Thursday, May 24th @ Beit Maiersdorf, Mt. Scopus campus

9:00-11:00 Session 5

Panel 1: Chinese Political Thought in times of Change: Four Cases [room 502] Show Abstract

 Times of tumult tend to trigger re-evaluation of social and political institutions, and often, visions of reform. This panel discusses cases of such re-evaluations and proposals in four different periods: the early decades of the Han empire are crucial for the construction of the monarchic ideology and its retention. The mid-Qing may not have signaled an abrupt turning point but does mark the culmination of long-term trends that forced the imperial order to change. These changes eventually led to the collapse of the monarchy and the search for a new social order in the early twentieth century. While those searches led to state-socialism, Mao’s death triggered a new bout of political and ideological experimentation and exploration.

Chair and Discussant: Yuri Pines (HUJI)

Elisa Levi Sabattini (University of Sassari): Back to the Future: The Idea of ‘Changing Manners and Altering Customs’ in Times of Change” Show Abstract

Elisa Levi Sabattini focuses on the early decades of the Western Han (202 BCE – 9 CE) empire. By focusing on the idea of “changing manners and altering customs” (yi feng yi su 移風易俗), ascribed to Confucius, this paper shows that this slogan became important during the early stage of the construction of the new political system and it would be revamped during the post-Han period, namely in the Wei-Jin and North-South (220-589) dynasties. “Changing manner and altering customs” becomes a key motto to persuade those in power of the importance of shifting political methods in times of change.

Ori Sela (Tel Aviv University): Ritual First: Ordering the Word in mid-Qing China Show Abstract

 Modern researchers have recognized the centrality and rise of ritual and of ritual studies for mid-Qing scholars, although this rise was mostly framed as an unfavorable turn. As reform-minded Chinese intellectuals strove to “modernize” their country a century ago or so, the study of rituals in the mid-Qing was denigrated and viewed as “incompatible with the modern.” Nonetheless, in recent decades, more nuanced and less critical analyses of Qing ritual system and thought began to appear. Significantly, as modern scholars became interested primarily in the reasons for the Qing decline, they took for granted Qing scholars’ failures in the realm of science and accepted modern understandings about the rift between science and religion (or classicism and ritual), although Westerners who transmitted scientific knowledge to China (both Jesuits and Protestants) upheld the notion that science was tightly related to religion, and their transmission of science was laden with religious overtones. Continuities between the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries have also been ignored. This paper aims to integrate and expose new avenues for understanding Qing history that have not been addressed thus far; in particular, the nexus between ritual and science, and ritual and statecraft. Instead of assuming the rise of Qing “ritualism” to be a sign of ultra-orthodox and “purist” agendas of traditionalist Confucians, leading away from scientific interests and statecraft pursuits, I will argue that Qing scholars were flexible in their views and practices of rituals, as they sought to put ritual first in the quest for bringing order to the world, with both science and statecraft in mind.

Shakhar Rahav (University of Haifa): Communes before Communism, 1919-1921 Show Abstract

 Shakhar Rahav discusses the emergence of a collectivist movement that entailed attempts at communes. The paper opens by highlighting the search for new ways of ordering state and society. In this context, it turns to describe several attempts at communes between 1919-1921. The paper argues despite the relatively small number of cases and participants, the movement was influential and contributed to the thinking of future leaders of the CCP. The paper places several characteristics of this movement—such as the influence of Tolstoy, the emphasis on regeneration or “newness”, and the yearning for intimate sociability—within a transnational context.

Selena Orly (HUJI): How Hu Shi Helped Sinify Marxism Show Abstract

 Selena Orly examines recent PRC intellectuals’ reevaluation of the famous 1919 intellectual and political debate about “Problems and Ism” (问题与主义). Her paper considers the subtly more positive assessment of Hu Shi’s (胡适, 1891-1962) role within this exchange compared to the thoroughly negative view enunciated in the CCP-led 1950s Anti-Hu Campaign. The analysis is situated in the context of the colossal political/intellectual changes taking place in post-Mao China (especially since the 1990s) and posits the current trend as an attempt at broadening the ideological base for CCP legitimacy at a time when its revolutionary past has lost political allure and historical relevance.


Panel 2: The Postcolonial Moment in India: A New Reading of State Making [room 501] Show Abstract

 The transition from colonial rule in India transpired amidst contradictory pushes and pulls that informed state making. While the partition of India and Pakistan that tore the territory and the population apart, and the mass killings that accompanied it, were unfolding, the new state also embarked on a process of democratic state building and constitution making. This panel offers new readings of the process of state making in the postcolonial moment in India, and discusses their implications for our understanding of the shaping of the postcolonial state. The three papers explore different aspects of the evolving institution and idea of citizenship in the postcolonial moment. Rotem Geva investigates Muslim minoritization in the city of Delhi in the wake of the partition by juxtaposing Muslim perspectives with records of the late-colonial and early postcolonial states. In so doing, she explores how contemporaries understood and reckoned with the reconfiguration of the relationship between territory, nationality and citizenship that accompanied the transition from an imperial framework to a nation-state. Yael Berda explores the relations between loyalty and citizenship at the moment of transition to independence. Looking comparatively at India and Israel/Palestine, which emerged from British Mandate rule at the same time, she traces how perceptions of loyalty affected the politicization of the civil service and in turn, the ways that citizenship intertwined with loyalty to political parties, the government and the nation. Ornit Shani explores the engagements of future citizens of the state with the process of the making of India’s constitution. Previously the “people” were considered to be bystanders to constitution making. She suggests that the people’s dedication to the idea of a constitution, and their ongoing input into the process of its making, contributed to the institutionalization and future endurance of the forming constitutional order.

Chair: Ornit Shani (University of Haifa)

Rotem Geva (HUJI): India’s Partition and the Minoritization of Delhi’s Muslims, 1940-1955 Show Abstract

 Decolonization in India was combined with territorial partition that resulted in mass killings, forced displacement, and the creation of millions of refugees. India’s capital city, Delhi, underwent demographic transformation as hundreds of thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees from what had become West Pakistan poured into the city while a considerable portion of its Muslim population fled in the opposite direction. The partition riots that erupted in Delhi resulted in the massacre of thousands of Muslims and the departure of roughly 300,000, leaving the remaining Muslim community seriously depleted, both numerically and politically. This paper investigates Muslim minoritization in the city by juxtaposing Muslim perspectives, as they emerge from newly-mined private papers, with records of the late-colonial and early postcolonial states. Taken together, the sources illuminate how contemporaries understood and reckoned with the reconfiguration of the relationship between territory, nationality and citizenship that accompanied the transition from an imperial framework to a nation-state.

Yael Berda (Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies & HUJI): Imperial Legacies of Suspicion: Making “Loyal” Administrators and Citizens in Israel/Palestine and India – the First Decade Show Abstract

What is the relationship between loyalty and citizenship? How was loyalty to the nation constructed in new states after colonial rule? In both Israel and India, a fierce political debate rages about the content and meaning of citizenship, as “loyalty to the nation” is juxtaposed in opposition to support for universal democratic principles.

This project explores how the state, through its classification and choice of loyal/disloyal civil servants, defines and constructs citizens’ loyalty to the nation following regime change. Using the transition from Colonial rule in India and the British Mandate in Palestine to independent India and Israel as a quasi-experiment, this study traces how perceptions of loyalty effect politicization of the civil service and in turn, the ways that citizenship intertwines with loyalty to political parties, the government and the nation.

The classification of population according to their degree of loyalty or suspicion grew during British colonial rule in India and Mandate Palestine. Emergency laws in the colonies gave powers to officers to use extreme measures, but never specified against which populations these tools could be used. In order to turn the emergency laws into administrative practice, the population had to be categorized on two axes: demographic traits such as religion, language, gender and class and administrative relationship to the state, namely, patriot, suspect, security threat or enemy-of-the state.

Building on Albert Hirschman’s work on loyalty in organizations and recent studies on the sociology of trust, I show how classification of civil servants as loyal, of dubious loyalty, suspicious, or enemies of the state in the very first years following Partition/Independence in Israel and India, has shaped national loyalty in particular institutional forms.

Ornit Shani (University of Haifa): The People and the Making of the Indian Constitution Show Abstract

 The conventional understanding is that the Indian constitution was endowed from above by India’s nationalist leaders. Studies of the making of the constitution have accordingly focused on various aspects of the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly. They have examined the ethical vision and political theory that underlie the constitution, and the process and role of the debates in arriving at the final constitutional settlement. Legal and political scholars have accordingly argued that the “people” had little or no impact on the process of constitution making. As Rohit De shows, people (including people from the margins of society) related to the constitution and used it to find solutions to their problems within months of its enactment. The speed with which this happened calls into question the notion that people were bystanders when the constitution was made.

This paper offers the beginning of a historical investigation into the ways in which people engaged with, understood and reacted to the constitution in-the-making from below. It offers a bottom up historical investigation of the founding of India’s constitution. Using previously unstudied archival materials, it examines constitutional visions, aspirations, conceptions of inclusion, and contemporaneous constitutional assertions, as these were expressed by various organizations and by individuals during the early stages of the process of constitution making. This popular engagement engendered constitutional debates outside the Constituent Assembly among people, and between people and administrators, on a range of draft constitutional provisions. I argue that as a result of these engagements, the abstract language, forms and principles of the democratic constitution that were produced in the process of constitution making from above, obtained a practical basis and became a convention while the constitution was still in the making.


Panel 3: Academia Goes East [room 405]

Supported by the Leonardo Davis Institute for International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Show Abstract

 With the rapid rise of East Asian economies and the increase in Asian students’ mobility since the 1990s, English-speaking universities have become the leading exporters of international education, bringing students from “education-starved” developing countries to the West. However, the shift in East Asian economies from developing countries to economic elites challenges the traditional unidirectional flow of academic knowledge from the West to the rest of the world. Since East Asia has improved its economic position from that of a backward region to a so-called rising “dragon,” “tiger,” or another economic miracle, its image has shifted: Asian students have come to be treated as a valuable asset worth competing for. This panel challenges the existing focus on education economy by exploring the blurring boundary between the academy and the corporation. By examining “going East” – a concept that originated in the international business environment and has entered educational institutions – the goal of this panel is to understand the expansion of education markets toward East Asia from an interdisciplinary approach.

Chair: Irina Lyan (HUJI)

Yasemin Soysal (University of Essex) and Héctor Cebolla-Boado (UNED): University Rankings and International Student Mobility: Chinese and Japanese Students in British Universities Show Abstract

 In this paper we use aggregate level data from 206 British universities to investigate the role of university rankings and prestige in shaping international student mobility. Empirically, we focus our analysis on the changes over time in the stock of students from two major sending countries in Asia: China and Japan. These two flows are different with respect to their timing (with Japanese being a traditional flow and Chinese a more recent one) and intensity (the importance of the Chinese flow is rapidly growing while the number of Japanese students is decreasing over time), which provides an interesting research setting. Specifically, we use HESA data to reconstruct the stock of students from China and Japan in Britain in four moments of time (2003, 2006, 2011 and 2014). For predictors, in addition to our main variables of interest, university rankings and prestige, we use a large number of university characteristics from the European Tertiary Education Register including percentage of income coming from tuition fees and research, proportion of research funds coming from international funding bodies, and proportion of international academic staff, among others. Our preliminary results suggest that university prestige is a significant factor shaping international student numbers (for both groups of students in our study), in addition to research-intensive status. Surprisingly, other factors generally pointed as magnets for international students, including the degree to which universities are internationalized in different dimensions or income from tuition fees or student expenditures, appear to be less relevant than is generally believed.

Changzoo Song (University of Auckland): China as Popular Study Abroad Destination for Korean Students, even from New Zealand: Looking at the Phenomenon from Students’ Perspective” Show Abstract

 China has emerged as the most popular destination for study abroad among South Korean students in 2016, surpassing the US. The 67,000 South Korean students in China today also make up the largest group of international students in China. This new and rapid development has several causes. First of all, South Korean students are attracted to China by cheaper expenses, geographical proximity, and the prospect of employability in South Korea, China, and the global community. China’s being the largest trading partner of South Korea also explains such a trend among South Korean students. Even among Korean students in New Zealand a substantial number of Korean students, both domestic and international, choose China for their study abroad opportunity. Why has China become such a popular destination for Korean students not only in Korea but also in countries such as New Zealand? Based on interviews-in-depth among others, this paper explores this new phenomenon of Korean students going to China from the perspective of students both in South Korea and New Zealand.

Zhiqun Zhu (Bucknell University): Western Higher Education in China and its Cultural and Political Significance Show Abstract

 Since China reopened its door to the West in the late 1970s, millions of Chinese students have studied at Western institutions of higher learning. North America, Australia, and Europe have been major destinations of Chinese scholars and students pursuing advanced studies. “Going West” remains the dream of many young people in China today, since they believe the West offers quality higher education. However, since the beginning of the 21st century, a new phenomenon has emerged in global education: more and more Western institutions of higher learning are looking for opportunities in China, and some have established branch campuses or programs in China, such as New York University, Duke University, University of Nottingham, University of Liverpool, etc. What are the motives for Western educational institutions to set up shop in China? How do Chinese students view such new opportunities? What is the long-term impact on cultural and political relations between China and Western countries? Informed by relevant social science theories and using empirical data, this paper will explore such questions and discuss their significance. It strives to shed light on this new and important issue in international exchange.

