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

York Centre for Asian Research Updates                    Issue 78, Friday, February 16, 2007

In this issue

Upcoming York Events

 Decolonizing the Body, Reforming the Nation: Gandhi's ‘Experiments with Truth’
  Colloquium/Seminar  UCGS presents panel discussion on conservation and development trends

Binational Conference

 Women and social change: Perspective from Canada and India

Request for Proposals

 CCL requests proposals on researcher-in-residence and adult learning programs

University Affairs  Article

 Just don't call it Mickey Mouse by Daniel McCabe

Decolonizing the Body, Reforming the Nation: Gandhi's ‘Experiments with Truth’
Monday, February 19, 2007, 12:00-1:30 p.m., 270B York Lanes

The York Centre for Asian Research and South Asian Studies Program present Chandrima Chakraborty, Assistant Professor, English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University who will talk on "Decolonizing the Body, Reforming the Nation: Mahatma Gandhi's ‘Experiments with Truth’." Her paper presentation will argue that Gandhi’s textualization of the self-controlled subject and the disciplined body in his Autobiography (1927) was an attempt to control the way his body practices were understood in order to self-represent himself as leader and representative of the nation. Gandhi’s detailed delineation of his numerous ‘experiments with truth’ resulted in political, spiritual, and religious discourses to visibly embed themselves on his body. His nationalist body practices provided a model for decolonizing the body and reforming the nation. His public display of his various sufferings for the nation and eventual martyrdom facilitated the institutionalization of his experiments with truth his celebration as literally the maha atma (the enlightened one) and authorized his iconic status as Bapu, the father of the Indian nation.

Also we would like to mention that June Rhee, YCAR Graduate Associate and York Humanities PhD Candidate will give a talk from 12:30-1:30 on February 22 on the culture of zainichi Koreans at the Korea Japan Week 2007 to be celebrated at York from February 19-22. The literal meaning of zainichi is “being in Japan”, but it commonly refers to the Korean residents living in Japan. June will give a brief review of the history of zainichi, and focus on contemporary zainichi culture by introducing literary works and films. Her YCAR brownbag talk on Na Un-Kyu’s Film, Arirang, and the making of a national narrative in South and North Korea has been rescheduled to Wednesday, Feb 28 from 12-1:30pm at 270 York Lanes.

As well, The Chinese Section of York's Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics is organizing China Week at York from Feb. 19-23, 2007. The cultural celebration includes a variety of events to help the York community learn about Chinese traditions & culture. Below are the activities:

Monday, Feb. 19, 4:15 to 5:30pm, S562 Ross Bldg. - Lecture on Chinese Calligraphy, Demonstration by Shi Ren 石人, associate Chair of the Association of Chinese-Canadian Artists.
Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2:30 to 4pm, S562 Ross Bldg. - Chinese Language Speech Contest. Eligible contestants are students taking or have taken ch2000, ch2030, or ch3000. There are two levels of the contest: 2000 and 3000.
Thursday, Feb. 22, 3 to 4:30pm, S562 Ross Bldg. - Lecture & Demonstration of Tai Chi - Qi Gong, by Master Jim LIang, Ji Hong Tai Chi, followed by a Reception.
Friday, Feb. 23, 12:30 to 2:30pm, in the Media Language Centre, S117 Ross Bldg. - Chinese Movie Show.

On Thursday, March 1, the Asian Institute and YCAR will co-sponsor a Taiwan Roundtable with the theme "A Dangerous Memory Rhetorically Perceived: Revisiting the 228 Incident after 60 Years of Ambiguity". The event is organized by YCAR Research Associate, Michael Stainton (left photo) who can be contacted for further details at The 228 Massacre of some 20,000 Taiwanese by Chinese KMT troops in 1947 is the defining moment of modern Taiwanese history. It gave birth to the Taiwan Independence movement, and has cast a persistent shadow over Taiwan’s ethnic politics. Though national commemoration has replaced enforced silence, “228” remains a dangerous free memory with much transformative power.

