8/29/18: Migration, Surveillance, and Inter-Imperial Spaces: Taraknath Das in North America, 1908–1925

Recordings now available!!

Neilesh Bose Talk Part 1

Neilesh Bose Talk Part 2

Neilesh Bose Talk Part 3

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
Chung-wen Shih Conference Room
1957 E St. NW, Suite 503
Washington DC 20052

This event is free and open to the public and media.

Tara

“The Tyee: the Book of the Class of 
1912″ Vol. X11, 1911 p.33

RSVP Here

This discussion will consider the impact and significance of South Asians in U.S. and Canada borderlands in the early twentieth century, a period of rising global white supremacy and the “global color line,” through the experience of Taraknath Das, an itinerant nationalist and political activist. By considering the itinerary of Das in the first two decades of the twentieth century – from study in the Norwich military academy to service in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1907-08, work with the Ghadar movement, arrest and conviction in the Hindu-German Conspiracy Trial of 1917-18, imprisonment in Leavenworth prison through 1919, and subsequent education and writings – this discussion will explore the nationalism of “expatriate patriots” as seen within the context of settler colonialism and the frontiers of expanding settler states. Finally, Dr. Bose will briefly comment on how a study of this topic advances discussions about the role of Asians in settler contexts, referencing recent debates in North America as well as the significance of Das, and his contemporaries, for a study of Indian nationalism.

Light refreshments will be available. This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the Speaker:

Neilesh Bose is Assistant Professor of History and Canada Research Chair of Global and Comparative History at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC, CANADA. Dr. Bose is an historian of modern South Asia with interests in colonialism and decolonization, settler colonialisms, migration, nationalism, literary history, and intellectual history. Published work includes the book Recasting the Region: Language, Culture, and Islam in Colonial Bengal (Oxford, 2014) as well as journal articles and review essays in Modern Asian Studies, the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, and Modern Intellectual History, among others. Current work features a biography of Taraknath Das, the itinerant nationalist and activist (1884-1958) as well as a special edition of South Asian History and Culture about decolonization across East and West Bengal.

 

Image Source: http://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcollections/collections/exhibits/southasianstudents/das 

7/26/18: Taiwan Art Exhibition Opening Reception

Art Exhibition Opening Reception:

Taiwan, A Beautiful Landscape

Thursday, July 26, 2018
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM
2nd Floor, Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20052

This event is co-sponsored with the Global Taiwan Institute, the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, the GW Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures, and the Elliott School of International Affairs. This event is free and open to the public and media.

RSVP Here

Event Description:

The Global Taiwan Institute, the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, the GW Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, and the Elliott School of International Affairs are pleased to present Taiwan, a Beautiful Landscape by Taiwanese artist Ku Chin Yi (Temi Minu) at the Elliott School of International Affairs. The art exhibit is part of GTI’s ongoing series of cultural programs, which are supported in part by Spotlight Taiwan, a project of Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture.

Doors for the opening reception will open at 4:30 pm and a tour of the exhibition by the artist will begin at 5:00 pm. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Please contact GTI Program Assistant Jonathan Lin (jlin@globaltaiwan.org) if you have questions or concerns. Kindly RSVP by July 23.

The Exhibition:

Taiwan, a Beautiful Landscape depicts landscapes throughout various parts of Taiwan, with a focus including but not limited to the island’s diversity, architecture, culture, ecology, and humanities. Taiwan is about the size of the state of Maryland and Delaware, and has a diverse geological features ranging from mountains to plateaus to basins. Taiwanese artist Ku Chin Yi (Temi Minu) based his works on the element of ink wash painting, an East Asian type of black and white brush painting, combined with the addition of colors, perspectives and techniques of Western paintings. His style of Taiwanese modern color ink wash painting was developed in the early 1980s in Taiwan and has become a modern artistic style among contemporary artists. The opening reception on July 26 will include a guided tour of the paintings by the artist.

About the Artist:

Ku Chin Yi (Temi Minu) graduated with a MA in Fine Arts from National Taiwan Normal University in 2003, and has held several exhibitions in Taiwan including Kenting Impressions in 2010, Epitome of Kinmen in 2011, and the Current-Trend of Water-Ink Paintings in Taiwan in 2016. He is the principal of Bo Ai Elementary School in Taichung, Taiwan, and currently the Chairman of Taichung Creative Ink Wash Painting Association.

 

7/24/18: Taiwan’s Energy Future

Event Recording Here!

 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Lindner Family Commons – Room 602 (6th Floor)

Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20052

This event is co-sponsored with the Global Taiwan Institute. This event is free and open to the public and media.

Wind Turbines in Taichung, Taiwan, June 19, 2016. Image Credit: EPA/Ritchie B. Tongo

RSVP Here

Event Description:

Climate change is as much an environmental issue as it is a national security concern for Taiwan. While Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, its energy policies are guided by the Paris Climate Accord. Although Taiwan was not even among the top 10 countries for offshore wind in 2017, it is now leading the way in Asia through partnerships with several European companies, which see Taiwan as an entry to the Asian offshore wind power market.

Taiwan’s recent push towards renewable energy follows the 2011 Fukushima Disaster in Japan. In the aftermath of that disaster, public opinion in Taiwan shifted dramatically against the use of nuclear power due to its potential danger. President Tsai Ing-wen was elected into office in 2016 on a promise that Taiwan will become “nuclear-free” by 2025. Yet in 2017, the island experienced significant power outages that raised some doubts about the viability of the government’s ambitious plan for Taiwan’s energy future.

Please join the Global Taiwan Institute and co-sponsor, The Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University, on July 24th to explore the future of Taiwan’s energy. This event is the third installment of the Civil Society and Democracy Series, which is partially funded by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. The panelists will discuss Taiwan’s policy and opportunities in sustainable energy, how it will impact the Asia-Pacific region, and what it means for US interests.

Doors will open at 12:00 PM. A light refreshment and snack will be served, and the event will begin at 12:30 PM. Kindly RSVP by July 10.

Please direct questions or concerns to Global Taiwan Institute Program Associate Marzia Borsoi-Kelly.

** Media that would like to bring additional crew members or equipment, please contact Ms. Borsoi-Kelly directly.

Panelists

 

Wen-Yu Weng is a low-carbon energy and sustainability consultant. Currently based at the Carbon Trust in the UK, she delivers and designs low-carbon strategy and implementation projects in Southeast Asia, East Asia, the UK, and other European countries, working closely with local partners, governments, the private sector, and international organizations. She has particular interests in solar and wind energy, storage and grid issues, energy policy, circular economy, green finance, and the application of IT innovations for a low-carbon future. Outside her environmental consultancy and research work, Wen-Yu co-founded the Emerging Leaders Program at the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security in Switzerland, and is also the Co-founder of the non-profit Taiwan Debate Union. She received her M.Sc. in Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford, as well as a M.Sc. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Clara Gillispie is the Senior Director of Trade, Economic, and Energy Affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). Her subject-matter expertise focuses on shaping program and research agendas on energy security, trade and innovation policies, public health and the environment, and geopolitical trends in the Asia-Pacific. Prior to joining NBR in 2011, Ms. Gillispie served as a consultant for Detica Federal Inc. (now a part of BAE Systems), where she conducted program assessments and policy reviews for US government clients. She has also worked both at the US House Committee on Science, Technology, and Space and the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China. Ms. Gillispie graduated from the London School of Economics and Peking University with a dual M.Sc. in International Affairs. Prior to her graduate studies, Ms. Gillispie received a B.S. from Georgetown University and attended Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, for language training.

Lotta Danielsson is the Vice President of the US-Taiwan Business Council. Lotta’s duties include membership retention and development, research on current Taiwan policy issues, and research to identify the needs of U.S. businesses in Taiwan. She oversees all member products and services, and manages the development of new value-added membership services. She also oversees all events and conferences, and she has planned the annual US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference – which serves as an important platform for bilateral dialogue on Taiwan’s national security and defense needs – since its inception in 2002. As a student in the three-year International MBA program (Chinese Track) at the University of South Carolina, Lotta spent 19 months studying Mandarin Chinese in Taipei, Taiwan and in Beijing, China. Lotta also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Georgia State University.

9/21/18: Historical Cartography in East Asia

Friday, September 21, 2018
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Gelman Library

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Room, 702 (7th floor)
2130 H St NW, Washington, DC 20052

This event is co-sponsored with the GW Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures. This event is free and open to the public and media.

Complete Map of the Everlasting Unified Qing Empire (c. Da qing wannian yitong dili quantu), China, Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing period (1796-1820), ca. 1811, Eight-panel folding screen, wood block printed paper, blue on white, 112 x 249 cm., MacLean Collection[/caption]

Cartography Audio (1)

Cartography Audio (2)

Cartography Audio (3)

Cartography Audio (4)

Powerpoint Presentation

Maps are rich cultural objects presenting and transmitting information about time and place of production. This lecture will provide some of the particular practices and relationships between text and image in East Asian map making that are unique in world cartography. It will present, through comparison, certain similarities and distinctive differences in the representations of space, both real and imagined, in early modern cartographic traditions of China, Korea and Japan and will also examine the introduction and some unique integrations of European map making techniques into these traditions.

Speaker:

Dr. Richard A. Pegg (BA ’83 and MA ’90 in Chinese and Japanese language and literature, GW) is currently Director and Curator of Asian Art for the MacLean Collection, outside Chicago, and author of the book Cartographic Traditions in East Asian Maps (University of Hawai’I Press, 2017).

7/11/18: Taiwan’s Role in Countering CCP Political Warfare

Event Gallery

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Elliott School of International Affairs
**B12**
1957 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20052

This event is co-sponsored with the Global Taiwan Institute. This event is free and open to the public and media.

RSVP Here

Event Description:

The Trump administration’s 2017 National Security Strategy warned that adversaries “are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies.” Indeed, there is a growing consensus that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is currently engaged in a comprehensive coercive campaign that utilizes political warfare to influence and undermine democracies through coercive, corrupt, and covert means. The impact of China’s authoritarian influence is being felt throughout the world, but most visibly in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Czech Republic, United States, and Taiwan. To be clear, the government in Taiwan has the longest experience contending with CCP political warfare than any other governments. Consequently, Taipei’s counter-measures to this emerging challenge deserves careful study. Please join GTI and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at the George Washington University on July 11 for a timely discussion with a panel of experts: Toshi Yoshihara (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments), Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian (The Daily Beast), and Shanthi Kalathil (National Endowment for Democracy).

Doors will open at 1:00. A light refreshment and snack will be served, and the event will begin at 1:30. Kindly RSVP by July 10.

Please direct questions or concerns to Global Taiwan Institute Program Associate Marzia Borsoi-Kelly.

** Media that would like to bring additional crew members or equipment, please contact Ms. Borsoi-Kelly directly.

Panelists

Toshi Yoshihara is a Senior Fellow at CSBA. Previously he held the John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies at the U.S. Naval War College where he taught strategy for over a decade. He was also an affiliate member of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the War College. Dr. Yoshihara has been a visiting professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University since 2012. He has also taught as a visiting professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego and as a visiting professor in the Strategy Department at the U.S. Air War College. He has served as a research analyst at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, RAND, and the American Enterprise Institute. Dr. Yoshihara has testified before the Defense Policy Board, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He is the recipient of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in recognition of his scholarship on maritime and strategic affairs at the Naval War College.

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian is a Security Reporter at The Daily Beast and previously a contributing reporter at Foreign Policy. She was previously an assistant editor at Foreign Policy’s China channel Tea Leaf Nation. Bethany has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, BBC, Al Jazeera, PRI, and Deutsche Welle, among other outlets, and her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. She covered the 2017 German federal elections as a correspondent in Berlin and has also reported from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Austria, China, Japan, and Taiwan. She was a 2017 Arthur F. Burns Fellow in Berlin, a 2016 Jefferson Fellow at the East-West Center, and a 2015 fellow with the International Reporting Project. Before joining Foreign Policy, she lived and worked in China for more than four years. She holds an M.A. in East Asian studies from Yale University and a graduate certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies. Bethany speaks and reads Chinese.

Shanthi Kalathil is Director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies. Her work has focused primarily on issues pertaining to democratization, development, and the impact of information and communication technology, with a particular emphasis on Asia. Previously in her career, she served as a senior Democracy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development, an associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a non-resident associate with the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, and as a consultant for the World Bank, the Aspen Institute, and other international affairs organizations. Kalathil has appeared on media including NPR, BBC, VOA, RFA, C-SPAN, and others, and has authored or edited numerous policy and scholarly publications, including Diplomacy, Development and Security in the Information Age (Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, 2013), Developing Independent Media as an Institution of Accountable Governance (The World Bank, 2008), and (with Taylor C. Boas) Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003). A former Hong Kong-based staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal Asia, Kalathil lectures on international relations in the information age at Georgetown University. She holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

 

Photo: Night view of Presidential Palace in Taiwan. Credit: https://eng.taiwan.net.tw/m1.aspx?sNo=0002090&id=137

6/19/18: NBR-Sigur Center Roundtable: Implications of DPRK Diplomacy for Taiwan

RECORDINGS NOW AVAILABLE!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

The Elliott School of International Affairs
State Room – 7th Floor
1957 E St., NW Washington, DC 20052

This event is co-sponsored by The National Bureau of Asian Research and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies

RSVP at  go.gwu.edu/DPRKDiplomacyImplicationsforTaiwan

Roundtable Part I

Roundtable Part 2

Roundtable Part 3

The National Bureau of Asian Research and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies cordially invite you to a panel discussion with experts examining the implications of recent North Korean diplomatic developments for Taiwan, cross-Strait relations, and U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Light lunch will be available.

