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From the monthly archives: February, 2019

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'February, 2019'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

#AsiaNow Speaks with Bryan D. Lowe

Bryan D. Lowe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University and author of Ritualized Writing: Buddhist Practice and Scriptural Cultures in Ancient Japan, published by University of Hawai’i Press and the Kuroda Institute for the Study of Buddhism and winner of the 2019 AAS John Whitney Hall Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. The book studies how and why people transcribe Buddhist scripture in ritualized ways. I trace how scribes often engaged in purification practices prior to and while copying texts and how patrons sponsored dedication ceremonies upon completion. They did this based on an idea that reproducing Buddhist texts could create merit capable of saving the damned and bringing benefits to the living. I argue that ritual practice represents one way that humans transform a particular body of texts into scripture—works set apart as uniquely special, venerable, and powerful. But the book is also a rethinking ...

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President’s Column: Annual Conference Preview

We live in a world of Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, WeChat, Twitter, Facebook, and LINE, not to mention landlines, cell phones, email, online courses, and other technologies introduced in a previous century. These numerous means of communication enable us to cross the sometimes vast distances that separate us from our colleagues, our mentors, our students, and the people and places we study, write, and teach about. In such a world, resorting to airplanes in order to be in the same place at the same time with some of those people may seem a ridiculous or even wasteful luxury. And yet, it is a luxury that several thousand scholars of Asia are about to indulge in. In one month, the 70th annual conference of the AAS will begin, in Denver. As those of us lucky enough to attend the conference—those whose proposals were accepted by the program committee; those who have U.S. passports or can obtain visas; those with the time, the good health, and the financial means to make the trip and find a place to stay&mda ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Stuart Robson

Stuart Robson is an Adjunct Professor in Indonesian Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and is author of The Old Javanese Ramayana; A New English Translation, published by the Institute of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA) within the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, in 2015, and winner of the AAS A.L. Becker Southeast Asian Literature in Translation Prize for 2019. What is the book about? As you will know, the Ramayana is a famous classic of world literature, originating from India and existing in a number of different versions. The present version is a literary one (that is, as distinct from folk), written in the Old Javanese language and dating from the second half of the 9th century and the early decades of the 10th century, and composed in Java. It follows the plot of the Sanskrit Valmiki version, but is an independent work of literature, with its own special qualities. Unfortunately the name of the author is unknown. Being an epic, it is hundreds o ...

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February 2019 AAS Member News & Notes

Congratulations to AAS Member Nancy S. Steinhardt (University of Pennsylvania), who has been honored by the College Art Association with its Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award. *** AAS Member Kenneth Pomeranz (University of Chicago) is co-winner of the prestigious Dan David Prize in the “Past” category for his work on the macro history of East Asia. *** Longtime AAS Member Chi Wang has been recognized by Senator James Risch, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for his 47 years of service at the Library of Congress. Dr. Wang was head of the library’s Chinese and Korea Section from 1975 until his retirement in 2004. Read the full text of Senator Risch’s remarks honoring Dr. Wang in the Congressional Record. *** THANK YOU to all who donated to the AAS in 2018; the list of donors is now posted online. Your support enables us to carry out many important programs and initiatives, and we greatly appreciate all donations we receive. To support the ...

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Introducing Bodies and Structures 1.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

By David R. Ambaras and Kate McDonald What Bodies and Structures Is Bodies and Structures is a platform for researching and teaching spatial histories of East Asia and the larger worlds of which they were a part. The site combines individually-authored, media-rich content modules with conceptual maps and visualizations. The modules analyze primary sources with significant spatial historical themes. The conceptual maps and visualizations reveal thematic, historical, and geographic connections between the modules. Each module also includes a translated primary source or sources. We built it using the open-source platform Scalar. Bodies and Structures 1.0 focuses on early to mid-twentieth century Japan and East Asia shaped by Japanese imperialism. The modules tell spatial stories about: colonial political activists; interethnic intimacies and regional migration; department stores and empire; the multi-layered spaces of the modern drugstore; Chinese settlement on the Mongolian frontier ...

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Meet the New VP: Christine Reiko Yano

Christine Reiko Yano is professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She will take office as the AAS vice president following the March 21-24 conference in Denver, Colorado. I am an anthropologist of Japan with research on popular culture analyzed through multiple lenses of gender, affect, nationalism, globalism, and consumption. I come to the AAS vice presidency as an outlier—Asian American (Sansei, third-generation Japanese American, born and raised in Hawai’i), working-class background, popular culture research. But it is these very outlier positions that provide a perspective that may be of benefit to the field of Asian Studies. I have been active within AAS, serving on the Northeast Asia Council (including as Chair) and the Distinguished Speakers Bureau. I currently serve on the American Advisory Committee of Japan Foundation (AAC, elected chair as of 2018). At the same time, I have recently been active in the field of Asian American Studies, serving since 2017 on ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Anna Stirr

Anna Stirr is Associate Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii, and author of Singing Across Divides: Music and Intimate Politics in Nepal, published by Oxford University Press and winner of the 2019 AAS Bernard S. Cohn prize for a first book on South Asia. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. My book is about the importance of a genre of Nepali sung poetry called dohori in the everyday social relations among different groups in Nepal today. Dohori is improvised, dialogic singing, in which a witty repartee of exchanges is based on poetic couplets with a fixed rhyme scheme, often backed by instrumental music and accompanying dance, performed between men and women, with a primary focus on romantic love. It has roots in multiple indigenous traditions of social exchange. It’s transgressive of dominant social norms, because it promotes love relationships that cross social divides—caste, class, ethnicity, religion. Despite this transgressiveness, it’s also ...

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