Monday, November 8, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Live via Zoom
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A high-flying media entrepreneur and early advocate of Taiwan independence, Cheng Nan-jung 鄭南榕 has come to symbolize bravery in the face of authoritarian repression for generations of Taiwanese. Nylon, as his friends and colleagues called him, sacrificed his life in a protest against the restriction of media freedom, an act that shattered political taboos and has been commemorated with a national “Freedom of Speech Day.” In this talk, Professor Ashley Esarey surveys the life and tumultuous times of one of Taiwan’s famous martyrs, arguing that the legacy of Nylon Cheng helps us understand the conditions in which activism proves resilient and impactful during the long arc of democratic transformation.
A former broadcast journalist, Dr. Ashley Esarey has researched political communication for two decades, including two years of field research in China. He received his undergraduate education at Occidental College in Los Angeles, his MA, MPhil, and PhD in Political Science at Columbia University in New York, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. Currently, Dr. Esarey is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta, where he teaches East Asian domestic politics and foreign relations and serves as Director of Taiwan Studies. He is the co-author of My Fight for a New Taiwan：One Woman’s Journey from Prison to Power （with Lu Hsiu-lien）and co-editor of Taiwan in Dynamic Transition：Nation-Building and Democratization, and Greening East Asia：The Rise of the Eco-Developmental State. His articles have appeared in such publications as Asian Survey, the International Journal of Communication, the Journal of Contemporary China, and Political Psychology.
Japonifying the Qin：Music and Legitimization in Tokugawa Politics
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Live via Zoom
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No matter how idiosyncratically Chinese the qin undoubtedly is, it flourished in Japan from the seventeenth through the nineteen centuries. A new style consisting of performing ancient Japanese Imperial court music gagaku on the qin emerged from behind the facade of a musical restoration. Why was there such a drastic change? My presentation will build connections between the intellectual history of Tokugawa Japan and music antiquarianism. In particular, the ideological forces behind the so-called restoration of the Chinese qin launched by the Tokugawa military government are explored through dilemmas of political legitimacy. The Shōgun’s Edo-centred dictatorship was by definition eternally subordinate to the Emperor in Kyoto, so a means had to be found to articulate an alternative legitimacy, and Confucianism proved the perfect vehicle. The qin as a musical invention of ancient antiquity and a route to sagehood was a suitable means to this end.
Yang Yuanzheng is a specialist in the musical history of East Asia whose research interests extend from Bronze Age excavations of musical instruments in China to the reception of Chinese musical philosophies in Japan. He is a recipient of the Association of Chinese Music Research’s Rulan Chao Pian Prize（2016）and the American Musical Instrument Society’s Frances Densmore Prize（2018）. Issues connected to the rediscovery of ancient manuscripts and their relationship to canon formation and political undercurrents have long been a central theme of Yang’s work. In respect of the Song dynasty poet-musician Jiang Kui, he has unearthed an array of hitherto unnoticed manuscripts and published them in facsimile along with a monograph on the eighteenth-century reception of Jiang’s oeuvre in his book Plum Blossom on the Far Side of the Stream （2019）. As a fluent performer on the qin, Yang’s current work relates to the cultural migration of the instrument into Tokugawa Japan and the effect it had on political and philosophical trends there. As an archaeologist, Yang was entrusted by the Smithsonian Institution with the task of carrying out a full-scale scientific investigation of the entire collection of ancient qin housed at the National Museum of Asian Art. The results were published in Dragon’s Roar：Chinese Literati Musical Instruments in the Freer and Sackler Collections （2020）.
Sponsor（s）: Center for Chinese Studies