Redefine the possible.
space Future students Current students Faculty & staff Alumni Visitors York crest

York Centre for Asian Research Update            Issue 11, Monday, April 25, 2005

Y-File Headline News Today: York gets Canada Research Chair in modern Chinese history

Joshua Fogel, one of the world’s leading scholars of modern Asian studies, has been awarded a Canada Research Chair and will begin his work at York in July. The announcement was made Friday in Winnipeg by David Emerson, minister of industry and minister responsible for the Canada Research Chairs Program.

Joshua FogelRight: Joshua Fogel on the Great Wall of China

A specialist in Chinese-Japanese cross-cultural connections who received his PhD in history from Columbia University in 1980, Fogel comes to York’s Department of History, Faculty of Arts, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he has taught since 1989. Fogel was also visiting professor at the Institute for Research in the Humanities, Kyoto University, from 1996 to 1997 and visiting Mellon Professor in East Asian Studies at the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University, New Jersey, from 2001 to 2003.

The history of modern China cannot be fully or properly understood, Fogel maintains, without examining the dynamic cultural, political, and economic interactions between China and Japan over the last two centuries. Fogel’s research focuses on this interaction and the importance of Japan in China’s modern development. He has translated a number of important texts into English from Chinese and Japanese, which reveal changing Chinese attitudes towards Japan (and vice versa) from the fourteenth through to the 19th century.

As Canadian Research Chair in the History of Modern China at York, Fogel will continue to advance the study of modern China through a pan-Asian lens. The activity and profile of this Canada Research Chair will be enhanced by connection with the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR), which provides an interdisciplinary focus for the study of Asia. Fogel enjoys an outstanding international reputation, including in East Asia, which will permit him to lead the development of innovative research at York on an international scale.

York has developed many links with business, community organizations, and surrounding municipalities which have significant Asian communities. Its current relationships with China is built upon a long history of close academic ties at both the institutional and individual levels, and the Chair will advance the University’s objective to fortify and expand these international partnerships. Fogel’s links with institutions in China and Asia can be expected to lead to opportunities for further development of partnerships and collaborations for York and Canada.

Fogel is currently writing two books, both concerned with Sino-Japanese relations and centred in Shanghai in the 19th century. One book focuses on the first modern Japanese mission to China of 1862 using Japanese travel narratives from the voyage and newly discovered Chinese documents written by the bureaucrats whom the Japanese visitors met in Shanghai. The other book is a study of Shanghai’s first modern Japanese community, from its inception in the 1860s until the first Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. In it, Fogel seeks to answer questions about Japanese society away from Japan and what communal institutions those expatriates created in Shanghai. 

Fogel’s next major project will be a study of official language interpreters or translators working between China and Japan over the past few centuries and the emergence in both countries of a modern interpreters corps. 

An experienced translator with 10 works to his credit, Fogel is working on two new translations from the Japanese. One is a revised study by the late Æba Osamu of trading relations between China and Japan from the seventeenth through the early- to mid-nineteenth centuries, focusing the all-important book trade. The second is a work by Yamamuro Shin’ichi,of Kyoto University on the state of Manchukuo, sponsored by the Japanese government and military in what is now northeast China, from 1932 through the end of the Second World War. 

May is Asian Heritage Month

Since its inaugural celebration in Toronto in 1993, cities across Canada, including Halifax, Montréal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, have been holding annual festivities during the month of May to recognize Asian Heritage Month. This acknowledges the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to Canada. Canadians are invited to take part in the festivities that commemorate the legacy of Asian Canadians and their many contributions which have helped Canada to become the multicultural and diverse nation it is today. 

To celebrate the occasion, the Toronto Public Library presents on a literary evening on Friday, May 13, 2005 from 7-9 pm at the Auditorium North York Central Library at 5120 Yonge Street. Readings will be presented on these anthologies: Story Wallah, acclaimed anthology edited by Shyam Selvadurai including contributions from York University professor, Michael Ondaatje, and Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Women Poets, edited and introduced by Risha Dunlap and York faculty member, Dr. Priscila Uppal. Dr. Arun Mukherjee will also provide a commentary. 

Other events include: 
Art Exhibition: The Great Waterfalls
Artists: Zhenghui Lan and Peng Ma
Curator: Lien Chao
Opening: Sunday, May 1, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Location: 2nd Level, North York Public Library, 5120 Yonge St. (by Subway to North York Centre)
Exhibition: May 1 to May 29th

Free admission and refreshments.

A Public Discussion: Chinese Brush Painting in Western Culture
Location: 2nd Level, Rm2, North York Public Library Time: Sunday, May 15, 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Bring your own paintings and slides to share.

Visit the Canadian Heritage website for more information on the Asian Heritage Month.

