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Call for Papers - Teaching Chinese as a Second Language Symposium

posted 20 Feb 2013, 06:47 by Admins ‎(Halima Chen)‎   [ updated 20 Feb 2013, 07:06 ]

Symposium on the Supervision of Research Students (SSRS) in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language (TCSL*)

Invitation to Submit Papers

Details of Symposium

Date: 16-18 August 2013 

Location: University of Sheffield, UK 

Contact: Guanyu Huang (Ms) 

Contact Email: guanyu.huang@gmail.com    

Call Deadline: 31 May 2013

Call for papers  

The Symposium will aim to address the issues of training and supervision of research students – both MA and PHD – in the field of TCSL. This will be the second symposium in a series, and follows the success of the first symposium held in August 2012 at the University of Leeds, which was attended by leading figures in the field of TCSL from all over the world.   

Papers are invited from both established researchers and research students. Papers presented in the first symposium focused mainly on the design and provision of courses for MA and PhD students of TCSL, and on promoting the development of Chinese linguistics and the quality of learning and teaching Chinese as a second language. These topics will also be covered in the second symposium, but the plan is also to invite MA and PhD research students to join the discussion on how to improve the training and supervision from their studying perspective. They may also present their ongoing research projects and/or their dissertations so that they can get feedback from established researchers.  

The following is an indicative list of topics and themes on which we would welcome papers to be delivered at the symposium. The focus throughout will ideally be how to supervise research students in these fields:  

  • How to help research students form and develop research questions and set up research projects in the field of TCSL.
  • Examination of individual experience and lessons in supervision of research students in TCSL. Joint presentations by established researchers and their students on the supervision process would be very welcome. 
  • Critical review of the current world-wide situation with respect to supervision of research students in teaching Chinese as a second language. 
  • Critical appraisal of the current field of Chinese linguistics and the theory and practice of teaching Chinese as a second language and how this affects the supervision of research students. 
  • Theoretical exploration and/or empirical study of specific issues of Chinese language and its teaching as a second language and how these should inform teaching and supervision of TCSL research students.  
  • Theoretical and practical study of teaching high-level language and culture courses related to L2 Chinese, such as traditional Chinese, literature, documents and stylistics, with a view to how these can inform teaching and supervision of TCSL research students. 
  • Suggestions for intercollegiate and inter-subject supervision of research students. 
  • Investigation into the relationship between general linguistics (plus applied linguistics) and Chinese linguistics, with a focus on research student supervision. 
  • Comparative study of Chinese versus other languages so as to investigate the impact of learners’ native language on Chinese acquisition, with a focus on research student supervision.   

Submission of abstracts: 

The working languages are English and Chinese. Presentations will last 20 minutes followed by a 10-minute discussion. Participants intending to give a paper are requested to e-mail an abstract of approx. 400 words in English or 800 characters in Chinese to Ms Huang Guanyu. Please attach or include a completed form (see below) with abstract submissions. The deadline for the submission is the 31st May 2013.  

Registration and Fees: 

The symposium is mainly supported by WREAC funding. Board and lodging will be arranged and paid for by the symposium for those who have papers accepted. The conference fee of £100 will cover registration, proceedings and excursions.  

Symposium Organizing Committee: 

Dr Lan Yang, University of Leeds, UK

Dr Lili Chen, University of Sheffield, UK

Professor Shiju Zhao, University of Wuhan, PRC 

Professor Cheng Aimin, University of Nanjing, PRC 

Dr Hengsheng Fu, Manchester Chinese Consulate

* In terminology, TCSL can be expressed as TCSOL (Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages) in this context.

East-meets-West Cultural Performance at Opening of Leeds Business Confucius Institute

posted 7 Dec 2012, 03:42 by Admins ‎(Halima Chen)‎   [ updated 2 Jan 2013, 02:56 ]

Leeds students perform Mulan's song at opening of Leeds International Business Confucius Institute.
Leeds Chinese students sparkled with their Mandarin language skills and engaging performances in a lively celebration of Chinese language and culture at the official opening of the Leeds International Business Confucius Institute, 28 November 2012, at the University of Leeds, attended by the Vice-Chancellor, the Chinese Consul-General in Manchester and representatives of the University for International Business and Economics, the Chinese Embassy and Hanban (the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language) in London. The Institute is one of only three business-focused Confucius Institutes in Europe and will promote cross-cultural exchange and understanding between the UK and China. 

