Category: Featured

EVENT China and Latin America: sustainability and development

April 9th, 2016

As part of the series on New and Old Silk Roads in Asia:

China and Latin America: sustainability and development

Wednesday, April 20th

12:00 – 1:30

121 Bay State Road

Kevin Gallagher, Director of GEGI

Silk Road NEW


Memory Against Forgetting: work of the Dui Hua Foundation

March 23rd, 2016


March 29, 4 pm at the BU Castle


NEWS: Nine BU scholars in Seattle at Association for Asian Studies Meeting, March 31-April 3, 2016

March 16th, 2016

Later this month, nine BU scholars and faculty members will head to Seattle to participate in the annual conference for the Association of Asian Studies (AAS).  Covering regions from East Asia, South Asia, to Southeast Asia and in areas such as anthropology to gender and sexuality to communications to business management, the AAS is aimed at bringing together academics and professionals knowledgeable about Asia’s history and how the region is in modern day.

Below is a list of the BU scholars and their panels. For a full program and description of the panels, please click here.

China and Inner Asia
PANEL: Chinese Christianity Revisited: The John Sung Papers and Chinese Evangelistic Materials – Sponsored by CEAL Committee on Chinese Materials
“Class and Conversion: An Exploration in the Journals of John Sung” by Daryl Ireland, BU School of Theology

PANEL: Crisis and Intervention: Local Histories of State and Society in Qing China
Discussant: Eugenio Menegon, BU History

Inter-Area Border Crossing
PANEL: Colors in East Asian Civilizations: Concept, Materiality, and Art
Discussant: Richard Laursen, BU Chemistry

PANEL: Migrant Choreographies: Dancing across China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Europe
“Dancing Pictures: “Mei Lanfang’s ‘The Goddess Spreads Flowers’ and the Inherent Ambiguity of Modernism” by Catherine Vance Yeh, BU Modern Languages and Comparative Literature

PANEL: Muslim Moralities in Asian Capitalisms – Sponsored by the South Asian Muslim Studies Association (SAMSA)
“Capitalism and the Struggle for an Islamic Economic Ethics in Contemporary Indonesia” by Robert W. Hefner, BU Anthropology

PANEL: Nuclear Trauma and Its Musical Responses
“Sounding Affective Alliances in Post-3.11 Japan” by Marie Abe, BU Musicology

PANEL: Wilful Gods: Divine Agency and Ritual Efficacy in South and East Asia
Discussant: Robert Weller, BU Anthropology

PANEL: Japanese Literary Historiography: Past, Present, and Future
“Reconfiguring the Gordian Knot: Japanese Literary Historiography and the wa/kan Divide” by Wiebke Denecke, BU Modern Languages and Comparative Literature

Southeast Asia
PANEL: Beyond Commodification: Mass-Produced Religious Objects and Deep Authority in South and Southeast Asia
“The Mass-Mediated Reproduction of Charisma within a Diasporic Sufi Community” by Frank J. Korom, BU Department of Religion


Asia Film Festival: “Lady Avengers”

March 4th, 2016

Spring Film Festival

April 4 – 7


NEWS: Professor Stephen Turnbull lectures on “The Real Samurai”

February 2nd, 2016

Scholar of samurai history Dr. Stephen Turnbull presented a talk on “The Real Samurai: The True Story Behind the Masks” to a packed audience of students and faculty at the Pardee School on January 26, 2016.   

Dr. Turnbull wove a fascinating tale of the place of samurai in Japanese traditional society, accompanied by a rich series of images of samurai armor and artifacts produced over several centuries.  The talk ranged beyond traditional Japan to include both foreign ventures by samurai and the penetration of the bushido code of the samurai into the twentieth century.  Punctuated by humor and amusing anecdotes dispelling myths about both samurai and ninja, the presentation led to a lively round of questions and answers.

Professor Stephen Turnbull points out to his audience at the Pardee School details  of the samurai siege of wooden palisade Tanaka Castle on a period map.

Professor Stephen Turnbull points out to his audience at the Pardee School details
of the samurai siege of wooden palisade Tanaka Castle on a period map.

Professor Turnbull traveled from Leeds University in the United Kingdom to present his talk at Boston University.  He is also affiliated with the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and with Akita International University in northern Honshu.  For the talk, he drew material from the more than seventy books and many articles he has written on Japanese and Asian history.  He is noted for having attracted many students to Asian studies in the UK.  His engaging talk at BU was an example of the infectious enthusiasm for which he is noted.  

– Professor Grant Rhode


Theater Nohgaku

January 16th, 2016


Friday, March 25th


Noh Music Performance/Discussion

Hosted by Marié Abe

12:00-1:00 p.m.

CFA, Studio 167

Open to the Public


Reading in Japanese Civilizations (M. Henstock)

3:00-4:00 p.m.

CAS 530


Noh Movement Workshop

Hosted by Tamala Bakkensen

4:00-6:00 p.m.

CFA, Studio 109

Open to the Public


Saturday, March 26th


Lecture/Demo of Noh & Kyogen Performance Styles

2:00-3:30 p.m.

CFA Concert Hall

Open to the Public


Sunday, March 27th


No Activities Scheduled


Monday, March 28th


Intro to Asian Studies (M. Ye)

10:00-11:00 a.m.

IRB 247


The History of Racial Thought (R. Richardson)

1:00-2:00 p.m.

STH 319


Playwriting Workshop

Hosted by Kate Snodgrass and Jacob Strautmann

7:00-9:00 p.m.

