East Asia Center Newsletter On-line 
The University of Virginia
east asia center
Fall 1997


The 38th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Regional Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (SEC/AAS) will be held in Charlottesville on the weekend of January 16-18, 1998, and sponsored by the University of Virginia. The meeting will bring together approximately 300 academics interested in various aspects of Asia. The participants will be coming from around the US and, in some cases, directly from Asia, but most of the members of the organization are from the Southeastern United States (Virginia to Arkansas).

The SEC/AAS is the Southeast regional branch of the Association for Asian Studies, an organization devoted to the academic study of Asia. The SEC/AAS holds a yearly meeting to bring together Asian scholars from the Southeast to discuss current research and topics in the field of Asian Studies. Department of Government and Foreign Affairs professor Brantly Womack is this year's Local Chairperson for the meeting. Prof. Womack, who teaches Chinese government and politics, explains that the SEC/AAS annual meeting is always held in conjunction with university sponsorship, and UVa hosted a very successful meeting a number of years ago.

Over the weekend, approximately 25 panels will be held, including presentations on a variety of topics on every Asian country with the exception of Russia and the Middle East. The keynote address, which, according to Prof. Womack, will be one of the highlights of the meeting, will be given by James Scott, President of the AAS. Scott, a renown scholar in the field, visited UVa and gave three lectures last spring.

While attendence at the meeting requires membership in the SEC/AAS in addition to the registration fees, all UVa students and non-Asia faculty may attend the conference at no charge. Prof. Womack especially encourages students to come to whichever panels interest them. For non-University students and Asia faculty, the registration deadline is January 5, 1998. The conference has a website that includes all current information about the meeting, including relevant forms. The URL is:


This website provides a link to the Association for Asian Studies, whose national meeting will be held in Washington, DC, on March 26-29, 1998.

"Political and Social Transformation on the Korean Peninsula"
A Conference Hosted by the East Asia Center and the Korea Economic Institute

Date: Wednesday, November 19

Location: Commonwealth Room, Newcomb Hall

Opening Remarks: 1:00 p.m.

Panel One: "Korean Society Today" (1:15 - 3:00)

Prof. Ro Young-chan, George Mason University

Mr. Chung Suk Kkoo, Education Councilor at the Korean Embassy

Discussant: Diane Hoffman, Curry School of Education, UVA

Panel Two: "The Political Transformation in Korea" (3:15 - 5:00)

Dr. Peter Beck, Korea Economic Institute, on "Consolidating Democracy in Korea: The Presidential Election and Beyond"

Mr. John Aller, Korea Desk of the US Department of State, on "KEDO: A Model for Engaging North Korea?"

Discussant: Leonard Schoppa, Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, UVA

Dinner: 5:30 - 7:00

Gil Roy: Calligraphy Education Exchange
(June 27-July13, 1997)

This summer Professor Gilbert Roy traveled to China on a delegation of members of the Calligraphy Education Group. In the following article, Prof. Roy discusses the purpose of the trip and provides insight into Chinese calligraphy education in China as well as in the US.

This was the first formal calligraphy education exchange between the Chinese and a foreign group. Our Calligraphy Education Group (CEG) from all parts of the U.S. met with counterparts in Beijing, XiAn, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. In Beijing and Shanghai there were extensive discussions. In XiAn and Hangzhou discussions were followed by exciting, enjoyable calligraphy demonstrations by both delegations.

The Chinese were anxious to learn about our approaches to calligraphy education. It became apparent early on that calligraphy education in China, as opposed to the U.S., has different students, goals, and methodologies.

In the United States, calligraphy education is a means of introducing Chinese culture and focuses on calligraphy as a Chinese art form. Most calligraphy teachers are primarily language teachers who happen to be skilled in calligraphy. Another major stimulus for the teaching of calligraphy is maintaining the culture of Asian-Americans, often realized in such forums as weekend schools and cultural celebrations (e.g. Asian-Pacific Heritage month).

In China, like other aspects of society and culture, the status of calligraphy and calligraphy education has undergone major changes over the past decade. Dormant during the various political movements in China between 1950 and 1977, calligraphy has gradually made a come-back, to the point where it is now "hot." In 1978, the first university level calligraphy class was again offered in China, followed in 1981 by the founding of the Chinese Calligraphy Association.

All students can elect calligraphy classes; it is a requirement in Art, Chinese History, Chinese Language and Literature departments at many colleges. In many institutions, an M.A. in calligraphy is possible. A few students pursue Ph.D. degrees focusing on history and theory. Before the 1970s calligraphy was part of Chinese painting curriculum, but during the 1980s calligraphy's popularity broadened. In 1987, the Central Institute of Arts created a calligraphy department with a four-year program. They produce about 2-3 M.A.s per year in the practice and history of calligraphy.

