| You will
not find the words “Former Convict” on the resumé of Professor Chen
Jian, UVa’s newly-arrived authority on the history of Sino-American relations.
The term would be technically incorrect for, though he served time in a
Chinese jail in 1971 and again in 1972, Chen was never tried, much less
Chen’s prison episodes are but part of the unusual life’s experience that sets him apart from his colleagues at the Miller Center, where he is C.K. Yen Professor of Chinese-American Relations, and the department of history, where he holds a concurrent professorial appointment. Born in Shanghai in 1952, Chen came of age during the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). As a 14-year-old, he was one of the millions of Red Guards reviewed by Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square.
With schools closed, young Chen found jobs as porter and construction worker, but his thirst for knowledge led him to hand-copy several books, including William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
|Disenchanted with Mao’s politics, he participated in unauthorized study groups, leading to his first incarceration. The second, he surmises, stemmed from political struggles in anticipation of Nixon’s 1972 visit to China. In 1977 authorities conceded that he had been wrongly jailed, setting the stage for formal rehabilitation.|
In 1977, Chen aced China's first college entrance exams in 11 years and
was admitted to East China Normal University. Five years later he
received his M.A. in world history from East China Normal and Fudan universities.
In 1986 he was awarded a fellowship to Southern Illinois University, where
he received his Ph.D. in 1990. The massacre of June 4, 1989 gave
him a “sense of losing home”. Consequently he decided to stay in
the United States. Before coming to UVa, he taught at the State University
of New York at Geneseo (1990-95) and Southern Illinois (1995-99).
Professor Chen is eager to share the unique perspective gained from his experiences in Mao’s China. He has coauthored a voluminous bibliography of publications on the Cultural Revolution and has written two books, China’s Road to the Korean War: The Making of the Sino-American Confrontation (1994) and Mao’s China and the Cold War (forthcoming 2001). He has also published more than twenty articles and book chapters. His writings have appeared in The China Journal, Diplomatic History, The China Quarterly, and The Journal of American-East Asian Relations. He is currently engaged in two major research projects: “Revolution Under Heaven: Mao’s China Encounters the World, 1949-1976,” and “Twentieth Century Chinese-American Relations: An Interpretive History”.
Professor Chen expresses excitement over joining UVa’s distinguished faculty, quipping that Virginia will offer “a larger stage to perform my drama”. In addition to working to strengthen the East Asian Center, he hopes to see a bolstering of the University’s international activities, which he believes are not on a par with the University’s standing. Among Chen’s courses offered for the first time at UVa is “China Encounters the World,” which he will teach in the spring of 2001.
Dr. Chen Makes His East Asia Center Debut
| China does
not pose a threat to the United States but a challenge. That was
the message delivered to a standing room only audience that squeezed into
225 Minor Hall for UVa Professor Chen Jian’s September 22 East Asian
China’s unprecedented economic growth over the past two decades, Chen argued, has led policy makers in the United States and elsewhere to embrace the “China threat” thesis. That growth, he said, has in fact forced the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to focus on its own legitimacy crisis, ruling out any possibility that it would pursue aggressive or expansionist foreign policy goals. Bellicose rhetoric and the cultivation of a victim mentality, continued Chen, should be interpreted in the context of the CCP’s campaign to maintain control over the Chinese people. He contended that other than for a few border skirmishes, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has never attempted to forcibly expand its territory beyond areas which were considered part of historical China.
With the CCP facing challenges to its authority as the country further embraces a market economy, Chen concluded that it is in the interest of the United States to help China’s rulers deal with these difficulties to dissuade them from resorting to an aggressive foreign policy to promote national unity.
Ellen Bayard Weedon East Asia Travel Grants
|Each year the Grants Committee of the East Asia Center allocates money
to be used to defray the cost of travel to East Asia by University faculty
members and students. These funds may be used to cover all or part
of a round trip airfare between Charlottesville and East Asia. Travel within
an East Asian country will not be covered by a Weedon travel grant.
The Ellen Bayard Weedon travel grant is available to any University of Virginia faculty member or student who:
TRAVEL GRANT AWARDS
Applicants intending to spend two to eight weeks in East Asia under
the conditions outlined herein may apply for a travel grant to cover
Applicants intending to spend eight weeks or more in East Asia under the conditions outlined herein may apply for a travel grant to cover up to full round trip air fare between Charlottesville and East Asia
Under special circumstances students and faculty members may apply for up to full round trip air fare regardless of length of stay in East Asia, provided the trip has a sound and genuine professional or academic purpose, i.e., to attend a professional conference, to conduct research that can only be conducted in East Asia, etc.
