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Past Global Virtual Speaker Program Events

The Asian Studies Center Global Virtual Speaker Program aims to stimulate and increase academic and scholarly interest about Asia at MSU starting in Fall 2020. Below is an archive of all past GVSP events hosted by the Asian Studies Center affiliated faculty. 

2021 Global Virtual Speaker Program Events

Spring 2021

Succeeding with Confucianism

Year 2020 has challenged us physically, mentally, and financially. Some groan and moan; some rage and roar. Yet, we still have to strive and live.A retreat to ancient philosophy may help to resume courage and empower you with inspiration and motivation to move on. Confucianism is centrally concerned with questions about how we ought to live: what goes into a worthwhile life; how we weigh duties toward family; what kinds of qualities a person should have or avoid having; how we should treat other people (and ourselves); and what makes us happy.

  • Speaker: Dr Zu-yan Chen, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, Binghamton University, SUNY
  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: Dr. Wenying Zhou & Dr. Tze-lan Sang


2020 Global Virtual Speaker Program Events

Fall 2020

 Examining Chinese Model Opera: Redefining Genre and Gender, Subverting Ideology in Revolutionary Ballet

  • Speaker: Dr Rowan McLelland, Senior Lecturer, Department of Dance, University of Roehampton, London
  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: Dr. Laura MacDonald

Growing Empires in the Age of the Nation-State

"The interwar years saw extraordinary outbursts of political foment from Berlin to Shanghai, mixing together in a toxic brew the rise of mass culture and calls for socialist revolution. In furious backlash, rightwing movements around the world promised a restoration of national glory and agrarian idyll. Yet, beneath the polarization of the political discourse, both left and right leaning governments and non-governmental agencies like the Rockefeller Foundation promoted agricultural science as a solution to rural problems. 

  • Speaker: Dr. Shellen Wu, Associate Professor of History, University of Tennessee
  • Sponsoring Faculty MemberDr. Sidney Xu Lu

South America Bound: The Origins of Settler-Colonist Fiction in Meiji Japan

This talk investigates the origins of settler-colonist fiction that began in Meiji-era Japan (1868-1912), and constituted one of the most tangible forms by which modern literature participated in the Empire of Japan’s broader expansionist aims. Contrary to the conventional wisdom which takes for granted that this genre was exclusively set in Japan’s burgeoning empire in Asia, from 1908 until the onset of World War II, settler-colonist fiction expressly promoted emigration overseas to sovereign nations in South America, notably Peru and Brazil, as an essential part of its diversified strategy to alleviate the burdens of overpopulation in the home islands. 

  • Speaker: Dr. Seth Jacobowitz, Senior Research Associate, The City College of New York
  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: Dr. Sidney Xu Lu

Chinese Cities and City People during and after World War II

The effects of World War II on Chinese cities were transformative. In addition to horrendous devastation, the war years were marked by significant cultural exchange, the reconfiguration of social hierarchies, and experiments in governance. All of these phenomena shaped the subsequent establishment of the new Communist regime in Chinese cities beginning in 1949. Drawing on a novel set in a wartime provincial capital, Li Jieren’s Dance of the Heavenly Devils, this talk explores the transformation of Chinese cities as a result of the war, with particular emphasis on the relationship between the built environment and human social relations.

  • Speaker: Dr. Kristin Stapleton, Professor, History, University at Buffalo
  • Sponsoring Faculty Members: Dr. Wenying Zhou & Dr. Tse-lan Sang

Opening the Gates to Asia: A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion

  • Speaker: Dr. Jane Hong, Associate Professor of History, Occidental College
  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: Dr. Naoko Wake

Ingrained Habits: The ‘Kitchen Cars’ and the Transformation of Postwar Japanese Diet and Identity

This talk explores the history and politics of American-funded food demonstration buses (“kitchen cars”) in postwar Japan. Their express mission was to transform the Japanese national diet. At least in the short to medium term, the kitchen cars were a win-win for the US and Japan. Japan benefited because women learned how to cook cheap, nutritious, mostly easy dishes to improve the health of their families and the nation. 

  • Speaker: Dr. Nathan Hopson, Associate Professor of Japanese and East Asian History, Nagoya University
  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: Dr. Sidney Xu Lu

Mediatized Taiwanese Mandarin: Popular Culture, Masculinity and Social Perceptions 

This talk explores how language ideologies have emerged for gangtaiqiang (港台腔) through a combination of indexical and ideological processes in televised media. Gangtaiqiang (Hong Kong-Taiwan accent), a socially recognizable form of mediatized Taiwanese Mandarin, has become a stereotype for many Chinese mainlanders who have little real-life interaction with Taiwanese people.

  • Speaker: ​Dr. Chun-Yi Peng, Associate Professor of Chinese at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: Dr. Naoko Wake

A Pandemic of Hate” Panel Discussion

The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has generated a surge of hateful speech and physical violence directed against Asians and Asian, Pacific Island, Desi American (APIDA) people. But intentionally hurtful speech or action is nothing new in the United States. Asian immigrants, including students and scholars in universities, as well as ordinary working people of Asian heritage, have faced more than a century of misguided belief that they are especially prone to illness and likely to spread disease. Two APIDA Studies scholars will navigate us through this difficult history, by exploring both the racist rhetoric of the past and today’s revival of hatred.

  • Panelists: Nayan Shah, Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California
  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: Dr. Naoko Wake

Chivalrous Psychogeography: Martial Arts, Avant-Garde, Sinophone Imagination

Ang Lee once famously confessed that every Chinese-language director has a dream to make a martial arts (wuxia) film. Literary historian Chen Pingyuan also noted that, over a thousand years, Chinese literati have shared a dream of becoming a knight-errant. Indeed, from the 1960s to the present, a number of major Chinese-language filmmakers sought to create a martial arts work at the crucial stage of their careers. This talk seeks to chart a cultural and emotional geography of martial arts narratives constructed by avant-garde cinematic aesthetics from the Cold War to the post-Cold War eras in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China and beyond. 

  • Speaker: Weijie Song, Associate Professor, Rutgers University
  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: DrLina Qu

Why are farmers in India protesting? Farm Acts and Rural Development in India

Speaker Bio: Prof R. Ramakumar is the NABARD Chair Professor at the School of Development Studies of Tata Institute of Social Sciences. He also serves as a non-ministerial member of the State Planning Board for the Government of Kerala. His research interests include agriculture and agrarian change in rural India, agricultural credit, and economic reforms and changes in rural livelihoods. His recent work explores the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the agriculture sector in India, with a focus on food shortages and disruptions in food supply chains.

  • Speaker: Dr. Ramakumar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  • Sponsoring Faculty Member: Dr. Sejuti Dasgupta