Ably compèred in fluent Mandarin and English by final year East Asian Studies students Marie Tulloch and Aaron Powell, the evening’s entertainment was arranged in the style of a Chinese variety show and organised by Dr Ruru Li, senior lecturer in Chinese and Chinese theatre specialist at the University of Leeds. 

Leeds students Marie Tulloch and Aaron Powell compere the LIBCI opening's entertainment.
“I have received lots of favourable comments on the really enjoyable performance of the students at the opening of the Confucius Institute,” said Professor Peter J Buckley, director of the Leeds International Business Confucius Institute. “I would like to add my thanks to those of the Vice-Chancellor and our visiting Chinese guests for the excellent performance led by Dr Ruru Li. It was really entertaining and informative.” 

Peking opera duet performed by Leeds students Miranda Lickert and Victoria Leigh.
Highlights included a Beijing opera duet performed by Miranda Lickert and Victoria Leigh, as well as traditional Chinese song and dance performances by Leeds Chinese Community School students and a virtuoso piano solo by 2012 Young Musician of the Year finalist, Yuanfan Yang. Student members of Dr Li’s ‘Performing China on the Global Stage’ project spoke about their experiences staging ‘The Sun is Not for Us’, a celebration of the work of Chinese playwright Cao Yu, and their recent theatre tour of China. 

Bird's eye view of Confucius Institute opening.
In promoting the understanding of Chinese culture and the teaching of Mandarin in the UK, the activities of the Leeds International Business Confucius Institute (LIBCI) will complement the work of the White Rose East Asian Centre (WREAC), an academic partnership between East Asian Studies at Leeds and the School of East Asian Studies at Sheffield University with strong links to Leeds University Business School

Leeds Business Confucius Institute opening ceremony.
The Institute will encourage trade between China and Britain by offering short training courses in Chinese culture and etiquette for multinational and regional companies hoping to invest in China and orientation courses for Chinese businesses wanting to invest in the UK. Furthermore, as part of the Institute’s partnership with the University for International Business and Economics (UIBE), one of China's leading universities, staff and students from China will study in Leeds, and vice-versa. 

Cao Yu in Edinburgh

posted 15 Nov 2012, 02:23 by Admins ‎(Halima Chen)‎   [ updated 15 Nov 2012, 02:41 ]

Cao Yu: Pioneer of Modern Drama in China 

University of Leeds Chinese and English Studies undergraduate, Lara Owen, shares her experience performing The Sun is Not for Us, a four-star reviewed production that combines the characters and plots from Cao Yu’s four most famous plays now currently touring China. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 | By: Lara Owen (林琳) 

There is nothing quite like Edinburgh’s Royal Mile during the Fringe Festival season, packed with talented young actors, comedians and crazy street performers, all trying to find an ingenious way to grab the attention of passing tourists. However, if you were not rushing to dodge the hundreds of eager performers trying to shovel flyers into your hands, you may have noticed the name “The Sun is Not for Us” 《太阳不是我们的》, written out in orange postcards on the worn away cobble stones of the Royal Mile.  

The Sun is Not for Us, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
This is the title of a brand new piece of devised theatre, an intricate blend of Cao Yu’s (曹禺), most famous four plays, Thunderstorm 《雷雨》, Sunrise 《日出》, Wilderness 《原野》and Family 《家》, which premiered at the Fringe Festival this August and in which I had the privilege of acting a role. Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival committee has for a long time invited theater companies from China to perform, but this was the first time that British students from the University of Leeds had attempted to showcase the artistry of Cao Yu, whose pioneering works in the 1930s kick-started modern drama in China, for an international audience.  

Arriving at the peaceful surroundings of the city’s Confucius Institute for rehearsals a week before the Fringe Festival, did not quite prepare us for the mayhem and exhaustion that would ensue in Scotland’s capital. We were primarily preoccupied with what our audience would make of our ‘cross-cultural’ production, which was led by both Dr. Li Ruru, Cao Yu’s stepdaughter, and award-winning director David Jiang, but featured British student actors.  

While devising the play we had feverishly tried to understand and internalize the language of the Chinese master, while making sure we brought our own individual perspectives to the characters’ lives. However, knowing that we had initially been left confounded as to how tackle re-writing Cao Yu’s masterpieces, with their poetic style and profound sentiments, we were still wondering if the audience in Edinburgh would be able to empathize with the heartrending stories of women bereft of hope in China in the 1930s; the wailing of a broken-hearted Chinese maiden or hysterical wife of the kind often depicted in Chinese films and opera. Would the simple costume and staging serve to make the piece as timeless as we hoped, and would the moments of pathos and humor make our characters more “human” and thus resonate with the lives of women today?  

