Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Michael Turton's review of recent Brookings conference on cross-strait relations...

... confirms to me that my earlier pessimism about the incoming US administration's position on Taiwan isn't too far off.

Michael has a good review of a presentation by Richard Bush, former head of the US's de facto embassy in Taiwan and currently director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies. Bush, Michael says, "will no doubt oversee Taiwan policy for the Obama Administration". In his talk, Bush stressed the importance of the "process" in Taiwan-China relations and the importance of "pragmatism". Michael has some choice words for what "process" might actually mean to those emphasizing it:
The emphasis on process resulted, inevitably, in questions from the audience asking what the outcomes would be, or what the benefits of continuing the process might be. Bush dodged these and refused to specify what outcome would be desired or likely. The process was put forth as the goal, suggesting that (1) the Establishment wants to deliver Taiwan to China with a big bow-tie on it since we all know where the KMT is heading; (2) the Establishment thinks that the Taiwan-China diplomatic process is going to be like the Middle East peace process: interminable, and providing plenty of employment for diplomats, hence outcomes are irrelevant; (3) the Establishment thinks the US has little power to influence outcomes; or (4) the Establishment knows that as long as they emphasize process and appear to do China's bidding, China will be happy, while the independence movement in Taiwan will never permit the actual annexation of Taiwan to China. Hence, stalemate, no real loss. The reader may choose; I cannot.
Michael also analyzes what the dual emphasis on "process" and "pragmatism" actually means for the so-called status quo between Taiwan and China:
Many people, including many in the DPP, have expressed fear at the likely negative impact of Obama's China policy on Taiwan. I have to say that I saw nothing to reassure me on that score. Whatever the actual reasons for the Establishment's position, the emphasis on a process that can only result in Taiwan's annexation to China in some form, legitimated by an emphasis on a pragmatism that for practical purposes is ostensibly value-free, cannot be good for Taiwan. Another bit of interesting fall-out is the "ratchet effect" on the status quo -- as the process becomes the status quo, by default, moves away from it and in defense of Taiwan's sovereignty and democracy will be termed status quo violations, while moves toward China, though violations of any rational definition of the status quo, will be applauded.
All in all, rather depressing prospects. I doubt I would have voted for McCain if I were only thinking about Taiwan, but I'm sad at the prospect that the incoming Democrat administration might care as little about Taiwan as the previous administrations have.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CFP: Conference on Human Rights, International Law & Collective Violence

Very timely...
*International and Interdisciplinary Conference*

Dates: April 17-18 2009

Topic: Human Rights, International Law & Collective Violence

Sponsored by the Center for Spirituality, Ethics and Global Awareness and International Program,

Davis and Elkins College, WV

*Call for Papers
*Deadline for Abstract: *February 20th, 2009*

*Suggested Subtopics:*

Psychology of Violent Group Behavior; Genocide, Rebellion, Cults; Mass Murder; Intentional Criminality and Criminal Violence; Workplace Violence; Collective Violence and Social Pluralism; Collective Violence in Groups and Social Pluralism; Groups and Governments; Violence and Collective Responsibility; Violence and Politics; Bio-Terrorism and Counter Measures; Gender Violence; Collective Identity and Escalation of Ethnic Conflict; Collective Violence and Individual Punishment; Criminality of Mass Atrocity; Computer Ethics and Collective Violence; Violence in Prison; Globalization and International Law; International Environmental Law and Policy; International Human Rights; Terrorism, Pacifism and the Culture of War; Gandhi and the Philosophy of Non-Cooperation; Television, Terrorism and War/Peace Discourse(s); Muslim-Christian Relations in an Age of Terror; Origins of Terrorism (past and present); Arts, War and Peace; Strategies for Peace in a Time of Terror; Peace Narratives in Contemporary Film and Literature; Terror, Politics & Economics; The Internationalization of Terrorism; Violence and Religion Post 9/11; Gandhi and MLK, Jr.: Theories of Resistance and Nonviolence; The Paradox of Violence; Film, War and a Discourse of Dissent; Contemporary Anti-War Poetry; Terrorism: What is it?; Terrorism and the Role of Radical Religions; Suicide Terrorism; The Objectives of Terrorism; Tactics of Terrorism; Terrorism, Targeting, Ethnicity and Race; Homeland Security (Anti-terror Policy); Fundamentalisms, Pluralism and the Conditions for War and Peace; Terrorism & Nationalism; Europe & Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism

- *Selected papers from Conference will be subjected to editorial review*
- There is a small travel fund available for early submissions**

Chandana Chakrabarti,Ph.D.

Dean of International Program
Director of the Center for Spirituality, Ethics and Global Awareness
Phone: 304-637-1293

E-mail: Chakrabartic@DavisAndElkins.edu

Friday, November 07, 2008

Tell the new US administration you want support for Taiwanese self-determination

Via Tom Benson's blog, I found out about the incoming US administration's website, Change.gov. They've got forms for people to submit their hopes and vision for the new administration. The cynic in me suggests that this attempt at "open" government isn't really going to go anywhere, but the idealist in me wrote something to them, anyway. I expressed my hope that the US would be more supportive of the rights of the Taiwanese people for self-determination regarding their future. (This assumes that Taiwan remains a democracy...)

Add your stories and visions! (I don't want to be the only fool doing it... ;) )

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mixed feelings

I don't know how to feel today. On the one hand, I'm happy about the results of the election in the US. On the other, I can't avoid getting the feeling that we're slowly sinking back into martial law here.

I'm going to copy a statement by international scholars and writers that Michael Turton posted since I'm pretty sure that the two or three people in the States who read my blog aren't the same as the (many more) people who read his. Hope the word can get out.
November 4, 2008


US, European and Australian scholars and writers express concern about prosecutions in Taiwan

The undersigned, scholars and writers from the US, Europe and Australia wish to express their deep concern about the recent series of detentions in Taiwan of present and former DPP government officials. To date there have been at least seven such cases (See list below).


It is obvious that there have been cases of corruption in Taiwan, but these have occurred in both political camps. The political neutrality of the judicial system is an essential element in a democracy. It is also essential that any accused are considered innocent until proven guilty in the court of law.


We also believe that the procedures followed by the prosecutor's offices are severely flawed: while one or two of the accused have been formally charged, the majority is being held incommunicado without being charged. This is a severe contravention of the writ of habeas corpus and a basic violation of due process, justice and the rule of law.


In the meantime, the prosecutor's offices evidently leak detrimental information to the press. This kind of "trial by press" is a violation of the basic standards of judicial procedures. It also gives the distinct impression that the Kuomintang authorities are using the judicial system to get even with members of the former DPP government. In addition, the people who are being held incommunicado are of course unable to defend themselves against the misreporting and the leaks in the news media.


We do firmly believe that any alleged wrongdoings must be dealt with in a fair and open manner in an impartial court. Justice through the rule of law is essential to Taiwan's efforts to consolidate democracy and protect fundamental human rights.


We do not want to see Taiwan's hard-earned democracy jeopardized in this manner. Taiwan can justifiably be proud of its transition to democracy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It would be sad for Taiwan and detrimental to its international image if the progress which was made during the past 20 years would be erased. Taiwan needs to move forward, not backwards to the unfair and unjust procedures as practiced during the dark days of Martial Law (1947-87).