These travel grants cannot be used cover the following: (1) trips designed to enable a student or faculty member to simply “visit” East Asia, (2) in-country travel, (3) program and/or conference fees, (4) lodging and accommodations.
Travel grant applications shall be judged according to the selection committee’s assessment of the quality of the applicant, the intellectual and academic cohesiveness of the applicant’s project, and financial need. Preference shall be given to the applicants who have not recently been to East Asia and, in the following order, to:
1 research, language and cultural study;
No single travel grant shall exceed one-third of available funds, and normally no more than half of the available funds shall be allocated to faculty members.
from the Field
Emily Weisbrod in Japan
fresh out of the university and being miraculously handed the title sensei
[teacher]and a business class ticket to Japan! As a new participant,
I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the well-oiled machine that is the
JET Program. I have attended three different orientations, each in
a different city. I have received hundreds of pages of information
concerning every feasible situation a JET may encounter. I have practically
had my hand held as I opened bank accounts, bought stamps, and applied
for my foreign registration card.
Yet while its hard to imagine more considerate hosts, it didn’t take long to figure out that I was just another JET, whose predecessor had a predecessor, and so on. Its hard to maintain the novelty of my experience when I keep hearing so much about Brian and Jennifer, the two most recent JETs who held what is now my position and lived in what is now my apartment. Everything has been prearranged for me, and the longer I am here the more I am convinced that JET is like the packaged tour of life in a foreign country. I'm seeing all the sights, having a great time, and there is always an air-conditioned bus with an English-speaking tour guide waiting for me. I definitely feel spoiled and in many ways sheltered from the reality of living on my own in a foreign country. Yet this first month has been an amazing one and
not for a second have I regretted my decision to participate in the program. I hate to admit it, but between the stress of leaving home and Japan’s sweltering summer, this air-conditioned bus is a welcome ride.
I would like to share a little bit about my life here. When it comes to housing, job requirements, and even paid leave, a JET must consider that every situation is different. Some people live in houses, some in apartments. Some people pay rent, some don’t. Some teach in one school and some go to a different school every day. I present this disclaimer to assure that no one mistakes my circumstances as customary. I have been placed in a small town called Takahashi, in Okayama Prefecture. My little inaka [home away from home]is completely surrounded by mountains and has a beautiful river running through it. The scenery is quite incredible, and Takahashi boasts the highest surviving castle in Japan. Now with all the beautiful scenery, I have to laugh because my apartment is actually located directly above a small, not very picturesque, grocery store. It is really quite convenient, but I was pretty taken aback the first time I was told, Here is your apaato [apartment]. My focus was on the clerk staring out of the window at me. But since the building has only two stories, if there is a sudden earthquake and it collapses, I will merely fall down into the grocery store, where I can munch happily on foodstuffs until help arrives.
My apartment, which is subsidized by my Board of Education, came complete with stove, refrigerator, rice-cooker, TV, VCR, stereo, and a bicycle. I have three small tatami rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, and even my very own heated-seat toilet. Thanks to former JETs both my bookshelf and spice rack are full. As I said, this is definitely the packaged tour, and I cannot believe how lucky I am. There is one drawback though I find it a bit unnerving that everyone in town knows exactly where I live. During introductions I often hear, Ahh, Supa Toki no ue ni sunde imasu ne. [Ah, you’re living over the Supa Toki grocery, aren't you?] Such is life for a foreigner in the inaka of Japan. People just seem to know where you are and what you are doing at all times.
During the month of August Japanese students are on summer vacation, so each new JET has time to settle in and become accustomed to life here without the stress of classes. For some this means being completely free of obligations, but my particular Board of Education requires that I report to work every day. Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 I go into the Board and pretend to be busy. I study Japanese, make lesson plans, and help with menial tasks around the office. I observe office etiquette and make tea with all the other women. (Note: I’m here to experience a culture, not judge it.) This month has also been full of get-togethers with other JETs, local festivals, and some nigiyakana enkai [welcome parties]. I have actually seen some of my usually serious co-workers face down on the tatami arm-wrestling. How’s that for a cultural experience?