However, calligraphy in elementary schools is generally found only in "key" schools. Fifty percent of key school students do calligraphy at home. Parents want their children to learn calligraphy as a regimen to instill discipline and character. Excelling in this art enhances credentials for entry at the next level; thus, there is a major effort to squeeze calligraphy into the curricula of all elementary schools. In Shanghai, contestants in Annual Calligraphy competitions number over 40,000, of whom more than 20,000 are middle school students! In Shanghai Normal schools there is a calligraphy test for graduation in the liberal arts. Learning and practicing calligraphy may lead to careers in teaching, publishing/editing, professional artist, and museums.

Adult students are now a major clientele for the teaching of calligraphy, where hosts of older people who got "passed over" during the period from 1955-1970 have joined the youngsters in the study of this art.

Teachers tend to compile their own materials, using the models of the works of ancient masters (e.g., rubbings) and works of criticism on calligraphy. Texts produced earlier by Fudan University are considered obsolete. Several teachers are putting together their own materials for publicationext year. Those who teach calligraphy are required to be calligrapher and teacher. In Shanghai, starting this year, teachers under 35 years of age have to be "recertified." Teachers do invite master calligraphers to illustrate calligraphic principles to their classes.

In elementary and middle schools, the focus is on xiantiao ["line"] beginning with the study of zhuan [seal] form to learn the characters, not for artistic purposes. Students ultimately learn to reproduce the models of Liu Gongquan and Yan Zhenqing, but there are no creative products. The percentages are 50-60 for brush technique, 40 for theory.

As they progress through their training for kaishu and xingshu forms (standard and running script) they use maobi [brush-pen]. For caoshu (cursive) they use yingbi [hard-pen] (ball-point pen). Yingbi approaches the Western practice of penmanship and is becoming more and more popular. There are even newly formed Yingbi associations. Unfortunately, many children would rather use computers. For them, calligraphy is "old- fashioned."

Support for the teaching of calligraphy from the government has grown steadily over the past decade, engendering a proliferation of official calligraphy associations. Shanghai's is the largest with some 700 teachers and calligraphers.

As a result of this fruitful exchange, the Chinese educators were enthusiastic about the possibility of sharing newly-developed materials for teaching calligraphy. They expressed the hope that beyond existing exchanges of some faculty and some students with Korea, Japan, and Singapore, the future would see annual exchanges from U.S. schools. The U.S. delegation, noting that calligraphy is representative of Chinese culture, is organized by calligraphy associations in China, to further enhance the understanding of Chinese art and culture. Finally, the U.S. delegation issued invitations to the first International Conference on Chinese Calligraphy on April 9-11, 1998, at the University of Maryland.

Gilbert Roy is an associate professor of Chinese in the Division of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures.

East Asia Center Speakers and Events

Past Speakers:

Professor Haruko Wakita, of The University of Shiga Prefecture: "Woman and the Creation of the Ie in Medieval Japan." September 29.

Professor Fumio Amano, of Osaka University: "The Transformation of the Noh Stage." Septmeber 29.

Henry Rosemont, Jr., the George B. & Willma Reeves Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at St. Mary's College of Maryland: "The Path of Spiritual Progress in Early Confucianism." October 24

Jim Fox of Australian National University (ANU): "Groundwater Nitrate Pollution in Indonesia and Its Implications for Settlements in the Asia Pacific Region." Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology. October 27.

Jim Fox of ANU: "Timor in Historical Perspective." Sponsored by the Department of Anthropology. November 5.

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, November 19 "Political and Social Transformation on the Korean Peninsula" Conference Sponsored by the East Asia Center and the Korea Economic Institute. The participants are Mr. Chung Suk-koo, Education Councillor at the Korean Embassy in Washington, DC, Dr. Peter Beck of the Korea Economic Institute, Mr. John Aller of the US State Department, Professor Diane Hoffman of the UVa Curry School of Education, and Professor Leonard Schoppa of the UVa Department of Government. Panel topics include Korean society, politics, economics, and education. Commonwealth Room, Newcomb Hall at 1:00 PM.


Gary Allinson of the Department of History will be on leave during the Spring term.

John Israel of the Department of History is on leave this academic year. This fall he will be conducting preliminary research on his next project, and in the spring he will be a visiting professor at Emory University.

Gilbert Roy of the Division of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures has set up a home page, which can be found at: http://www.virginia.edu/~gwr2v.

John Shepherd of the Department of Anthropology is on leave this academic year studying the historical demography of Taiwan. He is on a Mellon Fellowship and is working at the Department of Demography at the University of California-Berkeley.

