Chair's Greetings

Welcome to a new academic year!

The Center for Chinese Studies looks forward to seeing you at our many events this fall, which include the annual Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Memorial Lecture featuring Yuming He, professor of Chinese literature at UC Davis; a week of talks and informal meetings with professor of Philosophy David Chai from the University of Hong Kong; two film screenings in our Feminist Film Series; a very special performance from Taiwanese Peking Opera diva Wei Hai-Min, and the talks in our colloquium series.

We’ll kick off our colloquium series on Thursday, September 21 with a lecture by Professor Peter Bol of Harvard University, “A History of Learning in Later Imperial China in Five Fields and Modes.” The following week CCS will host David Chai, who will speak on September 28 with a talk entitled “Names are Guests of Reality.” Students who would like to meet with David while he is here should contact CCS at [email protected]

Yuming He will speak Oct. 19 at 4:30 pm on “The Play of Knowledge: Popular Drama Imprints and the World of Information in the Late Ming,” in our annual Lim lecture, held in the Geballe Room of the Townsend Center for the Humanities, 220 Stephens Hall. Yuming is the author of Home and the World: Editing the “Glorious Ming” in Woodblock-Printed Books of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, awarded the Joseph Levenson Book Prize by the Association for Asian Studies. Yuming’s talk kicks off a mini-series of lectures concerning Chinese drama. Speaking from Europe, Barbara Bisetto of the University of Verona will lecture on the early twentieth-century Xixiang ji yanyi on October 26. Note that this talk is at noon and held over Zoom. RSVP is required. 

The famed Peking opera actress from Taiwan, Wei Hai-Min (魏海敏), will discuss her career and perform selections from operas in which she has starred on Friday, October 27, at 4 p.m. We will hold this event in the Goldman Theater of the David Brower Center at 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley. To secure a ticket, please rsvp here.  

We have three book chats: Joshua Stenberg will discuss his new translations of the poetry of Jiang Tao on October 12. On Nov. 2, Melissa Macauley will discuss her book Distant Shores: Colonial Encounters on China’s Maritime Frontier. On November 30, we will have a celebration for novelist Faye Myenne Ng’s new memoir, Orphan Bachelors. Faye is the author of Bone and Steer Toward Rock and has taught creative writing at UC Berkeley via Ethnic Studies for many years; CCS will host this celebration in collaboration with the Asian American Research Center. 

The Feminist Film Series will present "Garden in Heaven" on Monday, September 25, and "The VaChina Monologues" on Monday, November 6, followed by Q&A with the filmmakers and scholars.

This year, we will continue to host the biweekly seminar series in which graduate students and CCS visiting scholars present their work informally. Berkeley students and visiting scholars are welcome. If you are interested in attending the program meetings or would like to present your own research in progress, please sign up using our google form. You must be logged into your email address in order to do so.

We also plan to launch a new program for undergraduates in which they can learn about job prospects for students in Chinese Studies from faculty and members of the Berkeley community. 

Yifan Zheng, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, will join CCS as our new CCS Graduate Student Liaison for AY 2023-24. Yifan’s research is on historical geography as it can be determined from early Chinese excavated texts. Kyle Terrizzi and Yingying Rao will continue as our undergraduate student liaisons.

If you are interested in viewing our previous event recordings, including last April’s conversation “Powers Entwined: China and the US in 2023” with Evan Osnos, Zha Jianying, and Orville Schell, please subscribe to the CCS YouTube channel.

We are sad to note that three former professors in East Asian Languages and Cultures (then Oriental Languages) died this past year:

Professor Ting Pang-hsin, internationally renowned for his study of Chinese historical linguistics and reconstruction of tone, passed away on January 30, 2023. Professor Ting's research made lasting contributions to historical tonal reconstruction as well as the classification of Chinese dialects. His works on Sino-Tibetan linguistics and Austronesian languages remain major references for scholars in the field. EALC professor emeritus Sam Cheung spoke at his memorial service, as did Chinese language lecturer Li Liu, who earned her Ph.D. under Professor Ting.

Professor Cyril Birch, beloved translator of Chinese literature and especially of Ming drama, died in Berkeley at the age of 98. Professor emeritus Sam Cheung and his wife Addie, former head of the Chinese language program Cecilia Chu, and I celebrated Professor Birch's last birthday with him this past March. This was a tradition that we began in 2012, and we will always think of him come March 16. We miss his wit, wisdom and good humor. Professor Birch won the Berkeley Citation awarded in recognition of scholarly achievement in excess of the standards of excellence and extraordinary service to Berkeley. He was a founding member of the Comparative Literature department, which he later chaired.

John Jamieson received his BA, MA and Ph.D. at Berkeley. Professor of Oriental Languages, he also lived abroad for long periods of time, serving as the Director of the Stanford University Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies in Taiwan, and as academic advisor to the United States Embassy in Beijing. When we established the Huang Scholars program in 2012, Professor Jamieson generously drew upon his breadth of experience and advised us in fielding internship opportunities for Berkeley students.

We mourn the passing of these faculty. We are grateful that we are able to honor their legacy by continuing to cultivate a vibrant Chinese Studies community for new and returning members alike. 

We look forward to seeing you at our events this fall.

All best wishes from the Center for Chinese Studies.


Sophie Volpp

Chair, Center for Chinese Studies

Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures

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