我們不願見到台灣辛苦得來的民主陷入如此困境。台灣因 為在八零年代後期與九零年早期成功轉型為民主國家,而引以為傲。如果過去二十年來的民主進展從此抺煞,這不僅將令人難過,台灣的國際形象也將受到嚴害傷 害。台灣必須向前邁進,而不應是開倒車回到過去戒嚴黑暗時代的不公與不義。



Nat Bellocchi, former Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan  
Julian Baum, former Taiwan Bureau Chief, Far Eastern Economic Review
Coen Blaauw, Formosan Association for Public Affairs, Washington DC
David Prager Branner, Director at Large (East Asia), American Oriental Society
Gordon G. Chang, author, "The Coming Collapse of China."
June Teufel Dreyer, Professor of Political Science, University of Miami, Florida
Edward Friedman, Professor of Political Science and East Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Bruce Jacobs, Professor of Asian Languages and Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Richard C. Kagan, Professor Emeritus of History, Hamline University, St. Paul Minnesota
Jerome F. Keating, Associate Professor, National Taipei University (Ret.). Author, "Island in the Stream, a quick case study of Taiwan's complex history" and other works on Taiwan
Daniel Lynch, Associate Professor, School of International Relations, University of Southern California
Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, University of Pennsylvania
Donald Rodgers, Associate Professor of Political Science, Austin College, Texas
Terence Russell, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, University of Manitoba
Scott Simon, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Ottawa
John J. Tkacik Jr., Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation, Washington DC
Gerrit van der Wees, Editor Taiwan Communiqué, Washington DC
Vincent Wei-cheng Wang, Professor of Political Science, University of Richmond, Virginia
Arthur Waldron, Lauder Professor of International Relations, University of Pennsylvania
Stephen Yates, President of DC Asia Advisory and former Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs

Specific cases of concern:
-- The arrest and detention on October 15th of former Interior minister Yu Cheng-hsien;

-- The arrest and detention on October 27th of former Hsinchu Science Park Director and Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection Dr. James Lee;

-- The arrest and detention on October 29th of DPP Chiayi County Commissioner Chen Ming-wen;

-- The indictment on October 30th of DPP Tainan City Councilor Wang Ting-yu;

-- The arrest and detention on October 31st of former National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general and Deputy Prime Minister Chiou I-jen;

-- The questioning of former Foreign Minister Dr. Mark Chen on November 3rd and insinuations in the press that he might be charged and arrested.

-- The arrest and detention on November 4th of DPP Yunlin County Magistrate Ms. Su Chih-fen.
Note: Ms. Su Chih-fen has refused to post bail and is currently on a hunger strike in protest of her detention. She has several health conditions already, including high blood pressure and liver problems. Here's an article about her arrest.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Three new Taiwan-related books in the former native speaker's library

Been out-of-my-mind busy recently, but I bought these (or they've arrived) within this past week.
The first book is about the famous journal Free China Fortnightly that was started by Lei Chen and Hu Shih and shut down around the time Lei Chen was arrested in 1960. The book looks pretty tough, though--lots of political philosophy (and in Chinese, yet!). The author, He Zhuo'en, is actually from Hubei and teaches at Huazhong Normal University. We'll have to see how that fact colors his perspective (or my perspective on his book).

The third book was published in 1986 by FAPA and the Formosan Association for Human Rights.

Now if I can ever get any time to read any of them...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

CFP: Local memories in a nationalizing and globalizing world (1750 up to present)

via H-Memory:

The Center for Political History, the Center for Urban History (University of Antwerp) and
FelixArchief (Antwerp City Archives) are organizing a conference on:

Place: FelixArchief, Oudeleeuwenrui 29, 2000 Antwerp
Date: 15th-16th October 2009

In academic discourse, the concept of 'collective memory' has migrated, since the 1950s from the field of the social to that of the cultural sciences. Maurice Halbwachs' intuition that collective memory was essentially a pre-existing social fact structuring individual past-relationships, gave way to the recognition that social memories are more or less intentionally construed with the aim of creating and consolidating identities. It was in this constructivist vein that the concept became successful among historians, thoroughly influenced by the cultural turn. Their focus was on the way memories were forged through stories, monuments and other cultural artifacts, that came to serve as lieux de mémoire within specific collectivities. Among these collectivities, nations have received the lion's share of the historians' attention. In spite of a recent re-orientation to the memories of other - most often smaller - 'milieux de mémoire', the central premise has remained that intellectual and political elites deliberately produced memories, which were consumed by the masses. Even when it is admitted that 'consumption' can consist of active and creative appropriation, the overall top-down perspective seems to be largely unquestioned.

This conference opts for a more dynamic view of the creation and transmission of memories. It focuses on the ways in which memories were recurred to and used in the everyday discourses and practices of groups at a local level. These groups can be defined along different lines (socio-professional, geographic, generational, religious, ethnic, ...) and have various extensions (a neighborhood, a village, a town, a region); moreover, the discourses and practices can bear upon the most diverse aspects of life and take on the most diverse forms (textual, oral, visual, material). Not the straightforward creation of master narratives about the group's own past will be the main concern of the conference, but the way in which these groups more or less consciously - and more or less successfully - combined diverse, sometimes even conflicting memories. Doing so, the organizers hope fully to re-inscribe the concept of memory into the field of social history. The period that will be investigated - from 1750 until today - is characterized by the rise and the expansion of the nation state, and by the competing process of globalization. The efforts that were made during this period to create homogeneous national memories will serve during this conference as a background to the study of local memories. Did these local memories resist the growing prominence of national memory, did they incorporate aspects of it, or did they exist and develop without any interference of 'the national'? And how did local memories interact with globalizing processes
such as colonization and migration?

Within this general framework, papers should address one of the following themes:
- The deliberate creation of institutions for the preservation and transmission of local memories (local museums, associations, courses in primary schools on local history, citizen initiatives,...).
- Local forms of historiography, without or within the academic sphere.
- The presence of the past in ritualized forms of community building at a local or regional level (celebrations, liturgies, monuments,...).
- The presence of the past in non-ritualized, group-specific practices and discourses (the transmission of professional skills, name-giving, ...).
- The recurrence to the past in conflicts between groups or in acts of local resistance.
- The transmission (and alteration) of traditions as a way of preserving group-specific memories in changing contexts.
- The experience of the local past by individuals, through the study of ordinary writings, oral sources or their material heritage.

Organizing committee:
Marnix Beyen (Center for Political History - Univ. of Antwerp )
Bert De Munck (Center for Urban History - Univ. of Antwerp)
Brecht Deseure (Center for Urban History - Univ. of Antwerp)
Inge Schoups (FelixArchief, Antwerp City Archives)
Carolien Van Loon (Center for Political History - Univ. of Antwerp)
Tom Verschaffel (KULeuven - Subfaculty of Arts Campus Kortrijk)

Tel. : ++ 32 (0)3 220 42 68
Email: local.memories@ua.ac.be
Website: www.ua.ac.be/localmemories


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New book in the former native speaker's library

*Or check out these letters to Jack Kerr, written in 1947...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Our new pet?

This critter has decided to move in with us recently. What shall we call it?

(Click on the picture for a larger version... if you dare...)

In fact, what is it? I mean, I know it's a spider, but...

It doesn't seem to do much but wander around, yawning and stretching...

and occasionally picking its nose...

Seems to have taken a shine to us, though. Maybe it's the reincarnation of Mei-Mei.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The spammers are getting more creative

Here are the subject lines of three four lots of e-mails I just received:
  • "Stray javelin kills promising US sprinter"

  • "Russia launches nuclear plant"

  • "Charred bodies found on White House lawn"

  • "Freak accident causes Tom cruise to be paralysed"

  • "Two-headed baby born in Texas"

  • "Michael Vick escapes from Federal jail" (this one might need a footnote)

  • "Madonnas Former Home Destroyed By Jesus"

More as I get them... maybe it could be a found poem.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

(Pardon me for a moment while I put my fist through this computer monitor...)