The event features Dr. TiN Giongun, Principal of the Taiwan Theological Seminary and a historian who has written on the history and meanings of 228. He creatively combines resistance theology, subaltern history and engaged politics. The event will be held at 7:30pm, Room 208N, Munk Centre, University of Toronto, 1 Devonshire Place.  To register attendance, go to

Also as part of the Asian Institute's Hong Kong in 2007 Series: A Prospective Retrospective, YCAR Faculty Associate, Susan Henders of York Political Science, will speak on the topic of Inequality and Autonomy: The Double Dynamic of Hong Kong's Special Status on Friday, March 2 from 2-4pm at 208 North House, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto, 1 Devonshire Place. Susan's
current projects include a study of the internationalization of minority self-government arrangements and a study of the cross-border roles of non-central/federal governments in Eastern Asia. To register attendance, go to:

Reminder: David Wurfel Award Competition for scholars engaged in Philippine studies due March 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 (2007): CAD $2000. 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: March 15, 2007. For more information, visit our website at:

UCGS presents panel discussion on conservation and development trends

Emerging Trends in Conservation  and Development: Participation, Power and Politics of Resource Management
Wednesday, February 21, 2007, Time: 2:30 - 4:30 pm, York Lanes 305, York University, Toronto

The University Consortium on Global South (UCGS) proudly presents the seminar "Emerging Trends in Conservation and Development: Participation, Power and the Politics of Resource Management" on Wednesday February 21 (2:30 - 4:30 pm), at York Lanes 305, York University.

Panelists: Robin Roth (Geography), Garry Fehr (PhD Candidate in Geography, University of Guelph), Kate Ervine (PhD in Candidate Political Science)

Conservation thinking and practice has evolved considerably over the past two decades and with it, we have witnessed a shifting emphasis, at least in theory, away from the preservationist practices of fortress conservation to the new received wisdom of biodiversity utilization, often operationalized through Integrated Conservation and Development Projects (ICDPs). Indeed, large multilateral development institutions such as the World Bank, and its green sister institution the Global Environment Facility, have been some of the most vocal proponents of this new strategy. This shift away from traditional preservationist approaches makes a strong case for the inclusion of local communities in the design and implementation of ICDPs, whose exclusion otherwise, as the argument goes, will result in project failure. Yet the common ‘win-win’ scenario expounded by the Bank amongst others often masks the competing and contested networks of power and interests that weave their way through local, national, and international sites, significantly complicating project implementation and exacerbating already existing inequalities. This panel will consider these issues with a discussion of emerging trends in conservation policy globally, followed by the presentation of case studies from India and Mexico.

Kate Ervine is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Political Science at York University and a Researcher with the International Secretariat for Human Development. Her current research explores how internationally-driven environmental policy frameworks, particularly in the area of biodiversity conservation, influence the possibilities for sustainable, democratic, and culturally-informed human development in Southern Mexico.

Robin Roth (left) is an Assistant Professor in the Geography Department at York University. She is a political ecologist with an interest in global conservation politics and the impact of conservation policy on indigenous peoples. Her research investigates the spatiality of conservation conflict and the resulting livelihood change in the forests of Northern Thailand.

Garry Fehr is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph. His current research was carried out in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India where he examined the impacts of globalization on the rural livelihoods of harvesters of non-timber forest products. He also has experience working on humanitarian aid projects in Haiti, Belize and India.

This event is co-sponsored by the International Secretariat for Human Development and York International. Free and no registration required. All are welcome to attend! For more info, contact Joëlle Reid, UCGS Coordinator. Please check the new UCGS website at for updates.

Shastri hosts binational conference on women and social change

Every year, the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute hosts a binational conference on a topic of interest to researchers in India and Canada. The purpose of the conference is to facilitate a truly reciprocal exchange of ideas between Canadian and Indian scholars. The theme for this year's conference will be Women and Social Change. This theme pays tribute to the many women in the history of both countries who played formative roles in the creation of civil society.

As paradigms have shifted, the role of "ordinary women" in all levels of civil society has come into focus. The work of this year's Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Muhammad Yunus, has drawn attention to the role of ordinary women in making the system of micro-credit work. Martha Nussbaum's work in India highlighted the role of women in the development of what Amartya Sen calls human capabilities. The conference will build on this awareness and showcase the academic work (in India and Canada) that is being done to document and analyze this theme. Sub themes could include Women and Development, Women and Public Health, Women in the Arts, Women and Education and Women and Grassroots movements. The chief goal of the conference is to build new knowledge by facilitating the cross fertilization of experience and ideas between scholars and activists in India and Canada and potentially creating new partnerships and linkages between the two. The Shastri Institute will sponsor 13 attendees each from both India and Canada to attend the conference.