Agenda:

12:00 PM – 12:30 PM: Registration and Lunch
12:30 PM – 12:45 PM: Welcome Remarks and Introduction
12:45 PM – 2:00 PM: Panel Discussion and Q&A

Panelists:

Patrick Cronin, Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program, Center for a New American Security

Robert Sutter, Professor of Practice of International Affairs; Director, B.A. Program in International Affairs, The George Washington University

Followed by discussant remarks by Tiffany Ma, Senior Director, BowerGroup Asia and Nonresident Fellow, The National Bureau of Asian Research

ModeratorAlison Szalwinski, Director for Political and Security Affairs, The National Bureau of Asian Research

**Final speaker list to be confirmed**

About the Panelists:

Patrick M. Cronin is a Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Previously, he was the Senior Director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at the National Defense University, where he simultaneously oversaw the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs. Prior to leading INSS, Dr. Cronin served as the Director of Studies at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).  At the IISS, he also served as Editor of the Adelphi Papers and as the Executive Director of the Armed Conflict Database. Before joining IISS, Dr. Cronin was Senior Vice President and Director of Research at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Tiffany Ma is a senior director at BowerGroupAsia, where she manages BGA’s client relationships and engagements. She directs analysis and activities designed to advise Fortune 500 companies on public policy issues, regional geopolitics and stakeholder management. Prior to joining BGA, Tiffany was the senior director for political and security affairs at NBR in Washington, D.C., where she led major initiatives on geopolitical and international security affairs in the Asia-Pacific that regularly convened senior government officials and specialists from across the region. She began her career as a research associate at the Project 2049 Institute, an Asia security think tank based in Arlington, Virginia, and has also worked at the International Crisis Group in Beijing, the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and the Lowy Institute in Sydney.

Robert Sutter is Professor of Practice of International Affairs at the Elliott School of George Washington University beginning in 2011. He also serves as the school’s Director, Program of Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs. A Ph.D. graduate in History and East Asian Languages from Harvard University, he has published 20 books, over 200 articles and several hundred government reports dealing with contemporary East Asian and Pacific countries and their relations with the United States. Sutter’s government career (1968-2001) involved work on Asian and Pacific affairs and US foreign policy for the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Additional information forthcoming. We look forward to seeing you at the discussion!

6/21/18: North Korea on the Cusp: New Prospects for Science Diplomacy – A Discussion with Richard A. Stone

Event Recordings Below!

North Korea on the Cusp 1

North Korea on the Cusp 2

Thursday, June 21, 2018

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

The Elliott School of International Affairs

Room 505

1957 E St., NW Washington, DC 20052 

This event is co-sponsored by the Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia

Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the  GW Institute for Korean Studies

                                                           

RSVP at  go.gwu.edu/NorthKoreaScienceDiplomacy

Reporting on his recent trip to North Korea, Richard Stone returns to the Elliott School to update us on his work with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and their efforts to promote science diplomacy with the Democratic Republic of North Korea.

Light refreshments available. This event is on the record and open to the media.

Speaker: Richard A. Stone, Senior Science Editor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Moderator: Linda Yarr, Research Professor of Practice of International Affairs, Director of Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA)

About the Speaker:

Richard Stone is the senior science editor at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Tangled Bank Studios in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where he oversees science content for documentaries and other nonfiction productions and manages media partnerships. Prior to joining Tangled Bank, Stone was the international news editor at Science Magazine, where his own writing often featured datelines from such challenging reporting environments as Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. He made his seventh trip to North Korea this past March.

Stone’s experience in international science and education includes stints as a Fulbright Scholar at Rostov State University in Russia in 1995-96 and at Kazakh National University in Kazakhstan in 2004-05. As a science writer, he has contributed to Discover, Smithsonian, and National Geographic magazines, and is the author of the nonfiction book “Mammoth: The Resurrection of an Ice Age Giant.” Stone earned a B.S. in genetics from Cornell University, and he did graduate work in biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania and in science communication at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In his spare time, he enjoys playing squash and writing science fiction screenplays.

Locating the Global Politics of Diaspora Engagement: Engaging Tamils in Development in Toronto–A Discussion with Visiting Scholar Catherine Craven

Monday, May 7, 2018

12:00 PM – 1:15 PM

Chung-wen Shih Conference Room, Suite 503

The Elliott School of International Affairs

1957 E St. NW,  Washington, DC 20052 

RSVP at go.gwu.edu/TamilDiasporainToronto

Tamil Diaspora 1

Tamil Diaspora 2

Recent decades have seen an increase in the adoption of diaspora engagement strategies by states, but also by a more complex global network of non-state governance actors, including the World Bank, NGOs and the private sector. Interestingly, as diaspora engagement is ‘globalized’, it also tends to become depoliticised. Especially in the field of international development diaspora engagement is now overwhelmingly framed as an operational strategy or management tool. And yet, far from an apolitical best practice, diaspora engagement in any policy field necessarily produces hierarchies within and among diaspora groups, and it can create and reify oppressive and exclusionary categories related to diasporas and migrants more widely (the terrorist, or the “model minority”, for example). The politics of diaspora engagement thus deserve critical attention. However, existing scholarship has tended to bracket either the global dynamics or the local context of such politics. In contrast, my thesis proposes to locate the global politics of diaspora engagement in the realm of practice. Practices embody political struggles informed by the hierarchical distribution of capital within emergent global social fields, which I conceptualize as assemblages.

Based on 6 months of multi-method fieldwork, the presentation will focus on mapping the practices of my first case study, the engagement of the Tamil diaspora for development in Toronto. The mapping suggests a complex interplay of global and local practices – both by the diaspora and the engagers – that are deeply intertwined with the places of engagement. Preliminary analysis of the prevalence of certain practices suggests that both social capital (in the form of elite professional networks and the ability to scale jump), and cultural capital (informed by both UN sustainable development norms, and Canadian national identity) significantly shape the politics of diaspora engagement in this context.

This event is free and open to the public.

About the Speaker:

Catherine Craven is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS, University of London and currently a visiting scholar at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies inside the Elliott School of International Affairs at GW. Funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, her research explores the global and local politics of diaspora engagement in governance through the lens of Tamil diasporans. She has also been a visiting scholar at York University’s Centre for Asian Research, a research associate at the Free University of Berlin’s collaborative research centre (SFB 700) ‘Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood’, and a research assistant at the Global Public Policy Institute. She received her MSc in Global Politics from the London School of Economics, and her BA in Anthropology from the University of Sussex. Her research interests include globalization and global governance, cities, diasporas and transnationalism, practice theory and post-positive thinking in political science.

23rd Annual Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture: Empire and Righteous Nation: 600 years of China-Korea Relations–A Discussion with Dr. Odd Arne Westad

 

                    
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
State Room, 7th Floor
The Elliott School of International Affairs
Co-Sponsored by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies holds an annual memorial lecture to honor the legacy of the Center’s namesake – Gaston J. Sigur, Jr. The Gaston Sigur Memorial Lecture has featured many distinguished and high-level experts from various backgrounds and professions related to Asia.

You are cordially invited to attend this year’s Annual Gaston Sigur Center Memorial Lecture with Dr. Arne Westad to discuss China-Korea historical relations.

 

This event is on the record and open to the media.
About the Speaker: 
Dr. Arne Westad is the S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations at Harvard University, where he teaches at the Kennedy School of Government.  He is an expert on contemporary international history and on the eastern Asian region.
Before coming to Harvard in 2015, Westad was School Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).  While at LSE, he directed LSE IDEAS, a leading centre for international affairs, diplomacy and strategy.
Professor Westad won the Bancroft Prize for The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. The book, which has been translated into fifteen languages, also won a number of other awards.  Westad served as general editor for the three-volume Cambridge History of the Cold War, and is the author of  the Penguin History of the World (now in its 6th edition).  His most recent book, Restless Empire: China and the World since 1750, won the Asia Society’s book award for 2013.
Professor Westad’s new book, The Cold War: A World History, will be published in 2017 by Basic Books in the United States and Penguin in the UK.  A new history of the global conflict between capitalism and Communism since the late 19th century, it provides the larger context for how today’s international affairs came into being.

 

Transcript

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
Good evening everyone. We’ll go ahead and get started. I recognize many of the faces in the room. For those of you who I don’t recognize, my name is Dr. Benjamin Hopkins. I’m the Director of the Sigur Center here at the Elliott School. It’s my great pleasure to welcome you for our 23rd Annual Lecture. This evening, we have a distinguished guest from Harvard this evening, Professor Arne Westad. Before I introduce Arne however, it’s my pleasure as well to say a couple of words about the Sigur Center. The Sigur Center, for those of you who don’t know, is the university’s center for Asian studies. We have a long and illustrious history and for our namesake, Gaston Sigur, some of his family’s here this evening and I’d like to recognize them. Paul and Susie Sigur are upfront joining us for this evening’s lecture, both of whom are Elliot School alumni. I’ll spare them the years, but in the not too distant past, and I should also note the remembrance of Paul’s mother, Estelle, who passed away peacefully in November of 2017 and we were very sorry to hear of that loss.

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
With that said, it’s my pleasure to introduce Professor Arne Westad, who is the S.T. Lee professor of US and Asian relations at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Before coming to Harvard in 2015, Arne was the school’s professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science [LSE], where he arrived as a professor in 1998, the same year I arrived at the same institution in my first year of undergraduate studies.

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
Now, while at LSE he directed the LSE IDEAS Institute, which is a leading center for international affairs, diplomacy, and strategy. Then, like any good academic, he jumped the pond to join us over here in 2015. A leading global thinker, he is an expert on contemporary international history and on Eastern Asian region particularly. His numerous publications include The Global Cold War, Third World Interventions, and The Making a Modern Times, which was the winner of the Bancroft Prize, amongst other many recognitions. He served as General Editor for three volumes of the Cambridge History of the Cold War and is the author of the Penguin History of the World, presently in its sixth edition. He has also authored Restless Empire: China in the World since 1750, which was published in 2013, and the winner of the Asia Society Book Award, and just recently published The Cold War: A World History, hot off the presses in autumn of 2017.

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
Today he will be speaking to us about his new book project, which is both a return to form with its focus on East Asia but also an extension of his repertoire back in time. He has entitled today’s talk, Chinese-Korean Relations, Empire and Righteous Nation, 600 Years of China-Korea Relations. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Professor Arne Westad.

Professor Arne Westad:
Thank you very much Ben for that wonderful introduction. It’s great to be back in Washington. It’s wonderful to be back at GW – one of my favorite institutions this side of the pond because it’s done so much to develop research in the areas that I’m interested in. Not just here at the Sigur Center at the Elliott School, but in more general terms as well. Dealing with Asia, dealing with the Cold War, the things that I’m most preoccupied with. It’s wonderful to meet up with old friends. Ben said, I’ve known him since he was an undergraduate at LSE and it’s been wonderful to see that he has really made his mark in terms of international affairs and history, and done so here. Good match if I may say so, both for GW and Ben. But also a number of other people who I see in the audience who I’ve interacted with over the years here in Washington.

Professor Arne Westad:
I want to thank the Sigur Center, I want to thank the Elliott School of International Affairs, and Ben of course especially for inviting me to do this lecture. I also want to, since I had a chance to talk a little bit with Gaston Sigur’s family before we started up here, to recognize Gaston Sigur in his role, maybe first and foremost, as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs during the Reagan administration. I had the privilege of working on Mr. Sigur’s papers in the Reagan Presidential Library. Both of them were released not long ago, and some of his efforts have a very direct connection to what is the situation today between United States and South Korea.

Professor Arne Westad:
That was one of the many issues that he worked on us as Assistant Secretary and where I think quite a lot of progress was made at the time, some of which didn’t quite materialize later on, but may in part, I’ll get to this later on, form a pattern for some of the interactions that we see on the Korean peninsula today. So it’s doubly meaningful to be here tonight to give a lecture in his name.

Professor Arne Westad:
It’s a pretty tall order that we have before us tonight, ladies and gentlemen. It’s not easy within about 50 minutes, which is what I promised them, that I would stick to, to give an overview of a very important bilateral relationship over a period of roughly 600 years. I will divide this into three parts. In the first part, the first 15 minutes or so, I will deal with 500 years of China-Korea relations, in the second 15 minute interval, I will deal with about 100 years of China-Korea relations, and in the third part, I will deal with the last two weeks or so of China-Korea relations. I think that’s about right in terms of where people’s interests are. But one mustn’t forget the first part in order to try to make sense of what is going on today.

Professor Arne Westad:
That’s the reason why I chose this particular topic and why I’m making a small book that Harvard Press will publish probably at the beginning of next year on this topic coming out of these lectures. I gave a first version of the lectures at Harvard last year, then they went into three lectures over three consecutive evenings. I also have done versions of this in Beijing and in Seoul. I’m looking forward to the discussion of them here. Now I’ve done the three capitals, but now I’ve done it here in Washington as well.

Professor Arne Westad:
So first of all, the title. The title is always important when you try to address something, particularly if you do it as an undergraduate lecture, but also when you do it for a broader audience. So why on earth have I called this lecture, “Empire and Righteous Nation”? Now let’s start with “righteous,” and not surprisingly, that refers to Korea. It doesn’t mean that all Koreans are righteous. It doesn’t mean that any Korean states at any point or any form has necessarily been a righteous state. But the term is used here to indicate that a search for a righteous approach to domestic and international affairs has preoccupied generations of Koreans very, very much. Perhaps more than what you’ve seen in many other countries.

Professor Arne Westad:
Some of my Korean friends say that I mix up “righteousness” and “rectitude,” which are not exactly the same, but I’ll talk more about that later on in terms of the overall approach. But do bear in mind that slight tongue in cheek reference to righteousness that’s here in the title. Before I get to the Korean definition of the interactions, we have to start with China. The reason why we have to start with China is because China is the empire of the title. The heavier, if you like, of the two entities. In order to understand something about China’s relationship with Korea over this long period of time, I think it makes sense to think a little bit about what an empire is.