Ottawa Gives Enhanced Asian Ties a Boost in Foreign Policy Review - Asia Pacific Bulletin

In the long-awaited International Policy Statement released by the Federal Government last week, about seven of its  118 pages are devoted to ties with the region. While the increased attention is a welcome acceptance of the greater role the region must play in Canada's future, it is also encouraging that the analysis is based on a very realistic assessment of the current state of the relationship. Still, the greater weight given to Asian ties specifically, and to Asia-focused topics like production networks and outward foreign investment, foreshadows a much-needed focus on enhanced and more nuanced economic ties with the region. Full Article >> 

CANCAPS offers Junior Scholar Travel Awards

The Canadian Consortium on Asia-Pacific Security (CANCAPS) is seeking
applications for Junior Scholar Travel Awards. Grants for 2005-2006 will be up to $1000.00. The application deadline is 13 May 2005. The intended award announcement date is be 30 May 2005 and all travel associated with these awards must be completed by 1 March 2006.

Purpose: The CANCAPS Junior Scholar Travel Awards are primarily intended to provide partial reimbursement for expenses associated with conducting Asia Pacific security research in the region or attending a meeting/conference related to the theme of Asia Pacific security. Proposals to attend important activities related to the Asia Pacific elsewhere (including in North America) will also be considered.  This CANCAPS funding is meant to help offset the costs of activities that are going to be undertaken regardless of receipt of this award.  Awards are paid by reimbursement of documented travel/research costs.

The mandate of CANCAPS is to promote research, publication, public awareness, and exchange activities on questions related to the changing security environment in the Asia Pacific region and Canada's role in this environment. Applications for Junior Scholar Travel Awards must demonstrate how the proposed research or conference attendance falls within this mandate.

Eligibility: Each applicant must be 1) a CANCAPS member; and 2) a student or university/college instructor holding a rank no higher than Assistant Professor.  Independent scholars of similar rank/status are also welcome to apply.

Recipient Obligations: At a minimum, recipients are required to submit to the CANCAPS Bulletin an article that reports on the activity undertaken with the Junior Scholar Travel Award.  Applicants are also strongly encouraged to make contributions to the CANCAPS Paper series, CANCAPS annual conference, and/or working groups.

Applications must include:
1) a description of the activity being undertaken, including demonstration that the proposed activity falls within the CANCAPS mandate;
2) a confidential academic reference;
3) a complete budget for the proposed activity, including an indication
of all other sources of funding;
4) an itinerary for the travel to be funded by the CANCAPS award; and
5) an indication that this activity will be carried out even if funding from CANCAPS is not forthcoming.

Applications must be submitted electronically.  Applications submitted in hard copy will not be considered.
CANCAPS has two administrative offices, one at York University and one at the University of British Columbia.

At York, contact:

Burma Herald Goes Online! 

Former political prisoner and freelance journalist, Myint Shwe (second from right), has published North America's first and only Burmese language newspaper, The Burma Herald. The newspaper is published monthly in Burmese and English languages. The newspaper is also available online at Myint Shwe delivered a talk earlier at YCAR on Burma's Roadmap to Democracy and provided an overview of the political context behind the movement towards democracy in the country, the actors involved in shaping the democratic movement.

International Conference in Bangladesh:  Impact of Global Issues on Women and Children, February 12-16, 2006 

Co-sponsored by McMaster University, Canada and State University of Bangladesh (SUB) 

The conference offers participants from all parts of the world the opportunity to come together and collectively share their knowledge, expertise and experience on issues relevant to effects of globalization (positive and negative) on children and women. For more information, contact: International Symposium McMaster University 1200 Main St. W., HSC-3N28 Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5 Tel.: (905) 525-9140 ext. 22456 or 27533 Fax: (905) 521-8834 E-mail: Website:

Research Profile: There are many Bangladeshis in New Delhi, but...: Methodological Routines and Fieldwork Anxieties - Sujata Ramachandran, Queens University, Kingston ON Canada

Abstract: Thanks to scholars placed both within and outside geography, real efforts have been made of late to uncover and engage with the voices of marginalized groups. While population geographers have furnished remarkable array of methodological devices to explore migrant's being and consciousness, feminist geographers have challenged the conceptual framework of geographical field research by underscoring the significance of self-reflexivity, positionality and situatedness in the field. But as this account of fieldwork with undocumented Bangladeshi migrants in the marginal and 'illegal' spaces of slums in New Delhi demonstrates, these nouveau routines do not engage fully with the fieldwork anxieties experienced by the researcher. In particular, critical and self-engagements alone do not allow the investigator to deal effectively with the complicated and often opaque landscapes in which fieldwork is conducted. The article introduces these highly fragmentary social spaces, suffused with power, but also charged with ambiguities and contradictions, questioning our understanding of undocumented migrant communities and their ties with other groups, in the slums. The unelaborated 'risks of everyday life' negotiated by unauthorised immigrants necessitate a reworking of these broad routines in order to gain access to and conduct interviews with them. The paper is a methodological contribution to the field of study. Full article >>

Sujata Ramachandran is in the process of completing her Doctoral-level dissertation at the Department of Geography at Queen's University. Currently, she is involved in two research projects, including a proposed project on international migration for Bangladesh submitted to CIDA, and researching the various dimensions of xenophobia with the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) and Southern African Research Center at Queen's University. This most recent refereed article was published last year in the journal Population, Space and Place.         

York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR). For further information, contact Ste. 270 York Lanes, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto ON  M3J 1P3. URL: