East Asia CenterNewsletter On-line

The University of Virgina
east asia center
September 1998

University Plans "Asian Language House"

 Planning is underway for a new “Asian Language House” which will provide students interested in improving their Japanese and Chinese language skills with an opportunity to live with groups of similarly-motivated students.  The house—based on the model of existing French, Spanish, German, and Russian Houses—is scheduled to open in the fall of 2000.  It will be located in an apartment building adjacent to the French and Spanish Houses off Jefferson Park Avenue.  The building will undergo a $1 million face-lift over the next two years.

Professors Len Schoppa and Brantly Womack have met with the architectural review committee which is considering plans for renovating the building.  “The building will look great,” commented Schoppa.  “They are adding an entirely new floor on the fifth level which will include arched ceilings and gable windows.  There will be a common eating area on the ground level which will offer catered food, but students with the talent to whip up Asian culinary creations will have the opportunity to cook group meals using a large kitchen equipped with woks and rice cookers.  I hope they’ll invite me over sometime.”

One of the ideas behind the concept of the house, in fact, is to bring together students and faculty with an interest in Asia for special events, not just occasional group meals (where Japanese and Chi-nese will be the lingua franca) but also for events featuring guest speakers, artists, or performers.  “Since the building is located so close to Cabell Hall,” Schoppa explained, “we hope we will be able to draw faculty and non-resident students over to the house on a regular basis.  It could do a great deal to help us develop more of a sense of an Asian studies community here.”

The renovated building will provide rooms on five levels.  Above the lower with its common dining area and kitchen will be four floors each housing about 10 students.  It is expected that at least one of these floors will accommodate students com-mitted to speaking and learning Chinese, that at least one will house students studying Japanese, and that the remaining space will be available to students in Arabic and Hindi, if there is adequate interest.  Native speakers of these languages, possibly graduate students, will be invited to live on the floors and facilitate interaction in each of these languages. House residents will be selected through an application process designed to identify students committed to using and improving their language abilities.

“The exciting thing is that we have an opportunity to be involved with this from the earliest stages of planning,” said Schoppa, urging interested students to get in touch with him to communicate their ideas and concerns.  This academic year will be devoted entirely to planning, focused especially on the design of the building.  Next year, as the renovations get under way, planners will concentrate on the operation of the house.

Schoppa reports that he and Womack look forward to learning from the experiences of the other language houses.  “We also hope to involve students in the committees that are planning how to run the house,” said Schoppa, noting that students who are in their first-year this year might already begin planning on living in the house in their third year.

UVA East Asia Center Events Fall 1998


Monday, 9/14 East Asia Center Welcome Reception and Faculty/Student “What I Did This Summer Panel  3:30 pm  Minor 125.

Wednesday, 9/16 Ramon Meyers, Hoover Institute: “Market Success and Market Failure During the Qing Period:  How China Got Itself Into Great Difficulties!” 3:30 pm, Peabody Hall 106.

Wednesday, 9/23   Ramon Meyers, Hoover Institute: “China’s Failure to Create a Chinese-Style, Modern Market Economy in the Twentieth Century” 3:00 pm, South Meeting Room, Newcomb Hall.

Monday, 9/28   Meg McKean, Duke University: “A Rational Explanation Japan’s Culture of Cooperation:  Lessons from Natural Resources.”  2 pm, Management South Meeting Room, Newcomb Hall, co-sponsored  by the Dept. of Government.

Wednesday, 9/30  Ramon Meyers, Hoover Institute: “Market Economy Reform and the Challenges of the 1990s and Beyond:  Is It Too Late?”  3 pm, Commonwealth Room,  Newcomb Hall.


Friday, 10/9  Karen Turner, Harvard University: “Constructing Women Warriors”  3:30 pm, Minor 125. co-sponsored by the Women’s Studies Program.

