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 "On Altars of Soil": Lectures on Chinese Prehistoric Rituals (AoS) and the Institute for Korean Studies Lecture Series (IKS). This semester's IKS colloquium are rolled into the Korea Remixed festival organized by the IU Bloomington Arts & Humanities Council.


Spring 2022 - 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. 


Speaker: Gardner Bovingdon (Indiana University Bloomington)

GA2067 and via Zoom


Please note that this takes place on WEDNESDAY

Time: 5pm
Livestreaming on the IU Arts and Humanities Council Facebook page.

"The Graphic Imagination: Script Nationalism, Script Primordialism, and the Imagination of Writing in Korean Antiquity" by Ross King (University of British Columbia)

From the Korea Remixed page: Ross King is a professor of Korean Language and Literature at the University of British Columbia. King’s main research interests are Korean historical linguistics and the history of language, writing and literary culture in the ‘Sinographic cosmopolis’—with a specific focus on medieval Korea and the interplay of cosmopolitan and vernacular in other regions of the Sinographic cultural sphere.

See the flyer here!


By addressing the meanings and implications of textual dating, this talk resumes an earlier conversation on the question of textual identity from the lecture series “On Altars of Soil.” As Christopher Foster has insightfully
articulated, encounters with archaeological and manuscript evidence challenge scholars to reimagine the nature of texts. By synthesizing scholarship from different fields produced in the aftermath of “manuscript turns,” I propose a more descriptive and generalizable approach to the dating of texts, which is predicated on an alternative approach to the mapping of relationships between the dating of an individual witness (e.g., a manuscript) and what is conventionally thought of as the dating of a text (e.g., the publication date of Mrs. Dalloway or the dating of the Analects). The latter, I suggest, usually does not indicate the timing of a text’s origination, but that of its finalization—in other words, a moment of transformation in how a text is disseminated, transmitted, and interpreted within a specific social context. I will turn to the early histories of texts such as the Laozi and Zhuangzi as test cases. 


Dr. Heng Du, Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona, is a book historian specializing in the study of Early China. Her current book project, Paratext and the Transformation of Early Chinese Writings, expands the concept of “paratext” to locate the redactional intentions of the nameless thinkers and compilers involved in manuscript production. She is also interested in the comparative study of book cultures in the ancient world. Of her existing publications, the article that holds particular relevance to this talk is “The Author’s Two Bodies: The Death of Qu Yuan and the Birth of Chuci Zhangju.” T’oung Pao 105 (2019): 259-314

Register for this Zoom-only lecture here!

See the flyer here!


In 1960, Japan was wracked by the largest protests in its modern history, as millions of people took to the streets to oppose a revision of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. Known as “Anpo” in Japanese, this is the treaty that to this day allows the United States to maintain military bases on Japanese soil. Although the protests ultimately failed to stop passage of the revised treaty, they culminated in a violent storming of the Japanese national legislature which brought down the conservative government of Japanese prime minister Kishi Nobusuke and caused the cancellation of a planned visit to Japan by US president Dwight Eisenhower. 

This talk considers the lasting legacies and ongoing contemporary relevance of these massive protests in Japan, and the ways they transformed the U.S.-Japan alliance and Japanese politics, society, and culture in ensuing decades.


Nick Kapur received his Ph.D. in Japanese history from Harvard University and is presently Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University’s Camden campus, where he teaches Japanese and East Asian history. His research interests focus on modern Japan and East Asia in transnational and comparative perspective. His book Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise after Anpo (Harvard University Press, 2018) details transformations in Japanese politics, culture and society, as well as US-Japan relations and the Cold War international system, that unfolded in the aftermath of the massive 1960 protests against the US-Japan Security Treaty. In addition, he has recently published research on Chinese and Japanese environmental policy since 1970, US-Japan relations during the John F. Kennedy administration, and the 1968 centennial celebrations of Japan’s Meiji Restoration.

GA 2067 and via Zoom

See the flyer here!