Professor Arne Westad:
Now, empires come in many different forms and in different shapes. They’ve been around for a very long time, at least for 5,000 years, since the Assyrian Empire around 2000 BC. So what is it if we try to compare these various forms of empire that connect them? A central authority obviously connect them. If there is no central authority, there is no empire. There also has to be a systematic form of thinking to regulate the relationship between the center and the various peripheries that exist within an empire. That’s roughly where the comparisons end, because after that, empires tend to be very different and behave very, very differently.

Professor Arne Westad:
Some empires colonize externally, not all empires do. Some employers are born more or less in the shape that they have later on and can stay with for a very long time. If you think about it in the European context, Ireland for instance, Nigeria, both settled by colonialists coming from the Imperial center. That tends to raise a certain reference to Korea and the Korean experience in this, being on the borders of the imperial center. But in this case, Chinese settlements in Korea were exceedingly rare during the period that we’re looking at. There were people who settled on both sides of the border, but in very, very small numbers and certainly very different in terms of numbers from the only real attempt at settling foreign colonialists in Korea, which was during the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945, when more than one million Japanese settled in Korea. That was a much bigger wave than anything that you saw during the long period of China-Korea interaction.

Professor Arne Westad:
If you really want to go back in time, and I think this makes sense for people who want to look at this relationship, it is useful to think about the similarities and the differences between the Qing and Han Empires in China, or in the Chinese area, and the Hellenistic and Roman Empires in the West. Not because of the similarities between the two or the differences, so much that of them created the format for empire in Asia and Europe. Some of the aspects of these formats have been with us for the last 2000 years and are probably still around when we discuss what empire means in a sort of broader sense.

Professor Arne Westad:
On the Chinese side, I think what most of the various Chinese empires that have developed since Qing and Han, and there have been many of them of course, what they have in common are first and foremost, two things. There is on the Chinese side, a sense of cultural centrality within its wider region. The region is in many ways, by all of these Chinese empires going up to the People’s Republic today, a definition of their world. But it’s also important to see this within a framework of China’s orientation, and this is what many Westerners get wrong. China has always been oriented eastward, towards the Eastern seaboard, with some very brief exceptions. During the Tang Empire for instance, and maybe briefly during the Song. But for most of Chinese history, its orientation has been towards the east, away from the rest of Eurasia but towards Korea, towards Japan, towards Vietnam. I think that’s important. Cultural centrality, but within a direction in terms of where the gaze is turned.

Professor Arne Westad:
Secondly, in terms of connecting these various empires, going from the Han and up to today, a strong emphasis on hierarchy. Hierarchies internationally, hierarchies domestically, and through that an emphasis on bureaucratic governance. This is what Benjamin Schwartz calls this tremendous weight of the state in China and in Chinese governance systems. Many empires and many national states have an emphasis on the state for understandable reasons. Russia, for instance, is often used as an example of this, but you find other European examples as well, but there was nothing quite like China in terms of the longevity, the durability of this emphasis on the state as being at the center of Chinese civilization and Chinese society. I think it’s important to bear that in mind when we think about its foreign relations as well, which brings us to the tribute system. I promise to bring up the tribute system in this talk tonight and I will.

Professor Arne Westad:
The tribute system is, as my Harvard predecessor John King Fairbank defined it, was a system to which China, through – in slightly different ways and he was open to that – through various empires regulated its relationship with its wider reach. Now I must confess that the more I have looked at this in terms of Chinese foreign policy over the past 2000 years, the more it has struck me that the tribute system has been more of a system at Harvard than it ever was in Asia. There is no doubt that tribute existed and that it was important, and there is no doubt that various Chinese empires integrated their neighbors, particularly culturally, in a very deliberate kind of way. But it was done differently towards different areas and at different times. So emphasizing these differences is essential for understanding the relationship between China and Korea because there is no other relationship within the region that it can really be compared to.

Professor Arne Westad:
It’s a different kind of relationship, today and in history than what China has with any of its other neighbors, and I think that is important. So tribute existed but there was no unified system. There were different frameworks of tribute, of trade, of terminology, of the East that governed this longer period in terms of China’s interaction with the outside world. So the two Chinese empires that we cover tonight are the Ming and the Qing. The Ming, as most of you here will know, runs for almost 300 years from the 1360’s to the 1640’s or thereabouts, and the Qing from the 1640’s to 1912, also for almost 300 years. So these are long time periods, right? These are qualities that survived for a very long period of time – also by Chinese standards, by the way. That is important because if you look at the relationship between China and Korea, that sense of durability, endurance in terms of how the qualities were organized, has a very significant impact on the relationship itself.

Professor Arne Westad:
It also has a great deal of impact in terms of how the two sides saw each other. How authority, for instance, is understood. I often, when I lecture on this, draw on Max Weber’s and his typologies of the state with regard to this, both on the Chinese, and as we’ll hear later on, on the Korean side, what Weber calls “traditional authority.” If there’s going to be anything that’s meaningfully called tradition, it has to be around for a while. That’s true, I think, for these two Chinese imperial institutions and even more so for the Joseon on the Korean side of it, we’ll get to a little bit later on because it lost it even longer. What’s particularly important with Weber, is not so much the characterization and sometimes had been made into a caricature. It is whether this insistence that, and I caught him on this, the bureaucratic administration as in China means “fundamentally domination through knowledge.” So that emphasis on knowledge lasting for a long period upon the accumulation of knowledge as a ordering factor within these empires and how it deals with the outside world. That’s where I think the emphasis ought to be, not on an integral system or of political integration, but on how knowledge is used from the Chinese perspective, first and foremost, to understand the world around them because some of the elements of that knowledge are still with us today and that’s something that I think is crucial. It’s not just crucial for China, of course, it’s true with other empires as well. Knowledge reframe empires, right? In general. I think Ben can tell you a great deal about this. And that’s important, but it’s particularly important when you deal with an empire, which is acting towards immediate and contiguous neighbors.

Professor Arne Westad:
But Russia perhaps is the only other modern example that we have of that kind of imperial expansion. Which then brings us to nation, and this is the more controversial part of what they have to say initially. So Ming and Qing China, they’re many things, but no one can meaningfully imagine them as nations. There were empires consisting of different pots with an imperial institution at the center, which was deliberately transnational, always was. It had to be because there were so many different people’s groups, identities or where which it ruled. Under one predominantly leads an attempt at expanding a central culture. Absolutely. But with an emphasis necessarily on difference and differences. But if we don’t draw the similarities over to Korea, does it make sense to speak of 20th century Korea, as I do indirectly in my title, as a nation.

Professor Arne Westad:
So historians have tried their best to be good at this, at eluding that question by simply pointing to the great coherence in cultural and linguistic terms of people who today live on the Korean peninsula, right? A process that goes back in genetic terms at least 3000 years. And it’s relatively interrupted, the relatively uninterrupted. In linguistic terms and many of you here will know this modern Korean, derives from middle Korean, which in turn derives from, you probably guessed it, old Korean, which has its roots in some form of proto Korean. You know, if you go back 2000 years or so. So this is something that’s been around for a very long time and there is still two ways about that. You can’t get away from that. There is a continuity in these particular terms, which is of course not everything right, but is significant in terms of the population and in terms of the language that they speak.

Professor Arne Westad:
But some of this, as I wrote it elsewhere, it’s a typical historian’s copt, right? So not everything that is distinct becomes a nation. In any meaningful sense of the term. I like, quite alright, the Oxford English dictionary definition of a nation, they say that nation is specified as a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture or language inhabiting a particular state or territory. So that definition emphasizes something in common and it emphasizes co-location, which is in my view, about as far as you can go when you are talking about nations. If you want to be more specific than that, you always get into trouble.

Professor Arne Westad:
So one of my older colleagues at LSE on a [inaudible 00:22:49] was the one who first pointed out with great force that in order to understand nations, you have first to understand nationalists, right? And his was very much a contemporary European take on the concept of nation. Gellner said nationalists create the nation not the other way around, right? And that’s been followed up by other people, they said, no we never see tradition on this, totally a myth, it’s more recent, all of them who query and challenge the concept of nation in terms of how it’s being created and I’m in favor of all of it. I think it’s, I think it’s very, very important to do, but I also think it’s important to see differences between different cultural traditions in terms of how you understand that cohesiveness that we sometimes put under the heading of “nation.”

Professor Arne Westad:
So “Korean,” is defined in terms of its history possibly in terms of it’s an ethnicity, certainly in terms of its culture and civilization, something which became particularly important against the Qing. Being in it, at least for me in a meaningful comparative sense, much of what those who defined concepts of nation in 19th century Europe seem to have been looking for. So therefore I think it’s meaningful at least for the sake of debate. If you think about Korea going back at least to the late 16th century as some kind of national, a proto nation, in terms of its cohesiveness, probably wouldn’t have been a wrong [term] otherwise.

Professor Arne Westad:
Okay, so what then about the righteousness in all of this? Now righteous in classical Chinese is “yi” or “we” in Korean, which means defined in different forms, moral fitness, loyalty, fidelity to principles, possibly also rectitude. I mean meaning the quality of being correct or being true. But I particularly like righteousness. I mean the state or quality of being righteous and just. And the reason I like that so much is that in this classic Neo-Confucian concept coming out of 11th and early 12th century China, that’s where most of the discussion has been. What does it mean in a Confucian context to be righteous or to be just? How do you organize your life and your state and your society in order to live up to those kinds of ideals? How do you fight for it when necessary?

Professor Arne Westad:
It’s not unimportant that in this context that the Korean popular army that was raised against Japanese invasions into 1580s was named the Righteous Army or we’d be wrong, right? This has a significance in terms of the definition and that’s not the same thing you’re saying that all Koreans are righteous, but it is saying that this concept has had a particular meaning in Korean Neo-Confucianism that goes all the way up to today. And I think it also plays a role in terms of the days reductions between China and Korea, and the United States and Korea for that matter. So let me then just provide a brief overview of Korea and China coming out of the late 14th century and why the late 14th century? Well, this is because the Ming and the great Joseon Dynasty were created roughly at the same time.

Professor Arne Westad:
I never meant very much about the same kind of things. So the Ming was about a revitalization of Chinese tradition. But it was about regulating China’s relations to surrounding states. It’s fascinating to look in the late 14th early, 15th century, how quickly that ordering of China’s relationship with the outside world appears on the main agenda, right? It was something that they were really preoccupied with. In that sense, the Ming was a project. It was a specific project connected to various forms of Neo-Confucian thinking.

Professor Arne Westad:
But if the Ming was a project, the Joseon in Korea was even more of a project connected to the same kind of ideas. It could be said to be in many ways the supreme Neo-Confucian project, right? Because it was so distinctly ideological, ideological within the sense of state building. But what did it consist of? I think it’s important to understand that as an attempt at a complete remaking of Korean society, according to the principles of Neo Confucianism. It was very narrow in many ways, but it was also deep in terms of what the state and significant parts of society outside of the state eventually came to do. So state and society were structured according to the moral principles that the Joseon elites saw as governing the universe; harmony, hierarchy, family, self-cultivation and learning.

Professor Arne Westad:
And not so surprised to hear this, the concept of righteousness: how you should live your lives. So Joseon was an ideologically driven state to a remarkable degree for as long as it lasted, all the way up to the beginning of the 20th century. It was also remarkably successful to the degree that it survived the biggest challenge of the time, which was very much as Korea is today, being caught between China and Japan. To expanding Chinese empires, the Ming and the Ching, and the reconstitution of Japanese power.

Professor Arne Westad:
And it outlasted all of the political rearrangements in China and Japan simply by going on and on and on and never giving up, which again, is very much, I think, dependent on the ideological framework that underpinned it and the conviction about these values. Surviving the great East Asian wars, which I don’t have time to go into today, of the late 16th century, was quite a feat. And the Joseon were able to do it simply because the refuse to capitulate, because capitulation would have meant giving up on these ideas that they believe govern not just Korea, but governed the region or for that matter that govern the universe. So ideology is a very important part of this.

Professor Arne Westad:
From that idea also came the concepts of China, when the Qin then replace the Ming in the early 17th century. With the Korean idea of that transition being that it was fundamentally illegitimate. Now, the Korean state was not suicidal, so it didn’t try to proclaim to everyone that the Qing, the new project that they’re taking power in China, was illegitimate.

Professor Arne Westad:
But it’s no doubt that there’s your evidence from Korea for that time period to show that that’s what they actually believed. To the point of thinking that civilization – at least in the 17th century – that civilization was a lost cause in China and it therefore had to be preserved in Korea. And from that period comes this idea, which you can sometimes find in Korea, even today, North and South, that Korea is – to some extent compared to China -civilizationally superior.

Professor Arne Westad:
It has been able to keep ideas intact that have not quite worked out on the Chinese. Now Koreans have always been divided under this, right? So the majority of Korean elites, when you get into the 18th century, possibly even the late 17th century, we’re happy to make the peace with the Qing, because it figured within the Korean world system. The system had to have a center and that center was China. More about that in a little bit.

Professor Arne Westad:
But it also meant that much of this relationship was undertaken with a significant degree of skepticism. And thinking again about current China-Korean relations, I mean where much of this comes from, North and South. And this is what so many policymakers in this town do not get, that that has always been there, right? Or at least it’s been there for a very, very long time in the Qing-Joseon case, accept the Qing as rulers of China.

Professor Arne Westad:
Accept a vassal relationship to the Qing state paying tribute to Qing emperor, but set up very clear regulations from the Korean perspective in terms of interactions with China limiting tribute missions. For instance, going in both directions so that the incorrect understanding, or righteousness if you like, or on Neo-Confucianism, should not spread in Korea because that would be very bad. So for about 300 years, the Koreans were able to stick to this.

