Colloquium Series


The East Asian Studies Center’s Colloquium Series at Indiana University Bloomington brings together faculty from IU and other institutions to share current research with colleagues, students, and the general public in a relaxed environment. Light refreshments are generally provided at these noon talks, and guests are welcome to bring their own snacks or lunch.

*Also included below are the lectures from the Institute for Korean Studies Lecture Series (IKS).


Spring 2023 - Maritime East Asia - Troubled Waters: Sea, Littoral Space, and Movement in East Asia

The seas separating Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and China have mostly been seen as dividers separating peoples and cultures. This series will focus on the maritime world of East Asia as a connector (for better or worse) through history and as a place of autonomy and alternative social structures.

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12-1:15pm, Ga 1106

Hilary Holbrow (Indiana University)

This event is co-sponsored by 21JPSI and EASC.

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10:30 am - 11:45 am, GA 1106

Leif -Eirc Easley (Ewha University)

This event is hosted by the East Asia & the World Speaker Series & IKS, and co-sponsored by the East Asia Studies Center.

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Co-hosted by EASC, IKS, Chinese Flagship, and Taiwanese Exchange Program 

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12-1:15 pm, GISB 2067

Julie Chu (University of Chicago)


This talk considers the ways in which legal reform unfolds as a palpable, if vague, “change in the air” in new zones of urban revitalization and port development in contemporary China. Drawing from various examples of citizen-state strugglesover the spread of bad air(s) throughout the rezoned areas of coastal Fuzhou (e.g. the free trade port zone, the touristic city center), I show how redevelopment as filtered through “the law” can operate as a distinctive infrastructural project of climate control to shape the atmospherics of civilian protest; this includes gathering unlikely allies together under a shared cloud of political disaffection and procedural noise to ponder the revolutionary and everyday possibilities of social change in China beyond the current governing logics of “reform.”

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12-1:45 pm, GISB 2067

Antonina Luszczykiewicz (Indiana University)


Apart from the 1962 war, solving the seven-decade long China-India border dispute has never seemed more unlikely. Why is it so hard for Beijing and New Delhi to find a peaceful solution to their territorial dispute? Will the growing nationalisms in both China and India push them to war? Dr. Antonina Luszczykiewicz, a Fulbright visiting scholar at the East Asian Studies Center, will discuss the less known aspects of the China-India border dispute and will present several scenarios of how the relations between Beijing and New Delhi may evolve over the next decade.

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12-1:45 pm, GISB 2067

Patrick Mendis (University of Warsaw) and Antonina Luszczykiewicz (Indiana University)


Washington’s support for Taiwan has been fortified in recent years by a variety of legislations; however, many of them—although public—are hardly known. Professors Antonina Luszczykiewicz and Patrick Mendis will discuss how the United States can support Taiwan directly and indirectly—by influencing other UN member-states—through a strategy of enticements and impediments to shape their policies toward the democratic island-nation.

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12-1:15 pm, GISB 1100

Gregory Smits (PennState)


Stretching between Kyushu and Taiwan, the Ryukyu islands form a boundary between the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Between the eleventh and the sixteenth centuries, the islands functioned as a maritime frontier region, home to trading and-raiding centers. These centers consisted of harbor-fortress pairs, many of which maintained connections with other harbors throughout maritime East Asia. During the sixteenth century, the Ryukyu islands became a centralized state and a maritime empire. This talk focusses on the pre-state era in the Ryukyu islands and presents a new model for understanding their function within the East China Sea region during that time. Home to wakō (nonstate seafarers who often operated as pirates), the Ryukyu islands functioned both as a hazard to the region’s agricultural societies and as conduit for people, technologies, and goods to flow between them.

Juhn Ahn, Associate Professor of Buddhist and Korean Studies (University of Michigan)

See the flyer here!