[Update: There. That felt better.]

Sunday, June 29, 2008

CFP: Matters of State, Leuven University, Belgium

Call for Papers

Matters of State: Bildung and Literary-Intellectual Discourse in the Nineteenth Century

Leuven University, April 23-25 2009

The American and French Revolutions are generally considered as decisive episodes in the emergence of what we have come to know as modern democracy. Their displacement of time-honored models of hereditary rule and of monotheistic conceptions of sovereignty inaugurated Western modernity. The fall-out of these ruptures made the 19th century an era of unprecedented intensity in the history of politics and the political. As a time of massive demographic change, new patterns of production and distribution, seismic surges in geopoliticization, and relentless social differentiation and specialization, the 19th century became a ‘condition’ demanding to be addressed. This challenge was met by a multiplicity of discourses, few of which can be decisively told apart: poetry, political economy, cultural criticism, historiography, philosophy, and science in their different ways all attempted to measure the impact of the displacements that defined their modernity and to shape an adequate response to them.

It is from this context that nineteenth-century discourses of the State derive their urgency. As strategies to imagine – and to actively pursue – forms of collectivity that can serve as a concerted response to the challenges of modernity, these discourses enlist (or reject) categories such as the nation, education, or the imagination in order to formulate a new rhetoric of community. What distinguishes the discourse on the State is its express ambition to contribute to an appropriate response to the modern condition by training its audience to become responsible citizens of the State. This typically involves the adaptation of models for the cultivation of the modern self, such as those inherited from the German discourse on Bildung, to contexts of increased scale and complexity that challenge these models to the core. Not only in Britain or Germany, but in every locality where the task of articulating the nation with the State is recognized as a discursive challenge, literary-intellectual discourse becomes an archive where many of the tensions and contradictions of the nineteenth century intersect in a particularly condensed way.

Because the imagination of the State, as a political and social unit, relies on rhetorical, tropological, and imagistic processes, disciplines that explicitly focus on textual and imagistic strategies are crucial in the analysis of the politics of the State. ‘Matters of State’ proposes to revisit significant instances of the literary-intellectual attempt to re-think the State, and relevant intersections of these attempts with related and/or competing political, literary, scientific, (crypto-)religious, iconographic, … discursive strategies to imagine the State. We are interested in papers that focus on explicit or implicit contributions to a public aesthetics of the State by way of new or modified rhetorics of community.

Possible topics include but are not restricted to the following:

  • What are the means of production, cultivation, preservation and reproduction of “moral sentiments” appropriate to an ethos of the State?
  • How do affective dispositions like sympathy and trust travel from the intimate sphere of personal encounter to the public sphere of citizenship?
  • Given the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment reassessment of the impact of religion on the individual, what are the discursive formations that take over, at least in part, the public administration of emotional investment traditionally monitored by religious institutions?
  • How do available or emergent routines of identity formation in terms of class, gender or race relate to models of citizenship?
  • How do concepts such as “region,” “country,” “nation,” and “Empire” find a place in a rhetoric of community centering on the State?
  • What are the effects of the interaction of organic metaphors and an increasingly industrialized nineteenth-century reality?
  • In what way do present-day discourses on governmentality, biopower, and sovereignty allow us to reflect on nineteenth-century conceptualizations of the State?
  • How do discursive constructions of the State differ in different countries, both in Europe and abroad?
  • To what extent do literary-intellectual discourses exploit not only the educational but also the imagistic denotation of the term Bildung?
  • How do constructions of the State construct the State’s other?
  • How did poetry, and literature more generally, operate as a privileged space for the embodiment, testing, and subversion of models of the State?
  • To what extent do imaginings of citizenship, equality, fraternity … inevitably entail the persistence, or even the promotion, of economic, ethnic, and/or gender inequalities? How do inclusive models (fail to) account for their exclusions?
  • How do scientific models taken from mathematics and the natural sciences influence discourse on community and citizen formation, and to what extent are these models (biological, psychological, sociological, anthropological, economic, …) accommodated in a prospective science of State or Staatswissenschaft?
  • How do nations and individuals come to terms with modernity as a growing dependence on the specialized, expert discourses of science and technology, and how are these ideas of dependence and expertise themselves constructed rhetorically?
Keynote speakers:

Amanda Anderson (Johns Hopkins University)
Karl Heinz Bohrer (Stanford University)
Eva Geulen (Universität Bonn)
Thomas Pfau (Duke University)
Tilottama Rajan (University of Western Ontario)
Joseph Vogl (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, to be confirmed)

We welcome proposals for panels and for 20-minutes papers in English, French, or German. Please send your one-page proposal (two pages for panels), together with your contact data, in a separate word document to matters.of.state [at] arts.kuleuven.be, before September 30. For panel proposals, provide a general introduction and short abstracts for the different papers (3 or 4). Notification of acceptance no later than November 15. For more information, check www.arts.kuleuven.be/matters_of_state. The conference website will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Some changes in the works regarding (some) foreign scholars?

The former native Chinese speaker pointed out this article to me in the China Times that mentions a few interesting things about work permits and visas for foreign scholars. Some of them are a bit confusing (to me, anyway), so I want to write this out to see if I'm clear about it.

The article mentions that Taiwan University was having trouble getting a work permit for a foreign Nobel scholar they wanted to bring in to lecture, so legislator Ding Shouzhong is pushing for some changes to the Employment Services Act (就業服務法) to allow foreign scholars in to do research or teaching for up to six months, pending approval of the MOE. In other words, they wouldn't need to go through the process of getting a work permit through the Council of Labor Affairs, a process which includes getting blood tests for HIV and venereal diseases. (There's an interesting racial/class issue in this whole thing, by the way--particularly in this article, that suggests that it's too embarrassing to ask famous foreign scholars to submit to the kind of process required of foreign laborers.)

There's more to say about this article, but I don't have time to work through it right now. (Got other things to do.) Anyway, below is a copy of the article in Chinese:







Thursday, June 19, 2008

Comp/Oral I debate contest

I just finished judging a debate contest in which students from the Composition and Oral Practice I classes at Tunghai (first-year English majors) debated the resolution, "Mainland Chinese students should be allowed to apply to universities in Taiwan." We listened to three debates on this topic today.

I have to say I value the opportunity to hear what first-year students have to say about this issue. They brought up some interesting points, illustrating, perhaps, some of their own anxieties about education in Taiwan. They evidently frequently hear about how hardworking students in China are--several groups mentioned stories about Chinese students studying under streetlights when the dorm lights go out, for instance, and compared these stories with examples of university students in Taiwan who play computer games and chat on MSN all night long. (Evidently Mr. Ma has mentioned this at some point in his argument in favor of allowing Chinese students here.) In the end, I found my own point of view about this issue complicated a bit by what they said.

I found, not surprisingly, things to criticize about the students' debates, but also things to praise, like the way many of them arranged their arguments, rebutted opponents' arguments, and cited sources. One thing I forgot to say, that I wish I had the opportunity to say to them, is that we teachers sometimes forget that what we ask students to do is something that has taken us years to be able to achieve. (This is true at least in my case. I'm still terrible at impromptu speaking!) So my hat's off to the students and teachers of Comp/Oral I this year!

Michael Turton asked about the arguments students were making in the debates, so I thought I'd mention some of them here. I'm just listing some out here without comment. Also, some arguments might overlap.