Professor Arne Westad:
This came under pressure only much later, when the Qing, very much inspired by the West in the late 19th century, started to reinvent themselves as a more ordinary imperialist. Not the kind of traditional relationship that had existed between China and Korea. But up to then there was a certain ritualism that was important, you could call it if you like, a very uncommon form of sovereignty on the Korean side.

Professor Arne Westad:
The idea that Korea existed in a special relationship with China, which was the [inaudible 00:03:32] under which Koreans operated. But in a way, by accepting limitations to Korean sovereignty, The Joseon were able to solidify its domestic power. I sometimes think about this a little bit like Western European elites and United States after the Second World War; a role that was gradually taken over by the European Union.

Professor Arne Westad:
You give away some sovereignty in order to rescue the state and the roles of the elite within the state, right? But you never give up on the idea of sovereignty per se, and that resides in your own country. That’s a similarity with China and Korea that I find actually quite meaningful. On the other hand, one has to be extremely careful. We’re thinking that all of Korea’s relationship in this long period to China is mere pretense and this is an era that you sometimes find among young Koreans today. There’s sort of a very Realist, with a capital R, approach to China, Korea relations over a long period of time, basically saying, “Oh, all of this is something we had to do because they forced us to do it.” That’s also not true. I mean the relationship, ideologically, is much deeper than that. If you look at Korean texts from the early Qing era, you find that it’s full of it. The perception on the Korean side, or China as the center of most things, it’s something that has lost it for a very, very long time, certainly up to the 20th century. In some ways even to the 20th century. And when I teach this, I often quote, I can relate Korean Neo-Confucian, a guy called Yi Hangno, who wrote under the impact of the Opium Wars in China in the early part of the 19th century in reaction against Western thinking that would replace China with Western ideas as the center of world development. And Yi was a Korean Neo-Confucian, what a particular conservative one either point or way. I mean, Yi was regarded as being one of the most interesting political philosophers of his time. This is something he wrote in the 1840, I’ll quote it.

Professor Arne Westad:
A little bit of length, but it’s an important quote. So this is what Yi writes after the Qing empire has lost its first wars against the British [from “Sinifying the Western Barbarians”]. “When Chinese civilization encounters a barbarian people, the barbarians are transformed by Chinese ways into a civilized people. Barbarians look up to China and they are delighted to receive its civilizing influence. This is the way things are, this is the natural order of things. This is the way human beings ought to feel. China is like the root, a plant supplying nourishment for the branches and leaves. It’s like the hands and feet, the protected belly and chest of the human body. This can never change. These Europeans, referring to the British, these Europeans come from a land far away from China. So it’s only natural that their customs are quite different from Chinese customs. Like children of peasant households in Korea, though they study Confucian writings as hard as they can, they can never grasp the structure and organization of those writings as well as children from families that have been studying Confucianism for generations.” And on and on it goes like this. This is not just pretense, right? This is a fairly deep understanding of China as being at the center of what is a common culture, a common civilization of which Korea is also part. It’s not the same thing as recognizing any kind of Chinese state, but it’s a way of recognizing China’s cultural centrality. So in my view, this only starts to change very late in the 19th century. And it starts to change in pretty catastrophic ways under pressure from emperors in Japan and from domestic pressures because of rebellions and political dissension within Korea itself, right? Some of which not all of which, some of which has set off by foreign interventions. So as I said earlier on, the Qing empire, which also goes on for a very long time, much longer than most people in the West in the 19th century thought that it would, it fights back, right? And one of the ways in which it fights back is that it tries to transform its relationship to surrounding states in the image of Western appearance. So, from the 1870s on, China very much starts to redefine its relationship with Korea as say France or Britain would do with regard to its colonies. And it’s no chance of working. I mean, in my view and most historians view.

Professor Arne Westad:
For two reasons, one is that it does violence entirely to the traditional relationship that had been established between the two countries. But also because of the rise of Japan that happened simultaneously. So this is what then leads to the 1894-95 war between China and Japan. The first war that China [inaudible 00:09:20] loses against another East Asian state and a war that’s very much fought over the relationship with Korea. And I think this is something that influences Korea very, very deeply, but in different kinds of ways. People think differently about this, not just in terms of the ideologic competition of Korea, which I’m going to talk more about in a second, but also because of the idea or different ideas of what China really tried to do in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Some would say, what China was trying to do was to protect Korea against Japan.

Professor Arne Westad:
But others would say the Chinese and the Japanese were two thieves on the same market. Both of them were out to dominate Korea. They only did it in very different ways. What is really important to me is that it is during this time period that what you could call modern Korean nationalism comes of age. In many ways, this is Korea’s deepest tragedy. That many Koreans stopped to envisage themselves as the very first population group in Asia as a nation.

Professor Arne Westad:
As an integral nation, just as the time when Korea loses its national independence and becomes a Japanese colony, which is in itself a gradual process, I think that all of Korea’s history in the 20th century and up to today is influenced by that relationship and by that set of events. It’s not going to give rise to an intensity of Korean nationalism, which is still with us today in two other different folds, which do have something in common.

Professor Arne Westad:
So one is what you could call the … For lack of a better word, a traditionalist approach to Korean nationalism. The [inaudible 00:11:32] Syngman Rhee approach to Korean nationalism. Rhee was the first Korean to get his PhD from the United States from Princeton in 1910 the very year in which Korea lost its notional independence to Japan. And what he wanted to see was a return to the roots of Korean nationhood the way he saw it, supported by more than organization and technology.

Professor Arne Westad:
So it’s not traditionalism in terms of, I mean, it’s a reinvented tradition, as most traditions are, right? But it’s still something that he believed echoes out of the Korean past. And the alternative coming roughly at the same time, slightly later is Korean communism, also intensely nationalist with, very gradually up to 1945, Kim Il-sung becoming the key figure mainly as we know, thanks to his role in working with the Soviets.

Professor Arne Westad:
Now the Korean communist tradition is very interesting, because in it you also find deep echoes of Korea system. I mean, the idea that Korean communism is just something that’s constituted in some very problematic ways in the 1920s, doesn’t really make that much sense. What is more important I think in terms of the relationship with China, is that Chinese and Korean communism grew up roughly at the same time and got intertwined. Chinese Communist party was from the very beginning uncertain whether Korean communism should be regarded as separate from China. I think that’s something that also lasted for a relatively long period of time. And as we know today, and several of the people here on the audience have worked on this, we have a lot of Soviet documents that show this very, very clearly. How difficult it was for the Chinese communists to figure out that Korean communism was a separate tradition from the old. Some of that I think is still with us today. What bound them together? What bound Chinese and Korean communism together was the fight against a common enemy. Meaning first and foremost Japan, but also the traditions that they saw within their own countries as holding their communities back. And one thing that I always feel sorry that Rhee would put emphasis on is the degree to which the Koreans who lived and worked in China on the 1920s and 1930s for that matter, both in communist and nationalist areas, how they came to define much of the ideas about what a modern Korea would be.

Professor Arne Westad:
We have some literature on that, but not very much. So the idea here, both on the traditionalist and the communist side is the need to find a specific Korean modality, free from Japanese occupation and in some form of communication with Korea’s past. When learning from the mistakes of the Joseon as they saw it, but also having some kind of relationship with other forms of nationalism in East Asia. And maybe first and foremost through China. That’s a pretty tall order.

Professor Arne Westad:
I mean, it’s not easy to do, particularly at the point where you have already lost your national independence, right? And most of this happens in exile away from your own country. This helps me to understand the intensity that the ideological framework for competition within Korea was fueled by after the Japanese collapse in 1945. I think the idea, which is very much held in Korea, both North and South, that the division of Korea in the late 1940s came out of the Cold War. It came out of the Sino-Soviet US set of rivalry. I think that’s only partially true. I think it also came out of the ideological division among Koreans themselves. I mean, how really difficult that is to recognize today. I sometimes go as far when I really want to provoke my Korean friends by saying that, I don’t think it’s entirely farfetched that after 1945 for the first three years or so, there were real opportunities for a united Korea if there had been any willingness among the traditionalists and communists on the peninsula to pursue that kind of path. Later on it became more difficult, when the Cold War hardened as an international system, it became much more difficult to do. But I do think that parts of the responsibility for that not happening after the collapse of the Japanese empire, actually has to do with ideological developments within Korea itself. Not all of it, but some of it does. And this of course then leads to the tragedy, the ultimate tragedy of the Korean, which I won’t have time to go into in detail here today. But of course it’s the defining part of what happened. It’s not just in Korea but in all of Eastern nations of the day.

Professor Arne Westad:
The Chinese involvement in the Korean war is also an enormous significance for understanding China, Korean relationship today. The idea that any Chinese hold that China was sacrificed its own in order to protect Korea against Western imperialism is something that is very, very deeply held in China. Even among the more contemporary generation of policymakers. And that’s sort of why the end of the Maoist era in China – I mean it lived on, I think – up to the group of leaders that are around there now through to the Deng Xiaoping reforms.

Professor Arne Westad:
This sense, that there is some kind of responsibility, particularl responsibility because of it’s sacrifice during the Korean war, that China has all of Korea, not just the North but for that matter the South as well. And of course you can hear the echoes here of that earlier time period that I spent so much time here on explaining. So where does that leave us in terms of China and the two Koreas today?

Professor Arne Westad:
So as we’ve seen recently, not only is this a complicated relationship, but it’s also a very uncertain relationship. I’m just back from Beijing where I spent a lot of time discussing Korea with Chinese friends and colleagues and others. The current Chinese leadership is absolutely convinced that they have to be connected to whatever solution comes out of the conflict on the Korean peninsula. And for that matter of US policy, both with regard to North and South Korea.

Professor Arne Westad:
The Chinese are aware of the weaknesses of the North Korean state. Maybe more aware of it sometimes than what people are in other countries. I generally, when I teach this, go as far as saying that I’ve never met any informed Chinese. I mean, people who actually work on this problem, who believe that the North Korean state is going to survive. They think it’s going to go in one form or another. They don’t like that idea. They want to postpone it for as long as possible. What China wants more than anything else in state terms on the Korean principle is stability. But that’s not the same thing as believing that North Korea, even with its current reforms is an entity that would survive on its own. If they listen more to the Chinese, of course that’s another matter. If they went through the same transformation in social and economic terms that China has gone through, they could survive, they could even flourish.

Professor Arne Westad:
But as I said, I’ve yet to meet any Chinese who believe that the North Korean leadership is actually willing to do that, in a form that the Chinese would recognize anyway. Because some of this is also based on more recent history, the North Koreans coming in the mid 1990s where according to Chinese estimates at least half a million people starved to death, which is not a good advertisement for any regime in terms of what you are capable of doing, when you need to reform yourself, and when you need to transform your policies.

Professor Arne Westad:
So, what is the most likely outcome in terms of the situation that we have today. I mean, China has invested a lot in trying to put pressure on the North Korean regime to come to some kind of negotiated reduction of tension. Including crucially negotiating about the North Korean nuclear arsenal. What was really striking this time when I was in Beijing was that absolutely everyone I spoke to underlined the need for eventual full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. I didn’t find a single person who said what you sometimes can here in this term, that the relationships North Korea now should be about arms limitation rather that denuclearization. But you can see how that goes together with all the Chinese policies, right? I mean, particularly if things on the Korean peninsula are going to get unstable for internal reasons, the last thing that Chinese want to see is that happening under a circumstance in which a nuclear weapons could possibly be on the loose, right? That’s a worst case scenario from a Chinese perspective. Big question is of course, how much influence China actually has in North Korea? And my view of that is that it is limited and in decline. So, that’s the other thing that is often misunderstood. In Washington, is that China could fix this. China can’t, but it could play a positive role and it should play a more positive role than what it has played so far particularly in working together with United States, maybe most crucially of all working together with South Korea, which is the last best hope that the Chinese have more long-term for stability on the Korean peninsula. This is what makes the current Chinese position so immensely contradictory. And I think it’s only possible to understand in light of the post that I’ve been reviewing today. It’s clear to any Chinese who wants to see that China’s interests, more long term, lie with South Korea with which it has a very powerful relationship in economic terms, but also increasingly in cultural terms.

Professor Arne Westad:
So I mean, in all parts of Beijing or Shanghai or Tianjin or Hangzhou where I was recently, where you could always think that you’ve been transplanted to Korea: K-cosmetics, K-pop, K-surgery, lots of it around. Popularity of South Korean television, lots of soft power, all the kind that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. So some people, again, very often in the United States would write this off in time and say, “This doesn’t matter, it’s the power relations that matter.”

Professor Arne Westad:
I think that would be wrong. Young Chinese today have a very powerful impression of South Korea as a country that has got a lot of things, right, including sort of [inaudible 00:24:21] as they would say. Things that have not been solved in China or things that they do not particularly like about China, and the government needs to take that into consideration. And additional costs to the tremendous significance of economic and technological cooperation that happens between the two countries.

Professor Arne Westad:
So to me the solution is not so much an attempt to return to the past in terms of negotiations, but to try to think, can you? To try to think about how we can get hopefully through the next stage a meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Trump that doesn’t blow up on all of us. Two people actually sitting around the table talking about the only thing that at the moment really matters, which is a denuclearization and the peace treaty, and I think they have to come together. On this I actually do agree with some of the points that the Chinese make. You can’t look at one without looking at the other. What the Chinese would want to get out of this is some kind of guarantees that they’ve looked at what happened in Germany in 1990, 1991 and they do not want to repeat of that under any circumstances. So, for China to accept a form, an integrated, if not united Korea, that still has a close security alignment with United States is out. I mean, China is not going to accept that. So if one on the US side thinks that the German solution is possible, a united Germany within NATO is possible in the Korean peninsula, forget it. The idea that China could be confronted with a fait accompli in Korea, forget it. China would take action to prevent that. That’s how significant Korea is with China. So the stakes are incredibly high with regard to this, right, even when you get to the negotiating stage. So this is what I’m hoping for the region, I mean we now have a unique opportunity to get people to sit down and to talk about these things. And also just because before we’ve been unsuccessful, does that mean that we shouldn’t try again? Absolutely not. This is the best opportunity probably in our lifetime so far that we’ve seen for dealing with some of these issues.

