2015 (2014-2015 Academic Year) 

Why Does the Chinese Leadership Quote Confucius? (2 March)
A lecture by Dr. Jyrki Kallio
Sponsored by Asian Studies Program; Chinese Studies Program; Religion Program

What is behind the revival of tradition in modernizing China? The presentation discusses the various interpretations of Confucianism which have prevailed during different historical eras, as well as the contemporary significance of Confucianism in China, East Asia, and the world.

Living with the Fukushima Nuclear (Accident? Disaster? Crime?) (4 December)
Sponsored by Asian Studies Program; Bard’s Luce Initiative on Asia and the Environment; Environmental and Urban Studies Program

A lecture by Norma Field, Professor Emerita of Japanese Studies, The University of ChicagoMore than three-and-a-half years have passed since the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. It has disappeared, for the most part, from the headlines and consciousness of the world. But for the residents of Fukushima and others scattered over the Japanese archipelago, the disaster is ever present, perhaps most of all for those who would banish it from their minds. What does “living with Fukushima” mean? How is it the same and different from living with the impact of the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011? What difference does it make if we consider it an “accident,” a “disaster,” or a “crime”? What if we add the choice of “scientific experiment” to this series–how do the terms affect each other, and how might the series of terms affect how we think about the whole of the nuclear age, going back, for instance, to the Trinity test site in New Mexico, where the National Cancer Institute has decided to study, 70 years later, the impact of the explosion on local residents?

The Thousand and One Futures  (30 October)
Postwar Systems Theory, Cybernetic Gurus, and Postmodern Stories of the Worlds to Come
Sponsored by American Studies Program; Asian Studies Program; Experimental Humanities Program; Japanese Program; Literature Program

Guest lecturer R. John Williams (Yale)From the mid-1940s to the late-1950s, a new mode of ostensibly secular prophecy emerged from within the authoritative sphere of the American military-industrial-academic complex, spreading quickly throughout the world in technocratic and managerial organizations. This new mode of projecting forward was marked by assumptions about the inherent multiplicity of possible futures as distinct from more powerfully singular visions of “the” future. This presentation tracks the development of this  transformation in two phases: the first computational, secular, and  cybernetic, and the second, narratological, quasi-religious, and generally committed to various “oriental” philosophies.  Questions addressed will include: Is the postmodern era, as some have described it, an “end of  temporality”? Or is the postmodern narrative condition, rather, an intense multiplication of temporal experience? Is it possible that the sheer number of stories we tell ourselves about the future may not be as progressive a practice as we tend to assume it is? How did we arrive at a present with so many possible futures?

Into the Woods (27 October)
The Aesthetics and Ethics of Nature in Modern Japanese Poetry
Sponsored by Asian Studies Program; Environmental and Urban Studies Program

A lecture by Nicholas Albertson, Assistant Professor of Japanese, Wake Forest University.  In their bold poetic experiments of the late 1890s and early 1900s, Shimazaki Tōson and other Japanese writers sought new artistic and ethical insights in “natural” environments freed from conventional poetic allusions. By immersing themselves in unspoiled forest, mountain, and seashore landscapes, these poets found new ideals of “nature” entangled with Romantic ideals of poetic genius. But did these wandering poets sense the dangers in holding up nature as simultaneously safely beyond civilization and harmonious with civilization? Looking ahead to films such as Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, we can question the ethical implications of a belief that nature can purify us both aesthetically and chemically.Free and open to the public.

2014 (2013-2014 Academic Year)

The Translation Symposium at Bard College (4 April)
Sponsored by Spanish Studies; Russian/Eurasian Studies Program; Literature Program; German Studies Program; Division of Languages and Literature; Dean of the College; Asian Studies Program

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Student Workshopin Aspinwall 302.   Panelists include: Eugene Bata * Daniel Krakovski * Robert Isaf * Melanie Mignucci * Courtney Morris * Yuko Okamura * Christopher Shea * Alissa Rubin * Melissa Weaver

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Faculty Workshop in RKC 103. Panelists include: Thomas Bartshcerer * Jonathan Brent * Peter Filkins * Susan Gillespie * Wyatt Mason * Justus Rosenberg * Olga Voronina

Remembering Fukushima (17 March)
A documentary by Atsushi Funahashi
Sponsored by Environmental and Urban Studies Program; Asian Studies Program

Three years have passed since the devastating magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, crippling the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Filmmaker Atsushi Funahashi follows the residents of Futaba, a town located three kilometers from the site of the explosion, who have been turned into “nuclear refugees” upon their forced relocation to a Tokyo suburb. Still today, many are unable to return to their contaminated homes and remain in temporary housing. As the film captures the town’s devastation – dead livestock left to rot, abandoned crops, destroyed homes and businesses, – Nuclear Nation questions the high cost of Japan’s nuclear power industry through the story of these displaced residents and their struggle to adapt to their new environment.

API Abroad Tabling in Campus Center Today! (31 October)
Internet Circulation, Queer Identity, and Gay Manga Subcultures, A Presentation by Anne Ishii
Sponsored by Experimental Humanities Program; Division of Languages and Literature; Difference and Media Project; Asian Studies Program

The Internet has been a key force in the circulation of queer and underground manga (comics) beyond Japan. But, as information technologies have evolved over the past decades, so have the politics and practices of queer identity-making. This talk will examine the roles of online communication in changing genres and identifications in queer Japanese manga within its local and global contexts.

Anne Ishii is a writer, producer, editor, and translator based in New York City. She has translated over 20 manga titles, including “Loups Garous” by Natsuhiko Kyogoku, and “Detroit Metal City,” a spectacularly raunchy ten-volume manga about an indie rock kid with a black metal alter-ego. She runs Massive, which introduces gay Japanese manga and paraphernalia to an Anglophone audience.

2013 (2012-2013 Academic Year)

The Enterprise of Eternity and the Bottom Line (12 December)
The Politics and Philosophy of Japan’s Paperback Revolution
Sponsored by Asian Studies Program and Dean of the College

Nate Shockey
Visiting Assistant Professor of Japanese

In Japan in the late 1920s, a new form of media revolutionized ideas about the reading and writing of literature, the possibilities of radical social change, and even philosophical understandings of the nature of human existence. The medium was the pocket-sized paperback book (bunkobon), and it was available for the price of a few copper coins. The books were pushed by their publisher Iwanami Shoten as “an enterprise of eternity for the liberation of knowledge,” and precipitated a full-scale format war in the Japanese publishing industry. This talk will examine the historical and discursive circumstances surrounding and emerging from this new form of print, as well as address the repercussions of the paperback revolution for modern Japanese literature and social life.