Eighteenth-century China saw the consolidation of an orthodox Confucianist state that saw the relation between different layers of the state and the people in light of the familial hierarchy. Protesters internalized such orthodoxy and developed humble protests that sought paternalistic benevolence of the state. Such repertoires of state-making and collective claim-making continued into the twentieth century and hybridized with imported political ideologies. We cannot fully understand the trajectories and forms of contemporary state powers and protest in China without considering these indigenous components of China’s body politics.


Ho-fung Hung is the Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Professor in Political Economy in the Department of Sociology and the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty (2011), The China Boom: Why China will not Rule the World (2015), City on the Edge: Hong Kong under Chinese Rule (2022), and Clash of  Empires: From “Chimerica” to the “New Cold War” (2022).

GA2067 and via Zoom

**Please note that this takes place on WEDNESDAY

Time: 5pm
Location: Gayle Karch Cook Center

Speaker: Hyaeweol Choi (University of Iowa)

From the Korea Remixed page: Hyaeweol Choi is the chair in Korean Studies and professor in Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research spans the areas of modern Korea, gender history, religions, food and body, and transnational history. Her latest book is Gender Politics at Home and Abroad: Protestant Modernity in Colonial-era Korea (2020)

Time: 12pm
Location: Fine Arts Building 102

Speaker: Hilary Finchum-Sung

From the Korea Remixed page: Hilary Finchum-Sung is the executive director of the Association for Asian Studies. She was previously an associate professor of Ethnomusicology in the Department of Korean Music and associate dean of students in Seoul National University’s College of Music. Her academic work has centered on Korean music with a recent focus on the roles of women in sustaining traditional expressive culture in the southwest of Korea.

See the flyer here!


In the Chinese tradition, reality is often figured as being dream-like, an idea that has purchase in both Daoist and Buddhist teachings. The confusion of dream and reality is a common motif in Tang poetry. This paper discusses a special technique of writing dreams developed by the ninth-century poets that establishes the contrast between dream and reality and their mutual need of each other. This technique sets up a boundary between the two that appears as a fuzzy edge of dream, by means of which the poets succeed in validating both dream and reality.


Xiaofei Tian is a professor of Chinese literature at Harvard University. Her main research field is medieval Chinese literature and cultural history, from the first through thirteenth century; she has also published widely on late imperial, modern, and contemporary literature. Her most recent publications include The Halberd at Red Cliff: Jian’an and the Three Kingdoms (2018); an edited volume, Reading Du Fu: Nine Views (2020); a book of essays on classical Chinese literature, Shadows and Ripples: Selected Writings 影子與水文: 秋水堂自選集 (2020); and a translation, with critical introduction and notes, of Family Instructions for the Yan Clan and Other Works by Yan Zhitui (531–590s) (2021). She is serving as Editor of the journal Early Medieval China and a co-editor of Nanyang Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture. She is currently working on a book about writing empire and self in early medieval China and a project on slaves, things, and artificial humans in Tang dynasty China

GA2067 and via Zoom 


“The Way Is Like A Single Thread Spun from A Silkworm, Twisted as My Knotted Guts”: Failure of Authority, the Realm of the Unthinkable, and Making Sense

Friday, April 15
GA2015 (Korean Conference Room)

*For IU students and faculty only

**This talk will begin at 3pm

See the flyer here!


Susan Hwang is an assistant professor of Korean literature and cultural studies at Indiana University. She specializes in modern Korean literature, Korean cultural history, and translation studies. Her current research interests lie in cultural activism during social movements in modern Korea with an emphasis on the shifting relations between aesthetics and politics. She is currently working on a monograph titled, Uncaged Songs: Culture and Politics of Protest Music in South Korea. It is a cultural history of South Korea’s song movement that charts how songs became a powerful component of the struggle for democracy in South Korea during two of the nation’s darkest decades—the 1970s and the 1980s. Her latest publications are “Radicalizing Against Polarities: Poetry and Print Culture in 1980s Literary Topography” in The Routledge Handbook of Modern Korean Literature and the forthcoming article, “From Victimhood to Martyrdom: ‘March for the Beloved’ and the Cultural Politics of Resistance in 1980s’ South Korea” in Korean Studies.

GA2067 and via Zoom

Past Speakers

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)