Professor Arne Westad:
We don’t know whether it will be successful, but I do think that the overview of China-Korean relations that are given tonight give us some hope that in terms of the values and ideas and concepts, images that go into it, that that past can actually play a positive role with regard to a solution of some of our current problems. So maybe this is just the historian in me being too optimistic. Normally historians are not optimistically, we’re quite a pessimistic race. But on this I do see some of the echoes of the past actually playing to our advantage. So thank you very much. [Audience clapping]

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
Well, thank you Arne for, I think what we all can agree, was the very thought-provoking and in-depth consideration of the long history of the Korean-Chinese relations and how that continues to affect today. I won’t abuse my position of the chair greatly, I have one comment and then one question, then we’ll open to the floor. My comment is that at the end as you were portraying the cultural capital that Korea now exerts in China, that the K-pop in Shanghai and such.

Professor Arne Westad:
The K everything.

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
Yeah, the K everything in Shanghai. I was looking over my notes and how when you were talking about the Joseon civilization project that it very much echoed the constancy or continuity through that. My question actually goes back to something you mentioned with regard to the Joseon in the earlier period. And I’d be interested in both hearing its current manifestation if there is one. But you characterize the relationship between Qing China and Joseon Korea as an uncommon form of sovereignty, in which China performs a [inaudible 00:28:52] and as you portrayed it, Korea accepts that limited external sovereignty in order to solidify its internal sovereignty. And I thought it was interesting that you almost contradicted but offered a paradox and then comparing that to a contemporary situation, namely the United States and post-war Europe.

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
Given my own specialty of South Asian history, I also heard residences of the princely states within British India and the idea of paramountcy. And it also brought to mind some of my own current work in which British legal scholars in the 19th century, very contrary to the way political science thinks of it today, did not see sovereignty as indivisible, but rather saw it as infinitely divisible.

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
What is indivisible according to these scholars was independence. So, I wonder if you could maybe, if it applies at all, that uncommon form of sovereignty that you talked about in the Imperial context of the early modern period. Does that resonate today and does that give a template or idea of where this might be moving forward?

Professor Arne Westad:
That’s very good. So, if we start with the latter, will Korea, like all other countries in Eastern Asia, see a China that is more predominant economically, strategically, politically, and eventually militarily, than what we have seen over the past 150 years? That’s certainly true. I think one has to be very careful with believing that China – you hear this very often – I think part of the reason why my last China book, Restless Empire sold so well, particularly in this part of the United States, inside the beltway, is that some people believe that the region now is returning to High Qing, returning to what East Asia looked like around 1750.

Professor Arne Westad:
I don’t see that. Nationalism in China has been on the rise. China is, in my view today, an empire in form that has begun to think of itself as a nation state, which is problematic. But nationalism has also been on the rise everywhere else. So the idea that China today could deal with Korea, not to mention a country like Vietnam on its southern border, in terms of anything that could meaningfully be construed as as sovereignty or even tribute, I think is very, very far-fetched. Countries have tried to do that sort of thing to Vietnam in the past and it’s never ended well.

Professor Arne Westad:
So in that sense, that solution is out, right, for today. But if we go back and if we think about how the 19th century is infinitely interesting with regard to this in Asia as a whole. From the Ottoman lands and all the way to Japan, right? Because you have so many different kinds of sovereignty and sovereignty of connection. So various forms that are at play, some of which come from within Asia and some of which come from elsewhere, not just from Europe by the way, but also from other parts of the Middle East. And they become very, very quickly – and India is the best example of this, of course – they become hybrid, right? This is how international law is created in many ways. Out of that colonial moment, but not just in a form that can be dictated by European empires and that’s what the princely states meet, right, in the Indian context. And this is what the difference between sovereignty, the divisibility of sovereignty, and the special position to use the legal term, of independence, actually have to tell us that very often this is about capability. It’s about capability. First of all, it was in terms of imagining different kinds of world order, sorting how things are supposed to work, but also practical capability. In terms of what you are, or capacity, you know, what you are able to do, where you would prioritize your efforts.

Professor Arne Westad:
And on that I see a direct connection both to Ming and maybe especially as you indicated too, early Qing China with regard to Korea. So one of the reasons why the idea of a Chinese colonization of Korea was never on the table with exception of very, very brief periods, was that China’s imperial attention was needed elsewhere. Why on Earth create difficulties in a relationship that is reasonably well-established? Here you can see, 19th century British presence in India coming out very, very clearly, when there were so many borders to be defended, when there were so many people that you had to subordinate because if you didn’t subordinate them, they would do very bad things to you, at least where you imagined a threat. That was not the case between China and Korea. And I think that’s significant even for today, the special sense of ordering.

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
Wonderful. From the floor. Questions? Comments? Yes, sir.

Q&A #1:
So I have a question here. As a nominated speaker, I just really appreciated your sophisticated presentation and trying to come up with a highly simplistic thought process to understand your point. It seemed to me that you are trying to argue in this presentation that traditional Korea was living under the shadow of the Chinese empire. And i order to deal with this and in order come to terms with this, really very high luxury from China. So the Korean educated elite, they developed a very distinctive identity. That is harder to describe identity, right? So ideology is more important than political views. So that’s my understanding of your presentation, right? I guess my question for you is in the 20th century, so how two Koreas, right, there are two Koreas. How do they deal with this very distinctive legacy, right? So [inaudible 00:05:50] told Xi [Jinping] that ideology is the most important thing for society, but how about South Korea? So do we still consider South Korean people continuing this traditional way of viewing themselves in this [inaudible 00:06:05] world? We find that studying of righteousness, or this is something that are different, today’s South Korea? So that’s my question.

Professor Arne Westad:
Again, it’s a very, very good question and it’s an important one primarily because of misunderstandings in this country and elsewhere about how some of these discourses work and do not work in Korea, or in China for that matter. So ideology, I think is quite useful to think about in this context, but only if you define it as a kind of operative system in a way. If you think of ideology the way we sometimes think about this in the past, many of you are too young to pick this up, Marxism, Leninism, right, or ideologies that come out of particular forms of religion – think Europe back in the 17th century, great religious wars. Then I think one is missing the point. This is informal rather than formal. It’s about manners of thinking, of understanding the world, that come out of the past and that people think would be helpful in order to understand today’s world. United States is very much like this as well. There’s a deep sense of what United States is about, which in my view constitutes, at least in foreign policy terms, an ideology, right? It’s a way of trying to understand how the world works, which is sometimes successful and sometimes less successful, but that’s sort of the main point. The main point is that it’s there and that it comes out of one’s experiences and one’s thinking about [inaudible 00:07:48] situation and in the past. That I think is true also in the Republic of Korea. Sometimes when you’re in downtown Seoul these days, you will sort of forget that because it seems to be a very international place and things of course have happened very much over the past, yes, now two generations. One and a half generation that’s transformed the country because of its tremendous economic growth and the social changes that have gone with them. But if you look at it in terms of people’s preferences, both in social terms and in political terms, I think you still find very deep echoes of that past in South Korea. I’ve been fortunate enough to teach at a couple of the best universities in Seoul and it’s very interesting to see how young people in Korea today understand that legacy of the past. They certainly narrow it down. That’s true for people everywhere, but in terms of the relationships that come out of that particular kind of Confucian background that I’ve talked about, I still see quite a lot of that that is there today. I probably, and this is the crux of my answer, I think to your really good question. I see more of that in Korea than what I see in China. China is more cut off from its past than what Korea is. I think that has a lot to do with recent Chinese history. I think it has to do with language, language changes. It’s harder for young Chinese now to go back and read a text from the past. You could argue of course that that’s true for young Koreans as well, but many of these would be available in Hangul translation, right, from classical Chinese. So, that sense of Korean identity, that it is somehow in a communication with the Korean past. That’s something which I think people who have not spent considerable amounts of time there do not rate highly enough. And I think when we think about the potential for solutions, political solutions on the Korean peninsula, it’s well worth bearing that in mind.

Jisoo Kim, Director of GWIKS, Q&A #2:
Thank you so much for your fascinating talk. I really enjoyed it. I have a conceptual question. So when you use the term righteous nation and you’re explaining about your usage of the term. So, I guess my question is sort of related to his question. So are you trying to refer, to my understanding is, you were trying to refer “righteous nation” to a certain period, but then are you trying to sort of use that concept onto modern Korea as well? In other words, are you using in your research right now, are you using “righteous nation” to refer to Korea, either early modern or modern Korea, trying to see some continuities there. So I guess in your answer, it seems like you are, in that case – what I want to know more is your usage of righteous. You did explain, but I think it’s not enough. As a scholar of Joseon history, I kind of want to ask more and ask for you to elaborate on your usage of righteous. The concept of righteous army that first emerged in the Imjin War. And, actually I edited the book, my late advisor’s book. JaHyun Kim Haboush’s book.

Professor Arne Westad:
Oh yeah. Great.

Jisoo Kim, Director of GWIKS, Q&A #2:
The Great East Asian War and the Birth of the Korean Nation.

Professor Arne Westad:
It’s a great book.

Jisoo Kim, Director of GWIKS, Q&A #2:
And there she discusses about how the concept of nation emerged and challenges the Western notion of nation there. But, so, are you trying to extend that notion in using the term “nation,” or so what is, well, because I think just explaining that it was, I mean, Joseon Korea was an ideologically-driven state. Righteous was obviously a very important principle and concept of Confucianism. But I think there should be more explanation, because here if you were to use “righteous nation,” I think I would like to hear more of your usage on the term.

Professor Arne Westad:
Sure. And why that is particularly important among all the Neo-Confucian concepts that could have been picked. Yeah. So, if I’d had time today, I would have gone back and discussed some of the literature, including the one that you contributed to, on the late 16th century, which is in a way a seminal moment for defining the practical content of Neo-Confucian culture in Korea. This is true for any ideology. Ideologies only prove themselves when they come up against a kind of situation that they have to provide meaning to. Not necessarily a solution to, but that ideology has to be able to explain what’s going on. And part of the reason for the longevity of Neo-Confucianism in Korea is that that’s exactly what it did is to sort of explain why Korea was attacked from the outside, why it ended up in this situation. It was because it was there, the Korean state was there, the Joseon state was there, to protect these Confucian values, of which righteousness is one, against attacks from the outside and tried to undo this established world, right? So in that sense, it was perfect, right, because it explained that totally. So the reason why I use this for this lecture, which after all is intended mainly to bring us up to today’s situation in Korea, is that I think that of all the Neo-Confucian concepts, righteousness is the one that has preserved Korea in terms of identity up to today, but also the one that has made the inner Korean strife that has gone on over the past three generations, so difficult to resolve. Because of the belief in one’s own righteousness and the righteousness of one’s aims, which I think was as deeply held by those who created modern day South Korea as those who created modern day North Korea. It’s just that it’s different, right? It’s different in terms of the form of state and social organization that was created, but it’s very deeply held and that’s the part that I think is really important for today. So those who think that you can negotiate with North Korea in a way, believing that North Korea would in the end negotiate itself away in a kind of, sort of, East German kind of solution, I think are entirely wrong because even in, now, in the third generation of revolutionary leaders in North Korea, the idea that they are the last best hope for the Korean nation, in total, is very strongly held and it can only be understood out of these concepts that their actions are righteous. They come out of a period of weakness, subordination, terror for the Chinese nation during the Japanese occupation, which they understand and many people in the South understand, not just as an attempt to colonize in Korea, but exterminating the Korean nation. That’s the reason I think why these concepts have to be taken seriously today because they are distinguishing features of the two states that were created in Korea in the latter part of the 20th century.

Tian Han, PhD, #3:
Okay. I got to speak. So I’m Tian Han, I’m a second year PhD student in the history department here. So my question is specifically about what do you think of the importance of communist ideology and also the communist way of governing the state in Chinese-Korean relations because I think in the history of China’s foreign relations, some scholars like Professors Niu Jin and Chen Jian actually emphasize on the importance of this communist ideology in China’s foreign policy. I’ll ask, how would you think of this communist ideology in China-Korea relations and also, I’m thinking that if you think in terms of these communist ideology lens, it’s probably come to a more pessimistic picture about nowadays situation in Korea because we see two communist countries, whereas South Korea, America, Japan are all democratic, so it’s a big division here. So I would like to hear your opinion on this issue. Thank you.

Professor Arne Westad:
That’s a good question. I think, the work of people like [Professor] Niu Jin, who by the way is not with us at Harvard for the semester and my friend and colleague Chen Jian is important for understanding this, but in a way I think that it’s more historical than contemporary. So, this is what I tried to underline in my remarks earlier on is that, one has to understand that both of these phenomena in a way come out of a common route, right? They have a lot to do with each other. There’s this discussion among Chinese communists in the 20s and 30s is whether Korean communism should really be a branch of Chinese communism, right, because they are so closely connected. What happened later with Korean communism, I think, establishes it also in the Chinese image as being something that is related to but also very different from communism in China. It is a very difficult question. It’s hard to say when that actually happens. The way I see it, is this was a gradual process from the establishment of the North Korean state and up to now. The idea on the Chinese side, it’s always been there, that communists in Korea ought to learn more from China, but also the realization of the unwillingness of Korean communists to do just that is not something that has come about over the last five years. It’s something that has been there since the 1950s. So whenever China has tried to significantly alter the course of Korean communism, they have failed in doing so. Even on the occasions back in the 50s, as many of you would be aware, when they were able to act in conjunction with the Soviets, even then, Korean communism, Korean communist organizations were strong enough within their own territory to completely blunt these attempts. And I think that realization is there in Beijing now. What I see in China is a particular relationship that’s not so much created by the relationship between two communist states. The distinctions are too significant for that, but more one that is historical and to some degree sentimental that goes back to the Korean War that we fought and lost a lot of our own young men for this country and implicitly fought for this regime, right, for the North. So we therefore have a stake in all of this. We cannot be shut out from it, right, which I think is not always a helpful position to take, but it certainly is one that is understandable.