Boston Playwright’s Theater

Open to the Public




Tuesday, March 29th


Japanese through Theater (H. Miyagi-Lusthaus)

12:00-1:00 p.m. (class 12-1:30)



Japanese House Dinner

TBD (6:00/7:00 p.m.)



Wednesday, March 30th


Japanese Translation (A. Zielinska-Elliott)

12:00-1:00 p.m.

CAS 312



6:30 p.m.

Tsai Performance Center

Open to the Public


Trauma & the Arts Panel (post performance)

Post-performance (8:30/8:45 p.m.)

Tsai Performance Center

Open to the Public


Thursday, March 31st


High School Student Matinee

10:00 a.m.

Tsai Performance Center


Pre-Performance Reception

5:30 p.m.

(by invitation)



7:00 p.m.

Tsai Performance Center

Open to the Public




OPPORTUNITIES: China Internship

January 14th, 2016

Research Ph.D. Fellowship l Ph.D. in China Fellowship   

The Confucius China Studies Program Fellowships provide generous funding and support for qualified U.S. and international (non-Chinese) students who wish to pursue their doctoral research in China. Funding awards range from one semester to four years.


Grantees will receive comprehensive support during their time in China, including: 

  • 80,000 RMB annual living stipend 
  • 20,000 RMB annual research stipend 
  • Insurance 
  • Host university tuition 
  • Roundtrip airfare 
  • In addition, the Research Ph.D. Fellowship provides financial support for a research visit to China by the grantee’s home university adviser.

For additional information, please contact:
Steven Dale
Confucius China Studies Program
Joint Research Ph.D. Fellowship
Institute of International Education


IIE China Fellowship


1/26: Real Samurai

January 11th, 2016

samuraiReal Samurai: The True Story Behind the Masks

Tuesday, January 26th 

4 to 6 pm

121 Bay State Road

Samurai armour and Japanese swords are among the best known and most spectacular items of military equipment in world history. Their uses appear on numerous painted scrolls, screens and prints, but what was the reality that lay behind this lavish artistic interpretation? In this talk Stephen Turnbull, professor of Japanese Studies at Leeds, SOAS, and Akita International University, removes the grinning face mask from the armoured warrior to expose an unknown world of samurai warfare where loyalty seemed not to exist, where badly made swords broke in battle and where victories were determined not by individual combat between honourable opponents but by volleys of bullets from simple farmers. It was a time when castles were nothing more than wooden stockades, when there was no such thing as a ninja and when samurai sold their services to foreign kings.



OPPORTUNITIES: Visiting Researcher/Artist

December 4th, 2015

Visiting Researcher_Page_1

Visiting Researcher_Page_2

Visiting Researcher_Page_3



NEWS: The Moral Case for Saving the Planet: Regional Perspectives

November 17th, 2015


BU Profs. James McCann listen Robert Hefner as Pardee Dean Adil Najam examines the implications climate change has on the Global South.

Distinguished representatives from several areas of the humanities at BU gathered today on a panel to discuss the interplay of morality and environmentalism throughout the world. Each panelist spoke to their area of interest, with Professor of History and Associate Director for Development at the African Studies Center James McCann on Sub-Saharan Africa, Associate Professor of International Relations Henrik Selin on Europe, Professor of Anthropology Robert Weller on Asia, and Dean Adil Najam of the Pardee School on the global perspective. Professor of Anthropology and CURA Director Robert Hefner moderated with Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore of the School of Theology as discussant.


BU Pardee Prof. Henrik Selin speaking on the European perspective on global climate change.

Each speaker brought with them the regional perspective on which they have expertise, showcasing the diversity of responses that exist around the world to the question of morality in environmentalism. Selin discussed how the concept of the welfare state in northern Europe has evolved to include environmentalism in its purpose. He pointed out that, although the effects of climate change will not have the greatest impact on the region, the idea of “sharing the burden” is ingrained into the moral framework. Conversely, McCann pointed out that Sub-Saharan Africa is already feeling the effects, especially considering that many communities are seasonally dependent and at high risk of livelihood loss from droughts or other impacts of climate change.

McCann also delved into the interpretation of cultural connections to environmentalism, namely, that ties can be found through evaluating art, language, and religion. Weller continued by focusing on traditional Taoist and Buddhist philosophy in China and how those concepts and values translate to a regional perspective. He warned against appropriating Eastern philosophies or taking them out of context, as it would prevent us from understanding the whole of the situation. For instance, Weller noted that, while Taoism is not inherently reverent of nature, it does acknowledge the need for a certain amount of balance. He pointed out that Buddhism has already been a successful driver for grassroots environmentalism.


BU Anthropology Prof. Robert Weller sharing his thoughts on China’s approach to shifting environmental politics.

Dean Najam ended the initial speeches with a cumulative look at how these regional perspectives, religious or secular, impact the discussion on the international stage. When discussing the role religion has in shaping these moral values, Dean Najam emphasized that “religion takes on the understanding of the interpreter,” in that a religion has the capacity to inspire environmental action or destruction, and this direction is completely dependent on who is making that decision. He concluded his speech with a moving story that highlighted the disparity in possible reactions to environmental issues.

Still, the panelists found that many of the hurdles faced are the same, regardless of area. “The greatest moral challenge to environmental issues, social justice issues, gender equality issues, [etc.] is apathy.” Whichever morality, religion, or secular idea to which one ascribes, connections and actions are the keys to advancement.