Irina Lyan (HUJI): Start-up Nation University goes China Show Abstract

 Since the 1990s, Israeli academy has attracted Asian students—mainly Korean Christians—to Bible Studies programs, but only in the 2010s did it “go East,” using Start-up Nation as a brand. In 2013 three Nobel laureate Israeli professors signed up to teach at Seoul National University; in 2014 the Hebrew University began to offer “Start-up Nation Tours” for delegations from China to learn about the miracles of the Israeli economy; and in 2015 the Technion launched the first Israeli university in Guangdong. At present, Israeli academic programs on innovation rank second behind the U.S. in attracting international students. The attempt to establish “Start-up Nation Universities” positions the Israeli academy as a knowledge center with the goal of attracting international students—especially students from East Asia—to learn about innovation.

This paper will explore the expansion of Israeli education markets toward the East by examining the Hebrew University’s Executive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program that in 2017 hosted more than 40 delegations of Chinese universities’ students and alumni. For this purpose, I collected archival materials such as syllabi and promotional texts, interviewed both managers and delegates, and participated in the programs’ academic and social activities. While most studies on the internationalization of higher education focus on university choice, this paper strives to examine the cultural meaning of the global academic turn toward the East.


Panel 4: Competing for Attention: East Asian Soft Power in the Philippines [room 503]

Chair: Karl Ian Cheng Chua (Ateneo de Manila University)

Jane Tan Yugioksing (Ateneo de Manila University): Digesting Chinese Culture Show Abstract

 The Philippines is known as a melting pot of generally Hispanic and Austronesian heritages, with only 2% of its population being of Chinese heritage. However, over time, Chinese cuisine has gained acceptance among the populace, and its popularity has expanded to recognition of Chinese culture and traditions which demonstrate patterns of China’s cultural diplomacy. This is further exhibited through the Confucius Institute, which has dispatched more than a thousand Chinese volunteers to the Philippines to teach the Chinese language and also share knowledge of food preparation, such as dumpling making. The paper explores the development of local cultural appreciation and assimilation to Chinese cuisine while it analyses the relationship between broader cultural discourse and China’s influence which sustain networks of attraction that provides opportunities to exercise its impact in the global stage.

Mahgie Bual Lacaba (Ateneo de Manila University): Maintaining the Korean Wave in the Philippines as a Soft Power Strategy Show Abstract

 In the past decade, there has been an influx of Korean popular culture in Asia including the Philippines, through the so-called Korean Wave or Hallyu. In the Philippines, the Korean Wave began in the late 1990s, initially in the form of media content such as Korean dramas that were later followed by Korean popular music, dance, and K-pop idols. Currently, Korean Wave refers to a wider range of Korean popular products including cosmetics, fashion, food, and online games.

The government-backed Korean cultural industry paved its way to the global scene and has changed the diplomatic and cultural position of Korea in the Asian region. Korea maintains its presence in the Philippines not only through Hallyu but also through Korean governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions in the Philippines like the Korean Cultural Center (KCC) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), that support and provide Korean cultural programs to Filipinos interested in Korean culture beyond K-pop and K-dramas.

This study aims to look at the implications of these existing Korean governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions in the Philippines. In this direction, this paper explores the political, cultural, and diplomatic leverage and position of Korea and the Philippines in the Philippines-Korea relations.

Ma. Kristina Carla S. Rico (Ateneo de Manila University): Annyeonghaseyo: Hallyu and Korean Language in the Philippines Show Abstract

Filipinos’ interest in South Korea and anything Korean was primarily brought about by Hallyu (Korean Wave) and this all started in the early 2000s, with the broadcast of the Korean drama ‘Autumn Story.’ Since then, influence of Hallyu in its many forms started to be evident in the daily lives of Filipinos – from music to cuisine, fashion, and even through changes in the landscape of Philippine TV drama production. Hallyu’s unceasing influence is also confirmed by the increasing number of Filipinos learning Korean language, which has just been recently added by the Department of Education to Philippine public high schools’ Special Program in Foreign Languages (SPFL).  Thus, this study looks at the development of Korean language education in the Philippines as a result of Filipinos’ fascination for Hallyu and as part of the Korean government’s conscious effort to promote Korea and Korean Studies in different parts of the globe. It also examines the role of Korean language in further strengthening Hallyu in the country as well as its impact on the Filipino culture and society.

Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua (Ateneo de Manila University): “Un-cool Japan”: A Critical Approach to Filipino Consumption of Japan Show Abstract

 Japan has always been quick to identify the success of Japanese cultural consumption abroad through the efforts of their soft power policy labelled “Cool Japan.” There is now an influx of products for consumption for Filipinos, from manga and anime, through fashion such as Muji, to food such as ramen. Starting from the study of Iwabuchi, this paper will look at case studies in anime, manga, food and fashion, and assess the successes and failures of the said policy by Japan in the Philippines, particularly in the capital of Manila. However, this paper doesn’t fall into the trap of discussing authenticity, but rather will look at the potentials and weaknesses of globalization and the study of culture.


Panel 5: Soviet and Post-Soviet Koreans: From Revolution to Globalization [room 403] Show Abstract

 Koreans in Russia/the Soviet Union/post-Soviet states – also known as Koryo Saram – form the oldest modern Korean community abroad (their migration to the Russian Far East started around 1864). Its historical trajectory is both similar and different in comparison to other larger Korean communities elsewhere. Not unlike the Koreans of north-eastern China and Japan, Russian Koreans were easily radicalized; one of the presentations in this panel will deal with their participation in the Russian Civil War on the Bolshevik side. Yet another presentation will deal with the local xenophobic reactions to the Soviet Korean presence in the 1920-30s, which contradicted official Soviet policies and triggered “anti-nationalist” campaigns on the part of the authorities. However, unlike other Korean communities, Soviet Koreans were forcibly removed from their original settlement area in 1937; the relocation ended in the painful loss of their ethnic language. These events will be dealt with by the third presenter. Finally, the fourth presentation will focus on the return migration of post-Soviet Koreans to their titular “ancestral homeland,” South Korea, in the context of worldwide labor migrations of the globalization era. In sum, the panel will attempt to deal with the Soviet and post-Soviet history of Russian/Russophone Koreans in its entirety, from the age of revolutionary radicalism to the age of globalization.

Chair: Vladimir Tikhonov (Oslo University)

Zhanna Son (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow): «Anti-Nationalist» Political Campaigns in the Soviet Far East in the Late 1920s–1930s. Show Abstract

 The ethnopolitical crisis in the USSR deepened in the late 1920s. Industrialization and forced collectivization exacerbated inter–ethnic conflicts in Russia’s peripheries. In the chaotic atmosphere, local authorities often tended to disregard the minority policies promoted by the central government. Late 1920s’ “anti-nationalist” campaigns were among the governmental responses to the situation. The ethnic relationship crisis was provoked not only by the “indigenization” (promotion of minority cadres) measures, but also an ill-considered resettlement policy. The local population did not accept migrants sent by the central directives, and the ensuing conflicts often led to murder, property destruction, etc. During this period, Soviet Koreans also suffered the destructive consequences of local xenophobia, not only in the Far East where most of them lived, but also in the Northern Caucasus, where the first Korean collective farm called “G. Dimitrova” was organized.

By the mid–1930s, the Soviet leadership radically changed the national policy towards ethnic minorities. Faced with internal crises and war scares, the authorities started to accuse minorities with “foreign” roots, including Koreans, of “anti-Soviet propaganda.” Against the backdrop of the intensification of repressive actions in relation to ethnic communities in the Far East, assimilation was taking place, “eroding” the Korean community.

Mi-Jeong Jo (Goethe-University of Frankfurt): Contextualizing Re(turn) – Migration of Koryo Saram from Central Asia to South Korea Show Abstract

 This presentation examines a recent phenomenon—the migration of Koryo Saram (post-Soviet Koreans) from Central Asia to South Korea (hereafter Korea)—from legal and socioeconomic perspectives based on interviews with Koryo Saram, secondary resources on migrants in Korea, statistical data, and relevant migration policies and laws. The shifting, unstable political and socioeconomic conditions after the collapse of the Soviet Union have pushed many Koryo Saram to consider prospects of migrating to relatively wealthier CIS countries or to Korea, the homeland of their ancestors, for new opportunities. On the other hand, the Korean government has preferred to employ overseas Koreans of foreign nationality, mostly from industrializing countries, to fill unskilled labor shortages and to remedy a lack of brides in rural areas. Understanding the complexities of migratory paths in which nostalgic ethnic ties are imagined across borders, this presentation contextualizes the re-migration of Koryo Saram from Central Asia to South Korea as ethnic return migration.


Panel 6: Perspectives on Language and Reality in Indian Philosophy [room 404]

Chair: Roy Tzohar (Tel-Aviv University)

Eviatar Shulman (HUJI): Form and Meaning in ‘The Word of the Buddha’ (Buddha-vacana) Show Abstract

 This paper will survey some of the central attitudes toward the articulations of Buddhist truth defined as Buddha-vacana – the Word/speech of the Buddha – in the earlier stages of the Pāli Buddhist textual tradition. Buddhism is exceptionally lenient in its approach to the attribution of authority to religious scripture: it is even claimed that “everything that is well-said is the Word of the Buddha.” Canonical Buddhist texts went through evident processes of growth and maturation, so that authorized oral formulas could be applied and re-applied in a way that allowed texts to remain dynamic over time. Sermons and tellings of Buddhist stories, such as the tales of Buddhist previous births as different animals (Jātaka), were also viewed as expressions of the Buddha’s historical speech. These textual practices conform to the instruction to prioritize meaning over form and specific utterance. At the same time, however, the reliance on oral formulas, which are carefully worded statements that are repeated time and again in numerous texts, points to an identification of the meaning of the texts with their very form. The structure of Buddhist discourses is such that many have no real meaning aside from being rehearsals or combinations of familiar formulas. The form itself is thus the true significance of the text, deemed holy, potent and protective, just because it is thought to be a relic of the Buddha’s enlightened knowledge. The form of the Buddha’s speech is, in many ways, the presence of the Buddha himself.

Ma’ayan Nidbach (HUJI): What Does Language See? Somānanda’s Dispute with Bhartṛhari on the Power of Language Show Abstract

 Bhartṛhari (c. 5th century CE), was a grammarian and philosopher who wrote a unique treatise (the Vākyapadīya, or On Words and Sentences) in the history of classic Indian linguistics and philosophy. In this text, which integrates grammatical and philosophical discussions, he defines for the first time three states of language: Paśyantī (The Seeing), Madhyamā (The Middle), and Vaikharī (The Manifest). These terms fit Bhartṛhari’s unique philosophy of language, but he only defines them and does not refer to them in other parts of his text. However, half a millennium later, they became important among the tenets of several religious and philosophical schools of Kashmir in the 9th-13th centuries.

In this paper I will present Somānanda’s (c. 900-950 CE) interpretation and harsh criticism of Bhartṛhari’s three states of language. In his philosophical treatise (Śivadṛṣṭi, or The Doctrine of Śiva/ The eye of Śiva), he aims to prove God Śiva to be the essence of every aspect of Being. He dedicates a whole chapter of his book to refute Bhartṛhari’s definition of Paśyantī (The Seeing), a primordial linguistic state, which encapsulates in it in potential form all the words, their meanings, and the objects these refer to.

Dimitry Shevchenko (University of New Mexico): Bounding Syntax, Liberating Meaning: Śaṅkara’s Conception of Language Show Abstract

 This paper aims to present Śaṅkara’s conception of language. Śaṅkara, an influential Indian philosopher from the eighth century, argues that only pure non-differentiated consciousness (brahman) is ultimately real. Our phenomenal world, experienced as a duality between perceiving subjects and perceived objects, is merely an illusion, caused by ignorance. This ignorance is the source of suffering, because we falsely believe that consciousness, infinite and unbounded, belongs to physical creatures experiencing pain, disappointment, diseases and death in the perpetual cycle of rebirth. In order to break through the cycle of suffering, one must realize the meaning of the sentences found in sacred texts, such as “Thou art that!,” “I am brahman!,” etc. I will argue that Śaṅkara’s philosophy of language is the key to understanding his notion of liberation. Language projects subject-predicate and noun-verb relations on consciousness, creating the false idea of the “I” acting and participating in the world, while consciousness is undifferentiated and not “open” to relations with syntactic units. Although scriptural sentences are also linguistic constructs, their semantic role is essentially different—to reduce all the components of a sentence to one single undifferentiated referent, found outside the language.

Ana Bajželj (Polonsky Academy, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute): Is Indra Śakra? Jaina Philosophers on Linguistic Viewpoints Show Abstract

 According to Jaina philosophy, nayas are partial viewpoints from which the infinitely multifaceted reality is grasped. They are usually classified into seven kinds. This paper presents the Jaina understanding of the largely unexamined last three nayas that relate to linguistic practice and refer to objects as they enter linguistic use. The three linguistic nayas are: a.) śabda-naya (the verbal/literal viewpoint, which sees different usages of gender, number, case, etc. as indicating distinctions in the meaning of words), b.) samabhirūḍha-naya (the etymological viewpoint, which focuses on etymology to distinguish the meaning of words), and c.) evaṃbhūta-naya (the actuality/factual viewpoint, in accordance with which a word may be used with regard to an object only when it etymologically matches the present condition of the object).

The paper will trace the development of the understanding of linguistic nayas in the selected texts of several Digambara (especially Pūjyapāda, Siddhasena Divākara, and Akalaṅka Bhaṭṭa) and Śvetāmbara authors (especially Umāsvāti as the contested author of the Tattvārtha-sūtra-bhāṣya and Siddharṣigaṇin) between the 5th and early 10th century, a period during which the first serious attempts at explaining and refining Jaina philosophical concepts were made.