Friday, 10/16  Robert Singer, Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art: “Edo:  Art of Japan (1615-1868),” a preview of the exhibition to be held at the National Gallery of Art. 5 pm,  160 Campbell Hall, co-sponsored by the Bayly Museum and the Department of Art.

Friday, 10/23  Matthew Sommer, University of Pennsylvania: “The Prostitution and  Sale of Wives:  Peasant Survival Strategies in Qing Dynasty China.” 3:30 pm, Minor Hall 125.  Co-sponsored by the Department of History and the Women’s Studies Program.


Tuesday, 11/10  Hill Gates,  Stanford University: “Changing Clothes: Implications of Cotton Use in Late Imperial China.” 3:00 pm, Commonwealth Room, Newcomb Hall. co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Women’s Studies Program.

Wednesday, 11/11, Arthur Wolf, Stanford University: “China and Europe:  Two Kinds of  Patriarchy.” 3:00 pm, Conference Room 168A, Newcomb Hall co-sponsored by the Dept. of Anthropology and the Women’s Studies Program.

Monday, 11/16  Wang Gungwu, National University of Singapore: “Southeast Asian Perspectives on Nationalism.” 3:30 pm, Doom Room, Rotunda.  Fall 1998 East Asia Distinguished Lecture.

Friday, 11/20, Steve Vogel, Harvard University: “The End of Organized Capitalism?  Germany and Japan Confront Economic Reform.” 12 pm, Minor Hall Room 125, co-sponsored by the Dept. of Government.

East Asia Center Welcomes New MA Students

New East Asian Studies MA students (l to r) John Wheeler, Eric Smith, Takeshi Sasaki, Olga Chernysheva, Hank McCarthy, and Jaekwon Kang.  (not pictured:  Amy Townsend.)
This semester seven new students began the MA program in East Asian Studies.  We look forward to their participation in Center activities.

John Wheeler hails from northern Virginia.  He completed his undergraduate coursework here at UVA and is primarily interested in Imperial Chinese History.

Hank McCarthy comes to the university from rural North Carolina.  Although he has an anthropology background, he is interested in a variety of aspects of East Asia.  Hank spent two years in Shenyang, in north-eastern China prior to joining the program.

Jaekwon Kang,  a diplomat from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will pursue his interests in Japan and East Asia in the context of  U.S. foreign policy.  He is a graduate of Yonsei University.

Olga Chernysheva comes to us from Moscow, Russia.  She studied at Oriental University in Moscow and spent a year in China engaged in language study.

Eric Smith, a native of Bluefield, VA, completed his undergraduate studies at Emory & Henry College.  Several years ago Eric traveled and studied in Beijing and Tianjin, where he developed an interest in Chinese culture.  He plans on comparing Chinese and Western political philosophies to develop a more comprehensive understanding of Asian culture.

Takeshi Sasaki, an MBA/ MA East Asian Studies student, will start his second year at  Darden this fall.  Takeshi has worked as a consulting manager for Gemini Consulting in Tokyo.  His interests include travel, wine, and cuisine.

Amy Townsend works for Limitorque in Lynchburg, Virginia and will be commuting to UVA this year.  Amy received her
undergraduate degree in International Service from American University


Professor Brantly Womack has taken over as new Chair of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and already exciting changes are taking place.  The first and most visible of these is the language instructor office (ceded to AMELC by the Government Department) in Cabell B-23.  This new office (pictured below) is occupied by instructors Helen Shen (Chinese), Tomoko Marshall (Japanese), Mako Koyama (Japanese), and Dan Lefkowitz (Hebrew).  Please stop by and visit the instructors in their new, improved location pictured below.  (L to R:  Marshall, Prof. Ikeda, Koyama, and Shen.)  Also visit the Japanese Language Program’s new web page:  http://www.virginia.edu/~amelc/jlp/.

The Chinese Corner

The Chinese Corner is a non-threatening environment for practicing Chinese conversation with native speakers of Chinese. All interested faculty members, students at UVA and community members around Charlottesville are welcome to attend.