For allowing Chinese students to apply:
  1. Will stimulate/promote cultural exchange between Chinese and Taiwanese students
  2. Will promote cultural understanding between Chinese and Taiwanese society
  3. Can give students from the PRC a chance to live and learn in a more open society
  4. Will help promote colleges in Taiwan that have declining enrollments
  5. Will help internationalize education in Taiwan by encouraging foreign students to apply
  6. If we accept students from other countries, why not accept students from China?
  7. Will help motivate Taiwanese students to work harder (the Mr. Ma argument)
  8. Will bring more elite students here from China
Those were most of the more frequently cited "pro" arguments the students made. As Sam Spade says, "Maybe some of them are unimportant - I won't argue about that - but look at the number of them. And what have we got on the other side?" Well, let's take a look:

For not allowing Chinese students to apply:
  1. Will require Taiwan to provide Chinese students with scholarships, causing a further drain on the educational budget
  2. Schools with declining enrollments are not high quality, so should be allowed to close
  3. Students coming to Taiwan from China might not be all that elite (especially if they're sent to low-ranked schools)
  4. Will result in a lot of illegal labor from China (workers pretending to be students)
  5. Could result in legal problems concerning whether students from China are to be considered "international" or "domestic"
There was some interesting back-and-forth related to a lot of these assertions, including citations (on both sides) of examples from other countries like the U.S. and Belgium. A lot of discussion centered around who was going to have to pay for their attendance in Taiwan's universities and why we should or should not (or even can) prop up schools with declining enrollments by 'importing' students from China. There was some grudging acceptance of the idea that bringing students over could contribute to cultural exchange and understanding, but the "cons" rejected the idea that bringing in students from China would encourage more international students to come.

One thing I wanted to hear that I didn't hear until the very end was a number: how many Chinese students are we talking about? No one had a clear number for how many might be accepted to Taiwan, but one "pro" debater mentioned that in Hong Kong, only 205 of the 2000 Chinese students who applied in 2005 were accepted. This eased my mind a bit--some of the "con" debaters' arguments made me think that perhaps we were talking about allowing millions of students in. (One person on the "con" side expressed concern about traffic problems that might be caused by an influx of Chinese students!)

[Update, 23 June 2008]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More pictures taken on Sunday

Here are some pictures we took of the Central Mountain Range on Sunday. They were taken from the fifth floor of the Humanities building at Tunghai. We had a good view of the mountains after the rain cleaned up the air.



The construction on the left is of "Moon River," a new apartment building (like we need any more around here...)


The tall tower is a building called, simply, "Hotel ONE".

The following two are "stitched" shots...



Monday, June 16, 2008

Trip to the Daodong Tutorial Academy

The weather cleared up a bit yesterday, so the former native Chinese speaker and I took a trip to Hemei in Changhua to look at the Daodong Tutorial Academy there. We went to the Huangsi Academy in Taichung County a while back and thought it would be interesting to see another of the traditional schools set up here.

The visitor's guide to the Academy describes it as follows:
Local gentlemen advocated and offered a land for building the Daodong Tutorial Academy in 1857, and it was completed the following year. It is a compound with traditional Chinese houses around a courtyard which sits north, and faces south.
Here are some of the pictures we took of the Academy. Most of these were taken by the former native Chinese speaker.

The main gate

The front of the school

Some lianwu (wax apples) growing on a tree said to be over 100 years old

The entrance to the school building--the guide told us that the center door was reserved for officials, elites, or other grand high muck-a-mucks. If you look at the picture of the front of the school, you'll see the two side doors have steps leading up to them, but the center door has a ramp. That wasn't for wheelchair access; it was for carrying someone up in a palanquin (轎子).

A newer painting, dating from 2004. This painting is found near the front door of the building.

An older painting, dating from 1884. I have to admit I like the older ones better than the newer ones, but a lot of the school had to be rebuilt after years of disuse. The most recent major work done on it was after the 921 earthquake in 1999.

Prayers from area students who want to get into particular schools (the local 'deity' is Zhu Xi, the "father" of Neoconfucianism)

This is interesting--they used this to burn paper that had been written on, as a way to honor Cang Jie, who, as legend has it, is responsible for the Chinese writing system. Since Chinese characters are, I guess, sacred, people were not allowed to throw away paper that had been written on.

I've got more pictures of the school here, in case anyone is interested. We had a nice time, and a staff member named Miss Tung was especially helpful in answering our questions. Here's a pic of her and me:


(Next time I'll shave before going out with a camera. You never know...)

[Updated 17 June 2008]

[Update 11 June  2016: I just came across a more recent post on the Daodong Academy on Alexander Synaptic's blog. It includes a pretty creepy story about an event that took place at the temple after our trip there in 2008.]

Friday, June 13, 2008

End-of-the-school-year activities

I've been getting my picture taken a lot lately, not because of my killer good looks (though I'm sure that's one reason), but because my Freshman English students took me out for dinner this week. In return for their feeding me, I stared into the lenses of their many cameras and gave the "Y" finger gesture (known as the "V" for "victory" in the US) many times. Here's some of the evidence.

I had a great time with my students this year and will miss them. They're like the children I don't have (and, hence, whose tuition I don't have to pay). Seriously, though, it has been especially poignant for me this semester because two of my students, a current student from International Trade and (her boyfriend) a former student from Public Management, were in a serious traffic accident in April and have both been in the hospital since then. Sometimes I feel like the world is such a dangerous place...

This afternoon we also went to a going-away party for two teachers who are retiring, Olivia Chang and Paul Harwood. Olivia and Paul (and Jan, too!), we'll miss you and wish you the best!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Dragon Boat deliciosities

Mmmm.... good... Nothing like homemade zongzi...

What philosophy do I follow?

I'm evidently quite confused...
What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Utilitarianism

Your life is guided by the principles of Utilitarianism: You seek the greatest good for the greatest number.

“The said truth is that it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.”

--Jeremy Bentham

“Whenever the general disposition of the people is such, that each individual regards those only of his interests which are selfish, and does not dwell on, or concern himself for, his share of the general interest, in such a state of things, good government is impossible.”

--John Stuart Mill

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...



Justice (Fairness)




Strong Egoism










Divine Command


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

CFP: Tamkang International Conference on Second Language Writing: Issues and Concerns

Tamkang International Conference on Second Language Writing: Issues and Concerns

Call for Abstracts:
Writing as one of the fundamental language skills has traditionally posed a variety of challenges for second language teachers and learners. Once the writing skill is placed within particular contexts, these challenges multiply. These range from addressing writing skills within exam-driven traditional curricula to navigating the proliferation of technologies, to creating meaningful contexts for the learning of writing and managing the workload created for teachers when students write and expect feedback. This conference is intended as a forum for addressing the full range of pedagogical and research issues on second language writing. Abstracts are invited for papers on any aspects of foreign or second language writing learning and pedagogy. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Cognitive perspectives in L2 writing
  • Learning Strategies
  • Critical Literacy
  • Identity in Literacy Instruction
  • L2 writing pedagogy
  • Reading/writing connection
  • CMC in literacy instruction
  • Academic writing
  • Foreign language writing within school curricula
  • Writing instruction integrating other language skills
  • Second language writing integrated with other content areas (content-based instruction and writing across the curriculum, for example)
  • Emerging literacies and issues of register (including technology-enabled influences on literacies and register exerted by the proliferation of e-mail, mobile devices and messaging, and the rise of the blog)
  • Issues of feedback on student writing
  • Research issues in writing pedagogy
  • Voice and issues of empowerment
  • Writing within standardized/institutional exam systems: (TOEFL, GEPT, etc.)
  • Writing and technology
  • The composing process

