East Asian conference explores cultural aftermath of war and violence, April 6 and 7

“War, Violence, and The Aftermath: Historical Memory, Literary Imagination, and Cultural Regeneration” is the focus of an international conference to be held Friday, April 6, and Saturday, April 7, in Room 276 of the Danforth University Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

The conference brings together leading international scholars for an exploration of how, in the particular context of East Asia, individuals who were caught in the midst of war and violence and those who lived in the aftermath rebuilt their lives and remembered and reflected on the suffering and devastation.

The conference also will explore how governments rebuilt social structures, political order and the cultural landscape, and more importantly, how physical ruins and psychological devastation led to short-term disruption and long-term displacement.

The conference is free and open to the public; advance registration is not required. A schedule of panel discussions and presentations, as well as related abstracts, is available on the conference website: ealc.wustl.edu/war_conference.

For more information, contact event co-sponsor, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in Arts & Sciences (EALC) call (314) 935-4448 or email ealc@artsci.wustl.edu.

Organized conflicts and large-scale violence have commanded historical memory and literary imagination over the course of human history from the early settlements in antiquity to the current global communities.

This conference focuses on various moments of significant transition and turning points in the history of East Asia, among them:

  • the Yuan-Ming and Ming-Qing transitions;
  • the Imjin War;
  • the Taiping rebellion;
  • the battle of Sekigahara;
  • the Republican revolution;
  • Japan’s colonial rule of Korea and Taiwan;
  • WWI and WWII in East Asia;
  • the retreat of the Nationalist regime to Taiwan;
  • the Korean war; and
  • political campaigns and repressions during the Mao era.

Discussions are designed to provide a localized perspective on experiences of war and violence in their respective local historical timelines and cultural nexus, such as the destruction and reconstruction of local order, the disruption and continuity of local traditions, the transformation and reinvention of cultural models, and the movements and interactions of people.

James V. Wertsch, PhD, associate vice chancellor for international affairs, the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences and director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, will offer opening remarks at 9 a.m. Friday, April 6.

Robert E. Hegel, PhD, EALC chair, professor of Chinese language and literature and the Liselotte Dieckmann Professor of Comparative Literature, offers closing thoughts on “War and Its Incomprehensibility” at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 7.

Other campus sponsors include Arts & Sciences and the university’s McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

External supporters include the Taiwan Ministry of Education, the Fudan University Department of Chinese Language and Literature and the National Taiwan University Center for Taiwan Studies.