Talk Title: Mongols, Scholar-Officials, and Dead-End Harbors: Buddhism and Confucianism in Late-Koryŏ Korea

From the IKS Events Page: In a poem he wrote not long after passing the final palace exam for civil officials in the Yuan capital Dadu the eminent scholar-official Yi Saek (1328-1396) once likened non-Confucian teachings to dead-end harbors. Although this is commonly understood to be a criticism of Buddhism and perhaps even Daoism, this talk will set the poem against the backdrop of the dentity crisis that troubled the late-Koryŏ elite and try offer a different interpretation. Rather than pit Confucianism (or. Neo-Confucianism) against Buddhism or treat them as unchanging ideological systems not subject to the whims of history as scholars of premodern Korea today are wont to do, I will develop a new interpretation of Yi’s poem and the late-Koryŏ effort to establish lasting values that portrays the Buddhism and Confucianism of this period as fruits that actually fell from the same tree, a tree that began to grow as late-Koryŏ scholars, under very unique historical circumstances, began to dissociate real, lasting values from the material, physical world.

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12-1:15 pm, GISB 2067

Peter Shapinsky (University of Illinois)


This presentation connects the durability of salvery in the Japanese archipelago during the late medieval era (c. 1300-1600) to collaboration between so-callled Japanese pirates and authorities in Muromachi Japan that institutionalized human trafficking as a prestigious occupation. I focus on priacy based on the island of Tsushima, which commanded the maritime borderlands linking Kyushu and the Korean peninsula. The case of Tsushima invites reconsideration of nonstate spaces as sites of marronage and interpretations of trafficiking in medieval Japan as a low-status, opportunistic, and declining trade. Tsushima mariners perpetuated codes of status and ethnicity generated by cultural cores that facilitated the objectification of peoples into commodities; they transformed captives into "low people" (genin) and "foreigners" (Tojin). Pirates pursued rewards from patrons such as the So family, who governed Tsushima, that enabled them to build human trafficking networks as parts of commercial and violent enterprises. Tax-farming privileges and tax exemptions incentivized human trafficking that accompanied priacy raids on Korean and Chinese coasts and military campaigns in the archipelago. Terriorial bestowals in northern Kyushu turned sea-lanes into slave roads as Tsushima seafarers dealt captives to regional warrior elites, the Muromachi shogunate, and the Choson court in Korea. Choson reception policies provided for the repatriation of captives to both Choson Korea and Ming China.

Tae Gyun Park, Professor of Modern Korean History (Seoul National University)

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Talk Title: The Misunderstanding and the Miscalculation: the Legacy of the Korean War During the Vietnam War from the US perspective.

From the IKS Events Page

There are few literature on the Vietnam War from the legacy of the Korean War. In spite of the fact that two wars had a lot of commonality, including the participants, the international environment, location, and so on, two wars were examined separately. Even it was 11 years between the Armistice Agreement on the Korean Peninsula(1953) and the declaration of the war at Vietnam by the President Johnson in 1964. It means the legacy of the Korean War would be working during the Vietnam War, which provided meaningful conditions in Vietnam between 1964 and 1975. In particular, the US who initiated two wars would have lessons from Korea when she planned and decided the war strategy. The presentation examines the misunderstanding and the miscalculation of the US during the Vietnam War which was influenced by the US experience in Korea. 

Sungyun Lim, Associate Professor of History at the University of Colorado Boulder

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Talk Title:“What Should I Do?”: Family Problems and Legal Conundrums in Postcolonial Korea

From the IKS Events PageKorea experienced drastic transformations in a dizzying pace from 1945 into the 1970s, through postcolonial transition, the Korean War, and the fast-paced industrialization. What kind of everyday problems did Korean families experience as they lived through these tumultuous times? The laws were slow to catch up with the political and economic changes and often exacerbated the problems: even after South Korea regained independence, customary laws from the colonial period continued to be in use until the new Civil Code went into effect in 1960. The new Civil Code incompletely delivered on its promise of progress and gender equality: while brazenly discriminative measures such as “wife’s legal incapacity” was abolished, other discriminatory measures were maintained with the logic of protecting “Korean tradition.” In this talk, I examine two collections of legal advice on family matters from Women’s Legal Consultation Agency (later named Korean Family Legal Consultation Agency), one from 1958 and another from 1979 to analyze the everyday family problems that people experienced as well as the challenges posed by the idiosyncratic family laws of postcolonial Korea. 

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1:30-2:45 pm, GISB 2067

Zhuqing Li (Brown University)


I’m going to share my journey in trying to understand and construct the near-century-long-lives of my two maternal aunts. Accidentally separated when China split in 1949, the two sisters, new college graduates at the time, refused to submit to the random power of history and fought their way to the elite echelons of the societies on the two sides of the split China. One led a life as a successful capitalist and a devout Christian in Taiwan and later in America, and the other as a celebrated ob-gyn doctor in mainland China and a dedicated Communist. In the end, however, the valiant efforts that had brought them success proved inadequate in finding a true reconciliation at their reunion after 33 years of complete separation.

