Sunday, November 14, 2010

DPP ad and the use(lessness?) of cultural memory

I saw the following DPP political ad on Michael Turton's blog:

There are some interesting comments to his post about whether or not this ad will work. There are elections coming up at the end of the month here, and as usual, they're hard-fought. I've seen lots of ads talking about what this or that candidate is going to do for his or her constituency. Some people commenting on Turton's blog fault this ad for its focus on the past rather than on the future. The ad makes sort of a gesture toward the future at about 0:59 where it notes that politicians who have now run for president were "against presidential elections in the past," implying perhaps that President Ma (whose face is shown at this point, though he's not named) is not to be trusted. And perhaps there's a sense, for those who know the history, that a democratization so recently won is fragile and can be easily lost.

The question, though, is what kind of effects can be expected (and achievable) from a political ad that depends on fragments of cultural memory to motivate parents of twenty-somethings to gather up those fragments and pass them on to their children. The question implied by the blog comments might be best phrased as, quoting rhetorician Gerard Hauser, "whether the distance between the contracting relevance of the past and the fading horizon of the future precludes the possibility that we can still establish bonds of community"--and what kind of community we might establish. To be apathetic to the past portrayed in this ad is not even to disagree about the factuality of the events portrayed, but simply to refuse to identify with the kind of community the ad seems to be trying to create.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

CFP DUO V conference Okinawa, JAPAN August 4-8, 2011

The focus of Dialogue Under Occupation V is on ways of communicating in and about areas of the world confronting occupation. Engaging in 'dialogue' under occupation does not mean that the less powerful or powerless are accepting the occupation in any way, shape, or form, but that people are willing to confront their occupiers in an effort to be recognized as having equal human rights, including the ability to make autonomous decisions about how they should live and pursue their own definition of happiness. However, 'under occupation', these rights are undermined by the power differential between the occupier and the occupied.

As a result, if dialogue under occupation is to succeed in overturning injustice, circumstances must be created for the occupied to speak and act against occupation. It is within this space for action that we welcome presentations from activists, academics, and the general public for the forthcoming conference in Okinawa in August 2011.

Send submissions in English or Japanese to

For all proposals, send an abstract of 250-300 words and a separate cover sheet including your name and organizational affiliation by January 14, 2011


Please identify which of the following four strands best relates to your presentation.

Enactment: The domains wherein the politics and policies of occupation are enacted, realized through institutions attributed with and exercising power over other institutions and the public (e.g., governments, religious organizations, education departments and agencies).

Transaction: The domains wherein information about policies is reproduced, disseminated, endorsed, and/or challenged in an effort to inform (or misinform) the occupied and the occupiers (e.g., media sources, schools, churches).

Reaction: The domains wherein daily life under occupation occurs (e.g., the community, the workplace), loci where positioning of the "self" vs. the "other"--ingroup, outgroup, and/or intergroup status--transpires, and where historical narratives of occupation are revisited.

Resolution: The locus of peacemakers and peacekeepers, those who would peaceably resist occupation and find ways to resolve conflict, as well as those who advocate resignation, acceptance, and coexistence.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

CFP: LAST CALL De-Centering Cold War History: Street Level Experiences & Global Change, Tucson Arizona, Nov. 4-7, 2010

Cold War histories are often told as stories of national leaders, state policies and the global confrontation that pitted a Communist Eastern Block against a Capitalist West. We acknowledge the important consequences of this global competition, of the arms race, and of international diplomacy and detente, but we seek to bring together scholars who contribute new analytical approaches to reveal the complexities in the historical trajectory of the Cold War. To this end, we plan to engage in a collaborative effort to present and publish a street-level history of the global Cold War era. As three collaborators from different fields, we issue this CFP first for a Conference Presentation at the University of Arizona (November 4-November 7, 2010). Second, we will publish selected conference presentations in a Special Edition Journal. We invite contributions that challenge Cold War master narratives with a focus on super-power politics and de-center a historical narrative that situates the Soviet Union and the United States at the core and the rest of the world in the periphery. Your analytical approach should consider local-level experiences and regional initiatives that contributed to the making of a Cold War world; all geographical regions are welcome and cross-disciplinary approaches are encouraged. Our primary goal is to inspire a fruitful dialogue and new forms of collaboration among interdisciplinary scholarly approaches and to forge new research directions in the study of the Cold War.