11:00-11:30 Coffee break



11:30-13:30 Session 6

Panel 1: Constructing Power: Comparative Perspectives on Legitimacy and Charisma in pre-modern Asia [room 502] Show Abstract

 This panel brings together a range of scholars whose work addresses the multifaceted construction of power and dynastic claims in different geographical areas and temporal settings, ranging from Inner Asia, China, and South Asia to the Middle East and Assyrian Mesopotamia. We seek to explore together and compare diverging and similar strategies deployed by charismatic leaders and rulers who sought to establish their legitimacy in a pluri-dynastic context, examining thus broader questions about the terminology and the practice of pre-modern sovereignty.

By addressing the peculiarities of each historical case study, we seek to test, by way of comparison, the possibilities of establishing a common methodology for a holistic approach to the construction of political authority in Asian history.

Chair: Jonathan Brack (HUJI)

Elena Mucciarelli (HUJI): Diverging Legitimations: Mapping the Construction of Dynastic Identity into Territory in Medieval South India Show Abstract

 One of the main issues in the creation of dynastic identity in Medieval South India is the constant need of kings and chiefs to be validated by different social and religious groups that represented the basis of their power and the possibility to control larger areas. Moreover, these leaders had to negotiate their political role in relation to other dynasties that sought to control the same territory. Some of the most common strategies deployed were the re-using of ancient Vedic rituals, the creation of a foundation legend, as well as the inclusion of local traditions. All these components were represented in sacred buildings and in epigraphic production. These expressive media challenge us to consider the information they entail as well as their spatial relation to the territory. In this paper, I will focus on some inscriptions issued by the Hoysala dynasty, which ruled part of Karnataka in the 11th-13th centuries. I will examine how Hoysala kings projected themselves differently, according to the part of Karnataka where the inscriptions were to be displayed. I will argue that exploring the geographical and spatial positioning of the inscriptions reveals how this dynasty negotiated its role within a matrix of power defined by the pluri-dynastic context.

Francesca Fiaschetti (HUJI): Grasping the Moment: Time, Power and Mongol Rule in East Asia Show Abstract

 Is the advent of a new dynasty a rupture with the past or is it part of a cyclical renovation?

This paper analyses the rhetorical means for the representation of imperial power and its historicity. Sources dealing with the Yuan dynasty combined various rhetorical discourses of legitimation. Buddhist, Confucian and Mongolian representations of kingship offer different understandings of statecraft in relation to time.

The paper investigates the language and metaphors which served the Yuan imperial ideals, the construction of memory during, and about, the Yuan dynasty. Furthermore, it addresses the question of dynastic unity as a functional measure of Mongol rule in East Asia.

Jonathan Brack (HUJI): The Right Kind of Death: Muslim Mongol Kings and their Graves in medieval Iran Show Abstract

  Can the afterlife of a ruler serve to legitimize dynastic rule, and if so, in what way?

This paper seeks to “read” together two different “textual records” that speak to the hereafter of the Ilkhanid (Mongol) rulers of Iran in the decades immediately following their conversion to Islam (early 14th century). The first source, three refutations of reincarnation and Buddhism produced at the Ilkhanid court, offer a vivid description of, and a guide to, the fate of the souls of Muslims at large, and specifically the Muslim descendants of Chinggis Khan; the second source, the epigraphic and architectural programs of the majestic tomb of the Mongol ruler Öljeitü (r. 1305-17) in the city of Sultaniyya, Iran, allows us to explore the dramatic transition from the Mongolian tradition of burying the khan in an undisclosed and unmarked compound to the establishment of religiously and politically encoded tomb-shrine complexes. The paper situates the Muslim disputations of the Buddhist afterlife and the (public) construction of the death and the hereafter of Muslim Mongol rulers together within the broader context of the renewed encounter in Mongol-ruled Iran between Islam and Buddhism, and their two salvific economies, to suggest how different communities, Buddhist and Muslim, sought to reshape the Mongol afterlife and heaven, and thus, also Mongol conceptions of power, authority and their heaven-derived kingship, which was integral for Buddhist and Muslim projects of converting the Mongols.

David Kertai (HUJI): Compartmentalizing Kingship: Reassessing the Relationship between Kings and Gods in Assyria Show Abstract

 Assyrian kings have often been described as having different roles related to different aspects of kingship such as military commander and religious leader. This paper will explore the religious aspects of Assyrian kingship and its interrelatedness with other aspects of Assyrian kingship.


Panel 2: Rethinking Modern China: Ideology and Governance [room 501]

Chair: Yitzhak Shichor (HUJI and Haifa University)

He Li (Merrimack College): Rethinking Social Democracy in China Show Abstract

 Over the past three decades, social democracy has been one of the most important discourses in Chinese academic circles. Will China develop a European style of social democracy? Or will China continue to build “capitalism with Chinese characteristics without democracy”? What social democracy is and how it might be relevant to China is an important intellectual question with deep political implications.

This paper focuses on the current Chinese intellectual discourse on social democracy, which will fill a much-needed gap in the literature and analysis. My paper will address the following research questions: What are the similarities and differences between social democracy as a school of thought in China and European-style social democracy? Does Europe offer a better social and economic model? What role has the intellectual discourse on social democracy played in the process of reform and opening to the global economy? To what extent have the social democrats’ arguments been taken into consideration by the Chinese government? Will social democracy, which challenges both classical liberalism and orthodox Marxism, ultimately prevail over its competitors?

Aron Shai (Tel Aviv University): China: From Imperial Humiliation to Hubris? Show Abstract

 An examination of the last 18 decades, from 1842 to the present, encompasses the end of the first Opium War, the Nanjing “unequal treaty,” the Boxer Rebellion, the Republican Revolution, the historic re-emergence of China in 1949, and the subsequent metamorphosis into the “Open Door” era and beyond. Here, a crucial transformation, almost a mutation, has taken place. China has moved dynamically from a situation of almost total imperial subjugation and humiliation to a state of impressive self-assertiveness, hubris and arrogance.

An attempt has been made to study the significant decades within that 180-year cycle and analyze today’s China. Under new geo-political, economic and diplomatic conditions, this rising super-power is deploying its unique “soft power” in conjunction with classical “hard power.” Is it trying, through the Belt and Road Initiative, to control and subjugate others?

Gad Isay (Tel-Hai College): How Radical Communist Critics Eventually Benefitted New Confucian Studies Show Abstract

 Sometimes, criticism intended to be destructive and devastating is found to be constructive and strengthening. The various parallels between Marxist-Maoist thought and Confucian thought have already been studied in depth. The current discussion aims to examine the Communist objection throughout the 20th century to Confucian learning. As an example, we may mention the speech and actions of the Red Guards and other supporters of the Cultural Revolution during the 1960s and ’70s. They most certainly did not imagine that Confucian learning would enjoy continuity (today we see support for such continuity even at the top of the Party hierarchy). What were the basic points of criticism? What were the motives? What was the content of the critiques? In the light of these questions, we will examine how, despite everything, the movement for the renewal of Confucian learning survived. In fact, beyond that, we will present a series of intellectual ties between the main points of the extreme critique and the innovative aspects that characterize the renewal of Confucian learning.


Panel 3: Humor in East Asia: History, Culture, Society [room 405] Show Abstract

 This panel examines humor in East Asia from a variety of perspectives: historical, literary, cultural, and visual. Taking a close look at iconic works of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese culture during both the premodern and modern periods, the four papers comprising this panel approach the topic from transnational, as well as interdisciplinary, angles. The authors offer new in-depth analyses of various comic elements and devices used to create textual, visual, and performative humor in their respective source materials. Diana Kiknadze’s paper looks at how Japanese setsuwa stories during the late Heian period (794–1185) evolved from didacticism to humor. Her analysis of Uji shui monogatari (“Collection of tales in Uji”) reveals important social and political changes in Japanese society, signaling the weakening and eventual decline in relevance of the Buddhist doctrine associated with the newly embraced notion of mappô, or “the end of the law.” Antonio Leggieri’s paper offers a new reading of Yuan Mei’s (1716–1797) Zi bu yu (“What Confucius wouldn’t talk about”), which allows us to unlock the underlying humor of the work along three main axes: pun, irony, and parody. Mariia Guleva’s paper examines satire on Russian political exiles in Republican China’s Shidai manhua magazine. She argues that Russian immigrants who fled the revolution back home became the object of social satire due to their inability to embrace their new reduced circumstances. Finally, Dima Mironenko’s paper deals with the concept of the “good trickster” in a recent North Korean comedy film, which he insists is key to understanding the country’s culture and the place of the comic in it, as a whole.

Chair: David Shuster (Korea University)

Discussant: Jooyeon Rhee (HUJI)

Diana Kiknadze (St. Petersburg State University): From Didacticism to Humor: Evolution of Japanese Setsuwa Stories Show Abstract

  In the late Heian period (794–1185), Japanese didactic prose, or setsuwa (説話), consisted of two main types: Buddhistic and secular. The latter contained numerous humorous and lewd stories about famous aristocrats, Buddhist monks, and hermits, as well as common folk. As opposed to earlier religious setsuwa, in which any kind of unrighteous behavior was strongly condemned, the secular stories of this popular genre, by contrast, were free from overt didacticism and denunciation of those who did not observe a virtuous way of life, but indulged in all sorts of sins and vices, instead.

Toward the end of the Heian period, the idea of mappô 末法, or “the end of the law,” gained currency, signaling the weakening and eventual decline in the relevance of Buddhist teachings. This was based on the belief that Japanese society had already entered the third and final stage of the Buddhist Law, which would continue indefinitely. As a consequence of this historical development, late setsuwa stories began to forfeit their characteristic edifying tone, with the traditional didactic ending now giving way to mockery, jibes, and other comic devices, ranging from subtle to pungent.

Thus, changes in the genre reflected social and political transformations during this period, when any open discussion of faith or condemnation of sinners was avoided. The paper examines select stories from an iconic work of the setsuwa genre, Uji shui monogatari 宇治拾遺物 語 (“Collection of Tales in Uji”), classifying them all by types and the evolution of didacticism through the most representative examples.

Antonio Leggieri (Beijing Language and Culture University): Humor in Unexpected Places: Yuan Mei and What Confucius Wouldn’t Talk about Show Abstract

 Chinese writer Yuan Mei 袁枚 (1716–1797) was the author of poetry, travel records, and books on food and nutrition, but he is best known for the collection of short stories called Zi bu yu 子不語 (“What Confucius wouldn’t talk about”). The majority of critics have  so far placed Yuan’s collection alongside the more famous Liaozhai zhiyi 聊齋誌異 (“Strange records from a Chinese studio”) by Pu Songling 蒲松齡 (1640–1715) and Yuewei caotang biji 閱微草堂筆記 (“Notes from the Cottage of Minute Readings”) by Ji Yun 紀昀 (1724–1805). And indeed, the three works share their authors’ fascination with the strange, the unexplainable, and the supernatural. All three were written deliberately in literary Chinese, mimicking the ancient records of spirits and ghosts, although by that time major publications in the vernacular had already appeared.

What many critics have overlooked up till now is a profound sense of humor underlying many of Yuan Mei’s anecdotes. In this paper, I offer an analysis of the humor in Zi bu yu by dividing it into three main types: puns, irony, and parody. Word puns and double-entendres are, perhaps, the most visible form of humor in the collection, for which the terse literary language seems to be ideally suited. The underlying irony, which Yuan Mei points out himself in the preface to his work (妄言妄听: “Don’t take what I say too seriously”), adds a critical comic inflection to all his stories. And finally, the parody and satire we encounter in many of the anecdotes featured in this collection target the lust and other vices of young scholars who are the protagonists of Yuan Mei’s humorously instructive literature.

Mariia Guleva (St. Petersburg State University): “Poetic Beggars”: Shidai Manhua Magazine on Russian Immigrants in China Show Abstract

 This paper examines the representations of Russian exiles who settled in China in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 through cartoons published in Shanghai’s satirical magazine, Shidai Manhua 時代漫畫 between 1934 and 1937. The magazine, which provided commentary on and critique of current issues in Republican China, also included satire on Russian political immigrants living in the country. Satirical reports and visual materials featured in Shidai Manhua can help us gain a deeper understanding of the ways Russian immigrants adjusted to their new life and how they interacted with the local population.

The stories underscore the stark contrast between the immigrants’ former lives as the upper class in pre-revolutionary Russia and their reversed current situation as new arrivals in China trying to make a living, often by having to take on menial jobs. Dubbed as “poetic beggars” by the Chinese authors of Shidai Manhua, Russian political exiles did not enjoy any special rights or the benefits of extraterritoriality in China, unlike other Westerners at the time. Rather, the satire is directed at their arrogant attitude and ungrateful behavior toward their host country, which provided a safe haven for them at a time of need and despair.

David Shuster (Korea University): The Good Trickster in Comrade Kim Goes Flying (2013) Show Abstract

 In the mid-1960s, North Korean cinema introduced a new film genre of kyŏng hŭigŭk, or light comedy, which continues to define the national approach to comedy until the present day. This paper examines a recent co-production between the DPRK, Britain, and Belgium—a light-comedy film, which was released internationally under the English title of Comrade Kim Goes Flying (2013). The film tells a story of a young girl, Yŏng-mi Kim, who works in a coal mine in the countryside and dreams that one day she can become a flying trapeze artist at the national circus in Pyongyang. Essentially, a local take on romantic comedy, this film casts the main protagonist, Comrade Kim, as the “good trickster” who employs tricks in pursuit of truth rather than for comic effect. Yŏng-mi’s journey to become a rising circus star in the nation’s capital stages a stand-off between her as the agent of positive laughter and her suitor who represents its negative counterpart in the film. Through her personal charisma and heroic effort, Yŏng-mi is able not only to teach her scoffing boyfriend a lesson, but also manages to transform him in such a way, that they can now consummate their relationship both as partners in the circus working together on the most difficult number on the flying trapeze and as true lovers in real life. In this paper, I argue that the figure of the good trickster is not only central to this film genre, but is key to understanding the role of the comic in North Korean culture, as a whole.