Important Dates:
Abstracts due: July 20th, 2008
Acceptance Notification: August 20th, 2008
Camera-ready papers due: November. 30th, 2008
Conference dates: December 5-6, 2008

Submit abstracts via email to: Wendy, miracle [at] mail.tku.edu.tw

Or mail to:

English Department, Tamkang University,
151 Ying-chuan Road, Tamsui, Taipei County Taiwan 25137, R.O.C.
Tel : 886-26215656 ext. 2344

Abstracts should not exceed 350 words in length (including references) and should include a clear description of the issue(s) addressed and a sketch of results. Include the author’s name, affiliation, and postal and email addresses.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Naming Taiwan's ruling party

Just something I noticed--don't know if anyone else did: during his visit to China, Wu Po-hsiung used the full name of the KMT: 中國國民黨 (Chinese [or "China"] Nationalist Party) a lot. Every time I saw a clip of him talking, "中國國民黨" (rather than simply "國民黨") would come out of his mouth. I suppose part of the reason for this would be that his immediate audience, the CCP officials he was meeting with, would appreciate Wu's embrace of the 中國 in the name of the island's ruling party after the years of "去中國化" that we were supposedly experiencing here and that probably had the CCP folks there wringing their hands (along with the KMT folks here).

It's interesting, though, to think about Wu's embrace of "中國國民黨" in light of the attempts to "localize" the KMT during the election--Ma's "long stays" and frequent use of Taiwanese, and the de-emphasis on the "中國" part of the party's name (though not to the point of changing its official name). The other interesting thing to think about will be what the KMT will call itself locally from here on out--will "中國" be used more, say, on local election posters, banners, etc.?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Naming Taiwan's leader

The Foreigner in Formosa comments on the KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung's use of "Mr. Ma" (instead of "President Ma") during his time in China.
Question for the KMT: If YOU feel no particular need to call Ma Ying-jeou, "President," why should any of his political opponents back home feel obligated to do so?
I personally have decided just to refer to him as 馬特首--might as well get used to the sound of it...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

CFP: Rhetorical Citizenship conference in Denmark


Call for Papers - Call for Participation International Conference on

"Rhetorical Citizenship and Public Deliberation"

October 9-10, 2008
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, DENMARK

The conference is presented by the researchers' network "Rhetorical Citizenship: Perspectives on Deliberative Democracy", based at the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen. The conference will open at 9:00 AM on October 9 and close at 5:00 PM on October 10. The registration desk is open from 8:30 am. both days. Participants may sign in, pick up conference materials, etc. at this time.

The conference theme frames explorations into:

  • how rhetorical citizenship can manifest itself
  • what common and/or local traits it might have
  • what societal interests are vested in regarding citizenship as a rhetorical phenomenon.

The conference welcomes scholars from a broad spectrum of academic fields, including Communication, Rhetoric, Political Science, and Philosophy, as well as educators, journalists, politicians, activists in political and grassroots movements, etc.

Keynote Speakers
The following Keynote Speakers will be featured:

Professor John Dryzek:
Contemporary democracy is mostly representative democracy. Deliberative democracy highlights communication rather than aggregation of the preferences of individuals. Especially in contexts where a well-defined demos cannot be identified, it may make sense to think in terms of the representation of discourses rather than persons. We might then think about desirable characteristics of discursive representatives, and the circumstances under which they might meet in a 'chamber of discourses'.

Professor John Dryzek (Australian National University) is the author of Deliberative Democracy and Beyond, Discursive Democracy: Politics, Policy, and Political Science, Democracy in Capitalist Times: Ideals, Limits, and Struggles, The Politics of the Earth, and several other works.

Professor Rosa A. Eberly:

More than two millennia after Plato put the -ic in rhetoric -- and more than a century after hair-splitting disciplinarity began to erode the scholarly pursuit of common questions -- scholars from across the arts and sciences (even physicists!) are bringing their "occupational psychoses" to the shared and perduring problems of democracy. What might scholars do to imagine our different roles -- researchers, teachers, citizens -- as complementary rather than antagonistic? I will discuss with the audience several historical and contemporary cases of how disciplinary differences discouraged and enabled the useful pursuit of common questions in the context of public scholarship.

Professor Rosa A. Eberly (Penn State University, formerly University of Texas, Austin) is a Fellow of Penn State's Laboratory for Public Scholarship and Democracy and is author of Citizen Critics: Literary Public Spheres, The Elements of Reasoning and many studies on rhetoric and civic engagement, and public scholarship and has published in distinguished journals such as Rhetoric and Public Affairs and Rhetoric Review, and New Directions for Teaching and Learning.

Professor John M. Murphy:
CULTIVATING CITIZENSHIP: THE ROLE OF PUBLIC RHETORIC In recent years, a variety of thinkers, from Robert Putnam to Danielle Allen, have identified individualism and distrust as key obstacles to a vigorous practice of citizenship. They have also generally focused on public rhetoric as a problem and unfavorably compared the competitive norms implicit within political discourse to the cooperative norms they see in other discursive practices. Rather than giving up on public rhetoric, I suggest we explore some exemplary discursive practices that may light the way toward a more vibrant citizenry. I'll illustrate these concepts with examples drawn from John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama.

Professor John M. Murphy (University of Illinois, formerly University of Georgia) is the author of numerous studies of American political rhetoric in leading journals such as Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Quarterly Journal of Speech.

Professor Georgia Warnke: Title to be announced.
Professor Warnke (University of California, Riverside) is the author of Gadamer: Hermeneutics, Tradition, and Reason, Justice and Interpretation, Legitimate Differences: Interpretation in the Abortion Controversy and Other Public Debates, and After Identity: Rethinking Race, Sex and Gender.

Participation and papers
All those interested in the conference themes are invited, whether they wish to present papers or not. Papers discussing aspects of rhetorical citizenship - particularly with regard to questions raised by ideals about democratic debate and its many manifestations - are invited. Topics may include practical, ideological and ethical perspectives on public discourse. Particular questions explored might be:

  • What should we expect from public debate?
  • Can meaningful norms of public conversation be formulated, and how might such norms be nurtured?
  • What is "reasonable disagreement" and how can it be handled constructively?
  • How might the notion "rhetorical agency" contribute to our thinking about and critique of public deliberation?
  • What characterizes a constructive speaking position and how might it be obtained?

Papers should be given in English. Time slots for papers will be 45 minutes, including at least 10 minutes for questions and debate.

If you wish to participate, send an email to Rhetoricalcitizenship@hum.ku.dk by June 1, 2008. (You may use the reply email function if applicable.) Those wishing to present papers should include a title and an abstract of no more than 200 words. Within a short time, you will then receive an email giving further information on registration, payment, etc., and directing you to the conference website.

Notification on acceptance of papers will be sent out by email by June 15, 2008.

Registration and fees:
Registration must be sent by email to Rhetoricalcitizenship@hum.ku.dk
Fees for registration before July 1, 2008:
For academic faculty: DDK 500,00
For students and non-academic participants: DDK 350,00

Fees for registration later than July 1, 2008:
For academic faculty: DDK 600,00
For students and non-academic participants: DDK 450,00

Fees include conference participation, lunches, and coffee/tea/refreshments during conference hours, and a conference dinner (excl. beverages).

Instructions regarding payment will be posted on the conference website as soon as possible and sent by email to individuals who have submitted an abstract.