At the Conference, we envision a combination of intensive workshops among participants, as well as panels and presentation open to the public. We ask Conference participants to arrive by Thursday. Friday and Saturday will be structured around presentations for the public in the mornings (Friday and Saturday, 9:00 10:45 AM and 11:15 to 1:00 PM), and workshops with participants in the afternoons (Friday and Saturday, 3:00 to 6:00 PM). Conference participants (and journal contributors) will receive reimbursement for travel to Tucson, Arizona, to attend the Conference; this invitation will include food and accommodation (three nights) on location.

Please send your 500-word proposal for an individual presentation and a short curriculum vitae (latest by August 25, 2010) to:

Project Director:
Jadwiga Pieper Mooney (Department of History, University of Arizona)

Fabio Lanza (Departments of History and East Asian Studies, University of Arizona)

Elizabeth Oglesby
(Departments of Geography and Latin American Studies, University of Arizona)

In your proposal, please indicate your name, institutional affiliation, address, e-mail address and what kind of audiovisual equipment you will need, if any.

Selected participants will be informed by September 15, 2010.

Project Director:
Jadwiga Pieper Mooney (Department of History, University of Arizona)

Fabio Lanza (Departments of History and East Asian Studies, University of Arizona)

Elizabeth Oglesby
(Departments of Geography and Latin American Studies, University of Arizona)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Amazon Meme

A couple of blogs I read have had posts up about their writers' first Amazon purchases, so I thought I'd check out my own for a minute. Actually it took more than a minute, and in the process I found out that somehow I've got two Amazon accounts. Anyway, I tracked down my first purchase. It's a bit weird:

My first purchase, which was shipped on August 19, 1996, was Wade Davis's Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie I think I'd just seen Wes Craven's awful movie, The Serpent and the Rainbow, on cable. The book is pretty interesting, though!

My second purchase, shipped August 17, 1996 (probably the same purchase) was Sven Birkerts's The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age. Together with the Davis book, that's a weird combination. I vaguely remember reading that book. Anyone still read it?

The summer of 1996 was the first time I stayed in Taiwan for the whole summer. That summer, I studied Chinese at the Chinese Language Center at Feng Chia U. I also bought a car, a 1990 Ford Laser--it only cost NT$70,000. I guess I needed some reading materials for all the time I ended up spending at the auto mechanic.

It looks like I haven't bought anything for myself from Amazon in years. Their shipping to Taiwan is too expensive, for one thing. I prefer BetterWorldBooks now... (little plug--if you're interested in those 2 books, check out BWB first.)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

CFP: Travelling Languages

Travelling Languages:
Culture, Communication and Translation in a Mobile World

10th Annual Conference of the International Association of Languages and Intercultural Communication

In association with the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Leeds Metropolitan University

03-05 December 2010, Leeds, United Kingdom

The world is ever 'on the move'. The opportunities and challenges of both real and virtual travel are very much at the heart of the emergent interdisciplinary field of 'mobilities', which deals with the movement of peoples, objects, capital, information and cultures across an increasingly globalised and apparently borderless world. In the practices, processes and performances of moving – whether for voluntary leisure, forced migration or economic pragmatism – we are faced with the negotiation and re-negotiation of identities and meaning relating to places and pasts.

Within the increasing complexities of global flows and encounters, intercultural skills and competencies are being challenged and re-imagined. The vital role of languages and the intricacies of intercultural dialogue have largely remained implicit in the discourses surrounding mobilities. This Conference seeks to interrogate the role of intercultural communication and of languages in the inevitable moments of encounter which arise from all forms of 'motion'.

This international and interdisciplinary event is the 10th anniversary conference of the International Association of Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC) and is being organised in association with the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change. Through this event we aim to bring together many of the sub-themes of previous IALIC conferences and focus upon the issues of culture, communication and translation in a mobile world, including: languages and intercultural communication in local and global education, tourism, hospitality, migration, translation, real and virtual border-crossings.