Panel 4: Stories of (No) Return-Anthropological and Historical Perspectives on Migration to/from/in Southeast Asia [room 503] Show Abstract

 Mobility – past and present – inspires the cultural diversity of Southeast Asia. Through trade, environmental changes, pilgrimage and scholarly migration, but also through colonization, forced migration, resettlement programs and labor migration, Southeast Asians have been and continue to be highly mobile within and beyond the region. However, in as much as experiences of mobility trigger the diversification of culture and enhance intercultural exchange, they also inform the manifestation of socio-cultural boundaries.

This panel explores different types of migration to, from and within Southeast Asia in order to uncover the conditions under which migration leads to creative engagement with other cultures and those under which it leads to an emphasis on cultural distinctiveness. We consider that the prospect of returning ‘home’ influences how migrants encounter, adapt, reject and translate foreign cultural features.

Juxtaposing three papers, we seek to analyze the cross-cultural experiences in migration to/from/within Southeast Asia. Examples of agricultural and environmental migration show how external factors can lead to human mobility, which is often imagined as being temporary but ends up being permanent. Setting off from this overview, we turn to case studies that show how individuals make migratory experiences meaningful. With little prospect of returning to Java, people who were brought to Ceylon in the 18th century preserved their cultural identity in literary and religious texts and cultivated memories of their lands of origin. The example of labor migration to the Gulf equally highlights the relevance of envisaging return. Depending on the religious and cultural values in their villages back in Indonesia, the migrant women represent contrasting images of harsh or holy Arab culture. In addition, we show an excerpt of a film about Filipina care workers who return from Israel to Manila.

Chair: Mirjam Lücking (HUJI)

Ran Shauli (Bar-Ilan University and The Truman Institute): Violence, Agricultural Migrations and Environmental Migrations in Southeast Asia Show Abstract

 My paper analyses the history of migration in modern Southeast Asia, using developments in agriculture and climate as explanatory factors.

The 19th century saw an inflow of migrants, mainly from China and India, who came to man the plantations of Southeast Asia. Labor-intensive tropical cash crops were the backbone of the colonial economy. The local populace, impoverished due to loss of rice paddies to plantations, could not supply sufficient workforce for production. The Great Depression of the 1930s brought a sharp decline in demand for tropical raw materials, and practically ended migration to the region. In the post-colonial era, national economies continued to rely on the exportation of agricultural produce to foreign corporations. However, the agro-technological improvements of the Green Revolution have drastically reduced the need for working hands. Out-migration from rural areas has followed. These processes were accompanied with major violent conflicts in the Indonesian archipelago (Konfrontasi and the Genocide, 1965-6), the Malay Peninsula (the Malayan Emergency, 1948-60) and the long Indochina Wars (1946-79).

Currently, we see an imminent danger of environmentally induced displacement, due to changes in monsoonal rainfall pattern; other effects of global warming on tropical agriculture; and the rise of sea level. These will probably determine migration in the years to come.

Ronit Ricci (HUJI): Remembering Rather than Returning: A Javanese Diaspora in Ceylon Show Abstract

 Throughout the 18th century, people from across the Indonesian archipelago were banished to Dutch Ceylon. Many were members of royal families, while others were servants, soldiers and convicts. Although some were able eventually to return home, for most this outcome remained an unattainable goal. My talk considers how certain stories and cultural heroes were carried across the sea from Java to Ceylon with those banished, and how such narratives contributed to keeping the memory of Java alive in the new diaspora when an actual return was out of reach. The theme of return is therefore considered not solely as an unrealized hope but as an act of the imagination that was framed in particular religious and cultural terms.

Mirjam Lücking (HUJI): Asian Values and Islamic Piety among Female Migrant Workers in Java and Madura, Indonesia Show Abstract

 In rural Indonesia, young women depart for the Gulf in search of economic success as domestic workers. Upon return to their villages in rural Indonesia, the women endeavor not only to demonstrate their economic success but also their moral integrity. In post-migration narratives and lifestyles, the returnees emphasize cultural and religious values. Strikingly, the respective markers of economic as well as moral success are distinctive in different regions in Indonesia. The representation of success entails engagement with consumer goods and narratives that interchangeably symbolize Western, East Asian and/or Islamic modernity as well as moral values and boost migrants’ social status. Through a juxtaposition of ethnographic data on the ‘success stories’ of Javanese and Madurese women who migrate as domestic workers to the Gulf, I analyze the (im)mobility of norms and the relevance of the migrants’ home context to their engagement with foreign cultures.

Deby Babis (HUJI): Filipino Migration to Israel and Canada: A Comparative Perspective Show Abstract

 Filipino labor migration to Israel has been on the rise since the 1990s due to Israel’s policy of “importing” temporary migrant workers as live-in caregivers for the elderly and disabled. Following a formal agreement between Israel and the Philippines, thousands of Filipino caregivers were recruited and relocated to Israel. Today’s Filipino community accounts for about 30,000 people; more than 80% are women. Filipino live-in caregivers are expected to provide their employers personal support, health-related services, housekeeping, leisure, and emotional support. Their living arrangements leave little place for privacy; the long working hours, restricted working space, sporadic leisure time, isolation from their families, and limited ability to engage in face-to-face interaction with their peers, lead to a sense of alienation. This talk focuses on the intimate experiences of the Filipino caregivers inside the homes of their employers in Israel. It explores the dynamics of intimacy developed between the workers and their elderly employers, and the modes of coping with this intimacy through the years of their work and following their employers’ death.

Film excerpt: Cycles of Care – Filipina Care Workers in Israel Return to Manila Show Abstract

 Trailer from the 2011 documentary “Cycles of Care” by Lizza May David and Claudia Liebelt,

The documentary traces five women who have returned to Manila from migration to Israel, where they took care of children and the elderly in private homes. As carers, they were part of the large exodus of Filipinas, who leave their country to gain access to strong currencies and search for ‘greener pastures’ within a highly gendered global economy. Back in Manila, they struggle to make a living and reintegrate into their families, whom they left many years ago. Against the background of the humdrum of their everyday lives in the capital, they reflect on the outcomes of their journeys and remember their lives in Israel.

Speaking Hebrew and indulging in memories of pilgrimages to holy sites, kibbutz life and employers in the midst of homes that bear witness to their vast journeys, these women speak of the crossing of boundaries, not merely in a geographical sense. Taking care of their elderly mothers or grandchildren of daughters, who have now replaced them as the breadwinners of the extended family, they are part of an ongoing cycle of care.


Panel 5: Central Asia as a Civilizational Crossroad through Numismatics Lenses: In Memoriam Boris Kochnev [room 403] Show Abstract

 Coins, possibly the most valuable exchange medium in human history until the modern age, are an important primary source for historical research. Of special interest are numismatic remains from border and crossroad areas, either contested by the different powers or located on major trade and migration routes. One of the most important areas of this type on the Eurasian continent is Central Asia, a vast geographical region bordered by the Caspian Sea in the west and today’s Xinjiang in the east, north Kazakhstan in the north and south Afghanistan in the south.

This panel is conceived as a memorial session for the late Dr. Boris D. Kochnev (1940-2002), one of the leading scholars of pre-Mongol numismatics research of Central Asia. The session intends to discuss and highlight the impact and the contribution of numismatics for the historical research of pre-modern Central Asia during the pre-Mongol (starting with the 9th century – the early Karakhanid period), Mongol and Temürid periods of its history. Its major aim is to address Central Asia not as a static geographic entity, but as one involved in constant dynamic relations with the areas and cultures outside the region, as well as its own cultural, religious and ethnic diversity, alongside stressing the importance of numismatic evidences for historical research.

Chair: Ishayahu Landa (HUJI)

Alexander Naymark (Hofstra University): Boris Kochnev – in Memoriam

Konstantin Kravtsov (The State Hermitage Museum): Bukharkhuda Dirhams in the Name of al-Mahdi: Problems of Dating. Preliminary Research Show Abstract

 After almost two centuries of research, the so-called Bukharkhuda coins still prompt many important questions. It is true that the examination of written sources; stylistic, iconographic and paleographic comparisons; the study of coin production technology, as well as the stratigraphy and topography of coin finds, have allowed us to date and localize some Bukharkhuda types. Most of these new attributions, however, were offered for different types of pre-Islamic Bukharkhuda drachms (Naymark 2001, 2002; Kravtsov & Naymark 2011; Naymark 2012) and for the initial dates of the coinage of certain types of Islamic Bukharkhuda dirhams (Davidovich 1997, 2015; Treadwell 2007; Bates; Zeno 117759). As for the terminal dates of the main series of Bukharkhuda dirhams, they still remain a problem.

Among the latter group the most numerous and common issues in the name of al-Mahdi are the most “questionable”. From written sources we know that in 141 AH/758-759 CE the caliph al-Mansur appointed his son Muhammad the governor of Greater Khorasan with its center al-Rayy. In 145 AH/762-763 CE Muhammad took the title al-Mahdi (Bates, 2003). In the same year, conventional Islamic dirhams were struck in al-Rayy bearing the legend “Muhammad al-Mahdi, son of the Commander of the Faithful”. So it is absolutely evident that Bukharkhuda dirhams in the name of al-Mahdi were minted after 145 AH. Theoretically, the terminal date for these issues could have been 169 AH/785 CE, when al-Mahdi died. But here we face the main problem: the dirhams of earlier periods are found in hoards dating even as late as the end of the 11th century (Kochnev 1990, 57-59).

There are two principal explanations accepted by the scholars, differing basically in term of coinage and circulation: (1) multiple researchers since the 19th century and recently E.A. Davidovich thought that these coins were minted up to the 12th century (Davidovich 1997, 53); (2) according to the view first expressed by G.V. Shishkina (1973, 121), supported by B.D. Kochnev (1990, 57-59) and most recently by A.I. Naymark, these coins were struck in the second half of the 8th and in the 9th century and remained in circulation until the 12th century, because taxes were collected in them. In our opinion, in order to put the matter to rest and to determine the production dates of the mentioned coin series with more accuracy, careful die-study and detailed analysis of die links are needed.

Alexander Naymark (Hofstra University): The Coinage of Nakhshab Principality in South Sogdiana Show Abstract

 Boris D. Kochnev’s major contribution to Sogdian numismatics was the Nakhshab localization of the coins with the image of walking horse (Kochnev 1984; 1995; 1999).. I will speak about new discoveries in the numismatic history of pre-Islamic Nakhshab – after all, continuation of the work started by the fallen comrade is the best recognition of his achievements.

Until recently Nakhshab coinage was poorly known: coin finds of 1950-1960s allowed Sergei K. Kabanov to localize there a type with leontomachia (Kabanov 1961; 1973; 1977; 1981); then Kochnev attributed to Nakhshab a horse series; and finally a copper archer type was added to the list (Naymark 1990). Working with coin finds from Nakhshab, Larissa S. Baratova confirmed these attributions with a significant bulk of material (Baratova 2000a; 2000b; 2001а; 2001b; Baratova and Suleimanov 2001) and summarized the data in her general surveys of monetary circulation in Southern Soghd (Baratova 2002; 2004а; 2004b; 2004c; 2004d; 2006; 2010).

Recent coin finds in South Soghd prompted additional typological studies and more lacunae were filled in the numismatic history of Nakhshab (Naymark 2014; 2015; 2016a; 2016b; 2017).

Michael Shenkar (HUJI): Greek and Parthian Elements in the Royal Representations on the Kushan Coins Show Abstract



Panel 6: Politics, Philosophy, Political Philosophy in India [room 404]

Chair: Yohanan Grinshpon (HUJI)

Bhagat Oinam (Jawaharlal Nehru University): Colonialism, Nation Building, and India’s North-East Show Abstract

 India’s nation building project—initiated from the time that the nationalist movement took its shape in the early 20th century—has passed through different terrains with varying pace and contours. Starting from imagining the country as a nation in the making (with a long civilizational past) and having multi-cultural ways of life, there is the counter narrative that sees Bharat (India) as a nation (a civilization) well united through an imagined collective consciousness, popularly echoed today as Hindutva. These two broad narratives, though having ‘family resemblances,’ encompass several groups and parties (political, religious, cultural and ethnic) from time to time, often leading to strong forms of contestation.

In the face of confrontations between the two narratives, the fate of the marginal communities is increasingly unsettling. Northeast India represents one such site at the margin of this nation state, not only in geographical terms but also in the politico-cultural imagination. Northeast India is a post-independence phenomenon. Inclusion of the region within the Indian Union, with peoples with their own histories, creates newer challenges to the on-going nation-building project. Already there are several political movements in the region, often violently against any of the existing nation projects.

There are also liberal voices who try to negotiate between India’s national narrative with those of the ethnic communities and their worldviews. A greater challenge lies with how liberal democratic politics negotiates with such nation narratives. My presentation aims to dwell on these intricate and complex issues, political and philosophical.

Daniel Raveh (Tel Aviv University): Politics and Metaphysics in Ramchandra Gandhi’s Sītā’s Kitchen Show Abstract

 Ramchandra Gandhi (RCG), grandson of the famous Mahatma, is an intriguing thinker in his own right. He corresponds not merely with the writings of the Mahatma, but also with his death at the hands of an assassin in January 1948, an “event” which echoes in each of his essays. “On Meriting Death” (1981), I am Thou (1984) and Svarāj (2002) are all about death, and life in the face of death.