The conference will be held at McGill University in Montreal, QC from May 10-12, 2007. Papers on any scholarly topic in the field of Women and Social Change are welcome, including Women and Development, Women and Public Health, Women in the Arts, Women and Education and Women and Grassroots movements. Papers must be delivered in English of French and will be a maximum of 20 minutes with 10 minutes thereafter for discussion. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is February 28, 2007.

Potential contributors should submit an abstract and biographical description using the online form or by email attachment (.doc or .pdf) to The subject line should read "Abstract for Binational Conference". The maximum length of the abstract and bio is 250 words. The text of the email should contain the following information: name, address, affiliation, telephone, fax number and email address of each presenter. For more info, visit their website at

CCL requests proposals on researcher-in-residence and adult learning programs

The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for its Researcher-in-Residence program. More info is available at CCL’s web site:

Objectives: To support a “researcher in residence” at various organizations across the country; and to encourage new research initiatives and increase Canada’s capacity to perform important research on learning. Specifically,

(1) Researchers in residence can help organizations to develop an agenda for undertaking research on learning, and develop its capacity for finding and using research to inform decisions about learning.

(2) Researchers in residence can help organizations in capacity-building to develop the skills to understand what the research says about decisions they must make, find evidence pertinent to the decisions about learning that they must make, use evidence to raise the level of discussion, and use evidence to inform practice within the organization.

VALUE: CCL will contribute towards two-thirds (2/3) of support. The sponsoring organization is expected to contribute one-third (1/3). DEADLINE: March 16, 2007 by midnight (PST).

The CCL has also issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for applied research projects in Adult Learning in Canada. More information about the CCL’s RFP, including application form and guidelines, is available at CCL’s web site:

OBJECTIVE: To solicit applied research projects from community-based organizations, businesses, labour organizations, and research or academic institutions on the subject of Adult Learning in Canada. While CCL welcomes research proposals on any aspect of adult learning, proposals that address one or more of the following themes are encouraged: (a) Barriers and Motivators, (b) Community-based Learning, (c) Diversity, and (d) Outcomes.

VALUE: Up to $70,000 per research project. DURATION: While both single and multi-year proposals may be submitted, all CCL-supported projects must be completed and fully reported by December 31, 2008. DEADLINE: April 16, 2007 by midnight (PST).


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. Office of Research Services, 214 York Lanes, York University, Tel: 416-736-2100. Fax: 416-736-5512.

Just don't call it Mickey Mouse, by Daniel McCabe, University Affairs, March 2007

Comics have become much more sophisticated since the advent of Archie or Superman and are now a legitimate area of scholarship

What comes to mind most readily when you hear the word “comics?” Incredulity over the fact that a simple pair of glasses keeps the Daily Planet’s seasoned reporters from guessing that their colleague Clark Kent is secretly Superman? Bewilderment over Betty and Veronica’s helpless attraction to a nondescript redhead like Archie? Chances are the first thoughts that enter your brain aren’t “suitable subject for serious academic inquiry.” (Art by Alex Ross. TM & (c) 2006 Marvel Characters, Inc.)

Still, across the country an increasing number of universities are offering courses on comics, and a growing band of scholars are coming to the conclusion that the medium provides fertile territory for all kinds of research projects.

Jeff McLaughlin, a professor of philosophy at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., believes he knows why: “A lot of younger professors were reading comics at a time when comics became really interesting.”

In the 1980s, graphic novels like Maus, a wrenching, Pulitzer Prize-winning exploration of the Holocaust, and titles like Watchmen, a radical reinterpretation of the notion of super- heroes, made it plain that comics could aspire to be much more than Caspar the Friendly Ghost. “Comics weren’t just Superman, Batman and Spiderman,” says Dr. McLaughlin. “There could be a whole range of genres [and] themes.”

Some of those themes are examined in a new book that he edited, Comics as Philosophy. The collection of essays by several scholars uses comics as a prism to look at race, heroism, environmentalism and other subjects.

In Dr. McLaughlin’s own chapter, he discusses how the DC Comics miniseries, Crisis on Infinite Earths, can help shed light on 17th century German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz’s musings about how our existing world is the best of all the possible worlds that could have been.

According to Dr. McLaughlin, using comics to touch on complex philosophical themes pays dividends in the classroom. “Students know their comics. Here’s a way to get them to think a little about philosophy.” More >>

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