Brantly Womack of the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs was elected to membership in the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. The IISS is the most prestigious world organization studying security and international relations, and membership is by invitation and election. This summer Prof. Womack gave a talk at Chinese University of Hong Kong on "The Evolution of the Clinton Administration's China Policy." He also conducted research in Vietnam and Yunnan Province (China) on the effect of normalization on remote border areas. His host in Yunnan was the Yunnan Nationalities Institute. UVa has a long-standing research exchange relationship with YNI.

Prof. Womack has created his own home page, which can be found at: http://www.virginia.edu/~bw9c.

Dorothy Wong of the Department of Art will present a paper entitled, "The Changing Notion of Buddhahood: Two Sixth-Century Stelae from the Shaolin Monastery" at a conference titled "Imperfect Matter and Perfect Enlightenment: Material Objects and the Quest for Spiritual Perfection in Buddhism" to be held at McMaster University (Canada) on October 24-25. The conference will be attended by both Buddhologists and art historians.


Four new students have entered the Master's in East Asian Studies program this fall:

Norm Apter graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1995 with a concentration in History. He spent the subsequent year teaching English at Yantai University in Shandong Province (China). Norm's area of concentration in the program will be China.

Sakina Paige, while an undergraduate at Washington & Lee University, spent a year as an exchange student at Rikkyo University in Japan. Sakina is particularly interested in the history of the status of women in Japan and Japanese politics.

Curt Paige is a new MA/MBA student. This summer he spent several weeks in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Curt's concentration will be China.

Mike Troilo has also entered the MA/MBA program this fall. Mike worked as a CPA for Arthur Anderson for four years before starting at Darden. He spent the summer studying Chinese at Middlebury College and anticipates spending next summer and fall in China.


Jamie Cooper (MA, East Asian Studies, 1994) was married in May and is now living in Hong Kong. He is working for State Street Global Advisors, a Boston-based investment bank. The joint venture company set up by the bank is establishing an operation in Guangzhou that will eventually market and sell mutual funds in China.

Daniel Fertig (BA, Asian Studies, 1994) is now working in Taiwan after working as a translator for a year at Coudert Bros. Law Offices in Beijing.

Christine Patrick (BA, Asian Studies, 1993) currently is chief trainer for L.L. Bean in Maine. She trains all the mail-order people in Japan, the mid-level executives who come to the U.S. for training, and people from the U.S. going to Japan

Newell Ann Van Auken (BA, Asian Studies, 1991) has just finished her MA in Chinese Linguistics at University of Washington. She and her husband, Van, recently had a baby girl, Clara.

Thomas Jefferson Meets Mao Zedong
by Sen Lin, Chris Madrid, and Catherine Zipf

Imagine flying to the opposite side of the globe (over the North Pole, we might add) to find a world so utterly different from what you had imagined that it cannot be captured by photographs or words. Nothing that we had read prepared us, five architecture students, for the four week study-tour to China we took this past July. Even the traditional Chinese buildings that we had studied for a semester looked different in the Chinese context. Clearly, not only were there striking differences between the cultures and physical environments of the East and West, but our slides and photos had failed to do justice to the beauty of traditional Chinese architecture and the Chinese landscape.

Our first moments sparked these ideas within our minds--China would be so different that our understanding of the Far East, its buildings, and its history would be stretched beyond what we had absorbed in an academic environment. The first outing to Tiananmen Square proved this to be true. Surrounded by buildings that appeared to be only two or three stories high, but still towered over our heads, we followed the city's axis from the Forbidden City through the Monument to the People's Heroes and the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao Zedong to the outer gateway that led to one of the city's most important shopping centers. Listening to Professor Huang, we drank in every word of how the Chinese, in response to modern needs, had developed the square and refocused the center of Beijing, creating a new part of the city. As architecture students, our initial thoughts were claimed by the buildings and we marveled over the sheer size of the open square.

At the same time that we admired the buildings, we could not help but notice the Chinese tourists as they celebrated their own national monuments. Some flew kites, others peddled souvenirs, and still others posed for photos, as we did, in front of the Museum of Chinese History, where a clock counted down the days, hours, and minutes until the return of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China. Listening to Professor Huang and learning about the history of the area, however, we noticed that a small crowd had gathered nearby to photograph not just the buildings, but us, the American tourists. These Chinese tourists, many of whom had never seen Caucasian Americans before, seemed more interested in meeting us than in visiting the national monuments they had traveled some distance to see. As Westerners, we were suddenly no longer observers, watching how the Chinese celebrated their buildings, but part of the cultural interaction between viewer, Chinese or American, and site. As much as we watched them to learn, they watched us to learn.