In the proposed presentation, I wish to focus on a unique essay among RCG’s essays, Sītā’s Kitchen (1992), a philosophical response in the first person to the destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992 by a large crowd constituted predominantly of Hindus. Like the assassination of the Mahatma, this violent event triggers a discussion of the possibilities and impossibilities, and on the limits or limitedlessness of ahiṃsā, non-violence, as notion and ideal.

I will touch on the intriguing interlacement of politics and metaphysics in RCG. He convincingly underscores the arbitrariness of focusing on a certain monument, namely the mosque built on the remnants of a Hindu temple, and not on “Sītā-ki-Rasoī” (Sītā’s Kitchen), a nearby monument that remained “out of the frame” in the two rounds of violence, when the Hindu temple was destroyed (16th century) and when the mosque was demolished (20th century). Hence RCG is interested not just in violence, and non-violence, but in the “seen” and “unseen” which determine our actions in the world. He offers an alternative gaze, an alternative picture, an alternative reading of a political situation, intended to disclose a common human denominator, involving a sense of “non-otherness” (conveyed here through the Sanskrit notion of ananya, which is the name of the female protagonist of the narrative part of his essay). Ananya, or ananyatā, corresponds in RCG with the concept of advaita, “non-duality”, not as a dogmatic Hindu principle, but as a different gaze, or lens, wide enough to explore the possibility of accommodating a multiplicity of “others” (to one another) in a single frame. This togetherness against all odds, despite conflicts and contestations, is the crux of the “ananya-hood” which RCG sketches and explores in his penetrating essay.

Debajit Datta (Jadavpur University): Ethnic Sovereignty Movements and Electoral Democracy: Deconstructing the Koch-Rajbanshi Identity Politics of North-East India Show Abstract

 Sovereignty movements led by various indigenous ethnic communities have caused widespread violence throughout the northeastern states of India for the past few decades. The Koch-Rajbanshi community is an indigenous group of the state of West Bengal which is currently involved in such a struggle. This community has encountered severe exploitation and ostracism primarily from Hindu Bengali immigrants in northern West Bengal and upper caste Assamese in west Assam.

In the present study, the impact of the Koch-Rajbanshi identity conflict on intercommunity relationships and the different governmental programs and stratagems in addressing this conflict were examined. A mixed method, including participant observation, visual authentication, personal interviews, focus group discussions in combination with schedule-based surveys and secondary information, has been applied to comprehend the dynamics of the movement.

Results highlighted that the partiality of the erstwhile Leftist government (1977-2011) towards the Hindu Bengali refugees elicited cynicism among the indigenous communities regarding their socioeconomic position in West Bengal. This compelled them to engage in a separatist movement. Too, the policies of the present rightist government were also found to be largely inadequate in offering a fruitful solution to these sovereignty issues. Subsequently, violence has continued in the region leading to large-scale regional instability.

James Madaio (Czech Academy of Sciences): Questioning Oneself through Another: Investigative Reasoning in the Pedagogical Dialogues of the Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha Show Abstract

 The main frame story of the Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha, a capacious tenth-century work with origins in Kashmir, depicts a dialogue between the enlightened preceptor Vasiṣṭha and the dejected prince Rāma. In the dialogue, Vasiṣṭha repeatedly instructs Rāma about the nature of non-dual reality through a series of fantastical narratives, many of which feature dialogical encounters. While the stories serve a variety of pedagogical functions, key dialogues in the Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha exemplify and draw the reader into the practice of vicāra, a probing inquiry into the nature of world and identity. In this paper I analyse how vicāra is simulated, and enacted in the reader, through the dialogical narratives of the Yoga-Vāsiṣṭha. Focusing particularly on the conversation between the enlightened queen Cūḍālā and her stubbornly object-oriented husband, king Śikhidvaja, I examine how the question-and-answer sequence in this story undercuts the reifications inherent to a dualistic worldview. I further explore how the dialogue intimates the Yoga-Vasiṣṭha’s strategy of mirroring in which literary characters (e.g., Śikhidvaja) reflect the condition of the protagonist Rāma who is likewise a placeholder for the reader. I therefore argue that the dialogues in the teacher-and-student exchanges provoke a question-based conversation with oneself through another.


13:30-14:30 Lunch break



14:30-16:00 Session 7

Panel 1: Religion and Environment in Early China and the Ancient Mediterranean [room 502] Show Abstract

 This panel features three papers which address topics related to the relationship between religion and the environment (broadly defined) in the ancient world, from a comparative perspective. Religion and the environment were closely related, with environmental concerns, including geography, weather, the cosmos, and unexpected phenomena, informing religious beliefs, and religious ideas informing concepts of the environment. Land use, and the spatial distribution of cult, was connected to concepts of rulership, and the role of regional cult shifted alongside changes in central authority. These papers will discuss this complex relationship between religion and environment, and investigate how common environmental factors, such as rain, earthquakes, land, and soil, were interpreted and utilized by religious practice, and their understandings shaped by the cultures of the early China and the Mediterranean.

Chair: Reuven Amitai (HUJI)

Rebecca Robinson (HUJI): Hemerology and Rain in Early China and the Ancient Mediterranean Show Abstract

 Rain, and its associated thunder and lighting, was of fundamental concern to the peoples of early China and the ancient Mediterranean. Properties of rain were studied to better understand seasonal cycles, as well as to try to control rain, to improve agricultural conditions. However, rain, thunder, and lighting were also of great mantic importance in both societies, and the augural properties of rain were considered alongside the meteorological. In both regions, rain was also linked to cycles; not only of seasonal rainfall, but also with culturally-specific cycles: the saeculum in Rome and Etruria and the sexagenary cycle in China.

This paper proposes to study and compare two calendars: a first century BCE brontoscopic calendar from Rome and Etruria, alongside a Han-dynasty calendar, the “Document on Rain” (yu shu 雨書). The brontoscopic calendar provides predictions for each day of the calendar year, which could be consulted if thunder was heard. According to the calendar, thunder could be either an omen of good or ill, and it was one of the most important omens to usher in a new hundred-year cycle. The yu shu, a twelve-month calendar, provides meteorological and agricultural predictions based on the appearance or lack of rain on particular days in the sexagenary cycle. In comparing these two calendars, this paper will discuss cultural attitudes towards the augural properties of rain, and how these mantic documents contributed to understandings of rain in the ancient world.

Filippo Marsili (Saint Louis University): Kingdom, Land, and Soil in Early China and Ancient Rome Show Abstract

 This paper, by considering both historical and archaeological sources, focuses on the ceremonial strategies that Emperor Wu of the Han (r. 141 – 87 BCE) in China and Octavian Augustus in Rome (r. 27 BCE – 14 CE) elaborated to legitimize a new form of monarchic authority. My essay shows how these rulers re-elaborated traditional mythical and ritual themes to mark a historic shift in the relationship between the sovereign, the kingdom, and aristocratic opposition. Wu recovered pre-imperial regional cults (such as those of Taiyi, Houtu and the Big Dipper) that mirrored his radical plan of bureaucratic, economic, and fiscal centralization. In doing so, he aimed at replacing the Zhou paradigm of delegation of powers with the model of an autocratic ruler, who, instead of entrusting part of his prerogatives to local elites, controlled and expanded his domain directly through sweeping military campaigns.

From a comparative point of view, analysis of the establishment of the Principate in Rome allows me to make the case that the failure of Emperor Wu’s project was partially due to the unavailability in Han China of widely shared mythical and ritual models of rulership. While Octavian’s progressive appropriation of the functions of the different political and religious offices of the Republic would be buttressed by the popularization of the religious cult of his divinized person, in China, Wu’s opponents eventually succeeded in monopolizing literary and historiographic propaganda and isolating the Son of Heaven from the people.

Justine Walter (Hochschule Hamm-Lippstadt):  Shaking the World: A New Approach to Comparing the Societies of Early China and the Ancient Mediterranean Show Abstract

 Coping with extreme natural events like earthquakes is a challenge for any society. While the processes themselves are natural, their effects—from destroyed infrastructure to coping measures and prevention programs—are socially constructed. The perceptions and interpretations underlying these societal reactions are directly related to the affected culture’s view of the cosmos. A study of historical earthquakes and their effects can thus reveal dispositions and assumptions about nature that are otherwise hard to detect.

While this has already been stressed by several historians and social scientists, another crucial point has hardly been made yet: Due to their extra-cultural origins, the physical features of earthquakes are identical in any part of the world and in any historical period. Earthquakes are thus an excellent tertium comparationis for unbiased comparative investigations into past societies.

This is especially interesting for comparative studies into the early cultures of China and the Eastern Mediterranean. Both regions have a high seismicity with earthquakes recorded in chronicles and scholarly treatises from as early as the first millennium BCE.

The presentation will show insights into the early cultures of East Asia and the Mediterranean that can be gained by analyzing their ways of coping with earthquakes.


Panel 2: Rediscovering “Japanese” in Modern Japan [room 501]

Chair: Ehud Harari (HUJI)

Yona Siderer (HUJI): Udagawa Youan 19th Century Botany Studies Revealed in Tsuyama Archives of Western Learning and in Kyō-U Archive in Osaka Show Abstract

The City Tsuyama sits north-east of Okayama, in Okayama prefecture in central Japan, Chūgoku. Tsuyama Archives of Western Studies in this city holds a lot of interesting, fascinating materials. Many people of this area were among the scholars who translated books in Dutch into Japanese in the 19th century. Among them were Sugita Genpaku (1733 – 1817), Ootski Gentaku (1757 – 1827), Udagawa family and others. Three generations of Udagawa family were doctors of Chinese medicine and also translated into Japanese books in Dutch from the West. In this lecture I shall concentrate mainly on Udagawa Youan (1798-1846). His work might be divided into three main categories: 1. Botany; 2. Chemistry; 3. Variety of other topics. Youan first study botany with his father, Udagawa Genshin (1769-1834), then by himself, before his great study on chemistry. Youan’s study of plants included collecting plants while traveling with friends in the mountains and skillfully drawing beautiful flowers and plants organs. Youan classified Japanese plants into 100 families. He followed the Swedish scholar Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) who started plants systematization in Europe into worldwide accepted so-called ‘binomial nomenclature’. Youan’s books on botany include Botanikakyo ボタ尼 訶経 (The Sutra of Botany)1822, and Shokugaku Keigen植学啓原 (Principles of Botany) 1834. Those were recently studied in Studies on Udagawa Youan’s botanical works housed in Kyō-U Library1, and in Scholars of Japanese Studied in Ōkayama2-3. Udagawa Youan did not study botany and chemistry only. He was very versatile and wrote and drew music notes, music instruments, Dutch soldiers in uniforms, playing cards, Arabic letters, insects and more. Those show Youan’s scope of curiosity and ingenuity. Youan’s work is very little known and can be accessed mainly by Japanese readers. This work aims at exposing parts of his immense pioneering botanical studies.  

  1. 宇田川榕菴 植物学資料の研究 Studies on Udagawa Youan’s botanical works housed in Kyō-U Library. Authors: Shoji endo, Nobushige Kato, Masataka Koda and Kiyoshi Matsuda. Takeda Science Foundation,武田科学振興財団、杏雨書屋Osaka, 2014 (in Japanese, English introduction)
  2. 青山蘭学の群像1 Scholars of Dutch Studied in Okayama. Publisher公益財団法人, public utility foundation​ corporation, The Sanyo Broadcasting Foundation pp. 91-171 2016 (J)
  3. Tsuyama Archive of Western Learning, published by 津山洋学資料館、Heisei22, 2010 (J)

Amin Ghadimi (Harvard University): The Christian Origins of Japanese Parliamentarianism Show Abstract

 Historians almost universally identify the origin moment of Japanese parliamentarianism in the January 1874 Proposal for the Establishment of a Popularly Elected Parliament (Minsen giin setsuritsu kenpaku sho). We remember the document as a manifesto written by Itagaki Taisuke that sparked a vigorous debate over when and how to build a Japanese parliament. The document then ignited about 15 years of activism for freedom and popular rights before the Diet was finally ordained in 1889 as the first national parliament in the history of the non-West. But it was not Itagaki Taisuke who wrote the parliamentary manifesto. It was Furusawa Urō, who went by his post-baptism name, Arthur Furusawa. Furusawa was a devout Christian who studied at Oxford University and who argued that “it is [through] Christianity alone that any ideas like liberty ever be put into people’s minds.” In drafting this epochal document in Itagaki’s name, Furusawa thrust the mainstream of Japanese politics into a vigorous national debate over the permissible extent of individual freedom of thought and belief, a debate that led to violent insurrections against the Meiji state in the weeks before and after the 1874 Proposal. This paper examines the 1874 Proposal and its surrounding political context to argue that the origins of Japanese parliamentarianism lay in efforts by Japanese Christians to reorient Japanese society and politics along Christian conceptions of liberty, and to stress the violent backlash that these efforts produced.

Wered Ben-Sade (HUJI): Japan’s Labor Dispute Resolution System: A New Paradigm of Dispute Resolution Show Abstract

 Mediation (third party consensual dispute resolution), and adjudication (third party decisional dispute resolution) represent contrasting paradigms in the West. However, in Japan the desire is seemingly aimed at restoring a sense of harmony between the parties. This, I argue, represents a new paradigm of dispute resolution. I shall demonstrate this point by analyzing the integration of mediation and adjudication in Japan’s Labor Dispute Resolution (LDR) mechanisms, namely the Labor Relations Commission, specializing in collective labor disputes; the Labor Tribunal System, handling individual labor disputes, and the District Court, handling both types of labor disputes.

My analysis is based on a longitudinal research (1999-2017) of Japan’s LDR system, which has resulted in the development of a four-dimensional model for analyzing the interplay between mediation and adjudication (Ben-Sade, 2001, 2013, 2017). With this tool I shall examine whether, and how, each of the three mechanisms deviates from the merits and drawbacks that are attributed to close integration of mediation and adjudication. Finally, I shall explain the possible contribution of this research to the fields of Japanese Studies, Labor Relations and Dispute Resolution.

