Conference Commemorates Eastern’s Dr. Lynch

On September 9 and 10, a weekend workshop took place in the Humanities Institute on UConn’s campus in Storrs that honored the work of Professor Catherine Lynch (1949-2015), who taught history at Eastern from 1995 to 2007. Co-organized by Peter Zarrow (UConn) and Bradley Camp Davis (Eastern), the workshop, titled “Nation, Race, and Survival: Transnational Discourse and Activism in the Construction of the East Asian Modern,” brought together scholars from across the United States, Canada, Europe, and China . A summary of the workshop, and an explanation about what historians do at workshops, follows.

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After welcoming remarks by Cathy Schlund-Vials, Professor of English and Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute (UConn), Gu Hongliang (East China Normal University) presented a thoughtful summary of Professor Lynch’s forthcoming book, Liang Shuming and the Populist Alternative in China. Forthcoming from Brill next year, Professor Lynch’s book examines how Liang Shuming, a twentieth century intellectual who sought to develop an approach to social reform based in the Chinese countryside, produced a populist understanding of political change in the decades before the communist revolution in China. As Professor Gu made clear in his remarks, Professor Lynch’s work engages with some critical questions in English-language scholarship, but will also reverberate in the Peoples Republic of China, where studies of Liang Shuming have become quite popular since the 1990s. Professor Gu also announced that he will soon finish editing a series of interviews, comprising dozens of hours, that Professor Lynch conducted with Liang Shuming in Beijing before his death in 1988. These interviews will be published in the coming years.

 

Peter Zarrow, Professor of Chinese history (UConn), then offered his thoughts on Professor Lynch’s work and on Gu’s remarks, which set the tone for the workshop.“Crafting the Image of the Public Leader out of the Chinese Crisis, ” a keynote talk by Rudolf Wagner (University of Heidelberg and Harvard University) analyzed the ways in which visual culture and references to George Washington (yes, that George Washington) played a significant role in nineteenth century Chinese political discourse.

 

Over the next two days, in morning and afternoon sessions and over lunch, coffee, and dinner, workshop participants discussed each other’s essays. Essays ranged from dissertation chapters from the two Ph.D. Candidates (graduate students finishing dissertations) to article drafts or book chapters from other historians. This particular workshop  involved brief presentations (10 mins) of pre-circulated essays (20-30 pages) followed by open discussion.

 

The workshop concluded with a feedback session chaired by Joshua A. Fogel, Professor and Canada Research Chair at York University. Professor Fogel reviewed each paper and offered detailed comments to individual authors, leading to discussion about common themes among the essays. After concluding the workshop, the organizers (Zarrow and Davis) discussed a follow up meeting next year. Professor Wagner also proposed that interested participants submit their essays for publication in journals, offering some advice about which journals might be interested.

 

A full list of the papers and authors is below.

 

 

Workshop: “Nation, Race, and Survival: Transnational Discourse and Activism in the Construction of the East Asian Modern,” UConn Humanities Institute, September 9-10, 2017

 in honor of the memory of Professor Catherine Lynch, 1949-2015

 

Essays and Authors

 

 

Session One 

-Bradley Camp Davis (Assistant Professor, Eastern Connecticut State University), “The Task of the Transliterator: Writing and Culture in Late Imperial Vietnam”

-Vinh Quoc Nguyen (Ph. D. candidate, Harvard University). “From dynastic nemesis to national hero: The rehabilitation of Nguyễn Huệ in Hán-Nôm historiography in early 20th-century colonial Vietnam”

 

Session Two 

-Wen Yu (Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University), “Defining Antiquity in a Global World: Kang Youwei and the Making of a Progressive Intellectual Culture in Late Qing”

-Wynn Gadkar-Wilcox (Professor, Western Connecticut State University), “Particularity and Universality in the Adaptation of Reformist and Modernist Ideas in the Vietnamese Examination System, 1904-1919”

 

Session Three

-Joshua Van Lieu (Associate Professor, LaGrange College), “Korean Translations of Vietnam: Relocating the Great Han Empire in World Historical Precedent”

-Eileen Vo (Assistant Professor, Gallaudet University), “Đồng Sỹ Hứa: (1915-2004), A Radicalized Interpreter: Mediating and Translating Conflict on a French Plantation in the New Hebrides”

 

Session Four 

-Douglas R. Howland (Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), “The Territorial Foundations of the Sovereign State in East Asia”

-Alexis Dudden (Professor of History, University of Connecticut), “Politics of Empire”

 

Session Five

-Rebecca Karl (Professor of History, New York University), “He-Yin Zhen and Anarcho-Feminism in China at the Turn of the Twentieth-Century”

-Victor Zatsepine (Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut), “Training for Revolution: Chinese Students in Moscow in the 1920s”