In each meeting, there is an assigned topic that pertains to everyday life. Participants are given target sentences for practice.  Light snacks will be served.

During Fall 1998 Chinese Corner will be held on the following dates between 5:00 to 5:40 PM on Fridays.

September 18, 25
October 2, 23, 30
November 6, 13, 20
December 4

Place: yet to be assigned, will be posted as soon as possible.

We look forward to seeing you in the meetings.

Contact person: Shu-Chen Chen, email: sc8u@virginia.edu

Summertime in Taipei:  Re-Nao
by Norm Apter

 Norm Apter received a Weedon Travel Grant from the East Asia Center to pursue language study at the Mandarin Training Center, affiliated with Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, Taiwan.

The Chinese compound re-nao, roughly translates as “hot and noisy”, but it is my feeling that one must spend a summer in Taiwan or southern China develop a real understanding of this term.  Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan retains a taste of old China, but is also complimented by conveniences such as 7-11 mini-marts on virtually every  corner, a thriving pop music scene, and the cutting edge fashion trends found in cosmopolitan urban centers throughout the world.  Instead of cataloguing the numerous experiences of my three-month sojourn in Taiwan, I would prefer to sketch a particular weekend to underline the nexus of these forces.

On a Saturday afternoon in late July, I had been reviewing Chinese at the Taipei City Library.  Equipped with air-conditioning, the library is a popular spot for many to catch a mid-afternoon snooze and a place to take advantage of an impressive selection of English,  Japanese and Chinese journals, magazines and newspapers.  Without any evening plans, I left the library at about 6 pm in hopes of catching a bus to Xi Men Ding, a popular spot for young people to buy street-vendor food, haggle over prices for goods on display or take in a movie at one of the area’s cinemas.  To get to the bus stop, I had to cross Da-An Park and on my way I noticed a hoard of young folks gathering around the park’s amphitheater.  I marked out a spot for myself on the hillside, munching on my evening meal of steamed buns and a Big Gulp to wash everything down.  Still in the dark at that point, I decided to inquire about the evening’s agenda. After making this initiative in Chinese, I found myself literally surrounded by a host of new friends, who informed me that Li Xin Jie, a popular music artist from Singapore, would be performing.  I spent the next two hours talking with my new buddies and dancing on the hillside. As the sun began to descend behind the stage, I felt as if I were back in Virginia catching a Dave Matthews show at the Richmond Amphitheater, underscoring the similarity of conditions across cultures.
The following day the five of us made a journey to the northern reaches of Taipei city, Yangming Mountain.  Riding on the back of a motorscooter, the current transportation of choice in Taipei, I truly felt like a native.  After relaxing in the coolness of the mountain air, a welcome respite from the sweltering heat of the city’s streets, we headed for Shi-lin night market, perhaps the oldest and largest night market in Taipei.   We ate huo-guo or “hot-pot” style, in which one submerges raw vegetables and meat into boiling cauldron.  I soon discovered a new favorite food--cubes of pig’s blood--and received instruction for its proper preparation.  After cooking it for a few minutes, one withdraws the pig’s blood from the hotpot and rolls it first in hot chili sauce and then in crushed peanuts. Mmmmh!  After I had eaten enough for a king, my new friends insisted that I try numerous foods from the outdoor stalls, including Ji-pi or “chicken butt” roasted on a skewer with sesame seeds and a brown sauce. Another delicious treat!  Once I became accustomed to the constant crowds and salesmen pushing their products over ear-splitting megaphones, night markets became my favorite tasting grounds for new foods and a distinctive aspect of Chinese life.  It is precisely the juxtaposition of Taipei’s cosmopolitanism and traditional venues that makes it such an appealing place for the visitor and native alike.  Whatever will I do when I have pig’s blood withdrawal?!?

   Norm visits a community temple in Taipei.


  Norm with his new friends and the hotpot.