César Rodrigues (Osaka University): Exploring the Limits of Japan’s Nonnuclear Identity: An Ontological Security Approach Show Abstract

 Having been the only nation in history to ever experience the effects of an atomic bomb, Japan has acquired an overarching rejection of nuclear weapons. This projection is widely incorporated into the country’s moral, material and ideational structures, and is commonly assumed to be permanent and virtually unmovable. However, the careful examination of Japan’s nonnuclear identity reveals the possibility of vulnerabilities upon which that holistic body might be put into question.

This paper seeks to explore the limits of Japan’s nonnuclear identity by employing an ontological security approach. It is argued that although the nonnuclear formulation is solid and deeply entrenched, there are certain boundaries in the realm of security and extended deterrence that hold the potential to destabilize Japan’s commitment to nonproliferation. In order to demonstrate that, an examination of the main identitarian dimensions is conducted with the purpose of establishing the underlying forces sustaining Japan’s nonnuclear posture. Then, an analysis according to the framework of ontological security is made in an attempt to reveal the critical limits of Japan’s nonnuclear identity. By proceeding with this conceptual exercise, this paper illuminates the perimeter of Japan’s nonnuclear identity, as well as the conditions for its eventual instability.

Kenneth Alan Grossberg (Technion, Haifa and Waseda University, Tokyo): Non-Japanese Japanese Entrepreneurship Show Abstract

Working in a foreign market involves a variety of strategic challenges, including struggling with the unique business culture of a particular country.  Japan has a famously opaque and idiosyncratic business culture that entrepreneurs must deal with if they are to succeed.  My paper will explore the interplay between Japan’s culture and the ambitions of those entrepreneurs, using actual case studies to support theoretical generalizations. The research should be of interest to those who study interactions across cultures, and between culture and personality in the Japanese context.


Panel 3: Screens, Gender and Identity in Hong Kong and South Korea [room 405] Show Abstract

 This panel reconsiders contemporary East Asian women’s gender and identity formations. The papers attend to the complexity of Hong Kong and South Korean women’s narratives, communities, identities, and social positioning. In Gendered Screen Capitalism: A Shift of the Viewing Subject and Gender Positioning in Korean Popular Culture, Tian Li considers female protagonists in the Korean Wave and Korean television dramas as part of a national and transnational gendered marketing strategy, and as a shift in women’s positioning in dramas from objects to subjects. In Embodied Feminism: Contemporary South Korean Feminism and Community-Building, Anat Schwartz interrogates transnational understandings of femininity, community, and the digital to argue that Korean feminist community-building functions as an intimate community that traverses online and offline spaces. In The Floating Flower: The City, the Migrant Woman, the Controversial Chinese-ness and the Contested Identity, Ying Liu discusses Hong Kong filmmakers and the contested relationship between Hong Kong and migrant women from mainland China after the “return” of Hong Kong to China in 1997. In Korean Women without Walls: Anarchy, Precariats, and Philia, Chungmoo Choi examines how recent films by Korean writers and filmmakers offer models of alternative community in lieu of the current polity form of nation-state.

Chair: Hyun Seon Park (Yonsei University)

Tian Li (University of California, Irvine): Gendered Screen Capitalism: A Shift of the Viewing Subject and Gender Positioning in Korean Popular Culture Show Abstract

 The gender-specific targeting strategy of “screen-capitalism” works as a national and transnational marketing device, as well as an emotional connector to form a female fandom within and outside of Korea. With the rise of this gendered screen-capitalism, from being spectacularized as the “to-be-looked-at” objects of male desire, female audiences have become the “to-cater-to” subjects consuming the Korean and Sino-Korean collaborative screen culture. As a major consumer sodality of Korean screen culture, Chinese female audiences and women’s studies have become a border-crossing mutual reference for studying the power of the screen. Through examining the Sino-US-Korea collaborative film Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, this paper discusses the formation of female friendship within the intertwined historical context and echoed feminist agenda, accentuating the need for contextualizing Chinese and Korean women within the complexity of social structures. In the film, the stories of two pairs of Laotong (老同sworn sisters for life), and their secret communications through a relatively unknown private sisterly language Nüshu (女书), written on silk fans, punctuates a shifting gaze on and from women. This gaze has been enabled by the gendered screen-capitalism that gives new possibilities of thinking about the idea of friendship, beyond the phallocentric and homo-fraternal schema. This paper delves into how the Sino-Korean female community has been personalized in the story of friendship between the Chinese girl Nina and the Korean girl Sophia in the film.

Anat Schwartz (University of California, Irvine): Embodied Feminism: Contemporary South Korean Feminism and Community-Building Show Abstract

 This paper interrogates transnational understandings of femininity, community, and the digital to argue that contemporary Korean feminist community-building has shifted in recent years to represent an evolving, intimate community which traverses online and offline spaces. By drawing on theory from affect theory, spatiality, and community-making, this paper argues that public spaces for activism and protest are not limited to the physical space of the city, or so-called designated official public spaces; rather, these porous spaces are transgressive and cross boundaries. In particular, the feminist experience online and offline is embedded and embodied by community articulations of what it means to be female and a feminist in Korean society, which is not bound by formal or structured boundaries. Crucially, the paper argues that the spatial relationship between feminist communities online and in person is not only physical and emotional. Rather, these spaces illustrate the ways in which the boundary between activist, participant, and audience is blurred in feminist spaces. By focusing on the prominent queer feminist community, Unninetwork, this paper will illustrate the ways in which feminist community boundaries are transient, and are in constant negotiation to (re)produce new meanings and understandings of feminism, community, and the meaning of space.

Ying Liu (Earlham College):  The Floating Flower: The City, the Migrant Woman, the Controversial Chinese-ness and the Contested Identity Show Abstract

 Over one hundred years’ separation from the mainland results in Hong Kong’s feeling of alienation and uprootedness relative to the “home,” China. The year of 1997 set the date of Hong Kong’s return to the homeland and its permanent farewell only to its colonial history, but not to coloniality, which causes Hong Kong to have to acquaint itself with the long- distant “homeland,” China. In order to understand the homeland, Hong Kong filmmakers gaze upon migrant people from mainland China. Among these compatriots but also strangers, the migrant woman, with her floating identity and sensitive idiosyncrasy, is capable of realizing Hong Kong filmmakers’ imagination of the mother country, therefore the migrant woman from mainland China has become a recurrent image in post-1997 Hong Kong cinema.

My paper is situated within the discussion of how Hong Kong filmmakers manifest their consideration of the Hong Kong-China relationship, through the influx of women from mainland China. The films that will be analyzed in this paper are Herman Yau’s True Women for Sale (2008), and Ann Hui’s Night and Fog (2009). These two Hong Kong films are based on actual social incidents, feature migrant women from mainland China and explore the complex relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China in the post-1997 era. This paper argues that, contrary to what some might think—that an increasingly integrated “Greater China” would gradually forge a newly integrated identity that highlights the “disappearance” of the boundary between Hong Kong and mainland China—these two films show that the boundary is not “disappearing” but rather is “re-appearing,” and is camouflaged through the re-negotiation, contestation, and destabilization of the very notion of “Chinese-ness,” if there is such a thing, or more concretel,y the consciousness of being Chinese. Hong Kong’s complex identity in contemporary Hong Kong cinema does not necessarily lead to the formation of a homogeneous and uncontested identity. This paper also contends that the “floating” status, as well as the sense of rootlessness of the migrant women from mainland China, as represented in the aforementioned two films, can be viewed as a metaphor of Hong Kong itself, a city with a floating peoplehood that is struggling to find its own place, identity, and a stable sense of belonging in an increasingly globalized world, characteristic of Hong Kong’s postcolonial and postmodern condition.

Chungmoo Choi (University of California, Irvine): Korean Women without Walls: Anarchy, Precariats and Philia Show Abstract

 This paper examines the ways in which the narrative of national motherhood is re-scripted in recent South Korean films in order to rethink some of the models of alternative community that South Korean writers and filmmakers offer in lieu of the current polity form of nation-state.

For instance, Bong Jun-ho’s film, The Host (2006) critiques the neo-colonial state of Korea and envisions an anarchist commune and his other film, Mother (2009) supports his vision by deconstructing what has been considered to be a sacred nationalist metaphor of sacrificial motherhood.  While Bong offers a model of masculinist homosocial community which requires radical rethinking, some of the films made by women directors, especially Lee Eon-hie’s recent film, Missing (2016), explore the possibility of alliances of precariats, liquefying national, ethnic, and class borders in a loosely organized and even nomadic community, rather than filiations within the solid spatio-temporal boundaries of the state that grants itself authority and power for military violence. The realization of such communities calls for an affective dimension of philia.


Panel 4: Challenges to Social and Religious Orders: Case Studies from Southeast Asia [room 503]

Chair: Ronit Ricci (HUJI)

Teresita Cruz-del Rosario (National University of Singapore): Balik-Islam Movement among Filipino Migrants in the Middle East and Southeast Asia Show Abstract

 Today, there are close to 3 million Filipino workers in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, serving as maids, caregivers, nurses, engineers, mechanics, and medical professionals. The narrative of globalization of labor and the demands of the labor market dominates most of the scholarship on Filipino migration, emphasizing their contribution to Philippine economy via remittances—a companion narrative of sacrifice and endurance.

Over the years, a social movement known as Balik Islam (Return to Islam) has formed relatively quietly among Filipino migrants in numerous countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. I argue that this social movement reflects a collective imaginary among converts to reclaim their lost Muslim heritage, interrupted by Spanish Catholic colonialism in the 16th century, thus their self-designation as “reverts” to their original faith. The yearning for Mecca as “home,” “redemption” and “resurrection” forms part of this imaginary. The final act of undertaking the pilgrimage to Mecca serves as a salve to constant dislocations in an impersonal and aggressive global economy, as a source of salvation from indulgence in otherwise forbidden behavior in foreign territories where the codes of behavior back home have been transgressed, and as a spiritual resurrection that permanently erases their Catholic past.

Yoshimi Miyake (Akita University): Talking about Tragic Experiences of September 30th 1965 Incident in Indonesia Show Abstract

 In this paper I will examine the grammatical features of Indonesian narratives of tragic incident victims, focusing on the use of proper nouns, pronouns, and di-forms. The data comes from my recordings of narratives by the victims of the 1965 purges. When Indonesian speakers describe their traumatic experiences, they start their narratives with di-forms as in (1).

  1. Saya diambil, dan saya dipukul.

I           di-take  and I     di-hit

‘I was taken and I was hit.’

On the other hand, when continuing to talk about an individual’s violent acts which were performed upon the narrator himself/herself, the narrator shifts to me-form as seen in (2).

  1. Apa mau      menanya,          tidak                 tahu      juga.

what     want     ask                  does not            know    either

‘What (he) wants to ask, he does not know, either.’

Mau pukul,       mau      menang….

want hit,           want     win

He wants to hit, he wants win.

I will analyze the frequency of di-forms and me-forms in my corpus of narrations of tales of violence penetrated against alleged communists during the events of 1965. I will also discuss the different forms of reference used for people who were involved in the incidents. A few individual variations, gender variations, and local variations should also be considered.

The second linguistic phenomenon I will discuss is their first person pronoun plural use. Differently from prototypical use of 1st PP PL. Inclusive and 1st PP.PL.Exclusive, the incident victims make complex differentiations between them. I will discuss how they associate their emotional distance with the pronoun use.

Giora Eliraz (University of Washington & The Truman Institute): The Challengeable Political Drama in Jakarta of Late 2016 and Early 2017: Post-storm Thoughts Show Abstract

 During late 2016 and early 2017, Jakarta was shaken by massive protests, organized by a coalition of hardline Islamic groups, marked by provocative religious and sectarian overtones, against the ethnic Chinese Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known as Ahok), who was formally accused then for blasphemy against Islam. Eventually, he was sentenced to two years in prison. Another chapter in this political drama was the gubernatorial elections in Jakarta of April 2017 and that were actually entangled with the former development. Thus, it came as no surprise that Ahok was defeated in the run-off election by the Muslim candidate. Religious symbols and motifs have played a significant role in the Indonesian politics of the contemporary democratic era, but this time, religion seems to have had a striking impact on the vote choice of the electorate.

This entire development offer an insightful mirror to the challenges faced by the Indonesian polity, in particular the process of building democracy in this huge Muslim-majority country, while raising diverse important questions related to essential issues such as: the sustainability of the formative values and concepts of the Indonesian polity concerning religious tolerance and pluralism, as well as separation of religion and state; the growing role played by Islamic actors in politics; the future of the moderate local brand of Islam; and the process of building democracy in the home of the largest Muslim population in the world.


Panel 5: Round Table: Bukharian Jewish Entrepreneurship in Central Asia and Effects of Globalization [room 403]

Supported by Yad Izhak Ben Zvi

Show Abstract
 Bukharian Jewish entrepreneurship is a phenomenon that has remained without much academic interest despite its remarkable history and surprising resilience under the migration phases and in diaspora. This population before and after its contemporary diaspora formations has had a particular characteristic regarding entrepreneurship: Bukharian Jews are highly entrepreneurial, even multi-entrepreneurial, while their family businesses continue over generations. They transfer knowledge and capabilities across time and locations. This is theoretically interesting, as diaspora experience creates discontinuity, introducing numerous impediments and bottlenecks. This diaspora has – after almost complete relocation of the population – been able to adapt economically, and maintain its cultural, linguistic, and social traditions significantly while setting up new businesses and livelihoods across far-flung locations. The case of the Bukharian Jewish diaspora may be instrumental in explaining how social and cultural capital enables entrepreneurship to emerge and grow. We ask, what are the take-aways for entrepreneurial diasporas and how does their learning supporting positive adaptation? For this important discussion turning an assumption on deficit into an advantage in line with positive organizational scholarship, we bring recognized scholars in this area to discuss and analyze the special nature of Bukharian Jewish businesses, entrepreneurship and diaspora from a multi-disciplinary perspective in a round-table panel of four experts on Bukharian Jewish expansion and one discussant reflecting other Jewish diasporas.