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IMU Auditorium and Solarium


April 10th, 7:00 pm., IU Cinema: Island Etude Film Screening (see the flyer here!)


April 16th, 10 am. - 2:30 pm. Tour de Formosa (see the flyer here!)


April 18th, 8:00 pm. EST, Zoom: Asia Rainbow Ride speaking event (see the flyer here!)

See the flyer here!

12-1:15 pm, GISB 2067

Sujung Kim (DePauw University)

Co-sponsored with IKS


The talk examines East Asian talismanic culture through the case of the Chintaku reifu 鎮宅霊符 (“numinous talismans for the stabilization of residences”). Whereas previous scholarship viewed the set of seventy-two
talismans as having an ancient Korean origin or connection to the Onmyōdō 陰陽道 tradition in Japan, my analysis of the talismans suggests that they arrived to Japan directly from Ming China (1368–1644) around the late Muromachi
period (1336–1573). Once introduced, the talismans were widely adopted across different religious traditions such as Buddhism, Shinto, Confucianism, and Shugendō under the name Chintaku reifujin 鎮宅霊符神 (the god of Chintaku reifu talismans) in Japan. Locating the broader transcultural history behind the Chintaku reifu talismans, the talk demonstrates how the talisman operated as a major force that shaped the talismanic culture in medieval Japanese religious landscape and beyond.

Past Speakers

Theme: Cities!

In this series we will explore different cities throughout East Asia, some solely historical and some thriving in the present day. Speakers from different regions will talk about how cities were shaped by politics and government while in turn shaping the inhabitants that called the city home and how these cities and their memory have shaped their future and the future of other urban centers in their country.

From ancient to contemporary times, urban centers have been widely seen as the connecting nodes of human civilization. With this speaker series, we hope to cast light on how cities and concepts of the urban have been perceived through East Asian history: How has the city been conceptualized over time? What did it represent? What does it mean to be urban? Are there particular East Asian urban modalities? How have destructions of cities (urbicide) been imagined and perceived?

  • Manling Luo (Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Inga Diederich (Colby College)*
  • Hannah Shepherd (Yale University)*
  • Xin Wen (Princeton University)
  • Russell Burge (Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Hajin Jun (University of Washington)*
  • Kyle A. Jaros (University of Notre Dame)


* Institute for Korean Studies

Theme: Social Protest In East Asia

How are social protests organized, and what are the historical, political, and cultural conditions that shape counter-hegemonic practices? How can we characterize the dialectic between representation and participation in social movements? And what are the cultural vehicles of protest that animate expressions of dissent and facilitate the mobilization of people? Although constituents such as “the masses/crowd” or “the people” have time and again been construed as privileged categories of resistance, social protests also happen outside the domain of the collective. Are mass protests a type of “weapons of the weak” or does such a characterization run the risk of ignoring or minimizing the hierarchies and pressures within that are also exerting control over the individuals? And what are the social dynamics that prevent practices of dissent from devolving into mob justice and uncontrolled vandalism? In this series we will explore different types of social protests in East Asia, some historical and some in the present day. Speakers from different regions and diverse disciplines will talk about how social movements gave voices to the marginalized, and how political legacies of the past are appropriated, reconfigured, and contested in protest practices of the present—both locally and cross-regionally.

  • Gardner Bovingdon (Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Ross King (University of British Columbia)*
  • Heng Du, (University of Arizona)+
  • Nick Kapur (Rutgers University - Camden)
  • Ho-fung Hung (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Hyaeweol Choi (University of Iowa)*
  • Hilary Finchum-Sung (Association for Asian Studies)*
  • Xiaofei Tian (Harvard University)+
  • Susan Hwang (Indiana University)


+ On Altars of Soil series
* Institute for Korean Studies

Theme: Indigenous East Asia

In traditional textbooks, we rarely hear about the history, languages and cultures of the many indigenous people and other ethnic minorities who live or have lived in East Asia. From the Ainu in Northern Japan to the Truku and Sediq in the highlands of Taiwan and the large Uighur and Tibetan minorities in China and many others, ethnic minorities and indigenous people have strived to protect their rich heritages and linguistic characteristics against colonial powers, expanding nation states, as well as the homogenization of globalization. EASC’s speaker series “Indigenous East Asia” this fall aims at giving voice to these people and placing them back on the map of East Asian civilizations. The series features scholars from various fields of linguistics, anthropology, history, and social science who all in different ways discuss the challenges and possibilities that face East Asian indigenous people in the twenty-first century and place them in their deep historical and cultural contexts. The series thereby addresses larger issues of identity formation, social agency, cultural resilience, and ethnicity in global and national policies.