Faculty News

David Germano (Religious Studies)
Professor Germano published “Re-membering the Dismembered Body of Tibet:  The Contemporary Ter Movement in the PRC” in Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet:  Religious Revival and Cultural Identity (editors Melvyn Goldstein and Matthew Kapstein); Berkeley, California:  University of California Press, 1998.

Bradly Reed  (History)
Professor Reed published an article last Spring in Chugoku--Shaiko To Bunka (China: Society and Culture, Association for Studies of Chinese Society and Culture, University of Tokyo) on tax collection and tax farming in nineteenth-century Sichuan.  He also spent this summer revising his manuscript, Illict Bureaucrats, for publication with Stanford University Press.  Professor Reed will be on leave this coming Spring semester.

Michiko Wilson (Asian Languages)
Professor Wilson participated as a discussant in a panel, "Explaining the Inexplicable:The Writing of Trauma in Japanese Female Fiction and Poetry," in the International Convention for Asian Scholars held in Netherlands on 25-28 June, 1998.  Her review of The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature: The Subversion of Modernity by Susan Napier (Routledge, 1996) appeared in the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol. 58, no. 1 (June 1998).  She also wrote an essay, "The Guessing Culture of Japan: Gain or Pain?" as a guest contributor for a book, Japanese Culture and Communication by ProfessorRay Donahue of Nagoya Gakuin University.  The book is scheduled to come out this November.  Finally, Professor Wilson gave a public lecture on "(Re)Thinking Gender in the Works of Minako Oba," at The College of William and Mary on April 24, 1998.

Special Notice:  Please note that several Japanese Language courses were inadvertently omitted from the Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures sections of the Undergradate Record.  JPTR 341/351 (Ideas and Images in Traditional Japan), JPTR 351/551 (Introduction to Pre-Modern Japanese Literature) and JPTR 352/552 (Classical Japanese Poetry in Translation) are still part of the Asian Studies curriculum.

 New Fall 1998 University Seminars
On East Asian Topics
(open to students of all levels)
The Culture of the Samurai Warrior in Japan
Janet Ikeda (Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures)
USEM 170/Section 0029
1530-1730 R Monroe 114

The West has long exhibited a particular fascination with the samurai or warrior culture of Japan. We will examine the portrait of the traditional warrior from a diverse range of sources that will incorporate writings from cultural history, literature and film.  The goals of the seminar will be three-fold; one, to examine the development of a warrior code and determine the lingering nostalgia for the samurai legacy in contemporary Japan and three, to balance the association of death and carnage by drawing attention to the literary and artistic contributions of the samurai as poets and artists. Topics related to the reading assignments will be as follows: the vendetta, the honorable death, women of warrior households, warriors and the civil arts, warrior society portrayed in modern historical fiction by Mori Ogai (1862-1922) and Tanizaki Jun'ichiro (1886-1965), Yukio Mishima's 1970 suicide and revival of samurai values, the samurai abroad. As one additional component of the course, students will be asked to write and present a report on one film that deals with some aspect of warrior culture from a list of recommended films that can be found in the Clemons Library collection.

Chinese Views of Childhood in Comparative Perspective
Anne Behnke Kinney (Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures)
USEM 170/Section 0034
1530-1730 T CAB 234

Understanding a culture's attitudes toward childhood--when gender roles are learned and most of the identity formed--is crucial to understanding a people as a whole. The study of childhood can also reveal how a culture perceives errors of the past, how it attempts to shape the future, and how it maintains traditional ways. This course, ranging chronologically from the third century B.C. to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, will not only heighten the student's knowledge of how children figured in specific phases of Chinese history, but will help to establish a clear sense of how the study of childhood illuminates important features of the past. Through a collection of essays we will examine issues such as the "discovery of childhood" and infanticide, how the Chinese represented children in art, literature, and medicine, and what role children played in the family and in religious and political thought. We will also discuss some of the extreme differences in the treatment of children based on gender, including practices such as footbinding and sexual segregation.