Spring 2011 Events

Chinese Spring Festival Celebration

The Spring Festival Celebration, organized by the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars, will be held on Feb 2nd in the Ferguson Center Ball Room.  This is the eve of the Chinese New Year.  It will start at 6:30 pm and will include a Chinese buffet and Chinese cultural performance.  Advanced tickets will go on sale on January 31st and February 1st in the Ferg from 9am to 4pm.  The price is $8 for adults and 4 for children(0-12). The price at the door will be $10.

Riverside Bollywood Film Festival

The Asian Studies Program is a co-sponsor for this semester’s Bollywood Film Festival at the Riverside Community Center in Riverside Dormitories. All films are open to students, faculty and staff, and free food is provided.

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 7pm – Black (2005)

An inspiring story of a young woman (Rani Mukherji) born without vision, hearing, or the ability to speak, and her drive to obtain an education.

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 7pm – Dil Se (2005)

A thrilling tale of love, terror and the ambiguities of loyalty starring the legendary Shahrukh Khan.

Thursday, March 3, 7.30pm – Chameli (2003)

Two strangers meet on a rainy night. Despite their radically different lives, they manage to connect. Starring Kareena Kapoor and Rahul Bose.

Tuesday, March 8, 7pm – 3 Idiots (2009)

The highest grossing film of all time in India. 3 Idiots focuses on the lives of three engineering students, and their ongoing efforts to negotiate society’s expectations with their own passions.

For additional information, contact Dr. Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa at aholmes12@bama.ua.edu, or check out the film series poster.  This series is co-sponsored by the Honors College, Housing and Residential Life, the Faculty in Residence Program and the Asian Studies program at UA.

Bansuri Flautist Concert

Saturday, February 26 at 7:00 pm, John Wubbenhorst, a world-renowned Bansuri Flautist will present a free concert sponsored by New College and the Asian Studies Program.  In this concert, he will demonstrate the variety of musical influences on his art, from blues harmonica, to jazz, to classical Indian music. John will discuss his meeting with great teachers such as Hariprasad Chaurasia as well as his interaction with western great such as Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, Jack DeJohnette and others. John will play his bansuri in traditional North India style and also play examples from his original work features with his group “Facing East”. The concert will be presented at the Canterbury Episcopal Chapel Student Center. For more information, view the flyer.

25th Annual Sakura Festival

The theme this year is jonetsu/passion. Events unite the University community and the broader Tuscaloosa area, with some events on campus and some off campus.  Highlights of the festival include

  • Hanga: Two Hundred Years of Japanese Woodblock Prints, an exhibit at the Ferguson Center Art Gallery on March 3 – 30
  • Haiku contest (deadline March 8). To enter, check the Haiku contest webpage.
  • Matsuri in the Mall, March 26, beginning at 11 am at University Mall, which includes performances of music, dance, and swordsmanship.

For more information, consult the Sakura brochure.

Tibetan Hamlet

On Wednesday, March 9th, 7pm in tenHoor room 125, the History Club and Phi Alpha Theta will host a film with a scholarly introduction. The event is entitled “Remembering Empires, Performing Nations, Shakespeare Style: Negotiating Imperial Histories, Modernity and Tibetan Hamlet in Sherwood Hu’s The Prince of the Himalayas” (China, 2006). See poster here.

The film is a fascinating Tibetan take on The Bard’s classic drama, and is full of the traditional themes of envy, the thirst for power, lust and madness, but also has interesting subcurrents related to nationalism and modernity that are particular to the Tibetan context. An entertaining and different cinematic experience is guaranteed!  UA History professor Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, who works on cultural history in Tibet, China and India, will provide an introduction. Pizza and drinks will also be provided.

The UA Japan Club and the Asian Studies Program present “Negotiating the Japanese Postmodern Identity Lecture and Film Series on 3 Monday nights in April. The lectures (April 4 and 18 only) will be at 5:30 pm in Smith Hall 205. The film screenings (Apr 4, 11, and 18) will be at 7:00. Japanese food will be available between the lecture and the film screening. The schedule and guests are as follows:

Concert in Birmingham

Liu Fang, an internationally acclaimed Chinese-Canadian musician, will perform Chinese classical music on the pipa (lute) and guzheng (zither).  The concert is a ticketed event (with discount tickets for students) at the Virginia Samford Theater in Birmingham on April 3 at 2 pm.  The Alabama Asian Cultures Foundation is sponsoring this performance.

Lecture: “Science Fiction and Post-Apocalyptic Scenarios”

April 4, 5:30

Dr. Joseph Murphy, Associate Professor of Japanese, University of Florida

The broadcast of Anno Hideaki’s Neon-Genesis Evangelion (1996) was a seminal moment in anime history, where low and high-end otaku sensibilities combined to produce a series well worth the serious critical attention of adults.  However, it is also an example of a type,  of the mecha genre of science fiction.  Using the Aristotelean reasoning of Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism (1957), this talk will develop a definition of the science fiction genre in terms of alternate worlds, and raise the question whether the post-apocalyptic scenarios that are a staple of the mecha genre indicate a utopian, or dystopian, sensibility.  Concentrating on the “post-”, I will argue that post-apocalyptic scenarios are always about a new beginning.  The question then becomes what is the new beginning being sought?