Our experiences in Tiananmen Square set the tone for our remaining days in Beijing and opened our eyes to the myriad experiences we might have when we looked beyond the buildings. If our first days made us believe that as Westerners we would always be outsiders, by the end of the trip, we found we had grown comfortable enough with the culture to participate in lectures, asking questions and challenging our leaders, to a greater extent than we would have ever thought possible. Our experiences throughout this trip, with the food, with the people, getting transportation, buying souvenirs, and finding the bathroom, all helped us acclimate to the native Chinese culture. We had seen monuments that had survived through centuries of Chinese history, as well as older Chinese houses and historic districts set amid newer developments and high-rises built during the 1970s. Many of our outings had focused on how China was changing into a modern country and explored the question of how to preserve the traditional fabric of the city and how modern buildings could fulfill the needs of a growing Chinese population.

During the final days of our trip, some of which were the most rewarding of the whole excursion, we learned how much our perspective on the differences between the East and the West had changed. We learned how to communicate with the Chinese professionals that we had met; we found the right questions to ask about their concerns for the future development of Chinese architecture. We discovered that we had suggestions on what China's growth signaled for its future and how the growth could be guided into more positive channels, preserving historic districts and maintaining the traditional culture of city life in Beijing. We began as outsiders looking in, but finished with a better understanding, this time from inside experiences rather than from textbooks and lectures, of a culture that built the great Chinese monuments.

Sen Lin, Chris Madrid, and Catherine Zipf are students in the Architecture School

Two New Faculty Members Join the UVA East Asia Community

Dorothy Wong, a Buddhist Art specialist, has joined the faculty of the Department of Art this year. Dr. Wong was introduced to the discipline of art history and, within it, Buddhist art primarily through her experience as a foreign student attending college at International Christian University (Tokyo). She became intrigued by Buddhism, part of her own cultural heritage that hitherto had been ignored in her education. When she pursued her Master's degree at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dr. Wong focused on Chinese Buddhist art and wrote her thesis on Dunhuang mural paintings of Maitreya's paradise. It was only then that she first traveled to China and visited all the major Buddhist sites and major museums.

Upon finishing her Master's degree, Dr. Wong worked in Hong Kong as an editor for the Asian art magazine Orientations. The job enabled her to be further acquainted with all areas of Asian art. In 1988, she came to the US and started her doctoral training at Harvard University. She further pursued her research in Chinese Buddhist art and in 1995 completed her dissertation on Chinese Buddhist Steles of the Northern and Southern Dynasties period. From 1995-97 Dr. Wong taught Asian art at Florida State University. This semester she teaches one undergraduate and one graduate course. In the spring, she will teach classes entitled "Japanese Art" and "East Asian Buddhist Art."

Helen Shen has joined the Division of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures this fall. She received her Master's from Hangzhou University (China), and in December she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nevada at Reno. Dr. Shen specialized in Chinese language and literature, Chinese pedagogy, and language development, and she takes special interest in Chinese calligraphy and Chinese brush painting. Professor Gilbert Roy of the Chinese Program states that "Dr. Shen is a long awaited, highly welcome addition to the Chinese program." This semester Dr. Shen is teaching Chinese 201 (Intermediate Chinese) and co-teaching Chinese 101 (Elementary Chinese) with Professor Gilbert Roy. In the spring she will teach Chinese 202 and co-teach Chinese 582 (Media Chinese) with Professor Roy.


Ellen Bayard Weedon East Asia Travel Grant applications are now available at the East Asia Center. Grants can be used to cover all or part of the cost of travel to Asia by Uva students or faculty. In order to be eligible, a student must intend to spend at least two weeks in an East Asian country pursuing study or research and must be in-residence at the University the following semester. The application deadline is February 15, 1998. For more information contact the East Asia Center.

National Security Program Fellowship applications are available in the International Studies Office (2nd Floor, Minor Hall). The fellowships provide either undergraduate or graduate students with funds for work or study in non-English-speaking countries outside of Western Europe. Undergraduates should submit completed applications to Mr. Ronald Dimberg, Director of International Studies. Graduate students must contact the Academy for Educational Development for applications. The application deadline is January 15, 1998.

Peace Frogs Travel Grant application forms are available in the International Studies Office. UVa students planning to participate in an offical UVa overseas study or exchange program are eligible. Grants are to be used to defray the cost of travel between the United States and the point of destination. Completed applications are due in the International Studies Office (2nd Floor, Minor Hall) by February 27, 1998.

Henry Luce Foundation Year-in-Asia information can be obtained at the International Studies Office (2nd Floor, Minor Hall). Graduating fourth-years or anyone 29 or younger who plans to participate in a work program, has not taken more than two Asian Studies courses, and has not lived or traveled in Asia are eligible. The local deadline is November 3, 1997.