Professor Arne Westad:
North Korean communism on the other hand, has taken a direction that many Chinese find increasingly hard to recognize. There are elements in Korean communism as practiced in the North Korean state which are very far from any kind of Chinese model of communism. The emphasis for instance on ethnicity, even race that you find in some of the North Korean discourse. And that you do find sometimes directed implicitly against China is of course very hard for the Chinese to swallow. One of the things that people in this city ought to look at more closely is the degree to which the North Korean regime over the past few years have been able to turn on China when China acted in ways that North Korea did not like, both domestically and in more public terms. So I was, not on this occasion, on the last occasion I was in Beijing, I was by some Chinese officials who work on North Korea. They presented me with a long list of complaints against North Koreans. They did this not because I asked for it, but I think because they believed that it was necessary to point it out. One of them goes as follows: This is from 2016. A North Korean circular. This is a domestic circular on China where it refers to China as, “This country styling itself a big power is dancing to the tune of the United States when defending its mean behavior with such excuses that it was meant not to have a negative impact on the living of the people of the DPRK, but to check its nuclear program. If the country keeps a prior economic sanctions to the DPRK.” They say the country. They never say China. “If the country keeps applying economic sanctions through the DPRK while dancing to the tune of someone often misjudging the will of the DPRK, it may be applauded by the enemies of the DPRK, but it should get itself ready to face the catastrophic consequences in its relations with us.” Now, this is the kind of talk that sets off the alarm bells in Beijing, right? And not in terms of lack of influence, but in terms of what could really go badly wrong in that relationship, particularly when we’re thinking about the country on its border that has its own nuclear program.

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
I think we have time for one more question.

Young-Key Renaud, Professor Emeritus, GWIKS:
Hi, I’m Young-Key Renaud. Actually, when you think of the word Koreans use when they think of China, with its “sadae,” meaning like “serving the great.” I think this is very much related to the condition notion that many perfecting Koreans always go for the best, not necessarily the biggest country. So it relates very well to the current situation. They go to America to study certain things. Maybe to France to study something else. So they, they, and then all the impartation of different thought systems, they have done it themselves. They were not proselytized. So when you think of this, even through this system, it is really not losing something to maintain their independence. I think it is really some of them, they really admired in the Chinese civilization. They were persuaded by the value of different systems and also ideas. So, they are not afraid of criticizing big powers today. More confident in dealing with [inaudible 00:25:04]. So, we don’t have to say they were really forced to do this, or they had to do it. I think a lot of it was voluntary. The whole city system should be actually considered in a bad light and very word, “the righteous,” I agree with Jisoo. I think we might try to look for another word because in some sense every civilization, everybody thinks they’re righteous. Don’t you think?

Professor Arne Westad:
Well, to some degree I think that’s true. I think there are differences of degree though, that are important here. The concept of righteousness is never played – if you compare China and Korea – has never played in the whole of the Neo-Confucian era in China, as much of a role that it clearly did in Korea, right? So it was a favored term. It was not non-existent in China and elsewhere, but it seemed to have attracted for a very long period of time, a particular attention in Korea. Now, linking that to the first point that you made, which I entirely agree with, I wonder, and this is purely speculation, but I sometimes wonder whether that has to do with being the smaller country within the region and needing to find some way of defining itself against somewhat intrusive, certainly bigger, and sometimes rather violent neighbors. There has to be a particular quality to being Korean.

Young-Key Renaud, Professor Emeritus, GWIKS:
I think Koreans are in fact very proud to be part of that greatness. So it’s not just a matter of survival. They actually were proud to be able to kind of do the things Chinese would do. Because they were culturally, philosophically, and scientifically persuaded in modernity. They wanted to be part and not miss the boat and same thing goes on today.

Professor Arne Westad:
Sure. But don’t you also think that there was a need within all of that, that I fully agree with, to distinguish what was Korean?

Young-Key Renaud, Professor Emeritus, GWIKS:
Yes, of course. It’s like the invention of the Korean alphabet. They studied all the theories, but they said it was proper for them, it was something else. And they were not afraid of inventing one after using it for thousands of years.

Professor Arne Westad:
Right, right.

Young-Key Renaud, Professor Emeritus, GWIKS:
Like Chinese characters.

Professor Arne Westad:
Sure.

Benjamin Hopkins, Director of the Sigur Center:
Well, I think that fully takes us to time. Arne, you transported me back to my first year as an undergrad in the Hong Kong theater and being properly put in my intellectual place, shall we say. Thank you very much for an expansive and engaging talk, which is befitting for our commemorative lecture and thank you as well to the audience for coming in and joining this evening with us.

Professor Arne Westad:
Thank you very much. That was great, thank you.

Jungle Art: Indonesia at the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Galleries–A Discussion with Emma Natalya Stein

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
Room 505
This event is co-sponsored by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the 
Guung Kawi, Bali (photo: Emma Natalya Stein)
Art in Indonesia is not typically found in a museum. Throughout the archipelago, pre-modern shrines are cut into rock faces, built on the banks of thunderous, rushing rivers, or carefully aligned with volcanic mountains. Sacred structures are positioned as organic parts of the tropical environment. Immersive and multisensory, they reveal a seamless connection between art and place. While the larger monuments suggest patronage by elites, constellations of minor shrines likely functioned as hermitages and places of worship for ascetics and local communities. Mapping these monuments reveals a dense network of sacred sites built up along rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.
Beginning from riverside shrines in the jungles of Indonesia, this paper considers the close relationship between sacred art and landscape. It further explores strategies for reinvesting objects in museum collections with a sense of their intended contexts. Individual objects reveal aspects of the environments in which they were produced. In turn, even a basic understanding of Asian landscapes can transform a visitor’s encounter with an object that at first may be wholly unfamiliar. Within the galleries, an engagement with environmental factors, such as geology and climate, can invigorate museum collections and help them continue to grow creatively and in ways not limited to acquisitions.
This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the Speaker:

Emma Stein at Belahan, a tenth-century site in East Java, Indonesia.
Emma Natalya Stein is Curatorial Fellow for Southeast Asian Art at the Freer|Sackler, the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian Art, in Washington, DC. She is a specialist of sculpture and sacred architecture of South and Southeast Asia, with a primary interest in the ways in which art and landscape intersect. Emma completed her PhD in the History of Art at Yale in 2017, and she has conducted fieldwork in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. She has worked on exhibitions and publications at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Rubin Museum, and the Freer|Sackler, and she has lectured and taught at institutions in India, Indonesia, and the USA. Today she will discuss bringing context to collections, with a paper entitled, “Jungle Art: Southeast Asia at the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Galleries.”

Plunder and Pilgrimage: The Making of an Art Market in Western India Around 1800–A Discussion with Dr. Holly Shaffer

Thursday, April 26, 2018
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
Room 505
This event is co-sponsored by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the 
In 1810, the British East India Company Major Edward Moor published The Hindu Pantheon in London, an early English attempt to classify the Hindu gods. A lengthy 305-page tome, it also included 105 plates primarily engraved after bronze icons and bright paintings of deities and devotional narratives that Moor had collected in western India and employed an artist from Pune to produce. In this talk, Dr. Shaffer relates how Moor’s collection and publication access a little-documented visual tradition of devotion at home and on pilgrimage in western India while also revealing their paths of circulation and collection by way of plunder, gift, and sale in a thriving but little-understood market for arts in India around 1800.
This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the Speaker:

Holly Shaffer is Assistant Professor of History of Art & Architecture at Brown University; she specializes in the 18th-19th century arts of South Asia and Britain. Her current book project reinterprets the eclectic arts produced in the western Indian city of Pune in the 18th century and their dissemination in print in the 19th century. Other projects include studies of ephemeral arts, such as light, cuisine, and architectural models in the northern Indian region of Awadh; and of European printed representations of India that went viral. She has published articles on these subjects in Journal 18, Third Text, Art India; and forthcoming in The Art Bulletin; and has curated exhibitions at the Yale Center for British Art; the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution; and Dartmouth College.

Providing Healthcare in North Korea: Issues, Ethics, and Politics

China’s Pursuit of Regional Leadership: Implications for the United States and Asia A Discussion with Timothy Heath

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Room 505
Washington, DC 20052

Rise of China Audio (1)

Rise of China Audio (2)

Rise of China Audio (3)

China’s leaders have called for the country to help lead Asia’s economic integration and reshape its approach to security. China’s vision in some ways contrasts with the preferences of the United States and its allies. How does China intend to realize its vision and what does this mean for the United States and the region?

This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the speaker:

Timothy R. Heath is a senior international defense researcher at the RAND Corporation. Prior to joining RAND in October 2014, he served as the senior analyst for the USPACOM China Strategic Focus Group for five years. He worked for more than 16 years on the strategic, operational, and tactical levels in the U.S. military and government, specializing on China, Asia, and security topics.

Heath has published numerous articles and one book. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, he has extensive experience analyzing China’s national strategy, politics, ideology, and military, as well as of Asian regional security developments. He earned an M.A. in Asian studies from George Washington University and a B.A. in philosophy from the College of William and Mary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science from George Mason University.

Taiwan Conference: How Does Taiwan’s Defense and Security Status Stack Up?

Thursday, April 5, 2018
3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, State Room (7th Floor)
Washington, DC 20052

Taiwan Roundtable Audio (1)

Taiwan Roundtable Audio (2)

Taiwan Roundtable Audio (3)

Taiwan Roundtable Audio (4)

Taiwan Roundtable Audio (5)

Taiwan Roundtable Audio (6)

Experts will assess the strengths and weaknesses of Taiwan’s defense capacity vis-a-vis China, and how the political and security relationship with the United States factors into Taiwan’s security calculus.

This event is on the record and open to the media.

Agenda:

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM:
Registration and Welcoming Remarks

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM:
PANEL I: The US-Taiwan Security Relationship and the US Factor in Taiwan’s Defense

  • “US Policy Priorities in the Region and Role in Taiwan’s Security”
    Bonnie Glaser, Senior Adviser for Asia; Director, China Power Project, CSIS
  • “Rise of Revisionist Powers and Strategic Challenges for US and Taiwan”
    Lt. Gen. Wallace “Chip” Gregson, Jr. (Ret.), Senior Director, China and the Pacific, Center for the National Interest
  • “Taiwan’s Future Threat Environment and Need for US Policy Adjustments”
    Richard Fisher, Senior Fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM:
Break for High Tea and Refreshments

5:30 PM – 7:00 PM:
PANEL II: Taiwan’s Strategic and Defense Capacities: Strengths and Weaknesses

  • “Taiwan’s Strong but Stifled Foundations of National Power”
    David Gitter, Director, Party Watch Initiative
  • “Reconstructing Taiwan’s Military Strategy: Achieving Forward Defense through Multi-Domain Deterrence”
    David An, Senior Research Fellow, Global Taiwan Institute
  • “The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia”
    Ian Easton, Research Fellow, Project 2049 Institute

About the Speakers:

Bonnie Glaser is a senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at CSIS, where she works on issues related to Asia-Pacific security with a focus on Chinese foreign and security policy. Ms. Glaser has worked for more than three decades at the intersection of Asia-Pacific geopolitics and U.S. policy. Prior to joining CSIS, she served as a consultant for various U.S. government offices, including the Departments of Defense and State. Ms. Glaser received her B.A. in political science from Boston University and her M.A. with concentrations in international economics and Chinese studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Lt. Gen. Wallace “Chip” Gregson, Jr. (ret.)  most recently served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. Previously, he served as Chief Operating Officer for the United States Olympic Committee, then as an independent consultant before entering Government in 2009. LtGen. Gregson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; the U.S. Naval Institute; and the Marine Corps Association. He is a Trustee of the Marine Corps University Foundation. His civilian education includes a Bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, and Master’s degrees in Strategic Planning from the Naval War College, and International Relations from Salve Regina College.

Richard Fisher is a Senior Fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center. He has previously worked with the Center for Security Policy, Jamestown Foundation China Brief, U.S. House of Representatives Republican Policy Committee, and The Heritage Foundation. He is the author of China’s Military Modernization, Building forRegional and Global Reach (Praeger, 2008, Stanford University Press, 2010, Taiwan Ministry ofNational Defense translation, 2012). His articles have been published in Far Eastern Economic Review, Asian Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The Sankei Shimbun, World Airpower Review and Air Forces Monthly. He received a B.A. (Honors) in 1981 from Eisenhower College.

David Gitter is the Director of the Party Watch Initiative, a Project 2049 Institute program that tracks the latest activities of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and specializes in analysis of authoritative open source Chinese language materials. Prior to joining the Institute, he has worked in various analytical capacities at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (OUSDP), Project 2049 Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) focusing on Chinese foreign policy and broader Asian security issues. Gitter received his MA in Asian Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

David An  is currently the Senior Research Fellow at Global Taiwan Institute. Prior to joining GTI, David was a political-military affairs officer covering the East Asia region at the U.S. State Department from 2009 to 2014, and initiated the first Taiwan interagency political-military visit to the U.S., which have continued to occur annually. Prior to joining the State Department, he was a Fulbright scholar researching democracy in Taiwan and village elections in China.  He received his M.A. from UCSD Graduate School of Global Policy and Strategy and his B.A. from UC Berkeley. He publishes and speaks widely on East Asian political and security matters.