Chair: Maria Elo (Shanghai University, School of Economics) & Leo-Paul Dana (Montpellier Business School)


Imanuel Rybakov; Erez Katz Volovelsky (Tel-Hai College & Ben Gurion University)


Panel 6: The Military in Late Imperial China as Reflected in Stories of its Military Leaders [room 404] Show Abstract

 The Chinese military system underwent many changes throughout Late Imperial China. The three papers of the panel and the following discussion aim to illuminate some of these changes and transformations through stories of commanders who served in the military systems of the Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties (tenth to sixteenth centuries). In the first paper, Dagan Shimoni will present the formation of the Song military through the stories of two military leaders, Cao Bin and Wang Quanbin who were appointed to their positions by the founder of the Song dynasty. In the second paper, Vered Shurany will examine changes in the Yuan military and civil systems through the stories of the Dong military family, who were of Han Chinese origin and held posts in the three branches of power. Lastly, Barend Noordam will explore the changes that occurred in the military and civil systems during the Ming dynasty using the writings of Qi Jiguang, who was a descendant of a military family and a Neo-Confucian military commander.

Chair: Matanya Gill (HUJI)

Discussant: Danny Orbach (HUJI)

Dagan Shimoni (HUJI): Creating the Song Army: The Story of Two Military Leaders and their Part in Song Taizu’s (宋太祖, r. 960-976) Scheme Show Abstract

 In 964 Song Taizu sent an expeditionary army to conquer the Later Shu kingdom (蜀, 935-965), which was the first large mobilization of the Song Imperial Guard (jinjun 禁軍). This force featured new military leaders, following the renowned “relinquishing military command over a cup of wine” event, where Taizu allegedly convinced his comrades to step away from their military command.

The question of Song Taizu’s management of the Imperial Guard has been researched in China, Japan and the west, mostly dealing with broad institutional reforms or military maneuvers. This paper hopes to shed new light on the Song creation, through the examination of two important military leaders chosen by Taizu for the Shu campaign – Cao Bin (曹彬, 931-999) and Wang Quanbin (王全斌, 908-976), who played a significant role in its initial success. A better understanding of Taizu’s plan to strengthen the Imperial Guard while curbing its leaders’ power can be gained by showing how Taizu chose new men to lead his army, the system used to manage these leaders and his management scheme. Furthermore, long-term effects on Song government and military strength can become clearer.

Vered Shurany (HUJI): Between the Military and the Literati: The Case of the Dong Family Show Abstract

 The Mongol army played a leading role in the Mongol conquest of China that ended with the unification of China by Qubilai Qa’an (忽必烈 r. 1260-1294), who established the Yuan dynasty (元朝) in 1271.

This paper will examine the Dong family, who were of Han Chinese origin and served the Mongol dynasty for many years, mainly during the conquest of China. They were Qubilai Qa’an’s confidants, advisers, commanders, civil administrators and served in the palace. They are a unique example of Chinese commanders and Confucian advisers who became part of the new elite after the Mongol-Song war. They held important posts in the three branches of power of the dynasty: the Bureau of Military Affairs, the Secretariat and the Censorate.

Reexamining their biographies, while focusing on lesser-known members and their descendants, can provide better understanding of the role of Han Chinese—who became the new elite mainly through the military—in the conquest of China. It could also shed new light on changes in the army; its structure, function and allow us to better understand its success.

Barend Noordam (HUJI & Freie Universität Berlin): The Ming Military as Seen through a Neo-Confucian Lens Show Abstract

 One of the best-known Ming military men of the 16th century was Qi Jiguang (1528-1588), a scion of a hereditary military family. Despite being born into the military profession, which was known for its illiterate and culturally unrefined practitioners, Qi learned to read and write, composed poetry and prose, and became an art connoisseur. He stands as a prime example of a cultural Annäherung between civil and military officials during the mid-16th century, which has been brought to light by scholars such as Kathleen Ryor, Kai Filipiak, and Wang Hung-tai. Less well-known is Qi’s adherence to Neo-Confucianism, a sign that his acculturation to the civil side of the governance equation went even deeper. His son wrote in the preface of his chronological biography (nianpu) that he “was an indirect follower of Yangming (i.e. he did not learn from Wang Yangming himself)” and that “he assumed personal command of the refined and the vulgar having the spirit and appearance of a Confucian.” In my paper I will explore what kind of consequences this adherence had for Qi’s views of the Ming military, using his writings as evidence.


16:00-16:30 Coffee break



16:30-18:00 Session 8

Panel 1: Food for Thought: New Studies on Food and Society in Early China [room 502] Show Abstract

 This panel will present new research on food in Early China. The importance of food in Chinese culture can hardly be overstated, yet to date research on foodways in the Chinese past has focused on selected topics such as ancestor worship and ritual feasts, or the role of food in banqueting politics. Many studies forgo a contextual analysis of food and project contemporary and more recent foodways onto the deeper past, most notably when studying the development of what would become Chinese cuisine.

The research presented in this panel engages with the cultural, economic, environmental and sociological impacts of food in early China. Papers will explore the development of agriculture and its influence on early societies, the role cooking and communal eating played in the formation of social identities and the shifting boundaries between food and medicine in Chinese diet and cuisine.

Chair: Michael Shenkar (HUJI)

Yitzchak Jaffe (New York University): What do Barbarians Eat? Food and Society at the Fringes of the Shang and Zhou World Show Abstract

 The cultures inhabiting the Western fringes of the Shang and Zhou world are mostly seen as inferior and uncivilized. Archaeological work has been limited to studying mortuary practices and the association of material styles with historically mentioned groups. The Siwa culture寺洼 (1400-700 BCE), inhabiting modern day Gansu, has been identified as the Qiang 羌people—prized captives who were sacrificed by the Shang—or the Rong 戎and Di狄tribes, the marauding barbarian hoards who toppled the Western Zhou dynasty.

When they are mentioned in historical texts, food often plays an important role in their characterization as barbarians: They are those who consume more meat than grain and know little of ritual propriety, namely good dining etiquette. Even though little research has focused on foodways, Siwa people are reconstructed as practicing nomadic pastoralism. This paper presents the results of the first ever usewear study performed on the Siwa Ma’an jars马鞍from the site of Zhanqi, together with residue analysis of the carbonized food remains found in them. My findings provide novel data on the diet and cuisine of this community to present the culinary sophistication of the people living on the margins of the ancient Chinese world.

Gideon Shelach-Lavi (HUJI): Animals as Food and Animals as Symbols in Prehistoric Chinese Societies Show Abstract

 A well-known feature of Chinese religion and thought is its ‘humanistic’ nature. It is expressed, for example, by the cult of the ancestors (probably the most celebrated feature of Chinese religion) and by a philosophical preoccupation with man and his society. This image of a human-based worldview is often projected back into the prehistoric past. Thus, for example, David Keightley wrote about the “ancestral landscape” of the Shang period and Liu Li described the ancestor cult of the Neolithic. The fact remains, however, that very few human images are known from prehistoric China, and most of those that are known are from areas such as Sichuan or Manchuria, which were not at the core of the Chinese civilization. By contrast, images of animals are relatively common in Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites throughout China. The eminent archaeologist K.C. Chang suggested that these animal figures and decorations reflect a shamanistic religion, but he too based his interpretation on very few depictions of human figures and anachronistically projected back ideas from much later texts.

This paper addresses the question of humans-beasts relations in prehistoric Chinese society from a different point of view. It analyzes archaeological remains, which testify to the types of animals consumed by prehistoric societies in different parts of China. Based on this analysis it asks: how was the religion and worldview of those societies affected by their dietary choices and changes in the dietary habits through time? Is the process of domestication of animals reflected in prehistoric art and religion? Was a clear dichotomy between the ‘wild’ and the ‘human’ world created and reflected in prehistoric Chinese art?

Asaf Goldschmidt (Tel Aviv University): Food and Diet in Song Medicine Show Abstract

 Already from the first medical canon, the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, we find evidence regarding the importance of food and diet to maintain health. This canon begins with a discussion delineating how consuming the correct food according to each season will enable a person to stay healthy. This narrative continues in many medical canons through the centuries. However, did Chinese physicians actually adhere to these directives? Did a Chinese doctor, when encountering a patient in the clinical realm, base his diagnosis and treatment on food and diet? This paper will use a collection of case histories form the Song dynasty to answer these questions. By following the evidence that a literati physician left for posterity, we will discuss the role of food and diet in the clinical setting and show how this doctor used some of these doctrines when diagnosing and treating patients.


Panel 2: Urban Spaces in East Asia [room 501]

Chair: Min Zhang (HUJI)

António Barrento (SOAS, University of London): Visiting Nantong, Beibei, Canton and Nanjing: Ideal Urban Tourism in Republican China Show Abstract

 In Republican China, Nantong, Beibei, Canton and Nanjing stood out as multifaceted, overall enactments or visions of an idealized Chinese modernity, considered to embody the essential qualities of the new, progressive, republican China. Given these characteristics, they were to be visited as ideal urban settings. While these urban areas were not alone in attracting tourists by reason of modernity—this was also the case also with Shanghai or Tianjin, for instance—they were viewed as representing desired aspects of a modern China, were promoted as national models to be recognized or even followed, and accordingly reached out to travelers as places of day-to-day exceptionality and idealness. Seen as special places, and deemed therefore worthy of particular touristic attention, they were even to be described in terms of touristic preference or more significant touristic practice, as compared to other sites or at least some of them. Touristic practice did not, however, always follow such touristic discourse. This discrepancy is examined and interpreted in the wider historical context and as a sign of existing tensions during this period.

Erez Golani Solomon (Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design) & Michael Fisch (University of Chicago): The Place of Living and Non-Living in Contemporary Urban Japan Show Abstract

 This paper explores a specific iteration of the current re-design of places for the dead in Japan through the Buddhist temple Ruriko-in byakurenge-do, that fuses technology and architecture in an automated cinerarium. Designed by architect Kiyoshi Sey Takeyama, Ruriko-in is tucked behind a busy intersection a mere 170 meters from Shinjuku Station, in Tokyo. Like most temples in Japan the Shinjuku Ruriko-in offers a combination of community programs and burial services to the public. But it is primarily a graveyard with space for sale. At the core of the temple are two large burial vaults—charnel houses, of eight hundred cubic meters each, where cremation urns are housed in 7,500 containers—or ‘graves.’ The containers are stacked and retrieved for visitors by a cutting-edge automated system designed, installed, and maintained by Toyota L&F, a global leader in automated distribution center systems. When a visitor to the temple holds his or her IC card at an automated console located in the entrance hall, it initiates a process whereby a container housing a cremation urn is robotically retrieved from the columbarium and delivered to one of the temple’s “visiting windows”. The mechanical process involved in the retrieval and delivery of the container to the provisional grave is entirely hidden from the visitor. It is silent, rapid, and smooth, with the container arriving at the designated meeting room within one minute.

The paper explores the multiple levels through which Ruriko-in renegotiates the place of the dead in the space and time of the living in contemporary Tokyo. Specifically, we focus on the manner in which by virtue of its unique architectural form and its deployment of automated technologies, Rurikoin remediates the place of the grave in urban Japan while working to resolve current social and cultural concerns regarding the relationship, or rather lack thereof, with the deceased. Our argument is divided into two sections. In the first, we explore how Takeyama deploys an autonomy of architectural form able to counteract forces of urbanization that are perceived as producing a crisis of “relation-lessness” between the dead and living in Japan. The second section considers the logistical correlations between the container storage and retrieval technology in Ruriko-in and the commuter train network technology of Shinjuku Station. We are concerned with how the temple negotiates through its material architectural space the tensions and contradictions between the disparate modalities of logistics and mourning. We aim to show that through the temple space, these different modalities become not only enmeshed but also mutually reinforcing in a way that suggests a more complex relationship within society at large.

Helena Grinshpun (HUJI): The ‘Share House’: A New Territory of Intimacy in Contemporary Japan Show Abstract

 In Japan, the “share house” is a new residential format in which adult individuals share a living space, including common facilities, expenses, and daily routines. “Share houses” range from regular dwellings shared by a relatively small number of people, to quasi-communal forms in which tens of people reside in the same home with a strong social agenda of co-existence. While the concept of co-habitation with non-family members is in sharp contrast with Japan’s existing residential norm, the “share house” has been gaining unprecedented popularity, mainly among young working adults but recently also among the older generation.

The talk discusses how this new form of cohabitation addresses the mounting need for alternative networks of social belonging among Japan’s younger generation. It discusses the “share house” as a site in which new modes of intimacy are forged, along with new interpretations of “private” and “public”, “home” and “family.”


Panel 3: New Approaches in the Study of Hallyu: Korean Cultural Production and Export [room 405] Show Abstract

 The Korean Wave, better known as Hallyu, has spread globally over the past two decades. This development is especially noteworthy, given the fact that South Korea has been considered a peripheral country in terms of cultural production and export. This panel will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Korean cultural and media industries with a special emphasis on the Chinese market. Furthermore, this panel will also discuss the sort of lessons that could be learned from the Hallyu for global cultural and media industries.