As interesting as this first month has been, I find myself in great anticipation of September 1st. That’s when I begin my circus act. In three middle schools and two high schools, this imported foreigner will do her best to bring English to life and inspire international under-standing among Japanese teens. I look forward to telling you all about it. Ganbarimasu! [Wish me luck!]
|Editor's Note: the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, administered by the Japanese government, enables American college graduates to spend one to three years in Japan as assistant language teachers or coordinators for international relations. Further information is available at the East Asian Center.|
Gala Wan in China
| Last summer
I spent a month in UVa’s Beijing China Program led by Professor Huang
Yunsheng of the School of Architecture. Though I was born in Hong
Kong, this was the first time I had set foot on the Chinese Mainland.
Under Professor Huang’s expert guidance, we learned to become students
rather than tourists. It was truly an educational experience.
Beijing’s authorities are struggling to preserve the city’s historical treasures despite rapid modernization. I was impressed by the sheer size of the historic structures. You could tell by the architecture that in imperial times, anything associated with the Emperor had to be built on a grand scale. Most grandiose was the Imperial Forbidden City where the Emperor once held court functions and lived with his family. I found the place imposing but cold, befitting its status. I was particularly taken by the more intimate details such as the decorations on the edges of all the rooftops, unique to the architectural style of the Qing Dynasty.
I was thrilled to set foot in Tianenmen Square, defined by the Gate of Heavenly Peace, places I had read about all semester. I had always pictured Tianenmen Square as a somber place. To my surprise, when I was there at night, it had quite a festive atmosphere. Due to the lack of wide open spaces in Beijing, many of the locals use the huge square to relax in the evenings. I saw people flying kites, playing with remote control cars, or just sitting around talking with friends.
Around the square, I visited Mao’s Mausoleum and the Great Hall of the People. Having taken Professor Israel’s Modern China (HIEA 203) and read Dr. Li’s The Private Life of Chairman Mao, it was particularly interesting to see Mao’s body preserved under glass in the Mausoleum.
The Temple of Heaven, or Tian Tan, is made up of the Altar to Heaven, the Temple of Agriculture, and a purification area. During the Qing Dynasty, the Emperor would come to the temple once a year. First, he would spend three days in the purification area abstaining from women, drink, meat, music, garlic, and onions before entering the actual temple compound. While inside, he performed a series of rituals to worship heaven and seek guidance. The Temple of Heaven’s architecture placed a significance on the four seasons and the twelve months of the year. Manchu rule was acknowledged by tablets inscribed in both Chinese and Manchu scripts.
The Summer Palace, Yi He Yuan, is an architectural wonder in scale and wonder. For example, the ceiling of the Long Corridor is decorated with thousands of paintings, each one a unique work of art. One entire section of the palace is made to imitate the canals in Soochow. Supposedly, when the Emperor went on his yearly southern tour, he liked the architectural style of Soochow so much that he had it recreated in his Summer Palace. This turned out to be my favorite place. It is so huge that I could return multiple times and still have something new to see. I was constantly impressed by both the natural and man-made beauty of the site,.
Taking a break from Qing Dynasty architecture, I visited the Ming Tombs, of which only two have been excavated. Dingling, where Emperor Wanli is interred, is so deep beneath ground level that winter coats would have been helpful! The amount of manual labor needed to build the tomb is simply awe-inspiring. At the entrance to the tombs is the Way of the Spirits, which is lined with statues of officials and animals, both real and fictional.
Beijing now has numerous colleges, but the two most famous ones remain Qinghua and Beijing universities, the latter also known as Beida. Qinghua is known for its sciences and engineering while its rival, Beida, is strong in the liberal arts and humanities But campuses aren’t as different as you would imagine, even halfway across the world. I saw students biking to class and playing on computers. In fact, most of the internet cafes in the city were located close to universities and used mainly by college students.
The program took on additional dimensions with visits to the cities of Chengde to the north of Beijing and Guilin in China’s riverine south. If you ever have the chance, I strongly encourage you to visit China. You will never forget the experience.
Library Japanese Text Initiative
Web Site Receives International Award
| The Japanese
Text Initiative, based at the University of Virginia Library's Electronic
Text Center, has been named the winner of the second annual Digital Archives
Award by Digital Frontier Kyoto, representing a consortium of the city
and prefecture of Kyoto, Japan, and businesses and universities in Japan.
The prestigious award is presented annually to a digital project that exemplifies
cutting-edge technology and rich content in preserving world culture.