Ian Easton is a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, where he conducts research on defense and security issues in Asia. Previously, Ian worked as a China analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) for two years. Prior to that, he lived in Taipei from 2005 to 2010. During his time in Taiwan, he worked as a translator for Island Technologies Inc. and the Foundation for Asia-Pacific Peace Studies. While in Taiwan, he also conducted research with the Asia Bureau Chief of Defense News. Ian holds an M.A. in China Studies from National Chengchi University in Taiwan and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Early Photography of the Silk Road: A Discussion with Visiting Scholar Maeve Nolan

 

Part of the Sigur Center’s Visiting Scholar Roundtable Series

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Chung-wen Shih Conference Room
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503
Washington, DC 20052

Early Photography of the Silk Road Audio (1)

Early Photography of the Silk Road Audio (2)

Early Photography of the Silk Road Audio (3)

Early photography of the Silk Road is a sub-genre of early photography. These photographs have contributed significantly to the Western world’s vision of the Silk Road and Asia but they have yet to be studied in depth. This talk explains what early Silk Road photography looks like, its origins, who produced it and why.

This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the speaker:

Maeve Nolan is a second year PhD Art History and Archeology student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is currently a visiting scholar with George Washington University’s Sigur Center whilst she conducts her research at the National Geographic Society. The title of her PhD is:

“Early Silk Road photography: A case study of how and why Dr. Maynard Owen Williams, Litt. D. (1888-1963) photographed the Silk Road during the Citroen-Haardt Trans-Asiatic Expedition (1931-1932)”

Her PhD examines early photography of the Silk Road through a close analysis of the work of one of the last of the early Silk Road photographers, Maynard Owen Williams (1888-1963). She has chosen Williams’ photographs of the Citroen-Haardt Trans-Asiatic Expedition (1931-1932), which re-traced the route of Marco Polo, as a case study. These photographs present some of the most technically proficient, romantic, painterly and widely distributed examples of early Silk Road photography and appeared alongside articles Williams wrote for the influential American publication, the National Geographic Magazine.

Through her research, she intends to shed light on this overlooked photographic genre and help to deepen understanding of its impact on the Western world’s relationship with and understanding of Asia and the Silk Road.

Traversing the Warrior Fantasy–Martial Culture and The Meiji Restoration

Friday, March 23, 2018
Time: 2pm-4pm
Location: National Churchill Library and Center (Gelman Libaray 101a)
This event is co-sponsored by the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.
Meiji
Speaker: Michael Wert, Associate Professor of East Asian History, Marquette University
Abstract: The Meiji Restoration is typically analyzed in terms of international and domestic politics, intellectual trends, and changes in the commercial economy. This talk adds to that conventional narrative by exploring the role of warrior identity and the widening gap between warrior ideals and warrior realities in the nineteenth century. For samurai and elite commoners alike, martial culture in the form of swordsmanship became a vehicle for acting out the fantasy of the ideal warrior at a time when warrior authority was at its nadir. Rather than see culture as simply a site of resistance, it was the very act of over-identifying with warrior fantasy and ideology that undermined the Tokugawa regime.
Speaker Bio: Professor Michael Wert is an associate professor of East Asian history at Marquette University, with a focus on early modern and modern Japan.His first book Meiji Restoration Losers: Memory and Tokugawa Supporters in Modern Japan engages memory theory by asking how memory can help answer broader historical questions. Specifically, it traces the “memory landscapes” of the Meiji Restoration from 1868 to the present through the lens of those on the losing side. His second project continues to center around the Meiji Restoration, using theoretical tools to investigate the role of martial fantasy, culture, and violence in the early modern period. Professor Wert is a graduate of GW (B.A. East Asian Studies, 1997).
Prof. Wert

Three Waves of Jewish Migration to China: 1845-1941

Event Schedule

2:00pm – 2:30pm – Registration

2:30pm – 4:00pm – Lecture and Q&A

4:00pm – 4:30pm – Refreshments & networking

Room: Lindner Commons (Rm 602)

Address: Elliott School of International Affairs – 1957 E St NW, Washington, DC

RSVP

DESCRIPTION

Three waves of Jewish migrants went to China, mainly to Shanghai. First in 1845 from the Middle East for trade; the second group, refugees from Russia during the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and ensuing Civil War; the third group in the mid-1930s of refugees fleeing from virulent antisemitism in Nazi Germany to China, one of the rare countries in the world where entry visas were not required. The lives of these three groups are described before/ during/after the Japanese occupation (Pearl Harbor-August 1945). By 1948, their exodus to various countries. In partnership with the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, GW Judaic Studies Program and the GW History Department and the GW Confucius Institute, we are proud to have Dr. Liliane Willens lead a special lecture and Q&A on Three Waves of Jewish Migration to China: 1845-1941.

A retired professor from Boston College and MIT, Dr. Liliane Willens is a current Washington, D.C. resident with a vibrant history growing up in Shanghai, China. Dr. Willens was born of Russian parentage in the former French Concession of Shanghai. She, her parents, and sisters all lived in China during Japanese occupation and World War II, and emigrated a couple years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Dr. Willens is the author of the book, Stateless in Shanghai

Join us for the dialogue! Event is FREE & open to the public.

Film Screening and Discussion of Left for Dead: Myanmar’s Muslim Minority

Tuesday, March 27, 2018
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

The George Washington University
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street NW
Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
Washington, DC 20052

Myanmar’s Muslim Minority Audio (1)

Myanmar’s Muslim Minority Audio (2)

Myanmar’s Muslim Minority Audio (3)

Gallery 102 is proud to present “As The World Watches.” This exhibition presents a select collection of responses to the humanitarian crisis affecting communities in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Like many other countries in our modern era, Myanmar is experiencing an increasingly fractured society and a growing radical movement within their politics. In keeping with some of history’s worst examples of conflict, the rapidly escalating violence in Myanmar is centered around religious and ethnic divisions. Recent riots have caused massive upheaval in the country, bringing long past due attention to the host of human rights issues affecting the Rohingya people. In the wake of this flood, the world has begun to turn its focus on the true cost and scope of a modern genocide. The aim of As The World Watches is to raise awareness of Myanmar’s long history of displaced peoples, and examine how the concept of “Other” has led to the systematic and ongoing annihilation of entire communities. Change can only begin with knowledge.

As part of this series, Gallery 102 and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies will present a film screening of “Left for Dead: Myanmar’s Muslim Minority.” The film shows what VICE News uncovered about its investigation into the violence and discrimination faced by the country’s Muslim minority. Following the screening will be a panel discussion on the film and the broader social, political, and historical context of the situation.

Discussants:

Layla Saad, Gallery 102 Curator & Co-Chair
Dr. Christina Fink, Professor of Practice of International Affairs, GW
Matthew Wells, Senior Crisis Advisor, Amnesty International
Robert Marro, Burma Task Force

About the film:
In recent years, democratic reforms have swept through Myanmar, a country that for decades was ruled by a military junta. As the reforms took hold, however, things were growing progressively worse for the Rohingya, a heavily persecuted ethnic Muslim minority concentrated in the country’s western state of Rakhine.

The 2012 gang rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslim men ignited violent riots in which hundreds were killed as Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya attacked each other. In the following months, tens of thousands of Rohingya were rounded up and forced to live in squalid camps; Human Rights Watch deemed the attacks crimes against humanity that amounted to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. Thousands of Rohingya have since attempted to leave the country, fueling the region’s intricate and brutal human trafficking network.

Book Launch: Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia A Discussion with Dr. Janet Steele

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM The Elliott School of International Affairs 1957 E Street, NW, Lindner Family Commons, Room 602 Washington, DC 20052

Steele Book Launch Audio (1)

Steele Book Launch Audio (2)

Broadening an overly narrow definition of Islamic journalism, Janet Steele examines day-to-day reporting practices of Muslim professionals, from conservative scripturalists to pluralist cosmopolitans, at five exemplary news organizations in Malaysia and Indonesia. At Sabili, established as an underground publication, journalists are ed for their ability at dakwah, or Islamic propagation. At Tempo, a news magazine banned during the Soeharto regime and considered progressive, many see their work as a manifestation of worship, but the publication itself is not considered Islamic. At Harakah, reporters support an Islamic political party, while at Republika they practice a “journalism of the Prophet” and see Islam as a market niche. Other news organizations, too, such as Malaysiakini, employ Muslim journalists. Steele, a longtime scholar of the region, explores how these publications observe universal principles of journalism through an Islamic idiom.

This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the speaker:

Dr. Janet Steele is an associate professor of journalism at the George Washington University and the director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. She received her Ph.D. in History from the Johns Hopkins University and focus on how culture is communicated through the mass media.

Dr. Steele is a frequent visitor to Southeast Asia where she lectures on topics ranging from the role of the press in a democratic society to specialized courses on narrative journalism. Her book, “Wars Within: The Story of Tempo, an Independent Magazine in Soeharto’s Indonesia,” focuses on “Tempo” magazine and its relationship to the politics and culture of New Order Indonesia. Awarded two Fulbright teaching and research grants, she has served as a State Department speaker-specialist in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, the Philippines, East Timor, Taiwan, Burma, Sudan, Egypt, India and Bangladesh. The author of numerous articles on journalism theory and practice, her most recent book, “Email Dari Amerika,” (Email from America), is a collection of newspaper columns written in Indonesian and originally published in the newspaper Surya. Her most recent book is “Mediating Islam, Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia.”

Co-sponsored by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Elliott School of International Affairs

Taiwan Lecture: Archiving Taiwanese Literature in Translation: A Discussion with Dr. Jonathan Stalling

Monday, March 26, 2018
12:45 PM – 2:00 PM
Gelman Library, Room 702
2130 H St. NW
Washington, DC 20052

 

Archiving Taiwanese Literature Audio (1)

Archiving Taiwanese Literature Audio (2)

Archiving Taiwanese Literature Audio (3)

 

You are invited to join us for a discussion with Dr. Jonathan Stalling on the topic of “Archiving Taiwanese Literature in Translation.” Dr. Stalling will cover topics including:

* The literary archive as it relates to Sinophone literature
* Taiwanese literature in translation
* Archival efforts in Taiwan
* Chinese Literature Translation Archive at the University of Oklahoma
* Circulation of Sinophone literature outside the Sinosphere

And much more! Please come and join the discussion. This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the speaker:

Dr. Jonathan Stalling is Professor of English specializing in East-West Poetics at the University of Oklahoma, where he is a founding editor of Chinese Literature Today magazine and book series and the Curator of the Chinese Literature Translation Archive at the University of Oklahoma Library. He is also the Deputy Director of the Center for the Study of China’s Literature Abroad at Beijing Normal University and was the 2015 Poet in Residence at Beijing University. Dr. Stalling is the author of six books of literary scholarship, translation and poetry and his opera 吟歌 丽诗 was staged at Yunnan University in 2010.

This event is co-sponsored by GW’s Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and the Taiwan Academy.

The Art of Chieftaincy in the Writings of Pashtun Tribal Rulers: A Discussion with Dr. Mikhail Pelevin

Thursday, March 22, 2018
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
Washington, DC 20052

Art of the Chieftaincy Audio (1)

Art of the Chieftaincy Audio (2)

Art of the Chieftaincy Audio (3)

Among early modern Pashto writings the works of the Khattak tribal rulers are of particular importance as primary internal sources on the sociopolitical history and culture of Pashtuns in the period preceding the Afghan state building processes of the 18th century. The views of Pashtun military-administrative elite on governance are expounded most clearly in a range of texts, both in prose and verse, pertaining to the universal literary genre of “Mirrors for Princes” (Nasihat al-Muluk). Rooted in the medieval Persian classics, Pashto “Mirrors” nevertheless reflect in the foreground local ethnocultural peculiarities by shifting the very subject from statesmanship to chieftaincy, declaring regulations of the unwritten Code of Honor, and dealing with real politics through the examination of individual cases related to tribal conflicts.

The paper offers a survey of the nasihat al-muluk writings by Khushhal Khan Khattak (d. 1689) and Afzal Khan Khattak (d. circa 1740) including still poorly studied documents from the latter’s historiographical compilation “The Ornamented History” (Tarikh-i Murassaʿ). The texts under discussion prove that the outlook and behavioral patterns of Pashtun chieftains in pre-modern times stemmed from a combination, partly eclectic and contradictory, of Islamic precepts, feudal ideologies of the Mughal administrative system, and rules imposed by the Pashtun customary law (Pashtunwali).

This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the speaker:

Dr. Mikhail Pelevin is Professor of Iranian Philology at St. Petersburg State University (Russian Federation). His main area of research is the early modern Pashto literature conceptualized as the most distinct and expressive element of social culture and ethnic self-identification of Pashtuns in the transition period from the late Middle Ages to modern times. Among his publications in Russian are books Khushhal Khan Khatak (1613-1689): the Beginning of the Afghan National Poetry (2001), Afghan Poetry in the First Half and the Middle of the Seventeenth century (2005), Afghan Literature of the Late Middle Ages (2010); a new book The Khattaks’ Chronicle: the Corpus and Functions of the Text is coming soon. Few recent articles are available in English, e.g.: “The Beginnings of Pashto Narrative Prose” (2017), “Persian Letters of a Pashtun Tribal Ruler on Judicial Settlement of a Political Conflict”, 1724 (2017), Daily Arithmetic of Pashtun Tribal Rulers: Numbers in The Khataks’ Chronicle (2016), “Ethnic consciousness of Pashtun Tribal Rulers in Pre-modern Times” (2015). M. Pelevin teaches courses on Persian, Pashto, the history of Persian and Pashto literatures. His other academic interests include Iranian dialectology and Muslim law.

China in the 21st Century: Why History Still Matters: A Discussion with Dr. Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Dr. Maura Cunningham

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
Washington, DC 20052

China in the 21st Century Audio (1)

China in the 21st Century Audio (2)

China in the 21st Century Audio (3)

In this two-person illustrate talks, based on the fully revised and updated third edition of their coauthored book, China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Maura Cunningham will explore issues associated with China’s meteoric rise, the distinctive and in many ways worrisome stamp Xi Jinping is putting on the country, and the local and global implications of recent events on the mainland and in Hong Kong. One theme they will stress is that even as China alters the current geopolitical order and has cities that often seem futuristic, paying attention to the past and how stories about history are used and misused inside and outside of the PRC has in some ways never been more important.