  • Nozomi Tanaka (Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Robert Tierney (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Sarah Allan (Darthmouth College) +
  • Kyoium Yun (University of Kansas) *
  • Nick Vogt (Indiana University Bloomington) +
  • Michael Brose (Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Jin Y Park (American University) *
  • Elizabeth Berger (University of California, Riverside) +
  • Scott Simon (University of Ottawa)
  • Guolong Lai (University of Florida) +
  • Eveline Washul (Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Roslynn Ang (NYU Shanghai)
  • Glenda Chao (Ursinus College) +


+ On Altars of Soil series
* Institute for Korean Studies

  • Emily Wilcox (William & Mary)
  • Bruce Fulton (University of British Columbia) and Ju-Chan Fulton (translator of Korean literature) 
  • Zhuoyi Wang (Hamilton College)
  • Avery Goldstein (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Lothar von Falkenhausen (UCLA)
  • Seo Young Park (Scripps College)
  • Hyun Ok Park (York University)
  • Jue Guo (Barnard College)
  • William H. Nienauser Jr. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Johnathan Lipman (Stanford)

  • Paul Chang (Harvard University)
  • Yonjoo Cho (University of Texas at Tyler)
  • Gordon Matthews (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
  • Sheena Greitens (University of Texas at Austin)
  • Jessica Li (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)
  • Dorthea Mladenova (Leipzig University)
  • Nozomi Tanaka (Indiana University)
  • Wenhao Diao (University of Arizona)
  • Dominic Meng-Hsuan Yang (University of Missouri)
  • Minjeong Kim (San Diego State University)
  • Eunsil Oh (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Hilary Finchum-Sung (Seoul National University)
  • Darcy Paquet (Indiana University)
  • Jessica Li (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)
  • Yonjoo Cho (Indiana University)
  • Wenhao Diao (University of Arizona)

  • Levi McLaughlin (North Carolina State University)
  • Yoshihisa Kitagawa (Indiana University)
  • Kazuyo Nakamura (Indiana University)
  • Ping Li (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
  • Agnes Sohn Jordan (Indiana University)
  • Heather Blair (Indiana University)
  • Byungdae Kim (Korean Ministry of Unification)
  • Jungwon Kim (Columbia University)

  • Pil Ho Kim (Ohio State University)
  • Ke-chin Hsia & Fei Hsien Wang (Indiana University)
  • Margaret Tillman (Purdue University)
  • Misumi Sadler (University of Illinois)
  • Sheldon Garon (Princeton University)
  • Ria Chae (Indiana University)
  • Ming-Chen Lo (University of California, Davis)
  • Tim Gitzen (Indiana University)
  • James Anderson (University of North Carolina)
  • Terry Jackson (Adrian College)

  • Nan Kim (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
  • Lynn Struve (Indiana University)
  • Roald Maliangkay (Australia National University)
  • Young-Key Kim-Renaud (George Washington University)
  • Xiaoqing Diana Lin (Indiana University-Northwest)
  • Ding Xiang Warner (Cornell University)

  • Hae Yeon Choo (University of Toronto)
  • Christine Marran (University of Minnesota)
  • Todd Henry (University of California, San Diego)
  • Sally Hastings (Purdue University)
  • Jisoo Kim (George Washington University)
  • Edith Sarra (Indiana University)
  • Ken Liu (author)
  • Jessey J.C. Choo (Syracuse University)

  • Guojun Wang (Vanderbilt University)
  • Timothy Rich (Western Kentucky University)
  • Awi Mona (National Taiwan University & National Dong Hwa University)
  • Roderick Wilson (University of Illinois)
  • Eunjung Kim (Syracuse University)