Category: Uncategorized

Workshop on Oxford Handbook of Classical Chinese Literature, co-edited by Professor Wiebke Denecke

January 6th, 2015 in Publication, Uncategorized

On December 4 and 5 2014 two dozen scholars from the US, Europe, Taiwan, and Vietnam convened at the East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department at Harvard to discuss their drafts for an Oxford Handbook of Classical Chinese Literature 1000 BCE-900 CE. The workshop was generously sponsored by the Boston University Center for the Study of Asia (BUCSA), as well as the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, the Harvard Asia Center, the Harvard-Yenching Institute, and the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.

The Handbook is co-edited by Wiebke Denecke (Boston University, Modern Languages and Comparative Literature and affiliated BUCSA faculty), Wai-yee Li (Harvard University, East Asian Languages and Civilizations), and Xiaofei Tian (Harvard University, East Asian Languages and Civilizations). It will compress essential knowledge and critical approaches to two thousand years of Chinese literary history between its book covers when published, as is currently planned, in 2016. Commissioned by Oxford University Press, this handbook is part of the Oxford Handbook Series that, in the words of the publisher, “advances an original conception of the field through a definitive collection of essays, each of which provides a survey of the current state of scholarly debate and an original argument about the future direction of research.”

The Oxford Handbook of Classical Chinese Literature is a first-of-its-kind handbook that integrates issue-oriented, thematic, topical and cross-cultural approaches to the classical Chinese literary heritage with historical perspectives. It introduces both literature and institutions of literary culture, in particular court culture and manuscript culture, which shaped early and medieval Chinese literary production. Problematizing the gap between traditional concepts and modern revisionary definitions of literary categories it fosters critical awareness of how this has shaped the transmission and reception of literature and literary history. It discusses both canonical works and works that fall between the cracks of modern disciplinary divisions of “philosophy,” “religion,” “history,” and “literature.” In a special section devoted to “China and the World,” the handbook explores issues of translation and cultural exchange on China’s periphery and explicitly expands the modern nation-based concept of “Classical Chinese Literature” to the Chinese-style literatures produced in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. While recapturing the functioning of the East Asian “Sinographic sphere,” comprising cultures that traditionally relied on the Chinese script, it showcases the importance of Japan, Korea, and Vietnam for the study of Chinese literature. The lively discussions during the workshop were filled with both enthusiasm and anxiety over undertaking such a daunting project.

Ultimately, the Handbook also aims to enable a broader conversation between students of premodern literary cultures around the globe, from the Ancient Near East and Greco-Roman Antiquity, to the world of Arabic and Persian literatures, Europe, and India. Many contributors to the handbook and senior scholars on a concluding panel devoted to the future of the field agreed that as (Western) “Classics” and “Medieval Studies” are going “global,” Chinese literature scholars will want to join and shape that conversation, reach broader audiences, and spearhead a new kind of comparatism that brings philologists of the world’s classical literary traditions into a mutually beneficial dialogue that can be the basis for a more global and transcultural concept and practice of “Classical Studies.”

The workshop organizers, Professors Tian Xiaofei, Wai-yee Li (both Harvard),

and Wiebke Denecke (Boston University)

 Workshop Participants








Prof. Wiebke Denecke Wins Prestigious Fellowship

December 1st, 2014 in Uncategorized

MLCL’s own Professor Wiebke Denecke has won BU’s first Mellon New Directions fellow! Read the full article here!

November 10 MLCL Open House and Majors Reception

November 6th, 2014 in Uncategorized



Join us on Monday November 10th from 4-6pm for our Majors Reception in STH 611 or find out more about what MLCL has to offer at our Open House in STH 636! Chat with professors and peers, enjoy light refreshments!

Photos from the Japanese Kimono Now and Then Performance

November 3rd, 2014 in Uncategorized

On Thursday, October 30th, the Japanese House took a field trip to the Metcalf Trustee Ballroom together to enjoy the show. 40 performers came from Japan and they were so excited to meet and talk to our Japanese House residents! What a great experience! Kimonoshou (17) Kimonoshou (22) Kimonoshou (24)

Refusing Exile Lecture by Dr. John Song Pae Cho 11/6

October 28th, 2014 in Uncategorized


‘Power and Magic in the Planning of Edo: The Shogun’s City’ Talk by Timon Screech

October 14th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Join us on Thursday, October 23 at 5pm in the Pardee Seminar Room at 121 Bay State Rd.

Power and Magic

Join us for the Middle East Feast!

