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Keynote Speaker

Dr. J. Keith Vincent is Associate Professor of Japanese & Comparative Literature and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Boston University. His research focuses on modern Japanese literature, queer theory, translation, and the novel. He is the author of Two-Timing Modernity: Homosocial Narrative in Modern Japanese Fiction (Harvard Asia Center, 2012). Recent articles include “Sekai ni hirogaru Shiki kenkyū to sono kadai”  (“Shiki Studies Goes Global”) in the Shiki kaishi #163, July 2019;  “Takemura Kazuko: On Friendship and The Queering of American and Japanese Studies” in Rethinking Japanese Feminisms (2017); “Better than Sex?  Masaoka Shiki’s Haiku on Food” in Devouring Japan: Global Perspectives on Japanese Culinary Identity (2017) ; and  “Queer Reading and Japanese Literature,” in the Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature (2016).


Graduate Presenters


Yohong Roh was born in Korea and completed his MA degree in Religious Studies at the University of Kansas. He is currently concentrating on East Asian Buddhism for his PhD degree at Temple University. His primary area of interest is the development of a Korean School of Buddhism in the modern period. He is particularly fascinated with the changing face of Buddhism as a modern religion: how it grounds itself in authorizing literatures and narratives of patriarchal succession and how it responds to the rapid social change.

Suh Won (Sarah) Chang is a first-year MA student in the East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC) department of the University of Pennsylvania. Her main area of interest is Korean and Japanese literature, particularly those written during or about the colonial period of 1910-1945 and its traumatic aftermaths. Her study often involves analyzing how the construction of space influences how individuals are characterized in literature, which then extends to the social reality of select groups. In addition to the representation of zainichi-Koreans to be presented in the conference, Suh Won is researching how Yi Sang’s “Wings” uses the five senses to construct a confined space in which the Korean intellectuals are stifled. Before embarking on East Asian Studies, Suh Won majored in English Literature with a focus on Shakespearean tragedies.

Da In Choi is a PhD student in the Gender Studies department at UCLA. Her research examines the figure of singmo (domestic servants) in South Korea in the context of Cold War development and international feminist religious organizations’ involvement. Da In’s broad research interests include precarious labor, social movement, gender and migration, and oral history methodology. Prior to UCLA, Da In received her MA in Regional Studies East Asia at Harvard University as a Frank Knox Memorial Fellow and a BA in English and History at Queen’s University, Canada. Da In also works as a co-host of Gender Studies, Asian American Studies, and East Asian Studies channels at the New Books Network podcast.

Maria Puzyreva is a second year PhD student in the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work focuses on modern Japanese prints with an interest in modes of production, politics of representation, and wartime printmaking. She holds a BA in Asian Studies and an MA in Museum Studies from New York University. She has worked in numerous art institutions and interned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Japan Society in New York. She is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the East Asian Art Department.

Yidan Wang is a master’s student in Critical Asian Humanities at Duke. My academic interest centers on modern Chinese literature and culture. Besides Yu Dafu’s writing on nature, I am currently working on animal studies and queer studies in contemporary China.

Tiantian Cai is a PhD student from the Asian languages and cultures department of UW-Madison. I am interested in Chinese language history, language philosophy and the interaction of texts and images. I am currently looking at the transmission of Yogācāra school’s concepts from India to China and its semiotic significance in Chinese contexts.

Stephen Garrett is a Ph.D. student in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. His research examines the role of ethnic, religious, and political identities within imperial and state-making projects during the Qing Dynasty. Stephen utilizes multilingual sources in Manchu, Mongolian, and Chinese with a special focus on the study of Inner Asia and Shamanism. His current projects focus on the nature of religious and political ritual and how these rituals can be understood within both a Chinese and Inner Asian context. Stephen is originally from South Florida, where he attended Florida International University, completing his BA in History, with a minor in Sociology. He then relocated to Honolulu, Hawai’i where he completed a MA in Chinese History at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. He has lived and traveled extensively throughout Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, where he studied Mandarin and has also completed coursework in Mongolian, Manchu, and Japanese languages.

Vito Acosta is a candidate for Master of Arts in East Asian Languages & Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Fellow in Global Medieval & Renaissance Studies at Penn and Fellow in Chinese Literature at the Collegium Institute. Vito has previously lived and studied in Changzhou, China and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. His research aims to elucidate connections across Central Eurasia, particularly within the Chinese, Turkic, and Persian cultural spheres. In addition to Silk Road studies, he is interested in nomadic-sedentary relationships and their reflections across societies, as well as general questions of historiography and intellectual and religious histories.

Xiaowan Cai is a master’s student at the University of Pennsylvania’s East Asian Language and Civilizations department. She worked at Tencent’s Substantial Social Value department before coming to UPenn, where she explored and analyzed how BigTech might and should handle external stakeholders of social responsibility. Her current research interests include Ancient Chinese classics and art history, the inherent connection between the text and the artwork, as well as the artwork’s reaction to modernity.

Doris Yixuan Tang is a first-year Master‘s student in the Department of East Asian Languages & Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds an A.B. (in Art History, Math, and Museum Studies) from Smith College with the highest honor in Art History. Her primary research focuses on figural paintings from thirteenth- to eighteenth-century China, and she is particularly interested in the social reception and interpretation of feminine imagery in its historical context.

Karen Yoshida Weldon is a dual-degree master’s student at the University of Michigan. She is pursuing a M.S. through the School for Environment and Sustainability, and a M.A. in International and Regional Studies through the Center for Japanese Studies. Originally from Oklahoma, Karen graduated from Macalester College in 2014 and worked in rural development, food justice and education in the US and Japan before beginning her graduate studies. Currently her research focuses on environmental and agricultural philosophies, policies, and social movements in contemporary Japan.

Rory Huang is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research primarily focuses on questions of empire and colonialism, social movements, and migration and race relations. She is currently working on a dissertation titled “A Land of Ourselves.” It examines how groups of buraku activists in Japan identified with African American movements, especially Garveyism, to articulate new forms of shared freedom from historical parallels and shared political principles of the two groups. By tracing the emigrant lives of many buraku intellectuals, the study argues how their own travel experiences allowed the exchange of revolutionary ideas and the potentiality of internationalist solidarity alliances with other subjugated groups.

Alice Liu is a master’s student in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies modern and contemporary Japanese literature, with research interests in genre fiction, the publishing industry, and popular representations of history.

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