Aesthetics of Embodiment: Drama, Ritual, and Food in Traditional Sinitic Culture

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—A Conference in Honor of Professor Stephen H. West—

Conference Home

Time:            April 12 - 13, 2019 (8:30 am - 5:30 pm)

Venue:          Arizona State University, Tempe Campus 

                               West Hall 135 (April 12)

                               Heritage Room at University Club (April 13)

This is a conference in honor of Professor Stephen H. West, an occasion for colleagues, friends, and students to celebrate his achievements and contributions to the field of East Asian studies. With the theme of “Drama, Ritual, and Food,” 24 papers will be presented by Steve’s friends and students in related fields.

Conference Description

The cultural past of imperial China is predominantly represented by literary canons despite the fact that virtually all textual traditions stemmed from the context of every day and orality. Yet the canonization of an established tradition necessarily excludes what was considered not to be conforming to the elite standards—lost in the historical crevices are “minor” modes of cultural productions that captured the discursive, transient and incoherent plurality of everyday life happenings and interactions. Consequently, what is viewed as traditional Chinese culture cannot be complete without due consideration of its manifestations in everyday life. The cultural past of imperial China is predominantly represented by literary canons despite the fact that virtually all textual traditions stemmed from the context of every day and orality. Yet the canonization of an established tradition necessarily excludes what was considered not to be conforming to the elite standards—lost in the historical crevices are “minor” modes of cultural productions that captured the discursive, transient and incoherent plurality of everyday life happenings and interactions. Consequently, what is viewed as traditional Chinese culture cannot be complete without due consideration of its manifestations in everyday life.

To capture the elusive manifestations of everyday culture (the dispersed, erratic unfolding of happenings, interactions, and emotions in everyday life), it is important to examine its embodiments—the contingent, palpable forms through which we may be able to access the plurality of every day as it was actually lived and experienced. Drama, ritual, and food, as “three major legs of ordinary Chinese life” (Idema and West, 2010), lend themselves to a sustained inquiry into everyday life. Not only do these three elements extend across different social echelons, but they are also closely interconnected to project the kaleidoscopic complexities of the everyday—drama as a performance tradition engaging pivotal themes surrounding ritual and food; ritual as contextualizing schemes involving food and performance; and food asserting its own symbolic materiality in dramatic and ritualistic representations. Previous studies have tended to investigate drama, ritual, and food separately. This conference will bring these three facets of everyday life in dialogue with one another in order to understand these defining yet understudied dimensions of traditional Chinese culture. We hope to reveal how what seem to be mundane, spontaneous, and non-conformist had important bearings upon the sacrosanct, constant, and established instilled in state ideologies, moral values, and cultural ideals. We also aim at the unveiling, via such aesthetics of embodiment, the rules, tactics, fragmental yet fundamental inversions that opened up a productive habitat in the everyday.

Generously supported by:

  • Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation
  • Dean of Humanities, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Arizona State University
  • School of International Letters and Cultures, Arizona State University
  • Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of California, Berkeley
  • Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of California, Davis
  • Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, Ohio State University

Organizing Committee:

  •           Robert Ashmore (University of California, Berkeley)
  •           Yuming He (University of California, Davis)
  •           Xiaoqiao Ling (Arizona State University)
  •           Young Kyun Oh (Arizona State University)
  •           Patricia Sieber (Ohio State University)


Conference Schedule

April 11, Pre-Conference Reception, Memorial Union 228 Cochise, 4:30pm–6:00pm

 

April 12, West Hall 135, Morning sessions

 

8:00a.m.-8:30a.m.

Continental Breakfast (West Hall 135)

 

8:30a.m.-10:30a.m.

Panel 1: Ways of Looking at Drama

Chair: Robert Ashmore 羅秉恕 (UC Berkeley)

Regina Llamas 雷伊娜 (IE Universidad): “Where Precisely is the Theater in the Ritual?”

Julian Siyuan Wu 吳思遠 (Western Washington University): “Interpictorial Travels: A Study of the “Travel Scene” Illustrations in Chinese Performing Literature”

Wang Ayling 王璦玲 (National Sun Yat-Sen University): “Using Keys and Modes for a Legacy of Teaching: Yang Enshou’s Six Plays of Tanyuan and his Vision on Theater”

Will Hedberg (Arizona State University): “Why You Never Have Read a Work of Chinese Drama: The Invention of ‘Chinese Literature’ (Shina bungakushi) in Meiji-Period Japan”

 

10:45a.m.-12:45p.m.