Final registration deadline will be September 15, 2008.

Conference Publication
The organizers intend to publish a volume containing selected conference papers. Participants interested in submitting their paper for consideration are invited to indicate this during the conference by submitting a brief statement containing subject, title and contact information. Final versions of papers must be submitted by November 15, 2008. All submissions for the conference volume will be peer reviewed.

Conference Website
There will be a conference website continually updated with relevant information, such as a full conference schedule, advice on travel, lodging, meals, etc. A website for the conference is under construction and will shortly be accessible at this address: http://rhetoricalcitizenship.mef.ku.dk/conference

As organizers of the conference, we sincerely hope that you will choose to attend.

With our best wishes,

The Conference Committee:

Lisa Storm Villadsen Christian Kock
Associate Professor of Rhetoric Professor of Rhetoric
University of Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen

Hans V. Hansen Ove Korsgaard
Professor of Philosophy Professor, The Danish University School of Education
University of Windsor, Canada University of Aarhus

Kjell Lars Berge
Professor, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies
University of Oslo

Kasper Møller Hansen
Associate Professor of General and Comparative Political Science Dept. of Political Science
University of Copenhagen

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Rev. B.F. Tefft on Daniel Webster's oratory

While working on a syllabus for an MOE-required elective called "Introduction to English Rhetoric" (that may not ever actually be taught, since although we're required to offer it students aren't required to take it), I came across the following comments on Daniel Webster's oratory in the preface to a book of Webster's selected speeches. (I imagine the previous sentence will have some of my readers--if I have any readers--wondering why anyone would ask me to write a syllabus for a course on rhetoric, but anyway...)

Here it is for my future reference:
It is quite evident that Mr. Webster matured rather slowly; that his efforts made before the age of fifty were his most popular because the most impassioned efforts; but that his productions dated beyond the age of fifty, though less fiery, are generally more indicative of his unsurpassed abilities as a man of deep, penetrating, far-reaching, and comprehensive mind. His mind, indeed, seemed to grow clearer as he advanced in years; and the very latest speeches, though not so striking to superficial hearers, will be regarded hereafter, by close and competent readers, as the most finished of all the productions of his tongue and pen.

One result, it is to be earnestly hoped, will not fail to follow a general circulation of these master-pieces among the generous youth of Mr. Webster's native land. It is to be hoped that his style of elocution, calm, slow dignified, natural, unambitious, and yet direct and powerful, will take the place of that showy, flowery, flashy, fitful and boisterous sort of speaking, which seems to be becoming too common, which so breaks down the health of the speaker, and which is nevertheless most likely to strike the feelings and corrupt the judgment of the young. Let me here say plainly, that, having heard Mr. Webster speak very frequently, on almost every variety of occasion, I have never heard him, even when most excited, raise his voice higher, or sink it lower, or utter his words more rapidly than he could do consistently with the most perfect ease, and with the utmost dignity of movement. He never played the orator. He never seemed to be making any effort. What he had to say he said as easily, as naturally, and yet as forcibly and possible, with such a voice as he used in common conversation, only elevated and strengthened to meet the demands of his large audiences. So intent did he seem to be, so intent he certainly was, in making his hearers see and feel as he did, in relation to the subject of the hour, that no one thought of his manner, or whether he had any manner, till the speech was over. That is oratory, true oratory; and it is to be hoped that the more general distribution of these masterpieces will have the ultimate effect of making it the American standard of oratory from this age to all future ages. (5-6)

From the Preface to Speeches of Daniel Webster, Selected by Rev. B. F. Tefft, D.D., LL.D., Embracing His Acknowledged Masterpieces in Each Department of the Great Field of Intellectual Action. NY: A. L. Burt Company, n.d. (1852?)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Description of Marjorie Bly from 1959

Earlier I mentioned a letter I had read that included a description of Marjorie Bly. Judy Manwell (Moore), an Oberlin "rep" to Taiwan in the late 1950s, had the opportunity to meet Marjorie Bly during a trip to Penghu in 1959. Judy wrote a letter to the Oberlin community on January 30, 1959 about her trip. She has given me permission to post the part of a letter about her visit with Bly:
Marjorie Bly: A name, it seemed to be last year, which went well among Protestant pioneers and saints--rhythmical, forthright, pronounceable. Many times in Taiwan and even in Hong Kong I had heard the name and how its owner, an American nurse, had dedicated herself to helping the lepers out there on the lonely little Pescadores [Penghu]--"and how she can stand it I don't know...really admirable!" It happened that while we were sitting in the little airlines office poring over their map and thinking how we might get hold of her, our Saint walked in to ask the genial airlines fellow if his kids were still coming over for checkers that night. About 35, she had chosen those classic clothes missionaries buy to stay in style for five years with more verve than most; she was too femininely plump for the traditional Saint, her gaze too direct and unclogged with surplus love of humanity for the modern Peale Saint. She took us to the General Hospital, explaining that it was her goal to incorporate treatment of lepers with that of the other sick people. She had come out six years before with a few glowing letters from Pescadores patients treated by her in a Taipei leprosarium, which made her welcome in their families and talked about in others. Her visits to to other homes, however, had at first brought terror that the dread disease lurked there. Gradually they saw that in most homes she found no leprosy; where she did find it she could relieve the age-old horror. They began to bring their symptoms into the little laboratory marked "dermatology." Here a fat solemn-looking Taiwanese nurse works Miss Bly's struggling Chinese into the patients' language. After a few minutes' chatting she got us off on an excursion to another island and went back to work. Several hours later we staggered off a grimy little boat. It had been a rough trip, especially because everybody crowded to one side to avoid spray, putting us, if no one else, in constant fear of capsizing. With soggy but dogged conscientiousness, we had huddled alone on the spray-beaten side. We were weary of living, though glad to be alive. And there was Marjorie to take us to a cup of coffee. There had been no cozy cordial invitation before we left--there was just this moment of bliss on returning. We sat for a long time in her bare shop-like room which she loved for its privacy, and we drank hoarded coffee and ate the little bean cakes which are the eternal reward for making friends in China and the eternal acid--or sickenly sweet--test of one's inter-cultural adapt[a]bility. We talked about her Christmas tree of green paper on white artfully festooned with Christmas-card cut-outs ("I made that for the hospital a couple years ago. I got disgusted with this place. No Christmas. I brought back that white cellophane one you saw in the lab from a dime store in the States.") Thinking of her brave efficient single-handed Christmas, somebody asked, "Are there many other Westerners around?" "Twenty or thirty military advisers." "See much of them?" "They very kindly included me in their Thanksgiving dinner." We talked about America--"I was a case for Freud this last furlough at home. I went around speaking and speaking and no one could ever understand me. I was so glad to come back...here they never thought I would return. I guess I really surprised them. I'm glad they know somebody really cares enough about this little place."
Thanks again to Judy Manwell Moore for allowing me to quote from her letter!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Marjorie Bly of Penghu passes away

A while back, I posted about Marjorie Bly, a nurse who treated lepers in Penghu for over 50 years. I heard the other day from her cousin that she has passed away.