We are pleased to receive 20–minute research papers or descriptions of pedagogical practice which address or go beyond the following themes:

• Moving languages - continuities and change;

• Real and virtual border crossings;

• Tourist encounters and communicating with the 'other';

• Tourism's role in inter-cultural dialogue;

• The languages of diasporas and diasporic languages;

• Dealing with dialects and the evolution/dissolution of communities;

• Hospitality and languages of welcome;

• Learning the languages of migration;

• Linguistic boundaries and socio-cultural inclusions and exclusions;

• 'Located' and 'dislocated' languages and identities;

• Practices and performances of translation.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words including title and full contact details as an electronic file to Jane Wilkinson at IALIC2010[at] You may submit your abstract as soon as possible but no later than 1st June 2010.

Please send any queries to us at IALIC2010[at]

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

CFP: The 4th Conference on College English, National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

Call for Abstracts
The 4th Conference on College English
College English Programs: Design and implementation
National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan

The 4th Conference on College English will be held by the Foreign Language Center of National Chengchi University (NCCU) on Saturday 16th October 2010. Teachers and researchers in ELT/TESOL are invited to offer scholarly papers on teaching and learning English at college or university level. The theme for this year’s conference is College English Programs: Design and implementation.

Undergraduate English programs are an important part of General Education, with an additional mission of cultivating abilities necessary for students’ future academic and career development. Freed from restrictions of college entrance examinations, educators have considerable choice and autonomy. Universities, with their various objectives and student populations, have different needs, in terms of materials and methods, curriculum guidelines, instructor deployment, number of credit hours, ability grouping, course content, and exit benchmarks. Therefore, English education policies at the university level vary from institution to institution. These valuable experiences could profitably be shared and discussed in a forum among scholars from different university contexts. The 4th Conference on College English will provide a forum for all those involved with College English/Freshman English program design and implementation, whether policy makers, course planners, research personnel or teachers at the chalkface, to present their work.

We welcome individual paper presentation and panel discussion proposals which are related to the above issues, as well as papers on any other aspect of English taught as a foreign language at tertiary institutions. Please send your 250-500 word abstract, as an email attachment (Word or PDF document), to flcenter [at] Also please download and complete this biodata form, and attach it to the email.

Important dates:

Abstract submission deadline: 11th July 2010

Abstract acceptance notification: 11th August 2010

The 4th College English Conference: 16th October 2010

Full paper submission deadline (for post-conference Proceedings): 16th December 2010

Enquiries: Ms Derya Liu, (02) 2939-3091 ext. 62396

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CFP: Research on Research


An ESL/EFL perspective on this would be interesting, I think.
3.6 zettabytes. 34 gigabytes. 100,500 words a day. 11.8 hours a day. 350% increase over three decades.

As these numbers from a recent study suggest, students' research processes and information literacy skills are being challenged by the nature and volume of information in the digital age. In the 2008 report published by University College London, Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future, several common computer uses and information behaviors of young people are identified, behaviors the researchers find quite concerning: lack of understanding of their information needs; preference for basic search engines like Google rather than article databases; use of natural language terms instead of subject terms or keywords; quick scanning and skimming of information sites; little or no evaluation of the quality of the information used; and cutting and pasting information into papers without providing the correct citations.

Head and Eisenberg (2009) report from their discussions with groups of college students from six different US campuses that students believe the challenges of conducting research for both school assignments and personal uses are exacerbated by digital information. Head and Eisenberg note that students “reported having particular difficulty traversing a vast and ever-changing information landscape.” Bauerlein (2008) takes this idea a step further, as he believes students’ frustration has caused them disconnect from their education. Of this, Bauerlein writes, “With so much intellectual matter circulating in the media and on the Internet, teachers, writers, journalists and other ‘knowledge workers’ don’t realize how thoroughly young adults and teens tune it out.”

Despite the amount of discussions and research occurring outside of composition studies, conversations in the field on students as digital researchers remain limited, with most attention still being paid to the product of students' research--the research paper--and specifically to the popular topic of plagiarism and how students’ research skills and research writing skills are inadequate. Compositionists have long considered and studied in depth the impact of computer use, multimedia, and the Web on students as writers, yet little work has been published on students as researchers in the digital age.

Therefore, we are seeking essays to complete an edited collection on research in the digital age that provide answers to the following questions:

• What strategies are students using to conduct research in the digital information age? In what ways can composition teachers help students build on, adapt, and revise these strategies in productive ways?
• What methodologies are available to composition teacher-scholars to better understand students’ research-based writing in the digital information age?
• How might composition teachers help students apply their non-academic research strategies to academic work?
• In what ways might composition teacher-scholars frame discussion of digital research to move beyond anxiety, fear, and blame? That is, how can we help students and teachers most effectively navigate digital research-writing spaces rather than just avoid them?