This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the speakers:

Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine; Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies; a member of Dissent Magazine‘s editorial board; and an academic editor of the China Channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He has contributed commentaries and reviews to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and various other newspapers and to magazines.  His other books include, as editor, The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China (2016). He received his PhD from UC Berkeley.

Maura Cunningham is an Associate at the University of Michigan’s Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies and edits the #Asianow blog of the Association for Asian Studies. She has written on modern Chinese history for the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Ms., World Policy Journal, and Time.  A past editor of China Beat, she is an advising editor to the China Channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books. She received her PhD from UC Irvine.

Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work in the US and Japan: A Discussion with Dr. Steven Vogel

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
Washington, DC 20052

Marketcraft Audio (1)

Marketcraft Audio (2)

Marketcraft Powerpoint Slides

From financial regulation to anti-trust enforcement to governance of the internet, policymakers in Washington and Japan are increasingly failing at the job of effective market regulation. In a provocative new book, Dr. Steven Vogel argues that the reason governments so often get this wrong is that they are stuck in a stale and misleading debate over government regulation versus market freedom. In fact, he argues, markets must by their nature be regulated, and the real debate is over how best to regulate in the public interest. In era of globalization and new, disruptive market platforms Vogel’s thoughtful pro-governance arguments have never been more relevant.

This event is on the record and open to the media.

About the speaker:

Dr. Steven Vogel is the Il Han new professor of Asian studies and a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. He specializes in the political economy of advanced industrialized nations, especially Japan and the United States. Vogel’s new book is entitled Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work and builds on three decades of scholarship. He is also the author of Japan Remodeled: How Government and Industry Are Reforming Japanese Capitalism, and his first book,Freer Markets, More Rules: Regulatory Reform in Advanced Industrial Countries, won the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize. He has a B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for International Economic Policy and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. In cooperation with Asia Policy Point.

Exporting Censorship in the Digital Age: Lessons in Chinese Sharp Power A Discussion with Dr. Glenn Tiffert

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Room 505
Washington, DC 20052

Exporting Digital Censorship Audio (1)

Exporting Digital Censorship Audio (2)

The Chinese Communist Party is pursuing a distinctively Leninist path to soft power. It depicts public opinion as a battlefield upon which a highly disciplined political struggle must be waged and won. This talk documents one aspect of that struggle: how the Party is leveraging its economic muscle and the technologies of the information age to sanitize the historical record and globalize its own competing narratives. The talk also illustrates the vulnerabilities introduced by our deepening digital dependence and the challenges we confront in safeguarding the integrity of our knowledge base.

About the speaker:

Glenn Tiffert, a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at Berkeley, Harvard, University of Michigan and UCLA, and currently serves on the Projects and Proposals Committee of the American Society for Legal History. Glenn’s research interests center on 20th century China, particularly its experience of revolution. At the vanguard among scholars of modern Chinese legal history, he has published works in English and Chinese on the construction of the modern Chinese court system and judiciary, the drafting of the 1954 PRC Constitution, the legacies of Nationalist judicial modernization to the PRC, and the hidden genealogy of current PRC legal policy. Glenn is also pioneering the integration of computational methods drawn from data science into the study of Chinese history. Using China as an illustrative case, his latest research empirically documents the alarming synergies between digitization, intellectual property law, censorship, and authoritarianism, and exposes how emerging technologies could spur Orwellian manipulation of the historical record and memory on a global scale.

Taking Stock of Cross Strait Relations: Chinese Postures and Taiwan’s Prospects–A Roundtable Discussion

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Lunch: 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM

Roundtable Discussion: 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Lindner Commons, Room 602 (6th Floor)
Washington, DC 20052

Taiwan Roundtable Audio (1)

Taiwan Roundtable Audio (2)

Selected Photos

China’s stepped up pressure on Taiwan in recent weeks – from Beijing’s unilateral launch of new air routes, to the row with hotel giant Marriott over its website characterization of Taiwan – is once again bringing cross Strait relations into question. This is occurring in the context of China’s rising military profile and growing assertiveness in East Asia, which continues to raise region-wide concern. This Roundtable will assess key political and strategic dynamics of current cross Strait relations and what the trends portend.

“Chinese Strategic Pressure and Impact on Taiwan”

  • Mark Stokes, Executive Director of the Project 2049 Institute

“Taiwan’s Southbound Policy and the China Factor”

  • Dr. Joyce Juo-yu Lin, Professor of the Department of Diplomacy and International Relations, and Director of the ASEAN Studies Center at Tamkang University

“Domestic Politics and Taiwan’s Options on Cross Strait Relations”

  • Dr. Shelley Rigger, Brown Professor and Assistant Dean for Educational Policy, Political Science Department of Davidson College

Moderator: Edward McCord, Professor of History and International Affairs and Director of the Taiwan Education and Research Program at GW

About the Participants:

Mark Stokes is the Executive Director of the Project 2049 Institute, which seeks to guide decision makers toward a more secure Asia. Prior to his current position, he was the founder and president of Quantum Pacific Enterprises, an international consulting firm, and vice president and Taiwan country manager for Raytheon International. Mr. Stokes has also served as a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan. A 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran, Mr. Stokes was the team chief and senior country director for the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Mongolia in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. He holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University and a M.A. from Boston University and the Naval Postgraduate School.

Dr. Joyce Juo-yu Lin is the current Director of the ASEAN Studies Center at Tamkang University and professor of the University’s Department of Diplomacy and International Relations, and is a specialist in Southeast Asian political and economic issues. She has researched and written academic papers focusing on the possibility of a free trade agreement between China and ASEAN, as well as the motivations behind pursuing a free trade agreement, and the possibility of US influence in this area. Prior to her current positions, Dr. Lin was a Southeast Asia correspondent for the China Times, and was a visiting researcher at Georgetown University. She was also the CNAPS visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Dr. Lin holds a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D from the National Taiwan University.

Dr. Shelley Rigger is the Brown Professor and Assistant Dean for Educational Policy at Davidson College focusing on East Asian politics. She has written two books analyzing Taiwan’s domestic politics, Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy (Routledge 1999) and From Opposition to Power: Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (Lynne Rienner Publishers 2001), and has published articles concentrating on the national identity issue in Taiwan-China relations, and other related topics. Her current research studies include the effects of cross-strait economic interactions on Taiwan people’s perceptions of mainland China. Dr. Rigger earned her bachelor’s degree at Princeton University, and holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Dr. Edward McCord is a Professor of History and International Affairs and Director of the Taiwan Education and Research Program at GW. He lived and studied for five years in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, and is currently working on a major book-length project that examines militia organizations in Republican China (1911-1949). Professor McCord’s research centers on the history of Chinese military-civil relations in the modern era. Prior to joining GW, he was the Assistant Professor of History at the University of Florida. He has experience teaching Chinese history at the Foreign Service Institute and the Smithsonian Institution’s Campus on the Mall program. Professor McCord has a M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan.

How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Masking of the Universal Franchise–A Discussion with Dr. Ornit Shani

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
3:00 PM – 4:15 PM
 
The Elliott School of International Affairs
Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
How India Became Democratic explores the greatest experiment in democratic human history. It tells the untold story of the preparation of the electoral roll on the basis of universal adult franchise in the world’s largest democracy. The book offers a new view of the institutionalization of democracy in India, and of the way democracy captured the political imagination of its diverse peoples. Turning all adult Indians into voters against the backdrop of the partition of India and Pakistan, and in anticipation of the drawing up of a constitution, was a staggering task. Indians became voters before they were citizens; by the time the constitution came into force in 1950, the abstract notion of universal franchise and electoral democracy were already grounded. Drawing on rich archival materials, the book shows how the Indian people were a driving force in the making of democratic citizenship as they struggled for their voting rights.
The talk explores how the principle and institution of universal franchise attained meaning and entered the political imagination of Indians. It argues that it was the way in which the preparation of the first electoral roll on the basis of adult franchise became part of popular narratives that played an essential role in connecting people to a popular democratic political imagination. The bureaucrats who managed the operation communicated their directives for the preparation of electoral rolls as a story through press notes, which were widely discussed in the press. People could insert themselves into this narrative as its protagonists. This process, in turn, gave rise to a collective passion for democracy, contributing to the democratization of feelings and imagination.
This event is free and open to the public.
About the Speaker:
Ornit Shani is a scholar of politics and modern history of India. Her research focuses on the modern history of democracy and citizenship in India, as well as the rise of Hindu Nationalism, identity and caste politics, and communal and caste violence. Dr. Ornit was a Research Fellow at St. John’s College, Cambridge University and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Her new book How India Became Democratic: Citizenship and the Making of the Universal Franchise explores the creation of the electoral roll and universal adult franchise in India. Dr. Shani’s other research interests include modern South Asia, democracy and democratization, India’s constitutionalism, India legal history, Indian elections, nationalism, and identity politics.

Mobilizing without the Masses: Control and Contention in China–A Discussion with Dr. Diana Fu

Monday, March 26, 2018
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Room 505
Washington, DC 20052

RSVP at go.gwu.edu/MobilizingWithouttheMasses

Join us for a discussion on civil society, state repression and mobilization in contemporary China with Diana Fu, author of “Mobilizing without the Masses: Control and Contention in China.”

About the speaker:

Diana Fu is an assistant professor of Asian Politics at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include contentious politics and social movements, Chinese politics, qualitative methods and ethnography, international development, and labor and gender politics. Prior to joining the University of Toronto, Dr. Fu was a Rhodes Scholar studying Development Studies at Oxford University, graduating with both a Masters and PhD. Her research has appeared in Reuters, The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, the Boston Review, Nick Kristof’s On the Ground Blog, PostGlobal, Global Brief, and has been part of projects such as Governance, Comparative Political Studies and The China Journal. Her book Mobilizing without the Masses: Control and Contention in China theorizes a new pathway of civil society mobilization in contemporary China.

The Objectives Resolution of Pakistan: Islam, Minorities, and the Making of a Democracy–Discussion with Dr. Neeti Nair

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
Washington, DC 20052

The creation of the state of Pakistan in 1947 was sudden and unexpected. Several details including the new international boundary lines, the accession of princely states, the division of the British Indian army, the choice of a national flag and appropriate national anthem, had to be worked out. The framing of a Constitution was among the foremost challenges facing the new state. In less than three decades, Pakistan would have as many Constitutions; common to all of these was the Objectives Resolution.

Passed in March 1949 by the first Constituent Assembly, which was also Pakistan’s first legislature, the Objectives Resolution is generally understood as marking the beginning of the Islamization of laws and society. Yet, the Resolution was embraced by non-Muslims, especially Christians, for safeguarding their right to preach and practice as Christians. A close examination of contemporary debates in the Constituent Assembly, the writings of religious scholars, law-makers and educationists throws new light on what it meant to be Muslim in Pakistan’s early decades, and for Pakistan to aspire to be an Islamic state. For both Muslims and non-Muslims, the Objectives Resolution was a challenge and a promise – a challenge to balance the contradictions and expectations inherent in the many clauses comprising the Resolution, and a promise to aspire to an equal and tolerant society “as enunciated by Islam.”

The lecture is part of my larger book project ‘Through Minority Eyes: Blasphemy Laws in South Asia.’

Agenda:

12:00 PM 
Lunch

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM 
Discussion with Dr. Neeti Nair – Asia Program Fellow at the Wilson Center, and Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia

About the speaker:

Neeti Nair: Educated in India and the United States, Neeti Nair is an associate professor at the University of Virginia, where she teaches courses on modern South Asian history and politics. She is the author of Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India (Harvard University Press and Permanent Black, 2011). Her articles have appeared in leading scholarly journals, including Modern Asian Studies, Indian Economic and Social History Review, and the Economic and Political Weekly, as well as the Indian Express and India Today. Nair has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and the Mellon Foundation. She will be spending 2017-18 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars working on her next book project, Blasphemy: A South Asian History, which is to be published with Harvard University Press.

Lunar New Year Celebration with the Organization of Asian Studies


Have you already forgotten your New Year’s resolutions? Do you love to learn about new cultures? Are you particularly interested in learning more about Asian culture? Well, you are in luck! This February 15th, the Organization of Asian Studies is hosting an event to celebrate the Lunar New Year. So, bring your friends and take another shot at those New Year’s resolutions while enjoying amazing food and entertainment!
The festivities, held on Thursday, February 15th, will run throughout most of the day. So, stop in at any time to enjoy demonstrations and performances by renowned artists and musicians! To celebrate the Year of Dog, students will also have the chance to visit with therapy dogs! Food and drinks will be provided as well! Do not miss out on this amazing cultural experience! Please see the RSVP form for further details on each of our programs. 
Special Note: To ring in the New Year in style, guests are encouraged to wear red, as it is a traditionally auspicious color for this celebration!
Our programing will proceed as follows:
12:45 PM – 2:15 PM – “Open Dog House”: Celebrate the New Year with PAL therapy dogs!
** Snacks from Dumplings and Beyond will be  provided at 1:00PM, boba tea from Kung Fu Tea will be served at 2:30 PM**
2:45 PM – 3:45 PM – “Chinese Landscape Painting”: Demonstration by Freda Lee-McMann
4:00 PM – 4:30 PM – “Traditional Chinese Music”: Gu-Zheng performance
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM – “Chinese Calligraphy”: Demonstration by Kit-Keung Kan
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM – Dinner Buffet provided by Meiwah
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM – “Traditional Gu-Zheng Ensemble”: Performance by the Alice Gu-Zheng Ensemble

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