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York Centre for Asian Research Updates                    Issue 62, Friday, October 6, 2006

In this issue

Academic Events

 Professor of communication studies to talk on film and multiculturalism
  Request for Proposals  VPA/VPRI call for proposals on internationalization at York

Asia Job Postings

 CSULB seeks assistant/associate professor in Asian Studies

Research Competitions

 CIDA invites proposals on mass media initiative

Asia News - China

 A dynamic China looks boldly into the future

Professor of communication studies to talk on film and multiculturalism

YCAR and the South Asian Studies (SAST) Program have invited Sanjay Talreja to talk on "Making Pictures - Finding Our Voices in the Age of Multiculturalism" on Tuesday, October 10 from 12-1:30 pm at 270B York Lanes. Sanjay Talreja (MFA) is Assistant Professor in Communication Studies at the University of Windsor. He recently completed a film for the National Film Board; though Cricket and the Meaning of Life is his Canadian directorial debut, Prof. Talreja has over 20 years experience in the field of film-making working in India, the US and Canada. His documentary work looks at how larger political and social issues play themselves out in the lives of ordinary people and focuses on social justice with a particular interest on themes of migration, identity and nationalism. He also co-edited a book entitled Strangers in the Mirror on the representation of minorities in Canadian media. Below is the abstract of his talk:

For a media practitioner, the current state of Canadian media presents something of a puzzle. While the discourse of multiculturalism claims much rhetorical space, the reality is quite different. Audiences are fragmenting; budgets are shrinking; professional gatekeeping is a serious impediment; and many commissioning editors shy away from complex, multilayered films. Overarching everything else is the fact that the imperatives of neo-liberalism are being rapidly enacted on the media landscape. What is a politically conscious film-maker to do? An exploration of the constraints and a conversation about some personal strategies is offered by documentary film-maker Sanjay Talreja in Making Pictures - Finding Our Voices in the Age of Multiculturalism.

On Wednesday, October 11 from 4-5pm at York University Bookstore, SAST would also like to invite you to the book launch of "The Hitopadesa" by the celebrated ancient Sanskrit author Narayana and translated by A.N.D. Haksar. One of the best-known Sanskrit classics, Narayana's "Hitopadesa" is a fascinating collection of animal and human fables in polished verse epigrams. The satirical, often irreverent and sometimes ribald text has been popular for centuries as a compendium of worldly advice on matters great and small, public and private. A.N.D. Haksar, a well-known Sanskrit scholar/translator, has published 8 books of translation from the classical Sanskrit literature. He is presently retired after having had a distinguished career in the Indian diplomatic service. Several of his translations have been published previously through Penguin Classics (India).

Asian Institute and YCAR to co-sponsor Taiwan Roundtable

Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) 1986 and 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 7:30 pm, Rm 208N, Munk Centre for International Studies (MCIS)
University of Toronto, 1 Devonshire Place

On September 28, 1986, Taiwan’s Tangwai (non-party) opposition politicians organized a political party in violation of martial law. The existence of the new DPP was a direct challenge to the KMT’s rule by martial law. That October 15 the KMT Central Committee announced that it would end martial law, allow new political parties, and revise the restrictive laws on elections. The DPP had started Taiwan’s democratization. Twenty years later the DPP is the government, but under challenge because of corruption allegations against the president’s family. The speakers will reflect on the DPP’s role in Taiwan then and now, going beyond the daily news to think about where Taiwan’s politics has been and might go (AFP Photo: Anti-President Chen Shui-bian demonstrators give a thumbs down sign in front of the Presidential Office).

Ed File – “1986” From 1982 until now Ed File has trained many members of the DPP in non-violent social transformation skills.

Joseph Wong – “2006” Joe Wong is Professor of Political Science at University of Toronto and Director of the Asian Institute.

Su Ching-lung – “Reflections on Twenty Years” Dennis Su is immediate past chair of DPP Canada

The Munk Centre is on the northeast corner of Hoskin Avenue and Devonshire Place. From Saint George subway station walk south 1 block on Devonshire. For inquiries, contact Michael Stainton at

Also on Tuesday, October 10, 3-4 pm at the Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility at the MCIS, a new website developed by students at the University of Toronto's Asian Institute will be inaugurated Called the Asia Pacific Reader (APR), the project will provide a unique online resource that will foster the interdisciplinary academic exploration of contemporary Asia. The project was initiated in 2005 by students in Dr. David Chu's program in Asia Pacific Studies who wanted to not only get connected to other students and people interested in Asia Pacific issues but to be constantly updated on what is going on in the region. For more info, go to

Reminder: David Wurfel Award Competition for scholars engaged in Philippine studies due October 15

The David Wurfel Award provides financial support to an honors undergraduate or masters graduate student who intends to conduct thesis research on the topic of Filipino history, culture, or society. Value (2006): $1,500 CAD. The award is open to students enrolled in York University in social sciences or humanities programs (including the Faculties of Law and Environmental Studies), who are Canadian citizens/permanent residents/protected persons, have a grade point average of at least 6.0, and demonstrate financial need. Application Deadline: October 15, 2006 (date falls on a Sunday and as such interested applicants can submit their applications on Monday, October 16).

