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China Studies Program

This Week

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October 2014

In the shadow of Tienenman Square: Democracy, Christianity, Hong Kong

Tuesday October 21, 2014
Thomson Hall, room 317

Justin Tse

Comparative Religion Progra


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Styles, Periods, and the Life Cycle of the Goblin

Friday October 24, 2014
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Art 003

Robert Bagley, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University

Mary and Cheney Cowles Endowment, School of Art + Art History + Design; the Jacob Lawrence Gallery; the China Studies Program, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies; and the Gardner Center for Asian Arts and Ideas of the Seattle Art Museum


The origin of no previous style can be pinpointed as exactly as that of Gothic. It was born between 1137 and 1144 in the rebuilding, by Abbot Suger, of the Royal Abbey Church of Saint-Denis, just outside the city of Paris.
—H.W. Janson

Styles and periods are concepts that art historians take for granted and use constantly but seldom examine or define. I should like to argue that we would be better off without them. In fact I wish to argue that they are pernicious fictions. I hope to persuade you that there is no such thing as “the Gothic style” or “the style of Cézanne”; there is no “Romanesque period” or “Renaissance period.” All these things are fictions, and the fictions are harmful for at least two reasons: first because they distort our understanding of our real subject—artists and patrons, buildings and paintings; and second because they confound us with logical problems of our own making, artifacts of our belief in entities that have no more reality than goblins.

Robert Bagley, a professor in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, specializes in neolithic and bronze age China. His recent publications include Max Loehr and the Study of Chinese Bronzes: Style and Classification in the History of Art (2008), the chapter on Shang archaeology in The Cambridge History of Ancient China (1999), and articles on ancient Chinese music theory, the origin of the Chinese writing system, and early bronze age metal technology.

Sponsored by the Mary and Cheney Cowles Endowment, School of Art + Art History + Design; the Jacob Lawrence Gallery; the China Studies Program, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies; and the Gardner Center for Asian Arts and Ideas of the Seattle Art Museum.

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The Measurement of Longitude in 17th-18th Century China and Its Applications in Astronomy and Geography

Friday October 31, 2014
12:00 p.m.
Thomson Hall 317

Xiaoshun Sun, Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences


By the end of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the Jesuit missionaries introduced the concept of geographical longitude to China. The longitudinal measurement was important to the Chinese in two respects: astronomically and geographically. The Chinese astronomers were obliged to predict ominous celestial phenomena such as solar and lunar eclipses. The measurement of longitude was used for predicting the exact moment of an eclipse in different places, especially for provincial capitals. Also it was realized that accurate measurement of longitude and latitude were essential for map making. From 1708 to 1707, the Kangxi Emperor commissioned Jesuit missionaries to survey the empire. The result was the unprecedented work entitle The Complete Atlas the Qing Empire. In this talk the speaker will investigate the methods used for measuring the longitude, and the accuracy of this data. He will also point out that the geodesic survey was not only a Chinese undertaking of calendar-making and the geodesic survey of the Qing Empire, but also a part of a global endeavor for the measurement of the meridian and for the controversy over the shape of earth.

Sun Xiaochun is Professor of the History of Science at the Institute for the History of Natural Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He studied astronomy in Nanjing University. He received his Ph.D. in History of Astronomy from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1993 and his second Ph.D. in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. He has published primarily on the history of Chinese astronomy and co-authored The Chinese Sky during the Han (Leiden: Brill, 1997). Currently he serves as Vice-President of Commission 41 on History of Astronomy of IAU, and a corresponding member of International Academy of the History of Science.