Waiting in the green room of The Space on North Bridge before our first performance, we were nervous to hear that some of the infamous band of ruthless Fringe critics, including theater directors Wang Chong, from the Beijing-based Theatre du Reve Experimental, and Davey Anderson, from the National Theatre of Scotland, would be watching in the crowd.  
The Sun is Not for Us in Edinburgh


With the adrenalin running high, our first performance was fast paced and full of energy. As the house lights went down at the close, we were keen to get back to the green room to hear the response from critics, directors and our families. One audience member, Susan Gellaitry described the production as “haunting,” particularly the opening scene, where young women bind one another’s feet, as mothers bound their daughters’ feet in pre-revolution China.  

Chen Ming, stage designer and professor at Kennesaw State University in the US, thought we did well as regards “digging deep into the girls’ psyche,” and especially liked the use of video, which accompanied moments when the plot intensified. The play features a woman who is forced into an arranged marriage, while another opts to make her way as a courtesan. A servant and her master fall in love, while I played the role of a lonely wife who seduces her stepson and is reduced to madness. One could interpret “The Sun is Not for Us” as a play which explores age-old female tensions, though the setting is detached from the lives of most women in Britain and China today. However, the audiences’ response at the Fringe demonstrated to the cast that within this complicated web of stories, the themes of love, sex, money, self-worth and social standing are ones which transcend time and culture and remain as poignant as they were when Cao Yu wrote his plays.  

The closing poem of the play leaves the audience to ponder this further: “The Sun has risen, but the darkness is left behind, for the Sun is not for us, for we shall be asleep”. Having secured four-star reviews from the aforementioned Fringe critics, the cast of “The Sun is Not For Us” is now look forward to our China tour, which will commence in November at the Shanghai International Contemporary Theater Festival, and will be followed by performances in Chengdu and Cao Yu’s hometown, Qianjiang. 

Book Launch: Consumers and Individuals in China

posted 14 Nov 2012, 02:07 by Admins ‎(Halima Chen)‎   [ updated 14 Nov 2012, 07:41 ]

Dr Michael B. Griffiths' new book breaks ground in the study of Chinese urban society. This book applies critical discourse analysis to ethnographic data gathered in Anshan, a third-tier city and market in northeast China. The book confronts the still widespread notion that Chinese consumers are not 'real' individuals, and in doing so represents an ambitious attempt to give a new twist to the structure versus agency debates in social theory.

Call for Papers - Teaching Chinese as a Second Language

posted 10 May 2012, 11:13 by Web Admins ‎(Ben Caesar)‎   [ updated 10 May 2012, 11:14 ]

Symposium on the Supervision of Research Students (SSRS) in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language (TCSL*)

Invitation to Submit Papers

Details of Symposium

Date: 25-27 August, 2012
Location: University of Leeds, UK
Contact: Zheng Limei (Ms) and Wang Juan (Ms)
Contact Email: ml07lz@leeds.ac.ukjuanwang201166@hotmail.com   
Call Deadline: 30 May, 2012

Context and Objectives:

The rapid development of China has led to the learning and teaching of Chinese as a second language becoming increasingly important in schools, colleges and universities around the world. Much research has been done on TCSL, particularly on how to teach Chinese at elementary and intermediate levels. The Symposium on the Supervision of Research Students in TCSL will address the higher level of training, mainly MA and especially PhD supervision.

The symposium aims to give research supervisors a platform to share, discuss and develop best theories and practice in TCSL at MA and PhD level, so as to improve the quality of supervision for research students. It will facilitate the exchange of supervision experience, provide a forum for discussion of the design and provision of courses for MA and PhD students of TCSL, coordinate subject projects, and promote the development of Chinese linguistics and the quality of learning and teaching Chinese as a second language.

A network of supervisors in TCSL will be established through the symposium. Through future meetings this network will help to promote and coordinate research supervision in the field of TCSL across the institutes involved. The symposium will identify a list of key projects and issues in the field of TCSL at MA and PhD level. The facilitated coordination and cooperation will help to minimize repetitive research, and to make best use of the strengths and resources of each participating institution so as to aid the systematic and comprehensive development of the field.
The network of supervisors will be extended to include TCSL research students, of whom an association will be established. After the present symposium for supervisors, a symposium on the students’ study in TCSL could be held by the proposed students’ association to discuss their work and their supervisors’ supervision. 

