi captures the shift in how China eats and produces food through interviews with people across Chinese society – such as Zhou Shuzhen, a retired pig farmer from Jiangxi province; Wang Ronghua, a young livestock entrepreneur who’s expanding his pig and poultry farms; and Wen Bo, one of China’s leading environmentalists.


About the Participants:

Mia MacDonald is a public policy analyst and writer who has worked as a consultant to a range of international non-governmental organizations; including the Ford Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, the Green Belt Movement, the Sierra Club, and Save the Children as well as several United Nations agencies, among others—on issues of environment, gender, sustainable development, women’s rights and gender equality, reproductive health and population, and conservation and animal protection.

Alex Blanchette is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Tufts University. His current research projects are concerned with capitalist natures and the industrialization of labor and life in an allegedly post-industrial United States. His book-in-progress is situated in the workplaces and wake of some of the world’s largest integrated meat corporations, which annually produce 7,000,000 animals in a 100-mile radius region of the Great Plains.


Benjamin Siegel is Assistant Professor of History at Boston University, a historian of modern South Asia, with particular interests in the politics, economy, and culture of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Professor Siegel is teaching a course this spring entitled “Taste Culture and Power: The Global History of Food.”



EVENT IN REVIEW: Daily Free Press on ASIABU New Year Celebration (02/26/2015)

March 1st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 10.33.49 PM

On February 26, student organization ASIABU hosted a successful Asian New Year Celebration in Metcalf Ballroom in the George Sherman Union. Approximately 300 students attended the celebration to celebrate the Asian New Year and the vibrancy of Asian culture.

Along with a variety of entertainment, including performances from BU’s miXx K-Pop Cover Dance Crew, the Gamelankemana Indonesian musical ensemble and from the BU Belly Dance Society, the celebration greeted guests with red envelopes, which were filled with a “Guide to Asia,” and many many ethnic cuisines from Asia. Many student groups partnered with ASIABU to host the celebration, including the Taiwanese American Student Association, India Club, Japanese Student Association, Asian Student Union, Hong Kong Student Association, Indonesian Student Association, Chinese Student Association and the Singapore Collegiate Society.

The celebration has been featured in the BU Student paper The Daily Free Press. For the full article, please click here.

For video with highlights form the evening and interviews, please click here.

The event was also featured in BUToday here.


EVENT IN REVIEW: The Crises of Chinese Leadership (02/24/2015)

February 25th, 2015


On February 24, 2015, the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, in collaboration with BUCSA, held one of its most exciting Inaugural Year Pardee Lectures, entitled “Following the Leader: Politics in China.” Introduced by Pardee School’s Dean Adil Najam, the conversation featured three well-known China experts, David. M. Lampton, Hyman Professor and Director of SAIS-China and China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and author of Following the Leader: Ruling China from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinpin, Ezra F. Vogel, Henry Ford II Professor of Social Science Emeritus, Harvard University, author of Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China, and our own Joseph Fewsmith, Professor at the Boston University Pardee School and Department of Political Science, and author of The Logic and Limits of Political Reform in ChinaA press release from the Pardee School of Global Studies captures the event well:

“China is a very red place.”

You could be forgiven for hearing a phrase like that as a comment on Communism, or perhaps a nod to the Chinese flag. But spoken by David Lampton, director of China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies, the statement takes on a different meaning.

“If you look at maps of the seismology of China, which measure geological activity on a color scale from blue to red, you can see that over modern history, China has had a disproportionate share of massive seismological events” said Lampton, at the most recent in the Pardee School Inaugural Series of lectures, entitled The Politics of Leadership in China.

Describing the life of China’s political leaders in this red place, Lampton conjures “a series of crises, and there are never the resources necessary to deal with them.”

Lampton was joined by Ezra Vogel, professor of the social sciences emeritus of Harvard University, and Joe Fewsmith, Pardee School director of Undergraduate Studies. The event was held Feb. 24 before a packed crowd at the BU Hillel House.

In introducing the speakers, Pardee School Dean Adil Najam referred to them as the ‘Three Tenors of China Studies.’

“These are very exciting speakers, and I can’t think of a better selection of scholars to comment on modern China,” Najam said. “We are delighted to welcome them.”

Of great concern to all three speakers were changes in the political style of China’s current President, Xi Jinping.

“Xi Jinping is a second generation leader, and he has tried to centralize power,” Vogel said. “While he is popular with many of China’s rural populace, the middle class is concerned about how many different offices he has brought under his charge, as well as clamping down on the press and civil liberties. It’s a brittle situation.”

All three speakers compared the current president to longtime leader Deng Xiaoping. While never holding the office of leader of the Communist Party, Deng Xiaoping nonetheless exerted enormous influence in crafting the second generation of Chinese leadership after the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong.

“One thing I think Xi Jinping has taken from Deng Xiaoping is trying to forge an identity as a strong leader and a reformer,” Vogel said. “But at the same time, the circumstances today are quite different.”

Those circumstances, which include a growing economy and middle class, a newer and more prominent role in international affairs, and an increasing desire for civil liberties and information access, have led to a leadership style that harkens back to earlier, more centralized power.

“Xi Jinping has become a strongman. His hands are on more levers than his immediate predecessors,” Lampton said. “But you have to wonder, can he stuff the toothpaste back in the tube? With more knowledge and globalization in the middle class, will they accept a stronger leader?”

The event included a question and answer session as well as a catered reception.

“China is an ever changing place, and you can study it for 40 years and all of a sudden something pops out of the woods and changes everything,” Fewsmith said. “We have over 100 years of collective experience in China studies and still we don’t find it an easy place to figure out.”

Source: Fredrick S. Pardee School of Global Studies


EVENTS: CELOP Japanese English Lunch Exchange

February 3rd, 2015

Spring 2015 Japanese Lunch Exchanges FlyerThe CELOP Japanese English Lunch Exchange is starting again! Come meet BU students who are studying Japanese and Japanese students studying English! Have lunch and make new friends!

Time: Every Friday 12:15-2:00

Location: GSU Food Court, 775 Commonwealth Ave (in the back court room)



EVENT: Asian Studies BA Launch Party (01/30/2015)

January 17th, 2015

Choose a major that takes you places

Come join BUCSA for the Asian Studies BA Launch Party! Enjoy Asian cuisine, meet faculty, and socialize with fellow students!

Choose a major that takes you places! For more information about the new Asian Studies major, click here.

Time: 12:00- 1:30 pm, Friday, January 30, 2015

Location: 121 Bay State Road