Archives conférences EUR

Retrouvez ici, les conférences qui ont eu lieu dans le cadre du programme graduate school lancé en 2021-2022.

Conférences 2021-2022



Yale University

Speculation speculation: Everyday views of Property Investors, Urban Planning, and Developers in Ho Chi Minh City



U. of California, Irvine

Unplanned Obsolescence: On the Future of Utopias Past


Sheldon GARON

Princeton University

Five Things You’d Want to Know in Explaining Japan’s Surrender in 1945



U. de Liège

Playing with visibility and the politics of recognition in authoritarian context. The case of workers’ grassroots collective in China.


Seung Yung KIM

Kansai Gaigo U.

From Entente to Estrangement: Japanese-French Diplomacy from 1905 to 1933


NI Zhange

Virginia Tech.

Posthumanism and the Internet-based Popular Novels in Postsocialist China


Barbara WALL

U. of Copenhaguen

A graphical approach to the story universe of The Journey to the West

Conférence annulée et repoussée à une date ultérieure



University of Turku

Approaching neighborhoods and marketplaces ethnographically: an anthropologist with Korean shopkeepers.

Conférences 2022-2023

Fragrant Frontier: Spice Stories from the Vietnamese Uplands 

Conférencier : Annuska Derks (University of Zurich)

Spices have connected and transformed the environments, politics, economies and cuisines of vastly different societies around the world. Despite their widespread availability, not much is known about the origins of many of the spices we keep in our kitchen cabinets, the people who cultivate them, or the routes they take from local farms to supermarkets around the world. In this talk, I seek to demystify the roots and routes of contemporary spices from the Vietnamese Uplands. Focusing in particular on ‘cinnamon’ and star anise, I will pay attention to the various actors, interventions and imbalances as well as the tactics of (de)commodification along the spice chains. While underlining distinctiveness has become a central element in creating value in a highly competitive and volatile global spice market, efforts to produce distinctiveness are contradictory and constantly negotiated. Tracing Vietnamese star anise and ‘cinnamon’ therefore provide fascinating cases for exploring the intersections of the lived practices of spice cultivation and the global market for ‘exotic’ spices.

Annuska Derks is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Zurich. Annuska has conducted extensive research in Southeast Asia and has a special interest in questions of social change, mobility and inequality. Her earlier research focused on migration and transnationalism; labour, bondage and trafficking; as well as on gender and sexuality in Cambodia and Thailand. Her recent projects examine processes of development and change through a material lens and explore the movements and entanglements of things and people by tracing the social lives of everyday objects and spices in Vietnam. Her newest project looks into the making of innovation in Vietnam, in particular in relation to renewable energy and its power to shape the daily lives, social relations and aspirations of people, often with very unequal outcomes.

A graphical approach to the story universe of The Journey to the West

Conférencier : Barbara Wall (University of Copenhagen)

The urge to find the authentic original of a story seems to be a universal longing. Recently, narratologists like Barbara Herrnstein Smith, but also experts for East Asian literatures like Michael Emmerich or Lena Henningsen draw our attention away from the often unknowable original and instead towards the variants of a story. While this suggestion brings a breath of fresh air to the field of narrative studies, it also poses a fundamental problem. If a story does not necessarily exist as a static original, but is comprised of many variants, how should we then imagine the story? This presentation proposes imagining the story not as a separate static unit, but rather as a story cloud that includes all variants and changes its form when new variants join, or old variants fall into oblivion. The main aim of this paper is therefore to find ways to make story clouds more graspable through visualizations. Specifically, for this endeavor we will focus on one of the most popular story clouds in East Asia, The Journey to the West. Methodologically, we draw on Tim Tangherliniäs actant-relationship model, which we will apply to variants of The Journey to the West and use the data to visualize the story cloud, especially its actantial core.

Barbara Wall is Associate Professor in Korea Studies at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen. With an academic background in China Studies, Japan Studies and Korea Studies, Barbara mainly works in the field of narrative studies. She is especially interested in the circulation, translation and adaptation of literary works of fiction in East Asia.


Chinese Workers Under Economic Upgrading: Assessing the Social Impact of Automation and Digitalization

Conférencier : Chris Chan, (Royal Holloway, University of London)

To tackle internal and external challenges, the Chinese government has made great efforts to promote economic upgrading with the strategies of automation and digitalization, but little scholarly attention has been paid to its social consequences. This presentation will evaluate the impact of economic upgrading on working conditions and livelihood of migrant workers in the Pearl River Delta. It is found that social upgrading does not follow economic upgrading, but migrant workers use strategies of resistance, re-employment, reskilling, reducing living costs, relocation to other cities, and returning to farming to survive during the economic restructuring.


Chris Chan is a Senior Lecturer in School of Business and Management, Royal Holloway, University of London. His research focus is on work and employment in China and Asia. He graduated with a MA in Comparative Labour Studies and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Warwick. Prior to relocation to the UK in 2022, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Director of Center for Social Innovation Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Lighter and Darker Aspects of the Nobel Prize in Literature

Conférencier : Inoue Takashi (Shirayuri University)

Nobel laureates are not chosen purely on their supposed literary superiority. The nomination-selection process also hinges on nonliterary, and sometimes unworthy reasons. Yet, we should still value this prize which enhances literary activities from writers and challenges them to produce original texts. I will illustrate my point through the example of four famous Japanese (or Japan-related) writers: Kawabata Yasunari, Mishima Yukio, Oe Kenzaburo and Kazuo Ishiguro. 