The Symposium on the Supervision of Research Students in TCSL is jointly organized by the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Leeds University; the School of East Asian Studies, Sheffield University; the School of Chinese Language and Literature, Wuhan University; and the International Institute, Nanjing University; with the support of the Consulate of PRC in Manchester, UK.

Themes and Topics

The following is an indicative list of topics and themes on which we would welcome papers to be delivered at the symposium:
  • Critical review of the current world-wide situation with respect to supervision of research students in teaching Chinese as a second language.
  • Examination of individual experience and lessons in supervision of research students in teaching Chinese as a second language (case study).
  • Critical appraisal of the current field of Chinese linguistics and the theory and practice of teaching Chinese as a second language and how this affects the supervision of research students.
  • Investigation into the relationship between general linguistics (plus applied linguistics) and Chinese linguistics.
  • Theoretical exploration and/or empirical study of specific issues of Chinese language and its teaching as a second language and how these should inform teaching and supervision of TCSL research students.
  • Comparative study of Chinese versus other languages so as to investigate the impact of learners’ native language on Chinese acquisition.
  • Theoretical and practical study of teaching high-level language and culture courses related to L2 Chinese, such as traditional Chinese, literature, documents and stylistics, with a view to how these can inform teaching and supervision of TCSL research students.
  • Suggestions for intercollegiate and inter-subject supervision of research students.

Submission of abstracts:

The working languages are English and Chinese. Presentation will last 20 minutes followed by a 10-minute discussion. Participants intending to give a paper are requested to e-mail an abstract of approx. 400 words in English or 800 characters in Chinese to Ms Zheng Limei at ml07lz@leeds.ac.uk and/or Ms Wang Juan at juanwang201166@hotmail.com. Please attach or include a completed form (see below) with abstract submissions. 

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 May, 2012. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 15 June, 2012.

Registration and Fees:

The symposium is mainly supported by WREAC funding. Board and lodging will be arranged and paid for by the symposium for those who have papers accepted. The conference fee of £100 will cover registration, proceedings and excursions.

Symposium Organizing Committee:

Dr Lan Yang, University of Leeds, UK
Dr Lili Chen, University of Sheffield, UK
Professor Shiju Zhao, University of Wuhan, PRC
Professor Cheng Aimin, University of Nanjing, PRC
Dr Hengsheng Fu, Manchester Chinese Consulate


* In terminology, TCSL can be expressed as TCSOL (Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages) in this context.

Cao Yu Centenary - Exhibition in London

posted 23 May 2011, 09:15 by Web Admins ‎(Ben Caesar)‎   [ updated 23 Jul 2011, 04:22 by Jenni Rauch ]

The centenary exhibition Cao Yu: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Drama was opened at London's Confucius Institute, in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), on 10 February 2011. Some 150-170 participants attending the event.

Keynote speeches were given by Mr Wu Xun, Cultural Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy, and by Lady Youde OBE.

'Cao Yu is the most important figure in Chinese drama,' Mr Wu said. 'People love his plays because his drama evolves alongside society. ... From his plays, we read the characteristics and the spirit of the time, which gives them eternal value.' Mr Wu also pointed to the most vibrant condition of spoken drama in medium-sized and large cities throughout today's China and believed there was 'great potential for research, exchange and collaboration between the theatres in China and in Britain.'

Lady Youde recalled her own experience of the Chinese theatre from 1948 when she first lived in China, observing that drama would always offer an insightful approach to the society and people. She welcomed the commemoration of Cao Yu's centenary in Britain because it would raise awareness of both the playwright and the modern Chinese stage among the general public, who are all very conscious of China's increasingly important role in international politics and the global economy.
Dr Li Ruru's lecture Cao Yu and Modern Chinese Drama after Thunderstorm was well received. As Cao Yu's stepdaughter, and a researcher of modern and traditional Chinese theatre, Li revealed the complicated inner world of the playwright since his childhood, and the dilemmas and the difficulties that Cao Yu confronted during the second half of the twentieth century. She also explored the artistic value of Cao Yu's plays, and their current impact on twenty-first-century Chinese drama.