Panel 2: Ritual of the Mundane

Chair: Yuming He 何予明 (UC Davis)

Robert Ashmore 羅秉恕 (UC Berkeley): “Loss, Performance, and Overflow in Jin Aesthetics”

Harrison Huang (Columbia University): “Squaring the Ordinary and the Ordained: Home Habits and Ritual Abodes in the Shishuo xinyu

Liu Yuan-ju 劉苑如 (Academia Sinica): “A Disciple in His Quest for the Way: Everyday Life of the Religious Practitioner in Zhou shi mingtong ji

Xiaoqiao Ling 凌筱嶠 (Arizona State University): “Sharp-Tongued Bride: Orality, Ritual, and Comedy”

 

1:00p.m. - 2:00p.m. 

Lunch (West Hall 135)

 

April 12, West Hall 135, afternoon session

 2:00p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Panel 3: Semiotics of Food

Chair: Xiaoqiao Ling 凌筱嶠 (Arizona State University)

Christian de Pee (University of Michigan): “Food for Thought: Competitive Consumption and the Withdrawal from the City in Eleventh-Century China”

Paola Zamperini 曾佩霖 (Northwestern University): “Pan Jinlian’s Dumplings: Aphrodisiacs, Delicacies, and Consumption in Jin Ping Mei

Young Kyun Oh 吳英均 (Arizona State University): “How to Eat (or How to Pretend to Know How to Eat) Culturally: Leishu, Food, and Literati Life”

Wilt Idema 伊維德 (Harvard University): “Ritual, Food, and Drama: Banquets in Court Drama of the Qing”

 

4:30p.m.-5:30p.m. Roundtable: Will Real Stephen H. West Stand Up?

 

Day Two, April 13, University Club (Heritage Room), morning sessions

 

8:00a.m.-8:30a.m.

Continental Breakfast (University Club, Heritage Room)

 

8:30a.m.-10:30a.m.

Panel 4: Embodied Aesthetics: Construction

Chair: Stephen H. West 奚如谷 (Arizona State University)

Meghan Cai 方耿美 (Grand Valley State University): “Six Degrees of Ouyang Xiu: Name-Dropping in Song Miscellany”

Hu Siao-chen 胡曉真 (Academia Sinica): “Female Chieftains’ Tribute Products”

Lee Fong-mao 李豐楙 (National Chengchi University): “The Observing Eye: Buddhist and Taoist Guard Gods and the Rites of Passage in Journey to the West

Hua Wei 華瑋 (Chinese University of Hong Kong): “The Golden Precepts of Exhortation from the Great Ceremonial Plays of the Qianlong Court and the Aesthetics of Excess”

 

10:45a.m.-12:45p.m.

Panel 5: Embodied Aesthetics: Disruption

Chair: Patricia Sieber 夏頌 (Ohio State University)

Kimberly Harui 春井雅子 (Calvin College): “Traveling Across a Landscape of Dreams: Jōjin’s Encounters with Memory and Place in Medieval China”

Karin Myhre (University of Georgia): “Performative Slips, Apprehensive Gaps: Communicative Obstacles in Yuan Songs”

Yuming He 何予明 (UC Davis): “Mundane Reading: Easy Poems and the Performance of Social Aggression”

Jiwon Shin 申智媛 (Arizona State University): “Odes to the West(ern Capital): Shijing Poems and the Future’s Past in Late Eighteenth Century Korea”

 

1:00p.m. - 2:00p.m.

Lunch (University Club, Heritage Room)

 

April 13, Heritage Room, University Club, afternoon sessions

2:00p.m.-4:00p.m.

Panel 6: Embodied Aesthetics: Creation

Chair: Young Kyun Oh 吳英均 (Arizona State University)

Xiaojing Sun 孫小靖 (Loyola Marymount University): “Festival, Ritual, and Performance: Literati and the ‘Musical Words’ (yueyu) of the Song”

Patricia Sieber 夏頌 (Ohio State University): “Up, Down, Left, Right: Chinese Theater, Song-Drama Publications, and the Printed Image”

Guo Yingde 郭英德 (Beijing Normal University): “Guardians of Civilization: Drama-related Activities of Wang Shimin’s (1640–80) Clan from Taicang”

Tina Lu 呂立亭 (Yale University): “Reading, Rereading, and Yizhongyuan

 

4:30p.m.-5:30p.m.

Roundtable: Drama, Ritual, and Food

 

6:30p.m.-9:00p.m.

Banquet