October 8th, 2014 in Uncategorized


Geddes Japanese Movie Series

September 19th, 2014 in Uncategorized


                                                (All English subtitled)


Every Other Wednesdays, from 6:30pm-

CAS 537C or 537A, 725 Commonwealth Avenue

9/22 – Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams 夢 (1990)  119 min. CAS537C

Dream tells the story of man’s relationship with his environment, essentially eight separate short films with some overlap in characters and thematic material.  Director: Kurosawa, Akira


10/8 – Blood and Bones 血と骨(2004)  140min.  CAS537A

Shunpei Kim (Takeshi Kitano) arrived in Osaka by boat from Korea in 1923 as a teenager. Blood and Bones portrays his reign of terror over one of the city’s many immigrant communities, and from the time of his mysterious absence during World War II to his sudden return to what is then North Korea in the early 1980s, as a grey-haired old codger. Director: Sai, Yoichi


10/22 – Pulse 回路(2001)  117 min.   CAS 537C

Horror in its purest form. This movie’s portrayal of a succession of suicides by young Internet users becomes a treatise on contemporary solitude, isolation, and discommunication.  Director: Kurosawa, Kiyoshi


11/5 – Caterpillar キャタピラー (2011) 85min.  CAS537A

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Lieutenant Kurokawa returns home as an honored and decorated soldier after losing his arms and legs in battle. His wife must nevertheless honor the Emperor and the country by setting an example and fulfilling her duty taking care of the ‘god soldier.’  Director: Wakamatsu, Koji


11/19 – Distance ディスタンス (2001)  132min.  CAS537C

Members of a cult, modeled on Aum Shinrikyo, sabotage a city’s water supply, and then commit mass suicide near the shores of a lake. Family members of the perpetrators meet at the lake to observe the anniversary of their loved ones’ deaths. Director: Koreeda, Masakazu

12/3 – Paprika パプリカ(2006)  90min.   CAS537C

When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patient’s dreams is stolen, all hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist can stop it: Paprika.   Director: Kon, Satoshi


Presented by the Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature, Boston University Center for the Study of Asia, the Geddes Language Center and the Japanese Student Association.

For further information, please contact (Hiromi Miyagi-Lusthaus)


The U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce the opening of the scholarship competition for the 2015 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in Critical Foreign Languages.

September 18th, 2014 in Uncategorized

The CLS Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is a fully-funded overseas language program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and to build relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides study opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.


The thirteen CLS languages are: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu.


Please note that participants in the CLS Program are not required to have any experience studying critical languages for most of the thirteen languages. Arabic, Chinese, Persian, Russian, and Japanese institutes have language prerequisites, which can be found on the CLS website:


The CLS Program seeks participants with diverse interests, from a wide variety of fields of study, backgrounds and career paths, with the purpose of representing the full diversity of professional, regional, cultural and academic backgrounds in the United States. Thus, students from all academic disciplines, including business, engineering, law, medicine, science, social sciences, arts and humanities are encouraged to apply.


There is no service requirement for CLS Alumni after the program. However, participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their professional careers. Participants are selected based on their commitment to language learning and plans to apply their language skills to their future academic or professional pursuits.


Please note that CLS is an intensive group-based language program.
The application is now live and available online at:

Applications will be due November 12, 2014 by 8:00 pm EST.


Prior to preparing their application, interested students should review the full eligibility and application information on the CLS Program website:


For news, updates and more information about the CLS Program, check out the CLS website or our Facebook page for updates!


CLS Website:

CLS Facebook page:

For questions, please contact

MLCL Student Receives the Gregory Hudson Award for Writing Excellence in the Humanities

July 10th, 2014 in Uncategorized

Recent MLCL Graduate William Wallis was recently named the winner of the prestigious Gregory Hudson Award for Writing Excellence in the Humanities for his thesis “Betwixt and Between: Ubertino Carrara and Lin Zexu”.  MLCL’s Margaret Litvin described his work:

Beyond mere erudition, William Wallis’s writing shows an original, thoughtful approach to intellectual problems and a dazzling sensitivity to verse. To quote my colleague Wiebke Denecke, who inspired William to learn Classical Chinese and rashly approved his thesis topic: “Who in the world has lately compared an 18th century Aeneid-based NeoLatin epic about Christopher Columbus with a 19th-century Chinese statesman’s exile poetry about the Far West of the Chinese Qing Empire? Unique, for sure, and brilliantly done.

Congratulations William!