Our lecturer, Dr. Joseph Murphy, received a BS in Mechanical Engineering, and advanced degrees in Modern Japanese Literature and Film.  He is author of Metaphorical Circuit: Negotiations between Science and Literature in 20th Century Japan (Cornell, 2004), co-editor of The Theory of Literature and other Critical Writings of Natsume Soseki (Columbia University Press, 2008), and an article in the forthcoming The Cognition of Literature (Univ. of Texas Press, 2011).  He is currently Assoc. Professor and Assoc. Chair of the Dept. of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Florida.

Film: Neon-Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion (ANNO Hideaki, 1997)

April 4, 7:00

This film serves as an alternate ending to the groundbreaking animated science fiction television series Neon Genesis Evangelion. Divided into two parts, Air and My Purest Heart for You, the film depicts the violent and apocalyptic completion of the Human Instrumentality Project, where individual identity is destroyed to create a single existence for all human beings.

Introduced by Dr. Joseph Murphy, University of Florida.

Film: The Bird People in China(MIIKE Takashi, 1998)

April 11, 7:00

A young Japanese salaryman is sent by his company to a remote Chinese village to evaluate precious Jade that is found there, but before he arrives meets the yakuza who was sent to tail him to protect his boss’s interest in the company. When the men finally arrive their mission becomes sidetracked by their interest in a mysterious young village girl, her haunting English language song and the secret that makes men fly like birds.

Gandhi Film Screening

Academy Award Winning Biopic Gandhi (1982) will be screened at 7.30pm, Thursday, April 11th in the TV Room, Riverside Community Center. Come to learn about the Indian freedom fighter and to enjoy some Indian food. This event is generously sponsored by The Honors College and Housing and Residential Communities.

Please contact Faculty in Residence Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa (aholmes12@ua.edu) for more information.

Lecture: “The Haunted Archipelago: Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Contemporary Japanese Eco-Horror Cinema”

April 18, 5:30

Dr. Tim Palmer, Associate Professor of film studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington

Since the 1950s, Japan has targeted its films for international circulation, exporting a vision of Japaneseness to foreign markets.  This talk explores how this cinematic portrait of the Japanese landmass has changed, from a frequently utopian view in the classical period, to one of dystopian horror in the contemporary era.  Focusing especially on the extraordinary career of Kiyoshi Kurosawa, we will consider how modern Japanese horror film blends high art with low art, idiosyncratic intellectual stylings with the features of mass pulp genre, exploring provocatively in films such as Barren Illusions (1999), Pulse (2001), Bright Future (2003) and Retribution (2006) an exacting model of incidental apocalypse, of Japan forever poised on the brink of environmental collapse.

The lecturer, Dr. Tim Palmer, is Associate Professor of film studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  His work on Japanese cinema appears regularly in Film International and his most recent article on the subject was published in Framing the World: Explorations in Ecocriticism and Film (University of Virginia Press, 2010).  Palmer is also co-founder and co-Editor-in-Chief of Film Matters, America’s first peer-reviewed journal for undergraduates, published quarterly by Intellect Press.

Film: Pulse (KUROSAWA Kiyoshi, 2001)

April 18, 7:00

After one of their friends commits suicide, strange things begin happening to a group of young Tokyo residents. One of them sees visions of his dead friend in the shadows on the wall, while another’s computer keeps showing strange, ghostly images. Is their friend trying to contact them from beyond the grave, or is there something much more sinister going on?

Introduced by Dr. Tim Palmer, UNC Wilmington.

All events are free and open to students, faculty, staff, and the public.

These events are made possible by generous support from our co-sponsors: the UA Japan Club, Asian Studies Program, Departments of Anthropology, English, History, Modern Languages and Classics, and Telecommunications and Film, New College, and the Crossroads Community Center.

These events are made possible by generous support from our co-sponsors: the UA Japan Club, Asian Studies Program, Departments of Anthropology, English, History, Modern Languages and Classics, and Telecommunications and Film, New College, and the Crossroads Community Center.

Spend the Summer in Asia

This coming summer, Asian Studies faculty will lead programs to India (Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, director), China (Xiang Zhang, director) and Japan (Koji Arizumi, director).  Dr. Nikhil Bilwakesh will also teach a course on South Asian British literature in the Alabama in Oxford program.  Be sure to take advantage of these significant opportunities to learn about Asia in a fascinating way.  To find more information about these programs through the sponsoring faculty or Capstone International Center.

Deadline for Research Submissions is FRIDAY

Welcome back for the Spring 2011 semester, in the midst of the cold weather.  Submissions for the Asian Studies Research Award will be accepted through Friday, January 14 at 5:00 pm.  Don’t miss the deadline!  Make submissions electronically to asianstudies@as.ua.edu.