AAS Conference

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Wednesday night was the start of the Association for Asian Studies Conference, and after our screening at Hawai’i Pacific University we headed over to the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort to enjoy the welcome reception.

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is the largest worldwide scholarly professional association for those interested in the study of Asia. Last October, we attended their Western Regional Conference, held at California State University Northridge. This year’s conference was a much larger affair, a joint event with the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), held at the Hawai’i Convention Center.

With over 5000 attendees, the Convention Center was bustling with activity, and we ran into several people we met over the course of our screening tours. We also saw the three scholars whom we had interviewed for our film: Amy Dooling, Lingzhen Wang, and Hu Ying, and it was great reconnecting with them all at the same place.

Prior to our panel, we attended some other sessions, including “Rethinking the 1911 Revolution” which was moderated by Mary Rankin, who had written an invaluable study of Qiu Jin, “The Emergence of Women at the End of the Ch’ing: The Case of Ch’iu Chin” in Margery Wolf and Roxane Witke’s book Women in Chinese Society.

We also caught a few movies playing in conjunction with the conference, including 1428, a documentary on the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the recovery efforts by government agencies and survivors, and Ruby Yang’s Tongzhi in Love, a poignant account of the conflicted lives of gay men in Beijing.

Our panel, “Word and Image in Chinese Film Adaptation,” was organized by Professor Tze-Lan Sang from the University of Oregon. The five panels covered a range a topics in analyzing the adaptation of literary works onto film, and included presentations by Xiaoquan Zhang from the University of Oregon, Alexander Huang from Pennsylvania State University, Hsiu-Chuang Deppman from Oberlin College, and Tze-Lan Sang, with Lingzhen Wang as the discussant.

Prior to the panel, we had lunch with our fellow presenters, all of whom we met for the first time (except Lingzhen Wang). I discovered that Alexander Huang, who had recently written a book called Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange, is a colleague of my uncle in Taiwan, who is also a Shakespeare scholar. We also found out some more information about the upcoming feature film on the Xinhai Revolution currently in production in China. Simply titled 1911, it’s directed by Jackie Chan, who plays revolutionary leader Huang Xing. The role of Qiu Jin is played by Ning Jing, whom we’re not familiar with, but in any case we’re looking forward to seeing this when it comes out in September!

We had a tight schedule with our five presentations squeezed into a 2-hour session, but it went fairly smoothly, with a few of us having to shorten our talks a bit to fit into the time limit. Adam served as tech coordinator to help transition between the multiple presentations, and there was time to get in some thoughtful audience questions as well as Lingzhen Wang’s insightful commentary.

Overall, it was a constructive and enlightening experience, and we had a great time participating in the conference. Thanks to all our fellow panelists for a fantastic job!

Here are photos from the AAS Conference.

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