The opening was reported on the Chinese Ministry of Culture’s website: (Chinese)

It has also attracted interest in Paris and on the 18th February 2011, the BBC Chinese Service produced an article on their website about Cao Yu and Alan Ayckbourn (Chinese).

For further information on Cao Yu, please visit our Introduction to Cao Yu pages.

Celebrating Cao Yu's Centenary in Britain

posted 23 May 2011, 09:01 by Web Admins ‎(Ben Caesar)‎   [ updated 23 Jul 2011, 04:28 by Jenni Rauch ]

Cao Yu – the most significant figure in the development of modern drama in China – is the subject of a series of events being held in London, Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle throughout the year, as a celebration of the centenary (plus one) of his birth.

Work gives understanding of China's recent history and its culture

Born in 1910, Cao Yu lived through many of the great upheavals experienced in 20th century China and the exhibition presents his life and works as a way of giving audiences a more profound understanding of China's recent history and its culture.

Modern drama in China is known as 'spoken drama' to distinguish it from the traditional Chinese song-dance theatre. Often compared to Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov and O'Neill, Cao Yu is credited with aiding this non-indigenous type of drama reach a degree of maturity in both form and audience reception in the mid-1930s. His early plays gained canonical status due to their artistry and skilful fusion of contemporary political and social themes. His powerful portrayal of people and exploration of human complexity still touch the hearts of twenty-first-century audiences.

'Although crowned with glory in public, Cao Yu remained deeply troubled by inner torment, particularly by his inability to write more plays in his later years,' says Dr Ruru Li, Cao Yu's step-daughter and curator of the exhibition. 'His life and career exemplify the dilemmas and difficulties faced by generations of Chinese intellectuals in the 20th century, offering us a vivid narrative of modern China.'

Continuing influence

Despite the fact that Cao Yu died in 1996, he continues to influence Chinese drama. Jude Kelly OBE, artistic director of the Southbank Centre, said of Cao Yu: "Anyone involved or interested in theatre will be fascinated by his life and career and how he navigated the twists and turns of the Chinese political regimes and, in particular, the communist ideology and Cultural Revolution. His writing has influenced two generations of young Chinese artists and been the catalyst for the burgeoning state run theatre industry in Beijing, Shanghai and other cites."

Exhibition details

The exhibition opened on 10 February in the Brunei Gallery in SOAS. WREAC core researcher Dr. Li Ruru gave a lecture 'Cao Yu and China's Modern Drama after the Thunderstorm', which was illustrated by video clips and images of performances followed by an open discussion. A film version of Thunderstorm was shown after the talk.

From 21-26 March the exhibition visited Leeds University, where Dr Li is a senior lecturer. A devised stage work 'The Sun is Not For Us' based on the female characters from Cao Yu's plays was also featured at stage(at)leeds from 21-23 March.  A report of the opening of these events on 21st March can be found at the Chinese Ministry of Culture's website 'Chinese Culture' (in Chinese).

The exhibition will move to Edinburgh, being held from 7-8 September at the Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh and then from 9-16 September at the Confucius Institute of Scotland. The exhibition will also be shown in Newcastle in October (dates to be confirmed).

For further details please contact Dr Ruru Li, senior lecturer in East Asian Studies at the University of Leeds on 0113 343 3469 or email r.li@leeds.ac.uk

Note:

The exhibition is supported by the White Rose East Asia Centre, London Confucius Institute, Confucius Institute for Scotland, Chinese Embassy Cultural section, Shanghai Theatre Academy Theatre Museum and the Beijing People's Art Theatre Theatre Museum.

For further information on Cao Yu, please visit our Introduction to Cao Yu pages.

Alison Hardie: Appointment at Dumbarton Oaks

posted 23 May 2011, 08:02 by Web Admins ‎(Ben Caesar)‎   [ updated 25 May 2011, 09:42 by Jenni Rauch ]

Dr Alison Hardie, a specialist in Chinese garden design and social uses of gardens in early modern China and WREAC core researcher based at the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Leeds, has accepted an invitation to join the committee of Senior Fellows in Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, for a three-year term beginning in July this year. Dumbarton Oaks is a research institute in Washington, DC, belonging to Harvard University. The committee consists of six appointed Senior Fellows and the Director of Garden & Landscape Studies. Meeting twice a year, it advises the Director of Dumbarton Oaks on the programme, and assesses applications for fellowships and project support (see www.doaks.org).

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