For more information, visit the YCAR website at:

We would also like to inform you that the Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies (GDAS) forms for enrolment are now online. For interested graduate students, please go to:

VPA/VPRI call for proposals re internationalization of York University

The Offices of the Vice-President Academic and the Vice-President Research & Innovation of York University invite proposals from individuals and groups for pilot projects to further York's international agenda. The enhancement of international opportunities for students and faculty is a strategic priority for York, and the importance of internationalization is highlighted in the current (2005) and previous (2000) iterations of the University Academic Plan. The past several years have seen increased international activity, coordination and profile, including the initiation of new international programs, research projects and partnerships, the creation of international internships, and the expansion of exchange agreements –– establishing York as a recognized leader in Canada in relation to international research and education. For a full description of the project and the required submission format, click here. For more information, contact Marla Chodak at ext. 44505 or

Applications will be adjudicated by York's vice-president academic, associate vice-president international, vice-president research & innovation, and leader of the International Research Group. Authors of short-listed applications may be asked for further information on the project. Successful applicants will be required to submit a report on completion of the project. Applications must be submitted by Nov. 27, to Marla Chodak, c/o the offices of the VPA and VPRI, S935 Ross Bldg. Decisions will be made by early in the Winter term. (From Y-File Today).

CSULB Department of Asian Studies seeks assistant/associate professor in Asian Studies

The California State University (CSU) Department of Asian and Asian American Studies in Long Beach seeks tenure-track faculty position of assistant/associate professor in Asian Studies effective August 27, 2007.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Ph.D., at the time of appointment, in History, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, International Studies or related disciplines in the Social Sciences, with a specialization in Contemporary Asia. Disciplinary and geographic specializations are open. Potential for effective teaching and scholarship at the assistant professor level, and a demonstrable record of effective teaching and publications at the associate professor level. Applicants should have the ability to communicate and work effectively with an ethnically and culturally diverse campus community.

DESIRED/PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates should have a thorough knowledge of the history, politics, economy, social structure, and culture of one or more Asian countries, competence in an appropriate Asian language, and an interest in applied research in various aspects of comparative development in Asia. Ability to contribute to the development of undergraduate and graduate methodology classes is preferred. Junior-level applicants should show potential ability and willingness to generate extramural funding for research and student support. More senior-level applicants should demonstrate a track record of winning substantial grants. Also preferred are willingness to engage in interdisciplinary teaching and research, and evidence of community involvement. 

REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION: Letter of application addressing qualifications; resume including a current e-mail address; three recent letters of recommendation; official transcript from institution awarding highest degree; writing/research samples; and teaching evaluations or other indications of teaching effectiveness. Only complete files can be considered.

POSITION OPEN UNTIL FILLED or Recruitment Canceled: Review of applications to begin December 15, 2006. Applications, required documentation, and/or requests for information should be addressed to: Dr. Arnold P. Kaminsky, Chair, Asian Studies Search Committee, Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1002, Tel: (562) 985-5279;

CIDA invites proposals on mass media initiative

CIDA's Development Information Program (DIP) is inviting project proposals to be submitted under its Mass Media Initiative (MMI). MMI provides financial support for communications projects such as television and radio productions, magazine features, newspaper articles and exhibits. A summary is provided below. Complete details may be obtained by contacting ORS at ext. 55055, or by consulting the website: Note: All information necessary for submitting an eligible proposal can be found on the MMI website including an application form and a list of countries eligible for Canadian Official Development Assistance.

OBJECTIVE: To promote public understanding of international development issues, as well as the role that Canadians play in developing countries and countries in transition.

PREFERRED THEMES AND AUDIENCES: Although evaluators will consider all subject matter/themes listed under "Choosing a theme" on the MMI website, for the purposes of this call, a strong preference will be given to proposals that target poverty reduction in one or more of the following themes and countries: Democratization, Human Rights and Rule of Law; Women’s Role in Development; Health; HIV/AIDS; Africa, with a focus on sub-Saharan countries. It is also encouraged to address these themes/countries in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (see for details.

VALUE: Up to $300,000 DEADLINE: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 (4:00 p.m. EDT).