We seek essays addressing these and other questions, including projects that may take advantage of digital affordances (audio, video, etc.). We encourage potential contributors to consider both the process and product of student research writing in the digital age.

If you are interested in contributing to this collection, please send a 500 word abstract of your proposed essay to Dr. Randall McClure at randallmcclure [at] by July 1, 2010. Queries are welcome.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

CFP: Rhetoric and Writing across Language Boundaries

Call for Proposals — Due February 15, 2011
Scholars in rhetoric and composition have increasingly recognized that communication today involves an engagement with multiple languages and literacies. This realization has been motivated by developments in globalization, new media technology, and postcolonial perspectives, all trends in the field that have called attention to the transnational flow of people and texts and to the hybridity of language itself. Practitioners now acknowledge that developing proficiency solely in Standardized Written English is inadequate for contemporary communicative needs. Further, practitioners also realize that judging the competencies of second language writers and rhetors according to native English speaker norms fails to do justice to the rich resources multilinguals bring to communication.

The ability to address these emergent needs is hampered by the monolingual assumptions informing our disciplinary discourses and pedagogical practices. Such assumptions have included the following: that writers acquire rhetorical competence one language at a time; that rhetorical proficiency is made up of separate competencies for separate languages; that texts are informed by rhetorical values unique to the different languages in which they are constructed; and that only one rhetorical tradition provides coherence for a text at a given time. In light of such trends, scholars in rhetoric and composition now call for the study of the cross-language relations of writers and writing in order to reconfigure the discourses and practices of our discipline.

To pursue this mission, conference participants are invited to address the following questions:

What are the unique strategies multilingual speakers bring to rhetoric and writing?

How can text be conceptualized differently in order to accommodate hybrid codes and conventions?

How do we conceive of rhetorical and written competence if contact between languages is the norm in today’s society?

What rhetorical resources help one communicate across language boundaries?

What are the new genres evolving in the linguistic contact zones?

What pedagogical strategies facilitate productive engagement with multilingual texts?

How should our assessment rubrics, rhetorical norms, and writing standards be revised to accommodate language diversity?

What curriculum and policy changes may help schools and universities make spaces for the rhetorical resources multilingual students bring to classrooms?

The program committee invites proposals for papers focusing on the questions above and on any subject that provides fresh perspectives on multilingualism in rhetoric and composition. As was the case in previous conferences, the papers presented in the conference will be considered for inclusion in a book to be published on this subject.

Submit carefully written abstracts (250 words) that include your name, paper title, professional affiliation, institution name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address via e-mail attachment to

Call for proposals are due February 15, 2011.

During April 2011 you will receive e-mail notification regarding abstract acceptance.

Important note: Persons whose abstracts are accepted should register for the conference by June 1, 2011.

Questions regarding proposals should be sent to:
Suresh Canagarajah
Kirby Professor in English and Applied Linguistics
303 Sparks Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802

Monday, March 08, 2010

CFP: Globalization in Asia

GLOBALIZATION IN ASIA: Perspectives and Prospects for the Second Decade of 21st Century

International Conference
Graduate Institute of Asian Studies, Tamkang University
Taipei, TAIWAN
October 29-30, 2010

Going through the tumultuous last few years of the 20th century, followed by ups and downs of the first decade of the 21st century, Asian countries are now entering the second decade of the new millennium. The end of globalization haunted people in the last century is not visible or possible right now or in the foreseeable future. In an era of globalization, many important contemporary issues cannot adequately be addressed by recourse to economic, political, or sociological analysis alone. To explore or understand such crucial regions as Asia, it is also not enough to analyze actors and actions that take place on a particular level of analysis—individual, state, or international system. This conference is focusing on interdependence among states, peoples, and societies in the forthcoming decade in Asia, especially East Asia, a region filled with differing and sometimes conflicting interests, points of view, or value systems. With increasing interactions of peoples, goods, and knowledge within and outside the region, aspects on human rights, constitutional reforms, international politics, and international socio-economic as well as cultural environments must also be considered. Therefore, we plan to invite scholar of interest and specializations in Asia to raise proposals for sessions, panel discussions and individual papers at a conference on the Asian region.

We welcome proposals from various disciplines. We are especially interested in topics such as (but not limited to) the following:

* International human rights
* International politics
* East-West comparisons in constitutional reforms
* Cultural diversity and political development
* Economic and technical cooperation
* Development of civilization and multicultural media and arts
* Cultural identity of ethnics and societies
* International migration

Proposals (of no more than 200 words) are due by *April 10, 2010* and should be submitted electronically (along with address, phone number and e-mail) to: Graduate Institute of Asian Studies, Tamkang University, 151 Yingchuan Rd., Tamsui, Taipei 251, TAIWAN. Tel: 886-2-2621-5656 ext. 2709, e-mail:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Short note on Formosa Betrayed's post-publication fate

One story that is circulated about Formosa Betrayed is that the KMT (or Chiang Kai-shek himself) bought the copyright to the book and suppressed it (here for Chinese Wikipedia link). My problems with that story are (1) I've never seen anyone cite actual published evidence for it (although I realize I shouldn't expect that such an act would be widely publicized), and (2) it doesn't account for the fact that Da Capo Press published a reprint edition of Formosa Betrayed in 1976. On top of that, in a biographical article on Kerr published in The Ryukyuanist (pdf) in 2001, A. P. Jenkins wrote that Kerr himself at least partly blamed John King Fairbank for the Da Capo Press edition that was too expensive for most people to buy.

Kerr jokes with Linda Glick of Houghton Mifflin in late 1965, responding to word that the publication of the book would have to be delayed until early 1966:
I note the publication delay with regret, but by now rather never expect to see it published! Soon enough the KMT Chinese will be buying up the whole edition, as they did the Macmillan Co's China Lobby book some years ago! Put a big one and make them pay!
Despite that joke, an undated cover sheet for the folder containing some of Kerr's correspondence with Houghton Mifflin includes Kerr's comments that he strongly believed Fairbank was involved in the company's decision to sell the copyright to Da Capo. He writes, "I have no documentary proof that Fairbank had a hand in the HMCO decision, but friends close to the Boston-Harvard connection tend to agree with this interpretation. Hence I withdrew FORMOSA BETRAYED fro[m] HMCO and recovered the copyright."

I did find one letter to Kerr from March 1970 that asked about Kerr's opinion regarding a rumor that the copyright to Formosa Betrayed had been bought by "Madwoman Chiang" (in the letter-writer's words), but I couldn't find Kerr's response to this letter. (Because of Japanese copyright law, some of the Kerr collection at the archives, including quite a bit of correspondence, is closed to researchers until fifty years after Kerr's death. Guess I'd better keep taking my vitamins...) But judging from Kerr's comments on the cover sheet (quoted above) and from his comments in a draft of a 1987(?) letter to Seng-bi Shaw (which Jenkins cites), Kerr was convinced that Fairbank had a hand in HM's deal with Da Capo Press because the pro-PRC Fairbank, according to Kerr, wanted Americans to view Taiwan as "merely another province of China, though by chance surrounded by water."

[Update: Title changed--I forgot most people nowadays think "FB"="Facebook"...]

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Some notes about publication history of George H. Kerr's Formosa Betrayed

During winter vacation, we took a brief trip to Okinawa. The main purpose was to take a quick dip into the George H. Kerr collection at the Okinawa Prefectural Archives. For a while I've been wondering about the publication of Kerr's Formosa Betrayed--particularly any difficulties he might have had getting the book published--and the book's fate after publication by Houghton Mifflin in 1966. Since Kerr's book was highly critical of the KMT and its governing of Taiwan--and highly critical of how the US handled the issue of what to do with Taiwan after WWII--I suspected that he would have had difficulty getting it published at the least, and might have been branded a traitor, since criticism of Chiang Kai-shek by a public figure like Kerr was close to treason (against the US as well as the ROC) during the early years of the Cold War. (See Ross Y. Koen's The China Lobby in American Politics (NY: Octagon Books, 1974) for why this was so.)

So, armed with information on the Kerr collection that Dr. Jenkins, who catalogued the collection, helpfully provided me with, I went in search of some answers to my questions.

One question I had was about why Kerr didn't publish the book until 1965. According to an article on the website of the World United Formosans for Independence, Kerr and Edward Paine (who worked for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in Taiwan) collaborated on a book in the late 1940s about what they had seen in Taiwan:
At the time Mr. Kerr had accepted an advance from a prominent American publishing house but later changed his mind and returned the advance. Supposedly, Mr. Kerr felt that he could do more for Taiwan by working with his high-ranking friends in the State Department rather than publishing the book which would embarrass the State Department. Mr. Paine consequently left angrily and went separate ways from Mr. Kerr.

In 1964 Mr. Kerr, reportedly, in his teaching capacity, was in need of publication and requested Mr. Paine's permission to use the materials he had assembled. Although it was no longer the most opportune time for the book, Mr. Paine gave his consent to Mr. Kerr. The book, Formosan [sic] Betrayed, was finally published in 1965.
A letter from Kerr to Linda Glick of Houghton Mifflin, dated 5 July 1965, might shed some more light on what was going on at that time, however. Kerr is responding in the letter to a suggestion by John King Fairbank that proofs of FB be sent to Washington for checking. In the letter, Kerr writes that
in 1947-48 I prepared an account of the Formosan affair for the Institute of Pacific Relations which Little, Brown & Co. were proposing to bring out. A prolonged silence followed which I was not able to penetrate until I discovered that the MS had been sent to the State Department and was there, of course, objected to, for I advocated intervention before Chiang K-S should move to Formosa and entrench himself. By 1950 it was too late; McCarthy was rising, and by the time I had retrieved my MS (not without difficulty) it was not possible to get a hearing.
If Kerr is referring here to the book that he and Paine worked on, then this letter gives a bit more context to the question of why it wasn't published soon after 2-28. It should also be noted that Kerr's anti-Chiang stance got him into trouble during the McCarthy era. He was investigated by the FBI while at Stanford and eventually lost his job there.

Kerr also discusses the issue of timing in his response to an author's questionnaire sent to him by Houghton Mifflin (undated, probably May 1965):
After watching events on post-war Formosa in 1945-1947 which culminated in the massacre of Formosan leaders seeking American help, and watching the loss of Formosan trust in American leadership after that affair, I began to prepare an account of what led to the 1947 crisis at Taipei. But 1950 was not the time to publish; the friends of Chiang Kai-shek were in full cry, the Mc Carthy Era was upon us. I put the MS away, working at it intermittantly [sic] and keeping notes through the early 1950's. In 1958 I brought it up to date, but it was still not the right time to try to place such a controversial subject before the public. I became involved in other projects, producing meanwhile a history of the Ryukyu Islands.
He goes on to write that in 1963, he began to receive "many requests for information concerning the postwar era--events in which I was directly involved. I was at last convinced that this painful and controversial subject should become a public record."

Another reason is also hinted at in the author's questionnaire response. Discussing possible promotional activities, he writes that he has reservations about going on TV and radio or giving lectures because "I find the Formosa Question difficult to handle. I am too emotionally involved, perhaps, to make a sufficiently objective presentation. I suppose if the book gets a fair reception I'll relax a bit about it, but the so highly organized pro-Nationalist propaganda net-work can bring terrible pressure to bear. At the moment I'm not sure I want to get involved on the air." It's possible that Kerr's emotional involvement also made it difficult to write about the events he experienced. In a review of the book, Douglas Mendel wrote that in 1963 Kerr had told him, "It is too painful to me to write up my old notes."

So, while 1965 might not have been the ideal time to publish Formosa Betrayed, it appears that there were several reasons for the delay.

More later on the post-publication fate of the book...

Friday, February 26, 2010

New book in the former native speaker's library

Haven't posted about books in a while, but I came across the following book in Nobel Bookstore (諾貝爾) in Taichung. (The link below is not to Nobel, though, because I couldn't figure out how to find the book on their website.)