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November 2014

The Rise of Explication in the Mathematics of Late Imperial China

Friday November 7, 2014
12:00 p.m.
Thomson Hall 317

Jeff Chen, Associate Professor of Mathematics, St. Could State University


In the textual tradition of Chinese mathematics, reasoning or explanation did not figured prominently with few exceptions. This long-held practice of not including explanations in mathematical works was especially prevalent in treatises composed during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). This began to change however in the first part of the 17thcollaborators embarked on various projects to translate European scientific into Chinese. By the end of the 17th or steps in computational algorithms became a fixture in the main text of most treatises. In this presentation, the comparison will be made of mathematical works in three categories: Ming treatises composed before the arrival of the Jesuits, geometric texts that attempt to make translated works more accessible, and those on traditional subjects with ample explanation in the main texts. The focus of the analysis is on the arrangement of various types of content material
in the main texts in the treatises. Based on our preliminary investigation, our thesis is that the introduction of European mathematics into China served as a catalyst to inspire the emergence in the main texts of explanations, which previously took place in oral exchanges between masters and disciples or in the correspondence between friends. Moreover, the presence of explanations in the text, resembling the commentary and annotations in classical studies, elevated the status of mathematics from a collection of problems and solutions similar to a practitioner’s manual to legitimate intellectual study. We will also examine what explanation in mathematics meant to scholars in the 17th century when the Jesuits and their Chinese century, explanations of underlying principles century.

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Korean Peninsula Forum 2014: The Regional Dynamics in Northeast Asia and the Future of US-South Korean Alliance

Wednesday November 12, 2014
5:30-9:00 PM
Kane Hall - Walker-Ames Room

Christopher Hill

Center for Korea Studies



5:30 - 7:00 PM: Reception
7:00 - 8:00 PM: Ambassador Hill’s talk
8:00 - 9:00 PM: Panel discussion, Q&A session

For the first ground-breaking event for the Korean Peninsula Forum, which aims at enhancing the understanding and visibility of issues related to the Korean peninsula in the Northwest America and beyond, Center for Korea Studies invites Christopher Robert Hill, the former United States ambassador to the Republic of Korea, to give a public presentation. Ambassador Christopher Hill will discuss the current events surrounding Northeast Asia, drawing on his foreign service experience to elucidate underlying causes as well as consequences on the region’s geopolitical dynamics and the US-South Korea relations.

The presentation will start at 7:00 PM and last approximately an hour, following the reception at 5:30 PM. Moderated by Professor Donald Hellmann, Professors Kenneth Pyle, David Bachman, and Clark Sorensen will discuss the dimensions and implications of his talk. Finally, the forum will be open for questions and answers from the general public.

Ambassador Christopher Robert Hill is the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at The University of Denver, a position he has held since September 2010. In addition to overseeing the Josef Korbel School, Ambassador Hill is author of the forthcoming Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir, a monthly columnist for Project Syndicate, and a highly sought public speaker and voice in the media on international affairs. Ambassador Hill is a former career diplomat, a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents, whose last post was as Ambassador to Iraq, April 2009 until August 2010. Prior to Iraq, Hill served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2005 until 2009 during which he was also the head of the US delegation to the Six Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Earlier, He was the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.  

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China's International Relations Seen Through the Modern History of Acupuncture

Friday November 14, 2014
12:00 p.m.
Thomson Hall 317

Bridie Andrews, Professor of History, Bentley University


Modern acupuncture developed in China in stages corresponding to China's dominant international trading partners. This talk examines the influence of Japanese science on acupuncture before 1949, the Soviet Union's influence during the Maoist period, the influence of the United States during the period of Chinese economic reform, and concludes with a description of how China's own influence as a major economic power is reflected in the new WHO standards for acupuncture.

Bridie Andrews studied biology and the history of medicine in the UK. Her book, The Making of Modern Chinese Medicine, was recently published by the University of British Columbia Press. She also co-edited Medical Transitions in Twentieth Century China (Indiana University Press, 2014). Currently associate professor of history at Bentley University, she has worked at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and SOAS (University of London).

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April 2015

Active Defense: Explaining the Evolution of China's Military Strategy

Friday April 17, 2015
12:00 p.m.
Olson Room--Gowen Hall

Taylor Fravel, Associate Professor of Political Science, Massachussets Institute of Technology


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China Studies Program
East Asia Studies
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195

Madeleine Yue Dong, Chair

Asia Studies Program Coordinator

China Studies Program Coordinator
Curtis Reed