The Japanese Text Initiative (JTI) is an ongoing collaborative electronic text project between the U.Va. Library and the University of Pittsburgh Library, with participation by scholars in the U.S. and Japan. The JTI puts on the Web authoritative editions in both Japanese and English translations of the masterpieces of classical Japanese literature, from its beginnings in the 8th century through modern novels and poetry. Among the online texts are The Tale of Genji, classics of haiku poetry, Kabuki plays, and others. The JTI is at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/japanese
According to JTI co-director, Kendon Stubbs, usage of the JTI Web site is growing dramatically. "The Japanese texts are now accessed 80,000 times per month by 22,000 visitors from all over the world. One hundred and fifty readers from Japan come to the site each day." Recent visitors came from not only larger countries like Japan, Australia, and Germany, but also countries such as Peru, Bulgaria, Monaco, and Tonga, Stubbs said.
Lewis Cook, professor of Japanese literature at Queens College of the City University of New York, and a contributor to the JTI, stated, "The JTI was a trail-blazer in putting Japanese texts on the Web. The capability of searching for any word in any of the JTI texts makes the JTI indispensable to scholars. I am delighted that this achievement has been recognized by the Kyoto award."
Sachiko Iwabuchi, U.Va. Library coordinator of the Japanese Text Initiative, accepted the award in a ceremony on September 27 in Kyoto.
The Japanese texts are part of 51,000 online texts at the U.Va. Electronic Text Center site at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu. The Etext Center, founded in 1992, was the first electronic center of its kind, and provides Internet access to humanities-related XML texts.
Six Years in Sichuan: A View of China from the Interior
| William Speidel
witnessed “an enormous amount of change” during his six years as
the first director of America’s Peace Corps program in China. Dr.
Speidel, a Charlottesville native who has taught Chinese history and language
at UVa, observed this transformation between 1993 and 1999 from Chengdu,
capital of Sichuan province deep in China’s hinterland.
In an October 27 East Asian Center lecture, Speidel rebutted the notion that China is suffering under the leadership of “a corrupt power-hungry ruthless Communistic leadership of old men”. He blamed biased media and opportunistic politicians for portraying a declining China marked by bankrupt financial institutions, massive unemployment, labor unrest, environmental degradation, a “me-first” morality, suppression of individual freedom, an aggressive foreign policy, and “dissatisfaction with life if not outright despair”.
In addition to the country’s acknowledged economic advances, Speidel cited “enormous projects” to improve the environment, dramatic upgrading of educational requirements for teachers, a guaranteed 30-year land tenure to farmers, “cracking down on corruption in earnest,” and the appointment of some “wonderful” Communist Party secretaries at provincial and local levels. He found “improvements in many small ways” in people’s lives and traditional moral values still vital. “It ain’t paradise,” he observed, “but it’s China”.
Speidel blamed resentment at America’s stream of “unsolicited advice” on Tibet, Falungong, and other problems for smoldering Chinese resentment that exploded after the April 1999 U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. A mob broke into the American consular compound and burned the consul-general’s house. Peace Corps volunteers were distraught to find carefully cultivated friendships with their students evaporate overnight.
Speidel’s Peace Corps operation, however, continues to prosper, expanding from eighteen volunteers in five Sichuan institutions in 1993 to seventy-two volunteers in thirty-five institutions in Sichuan, Guizhou, and Gansu in today. UVa, the number one source of Peace Corps workers in the mid-Atlantic region and number six in the country, currently has no representatives in China.
Mao Zedong: A "Short" Appraisal
| It is unclear
whether it was the provocative title of the lecture, the stature of the
lecturer or the subject matter itself that attracted droves to the Commonwealth
Room on Newcomb Hall on October 18th but droves there were. The normally
spacious Commonwealth Room was crowded to capacity, with many students
and late comers relegated to the floor. All had come to hear Philip
Short, author of the recently published biography, Mao: A Life,
share his thoughts on the life and accomplishments of Mao Zedong.
Short asserted that Mao was a product of the era in which he grew up and lived . Citing China’s ubiquitous violence, Short sought to place the deaths of millions of Chinese during the Chairman's reign (more deaths than during any other single leader's stay in power) in historical context without totally absolving him all blame. Mao, he observed, did not, like Stalin, sign off on lists of those slated for politically motivated executions. If Stalin was guilty of mass murder, Mao's role in the deaths of millions of rightists, counter-revolutionaries, and class enemies might be considered “manslaughter”. Short characterized Mao as a "poet with a subtle and complex mind," but also as "not a nice guy, ruthless."