York University researchers are reminded that all applications for external research funding, including Letters of Intent, must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Research Services before they are submitted to the granting agency. For internal approval, the application must be accompanied by a completed ORS Application Checklist, which requires the Chair’s and Dean’s signatures. To ensure that the approved application is ready by the agency deadline, a complete application folder must be submitted to the ORS ten (10) working days prior to final submission date. For more info, contact: Office of Research Services, 214 York Lanes, York University,, Tel: 416-736-2100 Fax: 416-736-5512.

A dynamic China looks boldly to the future, by R.N. Anil (China Daily), 09-30-2006

Be it past or it present, China has always fascinated visitors. After 1979, China started opening up to the outside world, revealing its exciting mysteries built up over the years. A visitor today is amazed by China's past merging with its present to create a promising future. I feel that people around the world know little about China. In fact, the country is changing and changing fast - a phenomenon not easy for the outside world to understand. (Cartoon by Li Jianhua).

As the renowned author, Pearl S. Buck, once said, "The Chinese, while not a changeable people, are nevertheless people who are able to change when they see the time has come for change. They are basically practical people. They do not cling to a custom or a tradition or even a religion just because it has always been that way. When they see that something no longer works, they change it."

The world has long been enchanted by this charming country of the Orient as described by Marco Polo - a pagan land that was vast, rich and populous. In terms of land area, China is one of the world's largest countries. It also holds one-fifth of the world's population and is known as the cradle of a highly sophisticated civilization that has been flourishing in the Yellow River and Yangtze basin for 5,000 years or more.

China hosts an intensely varied and distinctive geography, ranging from coastal plains in the east to high mountain plateaus in the west and the hills and fertile valleys of the southeast, with the Yellow River and the Yangtze dividing the country from west to east. The Chinese are a people with diverse physical traits, dialects and traditions. They are a multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic society, having as many as 55 ethnic groups as diverse and interesting as the geography and the history of the country they inhabit. Several of them are descendants off Arabs who came here via the Silk Road in early centuries but later assimilated into the Han culture.

A majority of Chinese are Han, but there are also Muslims, Zhuangs, Uygurs, Huis and Mongolians. Interestingly, in spite of all this diversity, China has a common written language, which has greatly helped in keeping the country unified. The Chinese language has no alphabet, only ideographs or characters said to number 50,000. Three to five thousand characters, however, are enough to understand the language. Like the Indians, the Chinese have strong family ties, which are further fortified by the worship of ancestors. In olden times, a Chinese family often included as many as five generations, and sometimes the whole village belonged to one family. But things are changing now, and the joint family system is gradually breaking down. The influence of Western culture has adversely affected the lifestyle of the Chinese people - a truth amply reflected in the views of Deng Xiaoping who said, "When we need fresh air, we open the windows. It is possible that a few flies and mosquitoes may come in." However, the ladies in China have not entirely forgotten the values of the past. They may wear modern attire, but still believe in chastity and fidelity.

In China today, the old social taboos and lifestyle are giving way to new moorings. No more does it carry the image of its dull past. Baggy Mao suits are hardly seen today; the young men and women wear Western outfits. Chinese youth are hungry for knowledge, and ambitious too. They speak impeccable English and are finding jobs in joint ventures with high salaries and perks. They are also getting familiar with Western concepts of business. Having done away with unnecessary shackles of the past, the Chinese are brimming with confidence to carve out an enviable future. There is a new vibration and enthusiasm in the country. The people have more money and time to spare, an astonishing somersault from the earlier, monotonous way of living. Today, work brings more money than ever before - and vital satisfaction, too.

The people's living standards have gone up as well. Consumption of food and beverages has considerably increased. Young people have developed a liking for eats that do not belong to their traditional diet. Multinational fast food chains like McDonalds and KFC are doing roaring business in China and are the trappings of a generation aspiring for a bright future. Life has become fast-paced in China, mainly because of the growing affluence of the people. Luxury hotels have replaced earlier guesthouses. Department stores are flooded with top brands from across the globe. Fashion shows are being frequently held in the country.

Today the people own big screen colour TVs and other household goods. Cars, which were regarded as a luxury in the past, are entering the lives of ordinary Chinese families. China lived in isolation for centuries, but realizes that the world is turning into a global village. Fourteen special economic zones were created to boost industrial output and exports. These zones proved to be the blueprints for future developments and have set the tone for China's march into the 21st century. (China Daily 09/30/2006 page 4).

The author is editor of Unity International and a regular visitor to China. For an alternative read on China's global investment overseas, see Ben Schiller's article on the China model of international development in Open Democracy.

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