The book is entitled 梅心怡人權相關書信集2:跨國人權救援的開端1968-1974, and it consists of newspaper and magazine clippings and correspondence related to the activities of Lynn Miles, who has been active in Taiwan human rights work since the 1960s. The book, edited by 張炎憲 and 沈亮, has very clear scans of the clippings and correspondence, accompanied by Chinese translations. It also contains articles (in Chinese) on human rights history in Taiwan. It makes a good companion to A Borrowed Voice: Taiwan Human Rights through international Networks, 1960-1980, which Lynn Miles and Linda Gail Arrigo co-edited.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

CFP: Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies

Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies
Vol. 37 | No. 1 | March 2011
Call for Papers
Deadline for Submissions: September 30, 2010


"Bios," a Greek word meaning "life or way of living," has been used by theorists since the late 20th century to designate "life" within various "post-" conditions: e.g. the poststructuralist, postmodernist, post-human and post-traumatic. Michel Foucault defines "biopower" as "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations." Biopower then marks a drastic change in the means of control and governance. Rather than threatening individuals with punishment or death, biopower would manage entire society. Following but "reversing" Foucault, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri suggest that each individual could use "life" as a weapon with which to resist global capitalism. In another kind of dialogue with Foucault, Giorgio Agamben asserts that while our biological life is indeed entangled with our political life, in addition to the human state of "sovereignty" there is also the human state of "bare life."

Coming from a closely-related but slightly different angle, we also note that information technology has been increasingly pervading our life at every level, from the micro-biological-political to the macro-economic-political. Increasingly less face-to-face in our interpersonal communication and relationships, we now "live" in a world, a reality that is becoming ever more virtual and even disembodied. Mechanical gadgets such as iPods, iPhones, PDAs and cell phones have become extensions of our bodies/brains as rapid advances in biotechnology, biomedicine, bioengineering make the boundary between organism and "artificial life" ever more delicate. We now not only extend our bodies via cars and reassemble our bodies with transplanted organs: we also extend our minds/memories via electronic devices, and the technology for downloading/uploading between brain and computer is virtually on the horizon. Thus we may be becoming, or already be, "cyborgs" (Donna Haraway) or "posthuman" (N. Katherine Hayles).

How then are we now to rethink human life in terms of our increasingly intimate relations with machines, perhaps even our posthumanity? How are we to evaluate our "prosthetic life"? How are we now to define, interpret, understand concepts of law and polis (government, nation-state), state power, capitalism and globalizaton, in relation to human—and also earthly plant and animal—life (bios, ecos)? What new and unforeseen power struggles, perhaps even conflicts between human and non-human, life and death, might now be coming into play? In this era of the new bios, and new ecos, must we establish a new bio-(eco-)ethics, construct a new bio-(eco-)subjectivity?

We must ask once again, as philosophers asked thousands of years ago, "What makes us live?" "What ensures our existence?" "What is it that we call human life?" Can we look at (our own human) life anew and write about it afresh? How may the traditional literary genres, and specifically those concerned with life-writing, the writing of memoirs, biographies, autobiographies, be changing in terms of their form and content and their media of expression? What is the significance of "life-writing" at this particular historical moment?

Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies welcomes papers in the areas of literary, cultural and/or interdisciplinary studies on issues related to this special topic of "bios," and also welcomes papers on general topics.

Manuscript Submission
  1. Manuscripts should be submitted in English. Please send the manuscript, a 300-word abstract, 5-6 keywords, and a vita as Word-attachments to The ideal length of the article should be within the range of 6,000-10,000 words. Alternatively, please mail us two hard copies and an IBM-compatible diskette copy. Concentric will acknowledge receipt of the submission but will not return it after review.
  2. Manuscripts should be prepared according to the latest edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Except for footnotes in single space, manuscripts must be double-spaced, typeset in 12-point Times New Roman.
  3. To facilitate the Journal’s anonymous refereeing process, there must be no indication of personal identity or institutional affiliation in the hard copy of the manuscript proper or the electronic file containing the manuscript proper. The name and institution of the author should appear only in the vita. The author may cite his/her previous works, but only in the third person.
  4. The Journal will not consider for publication manuscripts being simultaneously submitted elsewhere.
  5. If the paper has been published or submitted elsewhere in a language other than English, please make available two copies of the non-English version. Concentric may not consider submissions already available in other languages.
  6. One copy of the Journal and fifteen off-prints of the article will be provided to the author(s) on publication.
  7. It is the Journal's policy to require assignment of copyrights form by all authors.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

CFP: Cold War Cultures: Transnational and Interdisciplinary Perspectives





If war is the continuation of politics by other means, then Cold War politics can be seen as a continuation of war by other means. This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore these means in the context of global encounters between states and "Blocs" as well as engagements with "East" and "West." Indeed, after the end of the Second World War, a new kind of "war" continued and expanded as governments and/or interest groups created and continually reshaped institutions, media, popular culture, and various elements of social and political life. Globally, these broad-based transformations took place in the shadow of Cold War politics, especially as expressed through rhetoric of threat and mutual annihilation. In particular, cultural phenomena shaped by Cold War power conflicts take on myriad forms in a host of geographic contexts, both in and outside the Bloc, from iconic public representations to distinctive media advertising, memorable political speeches, world expositions, spy novels and films, and a plethora of official and popular modes of expression. In some places, of course, military or paramilitary conflagrations translated Cold War politics into "hot" wars, which further fueled the fire of Cold War imaginations.