Takashi INOUE is a professor of modern and contemporary Japanese Literature at Shirayuri University. He is a renowned specialist of Mishima Yukio and has notably edited the most recent edition of Mishima complete works. Published in 2020, his updated biography on Mishima was awarded the prestigious Yomiuri Prize for Literature (Yomiuri Bungaku-shô).  In his recent research, Takashi INOUE considers modern Japanese literature from the viewpoint of World Literature.

Digital History: The Japan Biographical Database

Conférencier : Bettina Gramlich-Oka (Sophia University, professeur invitée UPCité)

In this talk I address some of the recent developments in the field of digital history in Asian Studies. Special focus is my ongoing network studies project and the online database “Japan Biographical Database.” Online biographical databases are recent digital tools that allow to conduct network analysis and prosopography. Whereas my own research is the specific time and place of the Tokugawa period (1603–1867), the methodological approach can and is also applied to other regions and time periods in Asia. Since its beginning in 2010, the Japan Biographical Database has steadily grown and various other projects have joined. An overview of the database, its potential, and many functions will hopefully spur further interest in this new kind of research that also can be applied to the classroom.


Bettina Gramlich-Oka is Professor of Japanese History at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University. Some of her publications include Thinking Like a Man: Tadano Makuzu (Brill, 2006) and the coedited volume Economic Thought in Early Modern Japan (Brill, 2010). In the past years, her research centers on the exploration of networks of the Rai family from Hiroshima during the Tokugawa period. The development of the online Japan Biographical Database ( is part of this endeavor, as well as the coedited volume with Anne Walthall, Miyazaki Fumiko, Sugano Noriko, Women and Networks in Nineteenth Century Japan (University of Michigan Press, 2020). Gramlich-Oka is currently the chief editor of Monumenta Nipponica.


The K-body: Corporeal Management and New Masculinity in South Korea

Conférencier : Kenneth Sewoong Koo (Korea Exposé)

The recent emergence of South Korea as a new center of global popular culture has meant that the ideals of the physical self as presented by such products have fueled arguments for creation of an alternate, more affirmative 21st-century corporeal standard, not least in light of the putatively Korean mode of masculinity, and feminity by extension, as models that delegitimize outdated notions of gender identity, in particular ‘toxic masculinity’ of the yore.
In examining the discourse of corporeal management in South Korea over the past two decades, this lecture calls into question this ostensibly liberating aspect of the new, so-called ‘Korean masculinity’ and explores an increasingly onerous regulatory regime that envisions the birth of a new docile consumer base.

Se-Woong Koo is founder of Korea Exposé, an independent media outlet that operated from 2014 to 2019 with a focus on the Korean Peninsula. He earned his PhD from Stanford University, and has been a postdoctoral research fellow at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, a Henry Hart Rice Foundation Faculty Fellow and Lecturer at Yale University, and a member of the faculty at the Asian University for Women. He currently works as an independent researcher and contributes to The New York Times, BBC, The New York Magazine, Al Jazeera and other publications on the topic of Korean society and politics.

Rejuvenating Communism. Youth Organizations and Elite Renewal in Post-Mao China

Conférencier : Jérôme Doyon (University of Edimburg, Lecturer in the International Relations of East Asia)

Vendredi 10 mars à 17h30

Despite the decreasing importance of ideology and the alternative career options provided by a liberalized employment market, working for the administration remains one of the most coveted career paths for young Chinese. What motivates young and educated Chinese to commit to a long-term career in the party-state? These issues are central to the Chinese regime’s ability to renew its elite, maintain its cohesion, and survive. In this talk, Jérôme Doyon presents his new book, Rejuvenating Communism (University of Michigan Press, 2023), which examines how young Chinese officials’ political commitment and ambition are cultivated.

Jérôme Doyon is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for International Relations (CERI) at Sciences Po Paris. . Prior to joining Sciences Po, he held fellowships and positions at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Oxford School for Global and Area Studies, the University of Edinburgh, and the SOAS China Institute.

Environnement et autochtonie chez les Thổ du Vietnam sous les Nguyễn

Conférencier : Bradley Camp-Davis (Eastern Connecticut State University)

Beginning in the 1820s, the Vietnamese empire under the Nguyễn intensified its control over territory through several changes in policy. For Khmer people in the Mekong Delta and many Tai communities in the Northwest, the imperial authorities used the label « thổ » 土. As this presentation explains, this term became a more than just a label to distinguish Việt and non-Việt groups. It also provided a conceptual grounding for an imperial discourse of indigeneity (autochthonie), one with deep resonances beyond the nineteenth century.

Bradley Camp-Davis is an Associate Professor in Eastern Connecticut State University. A historian of imperial China and Southeast Asia, his work crosses boundaries of geography and discipline, combining ethnographic research with archival sources to investigate the histories of communities in the uplands of the China-Southeast Asia borderlands.

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