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Shaken Authority: An Interview with Christian Sorace

In the early afternoon of May 12, 2008, a devastating 7.9-magnitude earthquake ruptured the countryside of China’s southwestern Sichuan Province. More than 85,000 people died, including at least 5,000 children killed when their schools collapsed—victims of corruption on the part of local officials and building contractors, who had skimmed from the top of building funds and erected shoddy “tofu-dregs schoolhouses” that stood no chance against the earthquake’s might. In the first weeks following the quake, parents staged protests and called on the government to punish those deemed responsible for their children’s deaths. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) quickly moved to silence the outcries and control the narrative about the earthquake. Government propaganda and news stories steered attention away from the manmade disaster (renhuo) caused by corruption and focused instead on the natural disaster (tianzai) of the earthquake and the CCP’s leadership in rescue and recon ...

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AAS Less Commonly Taught Languages Distance Initiative Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation

The Association for Asian Studies is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to fund a pilot project in the association’s new Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) Initiative. According to the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL), ninety-one percent of American students who study a foreign language learn Spanish, French, German, or Italian. The remaining nine percent are engaged in the study of LCTLs. Even within that category, however, the distribution of students is uneven, with some languages more widely taught than others. In the field of Asian Studies, for example, Chinese and Japanese courses are far more prevalent than those in Burmese or Gujarati—though Myanmar and India are no less important than China or Japan to regional dynamics in Asia. Smooth international relations rely heavily on the presence of government officials, nonprofit workers, scholars, and journalists with fluency in multiple languages. “As the wor ...

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May 2017 AAS Member News & Notes

Jan Bardsley (University of North Carolina) speaks at the State University of New York, Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), in mid-March. Professor Bardsley visited FIT under the auspices of the AAS Northeast Asia Council's Distinguished Speakers Bureau; see below for more information about this program. Congratulations to AAS Member Ulug Kuzuoglu, PhD candidate in history at Columbia University, who has received an ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship for his project, “Overcome by Information: Psychogrammatology and Technopolitics of Script Invention in China, 1892-1986.” *** The Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies has announced its awards for the 2017-2018 academic year, in four categories. We’re thrilled to see so many AAS Members receive recognition for their work: Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants Thomas Chan (University of California, San Diego), “Bottoms-Up History: Maoism, Maotai, and the Building of the Chinese Nation, 1949-1976” Xiang Ch ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Hyun Ok Park

Hyun Ok Park is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University and author of The Capitalist Unconscious: From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea, published by Columbia University Press and recipient of the 2017 AAS James Palais Award Honorable Mention. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. This book presents a paradigm shift on Korean unification, which is an unresolved and volatile matter for the global order. Regime change in North Korea and economic engagement with it have developed into showdowns in national and international relations whenever the security of the Korean peninsula is threatened by North Korea’s missile tests and nuclear development or by the trail of its refugees. Based on extensive archival and ethnographic research, I argue, instead, that Korea is already unified by capital in a transnational form. The hegemonic democratic politics of the post-Cold War era (reparation, peace, and human rights) have consigned the rights of migrant l ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Sonal Khullar

Sonal Khullar is associate professor of art history at the University of Washington and author of Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990, published by the University of California Press and winner of the 2017 AAS Bernard S. Cohn Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Worldly Affiliations traces the emergence of a national art world in twentieth-century India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan ambitions and orientations in contrast to previous studies that have highlighted postcolonial difference or deviation from Western norms. I focus on four Indian artists—Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941), Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011), K. G. Subramanyan (1924-2016), and Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003)—and situate their careers within national and global histories of modernism and modernity. These artists challenged the canons, disciplines, schools, and institutions of British colonialism and Indian nationalism, thereby modeling what Edward Sai ...

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