Chair: Hwy-Chang Moon (Seoul National University)

Discussant: Nissim Otmazgin (HUJI)

Jimmyn Parc (Sciences Po Paris & Seoul National University): How has Hallyu Enhanced its Competitiveness? The Case of Korean Films and Dramas Show Abstract

 The level of competitiveness among Korean films and dramas has already been analyzed with the Diamond model approach (Parc and Moon, 2013). However, such a model does not explain how a given level of competitiveness can be enhanced—the “improvement dynamics” in cultural industries. This paper examines this question for two cultural industries: films and dramas. The Korean film and drama industries compete increasingly in sophisticated markets with more competent actors, larger investments, improved storylines, and a more elaborate management strategy. How have all these elements—which did not exist ten or fifteen years ago—been developed over recent years?

On the analytical front, this paper will explore what constitutes the core elements of the “improvement dynamics” in cultural industries and their interactions. This first contribution will provide useful lessons from a business management perspective. It will also suggest more effective policies for promoting the cultural sectors of specific countries. Finally, this paper will suggest the importance of the private sector’s role as advocates of the government’s role in order to promote a national cultural industry—thereby hopefully inducing more in-depth research related to Korean studies.

This paper will use the ABCD model developed by Moon (2012, 2015) which is very much complementary to the Diamond model of Porter (1990) and helps to explain national competitiveness. The ABCD model consists of four elements—agility, benchmarking, convergence, and dedication—which are able to explain in a more comprehensive and systematic manner the “improvement dynamics” of Korean companies in cultural industries. This can be explained through either their more effective use of their static comparative and competitive advantages or through their renewed efforts to overcome their disadvantages. As it was developed in an explicitly dynamic perspective, this model is particularly well designed to analyze the fast-growing and evolving Korean cultural industries.

Patrick Messerlin (Sciences Po Paris): China’s Restrictions on Cultural Products and their Expected Consequences on Korea Show Abstract

 Over the last decade, Hallyu products have become increasingly popular in China, and the Chinese government has increasingly expressed its concern about flagging Chinese cultural sectors. In recent years, the Chinese government has set up various restrictions on foreign dramas and films, particularly on those from Korea. Although the Chinese government believes that this is the best way to protect its cultural products, it is hard to predict the true impact of these measures on these products—as indeed suggested by the history of the Korean film policy (Parc 2014)—and on Korean cultural products and producers. The problem of China’s protection of its cultural industries is obviously of crucial importance for the Korean cultural industries concerned.

This study will begin by examining the impact of Hallyu on the Chinese cultural industry and then aim at assessing the various aspects of the influence of Chinese restrictions on Korean cultural products and producers—this impact may not be the same on products and producers. This paper will then discuss the various options that Korean cultural industries could implement to improve their performance in this new environment created by China.

The historical analysis of protectionism for Korea has been done by Parc (2014). In the 1960s, Korea set up several restrictions on foreign cultural contents, notably films. However, these measures did not work out effectively and in fact caused many negative side effects. Depending on data availability, the same methodology will be utilized in order to analyze the Chinese restrictions and protection measures facing Hallyu. Yet the Chinese case is much more complex than Korea thirty years ago because new factors should be taken into account, such as the relative size of the importers’ (China) and exporters’ (Korea) markets (the opposite situation to the Korea-U.S. case), the role of foreign direct investments and the role of massive technological changes.


Panel 4: Knowledge, Text and Religion in Central Asia [room 503]

Chair: Michal Zelcer-Lavid (Bar-Ilan University)

Chen Bram (HUJI): Engaging with the Sacred of the Other: Jewish-Muslim Relations in Central Eurasia Show Abstract

 This paper brings together several ethnographic accounts in which Jews or Muslims in Central Asia and in the Caucasus are taking part in—or engaging with—the other religious group’s sacred sphere. Examples are: a Muslim family who finds a sacred Jewish text and saves it until they are able to return it to Jews; the attitude of Muslims towards Jews when they meet them near the Jewish cemetery; Jews bringing Passover Matzah to Muslims and other examples. The different accounts are taken from field work in the Caucasus and Central Asia as well as from interviews with Jews who lived (or are still living) in these areas.

The interpretation of these encounters combines anthropological and historical analysis of intergroup relations in Central Eurasia in the Soviet and post-Soviet eras. The study relates the meaning of past experiences to current intergroup relations. It suggest that different kinds of “ritual exchange” of neighboring communities, as well as other informal practices, were central in constructing proximity between Jews and Muslims. The shared experiences of traditional Jewish and Muslim groups in these areas under the secular Soviet regime fostered this proximity.

This paper suggests that the different examples of ‘engaging with the sacred of the other’ in both areas reflect a pattern of ‘intergroup cultural intimacy,’ which allows the maintenance of social networks beyond religious and ethnic boundaries.

Michal Zelcer-Lavid (Bar-Ilan University): Modern Education and Literary Tradition: A Comparative View on the Development of Modern Uyghur and Tibetan Literature Show Abstract

 In 1949, illiteracy among both Uyghurs and Tibetans was similar to that throughout China and stood around 90%. Since then the rate of illiteracy in Xinjiang has shrunk considerably, while in Tibet it has remained the highest in China. These figures can explain the difference between the small volume of books and journals published annually in Tibet and the extensive literature that appears yearly in Xinjiang. A major reason for the high literacy rate and the emergence of thriving modern literature in Xinjiang is the system of modern education that developed in the region in the late 19th century. The flexibility of the Muslim establishment in Xinjiang, which allowed for the integration of new ideas, along with its openness to secular education, led to a national literary tradition that began to blossom in the early 20th century. In contrast, in Tibet the religious conservatism of the Buddhist elite prevented the introduction of modern education, while religious education was reserved mainly for monks. This comparison between two cultures which, from the perspectives of history, culture, language and religion, lived in independently managed territories during diverse periods, allows us to examine the continuity of Uyghur and Tibetan local cultures in the context of contemporary China.

Ahmad Azizy (Humboldt University of Berlin): ‘Dafn-i Qurān’ – Death and burial of texts. A Geniza-like practice in Afghanistan Show Abstract

 This lecture deals with the concepts and methods of the honorable disposal of worn-out (religious) texts in Islamic Central Asia. Muslims are generally well aware of the question of how to deal with unusable religious scripture. Beside washing and erasing, throwing in running water, putting in caves or in holy shrines and burning, a very prominent method in Central Asia is burying, which is called ‘dafn-i Qur’ān’ (lit. ‘burying the Qur’ān’). There have been very few attempts to investigate this phenomenon, which Joseph Sadan calls the “Islamic Geniza”. Based on materials from field research in Afghanistan in 2015 and 2016, this presentation is a structured approach to the death and burial of sacred scripture and takes into account text typology, the process and place of burying, and common rituals and practices related to this phenomenon in Central Asia in general and today Afghanistan in particular.


Panel 5: Borders and Culture in Late Imperial China [room 403]

Chair: Ori Sela (Tel Aviv University)

Yoichi Isahaya (JSPS & Rikkyô University): A Hidden Conduit to the Summit: Study on the Futianli 符天曆 in the Yuan Era Show Abstract

 In this paper, I will focus on the Futianli符天曆 [Astronomical System Tallying with heaven] in the context of knowledge circulation in the Mongol empire. The astronomical system was compiled by Cao Shiwei曹士蔿 in the middle of the Tang period (780-783). Being mainly for horoscopic astrology, itwas called a non-official system 小曆 (xiaoli), and was never officially adopted by any Chinese dynasty. However, in fact, it was quite current until the period of the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) in Chinese “folk astronomy,” and some officials at the Astronomical Bureau even referred to it for astrological annotations. In the Yuan era, the usage of this astronomical system extended to some “peripheries”—such as Japan and Iran—of the Mongol empire. On the other hand, the system was also designated as a text for the entry examination of the Yuan Astronomical Bureau, and some of the calculation methods were absorbed into the Yuan official astronomical system, Shoushili 授時曆 [Season-Granting Astronomical System]. The Futianli will provide us with a remarkable example to elucidate both the “horizontal” transmission of astral knowledge on a Eurasian scale and the “vertical” channel between the Yuan official and folk astronomy.

Zhou Sicheng (Peking University): How the Army of the Mongol Empire Plundered and Distributed Spoils of War: The Solution of “the Nurhachi Dilemma” and “the Clovis Dilemma” Show Abstract

 The traditional steppe arrangements to determine how spoils of war should be possessed and distributed among warriors are always reshaped with the rise and expansion of the nomad empires. This process is by no means a smooth one, where the “Nurhachi Dilemma” and the “Clovis Dilemma” often emerge, involving the seizing and allocation of spoils under the Khans’ control respectively. The rulers of the Mongol Empire, in order to resolve the former dilemma, promulgated decrees prohibiting the seizing of spoils during combat, which, according to the European and Islamic witnesses, were in most cases strictly followed by the Mongol army. However, the later dilemma was only partly resolved in the Mongol and Yuan Empire through the establishment of four principles for spoils distribution, namely, “hierarchy” and “portions” (as dominant principles), and “preemption” and “equality” (as repressed ones). This set of principles reveals how the tensions and contradictions between public authority and personal power in the development of the nomad empire were handled and manipulated at a quite tolerable level.

Ting-chih Wu (University of Pennsylvania): Perception of Landscapes at Borders: The Case of Ningxia in the Ming Period Show Abstract

 During the Ming period, Ningxia became an important defensive region along the borders of the Ming dynasty. Ningxia started to come into officials’ and literati’s horizons. Because of their activities in Ningxia, officials and literati created the “eight scenes” in Ningxia. Some literary works, such as poetic works, anecdotes, and gazetteer records, made reference to these landscapes at this border region. Through the examination of these textual records of the eight scenes, this paper shows the perception of landscapes in the Ming period.

The “eight scenes” recalled these officials’ and literati’s past memories in China’s hinterlands. Based on their memories, these literary works related to landscapes at borders that displayed human interactions with nature within a Chinese cultural framework. These literary works might show some departure from the actual landscapes at the borders. The departure lay in the conflict between images of China and the actual landscapes at the borders. The conflict also showed human emotional engagement with landscapes in specific circumstance. This paper argues that by writing these descriptions of border landscapes, these officials and literati built an imaginary connection the between borders and China’s hinterlands. By engaging Chinese people’s perception of landscapes at borders, we can understand how “China” is conceived at that time.

Liana Chen (George Washington University): Opera On the Road: The Imperial Theatre Troupe and The Court Administration of Qianlong Emperor’s Trips to Chengde, 1760s-1790s Show Abstract

 Many remarkable court theatrical performances took place in the Summer Palace in Rehe (present-day Chengde) during the Qianlong reign (1736-95) of the Qing Dynasty. The Summer Palace served as an alternative administrative center where the Qing rulers conducted ritual and diplomatic activities during their summer retreats there to strengthen their alliances with Mongol and Inner Asian leaders. By the mid-Qianlong period, theatrical performances had become an essential part of each and every aspect of this grand mission—recreational, ritual, or political—that the court sought to accomplish through its annual sojourn. My presentation examines the social and cultural significance of Emperor Qianlong’s excursions to Chengde through the lens of the court theatre’s activities. What was the institutional role of the court theatre in this mission? How did the court officials coordinate the travels of the court theatre troupe and orchestrate private and public performances during this annual summer retreat? How did the performance of court-commissioned operas reflect the ideological construction of Qing’s political discourses? I will use a variety of sources—including palace memorials, expenditure slips and literati jottings—to analyze the court’s administrative process in making the imperial theatre troupe a significant component of this annual trip.


Panel 6: ASI Film Expo @ Bloomfield Library’s Media Department, Room 32

Chair: Lihi Yariv-Laor (HUJI)

William A. Callahan (London School of Economics and Political Science): You Can See CHINA from Here Show Abstract

 Borders not only separate things, but are the place where people come together. This film examines how Chinese and non-Chinese people experience their encounters with the Other (and thus with their Self) at the Lo Wu Bridge, the iconic border between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Nadav Harel (Noprocess Films) and Arik Moran (University of Haifa): Chidra Show Abstract

The film is a first documentation of a human sacrifice ritual that takes place in a small village in the Hymalaya, Himachal Paradesh, India.  The act of human sacrificial killing is illegal today and only symbolically performed, the film examines the social and psychological constructs around this fascinating ritual.

Mirjam Lücking (HUJI) and Claudia Liebelt (University Of Bayreuth): Cycles of Care – Filipina Care Workers in Israel Return to Manila Show Abstract

Trailer from the 2011 documentary “Cycles of Care” by Lizza May David and Claudia Liebelt,

The documentary traces five women who have returned to Manila from migration to Israel, where they took care of children and the elderly in private homes. As carers, they were part of the large exodus of Filipinas, who leave their country to gain access to strong currencies and search for ‘greener pastures’ within a highly gendered global economy. Back in Manila, they struggle to make a living and reintegrate into their families, whom they left many years ago. Against the background of the humdrum of their everyday lives in the capital, they reflect on the outcomes of their journeys and remember their lives in Israel.

Speaking Hebrew and indulging in memories of pilgrimages to holy sites, kibbutz life and employers in the midst of homes that bear witness to their vast journeys, these women speak of the crossing of boundaries, not merely in a geographical sense. Taking care of their elderly mothers or grandchildren of daughters, who have now replaced them as the breadwinners of the extended family, they are part of an ongoing cycle of care.


18:15-19:15 Asia is Here! Asia in the Israeli Experience Will be held in Hebrew

For more information click here.

Moderator: Nissim Otmazgin (HUJI)
Participants: Ohad Nevo – Tourism; Dan Catarivas – Business; Eilona Ariel – Vipassana; Boaz Tsairi – Food culture

19:30-20:30 Dinner Reception @ in front of Truman Building

Korean food tasting and Korean alcohol sale