Against the backdrop of China’s unique historical experience, Short suggested, China’s China's accomplishments under Mao -- its development as a modern nation-state, its ascension to the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member with veto power, and its development of inter-continental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads
-- are all the more remarkable.
Mao, concluded Short, was a man without peers, perhaps of greater historical importance (or infamy) than figures such as Churchill and Napoleon. As to whether or not Mao's China was a necessary evil, Short finds the question worth asking, if only for the debate and inquiry it might inspire.
East Asian Studies Spring 2001 Courses
|Asian & Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures
AMEL 100 From Genghis Khan to Stalin: Invasion and Empires of Central
ANTH 329/719 Marriage, Morality, and Fertility
ANTH 522 Economic Anthropology
ANTH 529 EVAT 493/793 Climate and the History of Human Culture
ARH 382/582 Architecture of East Asia
ARH 585 Modern Japanese Architecture
ARTH 364 Early Chinese Art (Neolithic to Tang)
USEM 171 Art, Death, and Ritual: Mysteries of Ancient China
CHIN 102 Elementary Chinese
CHIN 202 Intermediate Chinese
CHIN 206 Accelerated Intermediate Chinese
CHIN 302/502 Readings in Modern Chinese
CHIN 582 Topics:Media Chinese
CHIN 584 Topics in Chinese Literature: Introduction to Classical
CHTR 301 Legendary Women of Early China
CHTR 322/AMEL 802 Chinese Literature in Translation:
EDLF 589 Childhood and Culture
EDLF 765 Comparative Education
EDLF 770 Culture, Identity, and Education
Government & Foreign Affairs
GFIR 424(A) Japan in World Affairs
GFIR 424(B) Southeast Asia in World Affairs
GFIR 872 Chinese Topics in World Affairs
GFCP 424 Chinese Politics
HIEA 206 Korean Culture and Institutions
HIEA 312 Imperial China: 1000 to 1900
HIEA 314 Modern Chinese Political & Social Thought
One way to understand modern Chinese political and social thought is through writings by sinologists such as Jonathan Spence and Orville Schell. Also assigned is Yue Daiyun's autobiographical account of a Chinese scholar who lived through the troubled decades of mid-twentieth-century China. Other readings will include essays, fiction, and polemics by Chinese political and intellectual leaders as well as western scholarly critiques.
This course will feature a series of films addressed to political and
social issues of the twentieth century. These post-1949 productions also
yield insights into Communist policies toward the arts. Students unable
to attend large-screen Tuesday afternoon showings may use videotapes on
reserve, but the films must be viewed before discussion sections. The course
grade will be based upon a mid-term examination (20%), a comparative review
of Yue/Wakeman and one other volume selected from a list of approved readings
(30%), a final examination (40%), and performance in discussion sections
HIEA 316 China Encounters the World
HIEA 402 Intellectuals, Students, and Change in Modern China
HIEA 702 Late Imperial China
HIEA 706 Modern Chinese History
HIST 753 The New Cold War History
JAPN 102 Elementary Japanese
JAPN 202 Intermediate Japanese
JAPN 302/502 Advanced Reading and Conversation I
JAPN 584 Advanced Reading and Conversation II" (fourth-year Japanese)
JAPN 594 Language Seminar II
JPTR 306 Courtesans and Bathhouses: The Floating World in the Literature
of Early-modern Japan
JPTR 322/522: Women, Nature & Society in Modern Japanese
JPTR 350 Bashô and Beyond: Japanese Poetry from
Earliest Times to the Present
RELB 102 Literary and Spoken Tibetan II (Second Year Tibetan)
RELG 104 Intro to Eastern Religions
RELB 324 Mysticisms in East Asia
RELB 501 Literary and Spoken Tibetan II (Second Year Tibetan)
RELB 534 Colloquial Tibetan 4
RELB 536 Literary Tibetan 4
RELB 543 Colloquial Tibetan 6
RELB 548 Literary Tibetan 6
RELB 702 Readings in Chinese Buddhist Texts
RELB 821 Literary Tibetan 8
RELB 823 Advanced Tibetan
RELB 826 Advanced Topics in Tibetan Literature
RELB 828 Colloquial Tibetan 8
Studies in Women and Gender
SWAG 355/SOC 355 Women's Social Movements in Modern East Asia