Here's an article in the Taipei Times about her passing:
Aunty White dies at 89

Marjorie Bly, a nurse from the US who treated lepers on Penghu for 54 years, died on Tuesday of heart failure. She was 89. Bly's heart failure was the result of pneumonia brought on by a bout of flu, said her doctor, Wu Fang-tsan (吳芳燦). Paying his last respects to Bly at the hospital, Penghu County Commissioner Wang Chien-fa (王乾發) described Bly as "Penghu's angel" and said her death would bring sorrow to many, adding that the county government would issue a public statement recognizing her long-term devotion to the island. Wu Wen-chung (吳文忠), a local priest, said local residents would follow Bly's instructions and decorate her funeral ceremony with her sunflowers. Wu said the funeral would be simple, with little talk and hymns. Bly herself requested this, Wu said, because "she did not pass away. She is just sleeping." Bly, nicknamed "Aunty White," by local residents, was assigned to Taiwan by her church in 1952. She arrived in Penghu two years after that. Last April, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) bestowed a state medal upon Bly in recognition of her contributions and sacrifices for the people of Penghu.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

男人的 what??

After eating lunch at 客家本色 this afternoon, we went to pay the bill and noticed that the restaurant was playing music from Luo Shifeng's latest album. I wasn't sure that I was reading the title of his album correctly, so I asked the former native Chinese speaker, who "read" loudly, "男人的 LP." It took us both a minute to realize that the title is supposed to read, "男人的汗" and then we had a good laugh at our own expense. In our defense, though, don't you think the last character in the title could be easily mistaken for LP?*

*On the meaning of "LP", see here.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Videos of The Mike Wallace Interview


The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin has put episodes of The Mike Wallace Interview from 1957-8 on their website. There are video files of most of the episodes and transcripts of all of them.

As the website says,
Mike Wallace rose to prominence in 1956 with the New York City television interview program, Night-Beat, which soon developed into the nationally televised prime-time program, The Mike Wallace Interview. Well prepared with extensive research, Wallace asked probing questions of guests framed in tight close-ups. The result was a series of compelling and revealing interviews with some of the most interesting and important people of the day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Alex Reid over at digital digs describes a writing assignment his daughter is given:
Today's 3rd grade in-class writing assignment: why I love America. Of course one must be sure to follow the format. I love America. The reason I love America is because... Add three examples; close with repetition. My daughter discovers that the answer to the question here is that she loves America because of "freedom." Huh? That's some pretty heavy irony, don't you think? You must write that you love America, you must write that you love America because of the freedom you experience, and you must follow this specific format in writing your response. I mean if it was a movie you'd be rolling your eyes that this was laying it all on pretty think, right?
(Reid writes elsewhere about the factors leading him to consider home-schooling his daughter.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

I assume the part about the dance floor is metaphorical...

Your time of day has a split personality -- sometimes it's sweat-streaked and loud, and you're on the dance floor, getting your third wind, and shouting lyrics like you'll never run out of energy. You are the time of night that carves itself into your memory forever, because you'll never forget how much you love these people and this moment and this song. It's not always about unforgettable parties, though. Sometimes your late night (err... early morning) burst of energy happens when you're home alone. Those are the times when you say, "I flat out refuse to go to sleep until I finish reading this book, or typing this page, or reorganizing my entire closet." In either case, you are the time of night when it feels sort of forbidden to be awake, but you love accomplishing something special long after everyone else went to bed. And hey -- you can always catch up on sleep tomorrow, right?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

CFP: International Society for the History of Rhetoric

Almost didn't see this one in time...
The Seventeenth Biennial Conference of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR) will be held in Montreal, Canada, from Wednesday, July 22th July to Sunday, July 26 2009.

The biennial conference of ISHR brings together several hundred specialists in the history of rhetoric from around thirty countries. This will be the first meeting of the Society in Canada since 1997.

The Society calls for papers that focus on the theory and practice of rhetoric in its historical contexts from classical period to the present.

The main theme of the conference is "Innovative Perspective in the History of Rhetoric". Over the last two decades, new fields of investigation have emerged in the research being done in the history of rhetoric – or should we say "Histories of rhetorics". New spheres of activities (religious studies, queer studies, feminist writings, etc.) as much as new geographical areas (Amerindian, Asian and African traditions, among others) have questioned the a priori of a universal and hegemonic model based on a classical and occidental definition of the history of rhetoric. Papers exploring these new trends in Western and Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas are welcomed.

Papers are also invited on every aspect of the history of rhetoric in all periods and languages and the relationship of rhetoric to poetics, literary theory and criticism, philosophy, politics, law, and other elements of the cultural context.

Proposals should be submitted for a 20-minute presentation delivered in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, or Spanish.

Group proposals are welcome, under the following conditions. The group must consist of 3 or 4 speakers dealing with a common theme in order to form a coherent panel. One person must be responsible for the panel. Each paper must stand on its own as an independent presentation. Each speaker submits a proposal form for his or her own paper; proposals for such papers must specify the group for which they are intended. In addition, the person who is responsible for the group must complete and submit a form explaining the purpose of the proposed panel.

Proposals for papers and for groups must be submitted on-line (http://www.ishr.mcgill.ca). Please fill out the on-line form carefully.

Proposals may also be sent by mail to the following address:
Diane Desrosiers-Bonin, McGill University, Department of French Language and Literature, 853 Sherbrooke West, Montreal (Qc), Canada H3A 2T6.

Guidelines for preparing proposals are provided at the bottom of this message. The length of the abstracts must not exceed 350 words.

The deadline for submitting proposals is May 15th, 2008.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out in September 2008. In a few cases participants may require an earlier acceptance date in order to secure funding. We will try to accommodate such requests if they are made with appropriate documentation.

Information about the conference, including accommodation at negotiated favorable rates, will be provided during the academic year 2008-2009. The conference registration fee is still to be determined; by way of indication it was around 125 euros / 150 US dollars for the previous conferences. Graduate students and scholars from certain countries may be eligible for reduced registration fees.

Looking forward to your participation,

Diane Desrosiers-Bonin
President, International Society for the History of Rhetoric

Guidelines for the preparation of proposals :
The members of ISHR come from many countries and academic disciplines. The following guidelines are intended to make it easier for us to come together and understand one another's proposals. The Program Committee recommends that all proposals contain:

1) a definition - accessible to a non-specialist - of the field of the proposal, including chronological period, language, texts, and other sources;

2) a statement of the problem that will be treated; its place in relation to the present state of research in the field under consideration; its stakes for the history of rhetoric;

3) a summary of the stages of argumentation involved in treating the problem;

4) scientific results and gains.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Somebody help me...

I've just used "thematize", "narrativize," and "textualize" all together in one paragraph.

Does anyone have an enema for my brain?

Some interesting posts to get back to when I have time

These posts are all related to access in academic publishing--access to publications (as a writer) and open access to published resources (in other words, open access).
(I know, I should really figure out del.icio.us one of these days...)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

CNY Vignettes

Kerim has a post illustrating more-or-less what my CNY (Chinese New Year) has been like so far. More or less because I've been trying to work in the midst of CNY festivities and have been less successful at work than Kerim seems to have been.

Last year we took off the day after CNY to go to Oberlin. So this year we're spending some time with the in-laws (who fortunately have a net connection), and I'm prepared. I've brought along a big huge book to read and some of my dissertatables. But I don't have my laptop along because I figure(d) I can use the computer in the living room when no one else is at it. I don't want to spend too much time hiding up in the third floor bedroom away from everyone. That'd be unsociable.

When we get there I find that my biggest competition for computer time, my five-year-old nephew, is coming CNY Eve--a surprise since I thought they wouldn't show until the next day at least. Oh well. I always have my book.

Reading turns out to be OK, but I have to do it in our third-floor bedroom away from all the noise going on downstairs. I have to wrap myself up in a couple of blankets, too, since the room is about 10 degrees C. (That's cold!) After a few hours of that, my very long American nose has icicles hanging from it.