We invite proposals for individual 20-minute papers that explore any geographic area or disciplinary field of Cold War studies, as well as contributions that might engage the notion the of "Cold War" theoretically. Full panels of three papers may also be proposed (however, please submit all papers and biographies for full panels together in a single email).

Deadline: April 1, 2010
Submit your abstract of 150-200 words in an email (no attachments) to
Put "ABSTRACT: Cold War Conference" in the subject line of the email.
Include a brief biographical statement (max. 150 words) in the email.

* Material and consumer cultures
* Popular culture and everyday life
* Borders, walls, and the Iron Curtain
* Surveillance, torture and show trials
* Literature, music, art and architecture, film and other media
* The space and arms races
* Commodities, trade and the environment
* Cold War client states, arms dealing and proxy wars
* Spies and intelligence communities (in fact or fiction)
* Dissidents and defections
* "Neutral" sites, nonalignment, and the intersection of North-South and East-West dynamics
* International institutions and Trans-national networks

* No registration fee for the conference; open to the public. *
Conference will open on Thursday, September 30, with a keynote address and sessions will continue until noon on Sunday, October 3. *
Conference sessions will be held in classrooms with standard media podia allowing for playing of DVDs, CDs, and PowerPoints. Include a note in your email if you need any other form of media.
* Attendees who are not giving papers are encouraged to register for the conference mailing list by sending an email to and putting "INFORMATION REQUEST: Cold War Conference" in the subject line of the email.
* A block of rooms will be reserved at a local hotel for participants' convenience.
* For presenters with limited resources, it may be possible to arrange space with local hosts.

This conference is the centerpiece in a series of several events on the UT campus, all of which are free and open to the public. Plans include a Cold War Film Series, curated and introduced by members of the UT faculty and multiple keynotes during the conference, representing the geopolitical and cultural interests of the UT Centers and Institutes.

For more information, consult the conference website at OR contact the organizing committee at

Major Conference Sponsors at the University of Texas at Austin:
* Center for European Studies
* Center for Middle Eastern Studies
* Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
* South Asia Institute/Center for East Asian Studies
* Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies

Saturday, February 06, 2010

CFP: University of Malaya Conference on Discourse and Society (UMDS2010)

This one is coming up soon--the deadline is February 14!
University of Malaya Conference on Discourse and Society (UMDS2010)
Theme: Interdisplinary Approaches to Discourse
June 16-18, 2010
Hilton Hotel, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Call for papers

UMDS2010 Website:

The Faculty of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Malaya is pleased to announce the University of Malaya Conference on Discourse and Society (UMDS2010) which will be held at Hilton Hotel, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The conference aims to bring together scholars from various disciplines to exchange ideas as well as offer new perspectives and directions in research on discourse and society. We welcome papers from any topic in the field of discourse and especially those that focus on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives of discourse. Areas of interest include:
- Discourse and Education
- Discourse and Gender
- Discourse and Multimodality
- Discourse and Workplace
- Discourse and Religion
- Discourse and Globalisation
- Discourse and the Environment
- Discourse and Technology
- Discourse and Politics
- Intercultural Discourses
- Minority Discourses
- Other related areas of research in discourse and society

Keynote Speakers
Professor Emeritus dato' Dr. Asmah Haji Omar (University of Malaya)
Professor Ruth Wodak (University of Lancaster)
Professor Theo van Leeuwen (University of Sydney)

Submissions are invited for abstracts for oral presentations. All abstracts should be limited to 300 words in either English or Bahasa Malaysia and must be sent to umdsabstracts [at] by 14 February 2010.
Paper presentations will be 20 minutes in duration with an additional 10 minutes for discussion. Papers accepted for presentation will be notified by April 16, 2010.

For more information please contact: umds2010 [at]