The red envelope in the nephew's pocket keeps falling out, and finally his mom can't stand it anymore and tells him she's confiscating it. He says, "You can have it."



"Does it still have money in it?"

"Yes, it does." Pause. "I love you, so I'm giving it to you."

From what I know about Hakka families, family members don't say "I love you" very much, so my sister-in-law's face registers a combination of emotions: tenderness mixed with shock mixed with embarrassment. (He's sure to make use of this the next time his dad yells at him.)


A couple of days later, I finally get a chance to spend some time on the diss. during a lull in the computer use. I gather up my Oolong tea and my dissertatables and set myself in front of the computer. Pop in my flash drive, open up my new chapter in Word. I decide to resave my file under a new name, just in case, but find that I can't find the "Save as..." function. (They have a really new version of Word, all crazy colors and undecipherable icons and I can't do a thing with it...) So I give up on resaving and just start working. A few minutes later I want to insert a footnote and find I can't find the insert footnote function, either. So I end up copying and pasting another footnote and changing its content. Whatever.

After about 10 minutes of this, the nephew comes over wondering what game I'm playing. We end up playing the crazy taxi driver game on the computer instead, since we agree my game wasn't as interesting as this is. The crazy taxi driver game is where you drive the wrong way down streets, through parks and lakes, into mailboxes and palm trees and up walls in order to get your fares to their destinations asap. (It's great training for future drivers here.) We play that until dinner time. After dinner visitors come by and you pretty much can't dissertate in the living room when you've got company. Lots of folks ask me how my dissertation is going and tell me I need to work harder on it.


It finally happens--something I've been worrying would happen for years. With an evil grin on his face, my nephew comes up to me as we're all sitting in the living room, looks at me, and announces, "Meiguo ren!" *Sigh* My own nephew... Maybe I shouldn't have insisted that he call me "Uncle" in English...

Despite that, my wife and I take him out to a coffee house/amusement park-type something or other place (undefinable this place is) the next day. He and I take a ride on a little train that runs around the park, we get him a balloon, and he runs around for a while, which worries us (especially when he runs down the 45 degree hill to the parking lot). But he's pretty well behaved and doesn't call me "Meiguo ren" anymore, so I can't complain.

So I haven't gotten a whole lot of work so far since 2/6, but I suppose when I look back on this winter break, I won't count it a total loss. And we still have a few weeks until the spring semester starts, so I'm not totally without hope.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Two new books in the former native speaker's library

We visited Chung-Yo Dept. Store last night and, as usual, spent most of the time in the Eslite Bookstore there. I picked up two interesting, picture-filled books about Taiwan:
  • 台灣西方文明初體驗 (Taiwan's First Experiences of Western Civilization), by 陳柔縉 (Chen Rouxin). This has some interesting chapters in it about how aspects of "Western Civilization" like toothpaste, running water, and English first entered Taiwan. (A lot seems to have come via the Japanese.)
  • 一九五0年代的臺灣 (1950s Taiwan), by 吳昆財 (Wu Kuncai). This is an illustrated history of Taiwan in the 1950s. (For some reason, LibraryThing has this book mixed up with a book of Japanese manga...?)
Anyway, I can look through these while the in-laws are playing mah-jong...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The socially inept interviewer, or, Things I wish we had covered in the methods course

Dear Miss Manners,

Semi-hypothetical situation: You're writing an e-mail to people you want to interview. You want to ask them about some experiences they had, say, thirty or forty years ago. At the time, they were a couple and you have no information that indicates that they are no longer together. So you write to them both: "Mr. and Mrs. X" (or something like that, depending on circumstances).

You get a response from one of them, using the first person singular throughout. S/he is willing to do the interview. But you really want to interview the other member of that couple, too. How do you ask the person who responded to you about the other person?

(Stop looking at me like that! I told you I was socially inept from the beginning!)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New mantra

Provided by the inimitable ERG:
Gonna be all done
When I'm forty-one.
We'll see...

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bill Degenaro on his tenure portfolio

Bill Degenaro at the University of Michigan Dearborn has two posts up about working on his tenure portfolio. I'm hoping he says more about the process, but perhaps there are some things he wouldn't want to go into (just like I wouldn't want to go too much into my feelings about the three-year review process that some of us are in here). He does mention one thing that I think is similar with our situation here:
The university-wide format does not always allow for easy articulation of the work of humanists. I can see how some of the categories that represent the work of scientists can cause anxiety. I have nothing to put under patents, licensures, synergistic activities (the example given in the tenure guidelines literature: "developed a methodology for modeling and analysis of system robustness"... err, I haven't done that), or technical reviews. Does that make me look weak? Conversely, I find myself relegating some work--writing entries for encyclopedias, chairing the 4Cs nominating committee--to "other" sections.
We have a three-year review form tailored (I think) to the College of Arts faculty, but there are still a few things that need to be ironed out about it. In the version that I used (given to us in Excel worksheet format, natch), you could get 100 points in research for publishing in an SSCI ranked journal, 80 for publishing in TSSCI, and 50 for other journals. No distinction was made for A&HCI or THCI. (This situation will be changed in the near future, I hope.)

Fortunately, I haven't been required to detail any synergistic activities I've been involved in (sounds mighty personal, if you ask me).

CFP: "Re-visioning English Studies in Asia"

Looks interesting...
“Re-visioning English Studies in Asia”

The English Language and Literature Association of Korea
International Conference
November 20-22, 2008
Onyang Hot Spring Hotel, Onyang, Korea

The English Language and Literature Association of Korea (ELLAK) invites papers for its 2008 international conference on “Re-visioning English Studies in Asia.” The conference aims at bringing together scholars and teachers of English language and literature to discuss academic, professional, and institutional issues particular to English studies in the wider Asian region. We are interested in examining the history of English studies in Asia—its past, present, and future—in different national and cultural contexts around Asia. How is “English” defined today in Asia? What are the particular responsibilities and challenges of this field today? We hope to foster new cross-cultural and cross-regional conversations that will lay the basis for cooperative projects and debates in the future.

Topics of discussion may include (but are not limited to):

- Teaching English Literature in English vs. Teaching English Literature in an Asian Language
- ESL/EFL Policies at the National/State Level
- Canon and Curriculum
- English Literature and Cultural Capital
- Whose Asia? Orientalism and Occidentalism
- Contemporary Asian Literature in English
- English Studies in Asia in the Age of Theory
- Nationalism/Transnationalism in Asia
- Globalization Theories and Literary Studies
- Asian-American Studies in Asia
- Diversifying “English Literature”
- The South Asian Novel in English
- Postcolonialism and Subaltern Studies in Asia
- Writing/Mapping Asia: Representing Asia in English Literature
- Effective Pedagogical Strategies to Manage the Asian Classroom
- Diaspora Studies
- (Bilingualism & Multilingualism in) Inter-Asia Studies
- Digital/Computation and English Studies in Asia

Proposals for 20-minute papers should include a 250-word abstract and a brief curriculum vitae with contact and affiliation information. Please send proposals to Dr. Eun Kyung Min (Dept. of English, Seoul National University, eunmin_at_snu.ac.kr) by March 1, 2008. Proposals for panels are also welcome. Accepted papers will be announced by April 15, 2008. Please consult www.ellak.or.kr for updates and announcements.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Three new books in the former native speaker's library

First, a Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law:
  • The Ugly American by William Lederer and Eugene Burdick (1958)
    Read it before, but didn't have my own copy.
Two books that came today:
I suspect I'll dip into these two during the winter vacation (when I'm not dissertating, of course. Ahem...)