Prominent Philosopher François Jullien Visits UVa

December 4, 2017


World-renowned philosopher, Hellenist, and Sinologist François Jullien gave a lecture at the University of Virginia and took part in a discussion panel with Scott Lash (Goldsmith College London) and Shiqiao Li (School of Architecture, University of Virginia). François Jullien is the current Chair of Alterity at the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (Paris), Professor at Paris Diderot University, and director of both the Institut de la Pensée Contemporaine, and the Centre Marcel-Granet. Before these current positions, he served as the head of the Antenne Francaise de Sinologie in Hong Kong, president of the Association Francaise d’Etudes Chinoises, and director of the East Asia department of Paris Diderot University. For his extraordinary accomplishments, Jullien received the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought in Germany in 2010 and the Grand Prix de Philosophie of the Academie Francaise for his body of work in 2011. Francois Jullien has published a long list of influential books with English translations: The Propensity of ThingsDetour and AccessIn Praise of BlandnessA Treatise on EfficacyVital NourishmentThe Silent TransformationsOn the Universal, the Uniform, and the CommonThis Strange Idea of the Beautiful, and The Philosophy of Living. He is among the most translated of contemporary thinkers, with works appearing in over twenty-five countries.

On November 16, 2017, at Minor Hall, Jullien delivered a lecture entitled “There is no such thing as cultural identity, but we shall defend a culture’s resources.” By framing the "inter" between cultures through the notion of écart (divergence), Jullien urges us to resist reducing cultures, through “Globish” (globalized English), to uniformization and essence (thus identity); écart holds a tension between the two which allows the common. The common is not the similar; integration is not assimilation. The space of écart, and the possibility of the common, gives rise to the notion of “resources” of cultures. Jullien asks, “If it can have no essence, what can cultural identity be except a statistical means or a reproduction of clichés that endures only as stereotypes?”

On November 17, at the Dome Room of the Rotunda, François Jullien, Scott Lash, and Shiqiao Li discussed what might not be ontological at all, if ontology is the normative mode of thought in the west, in a session entitled “Before Ontology, China and Cultural Theory.” Through uncovering alternative modes of knowledge and experience, and through understanding languages other than the alphabetic, this panel explored the productive divergence between China and the west as a new theoretical terrain grounded in the common.

This event was supported by School of Architecture, the Weedon Foundation, East Asia Center, IGHC, CGII, the French Department, and Theory Culture & Society.

(Photo by Huang Meng)



August 31, 2017


August 31, 2017

2017 East Asia Center Newsletter

May 16, 2017

The latest edition of the East Asia Center's newsletter has now been published.

To read or download it, please click here.




Announcing Funding Opportunity for UVA Faculty and Students to Study In China

May 3, 2017

The Fudan University Fellows Program and East China Normal University ECNU-UVA Visiting Scholar Program provides funding (airfare, housing and/or per diem) to graduate students and/or faculty to do research at those universities in Shanghai.  Here’s a chart showing some of the differences between the two funding sources:

*There is no minimum number of days required as long as most time is spent at ECNU and the per diem is for up to 10 weeks total, divided between 1-5 faculty, so faculty may receive per diems for shorter or longer than 2 weeks according to total number of visiting faculty per annum.

**Depends on Category and Period of Stay. Monthly stipend is 5,000 CNY/month for students, 10,000 CNY/month for assistant professors and post-docs, and 15,000 CNY/month for associate professors and professors.

***Depends on Period of Stay. Daily stipend is 1,000 CNY/day.

Introducing the B.A./M.A. Joint Program for Current UVa Undergrads

February 21, 2017

Spring 2017 Nelson Lectures on Southeast Asia Announced

February 6, 2017

East Asia Center Spring 2017 Speaker Series Announced

January 30, 2017

New Informational Flyer in M.A. in East Asian Studies Now Available

November 8, 2016

Nelson Lectures on Southeast Asia, Fall Series 2016

October 18, 2016



All events are free and open to the public.


East Asia Center Fall Lecture Series Announced

September 10, 2016


The UVA East Asia Center is proud to announce the finalization of our Fall Lecture Series for Fall 2016.  


All events are free and open to the public.


Chinese Language Program at UVA Reaches Beyond Borders

July 26, 2016

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., July 26, 2016 — Mid-July at the University of Virginia can appear deceptively quiet. Thick, soupy heat and the occasional thunderstorm collude to keep people indoors, leaving the brick-paved walkways on grounds nearly empty. But venture to room 211 on the second floor of Gibson Hall and you will find a virtual reality; secondary students from around the country learning Mandarin. The catch? None of them are actually in the room – physically anyway. The students, from around the country, link to a special online platform to learn Mandarin Chinese, one of the languages deemed critical by the U.S. government. Their teachers, however, are in the room, and are learning to teach through an online curriculum custom-designed at UVA as part of “STARTALK,” a government-funded program that expands and improves the teaching and learning of such under-taught languages as Mandarin and Arabic. The STARTALK program has been a big draw at UVA since 2008, attracting teachers who want to enhance their instructional skills and students from Virginia and beyond interested in learning one of these languages – in this case, Chinese.

But this year is different. The addition of the online platform has made the program much more accessible, and the students love it. “I really enjoy the ability to learn one-on-one with a teacher,” said Wilson Turner, who is tuning in to the classes from Baltimore. Turner is able to collaborate with his classmates, too. “I also like being able to view the way my classmates finished their homework assignments, because it gives me an idea of what to do for mine if I’m confused,” the rising 10th-grader said. It’s one way students are allowed to cross check their work.

UVA’s STARTALK program is highly sought-after by students and teachers alike. This year alone, 140 people nationwide applied. Twelve teachers – four of whom are college-level instructors – and 36 students were selected. Miao-fen Tseng is an associate professor of Chinese and the inaugural director of UVA’s Institute of World Languages. She develops and oversees the STARTALK program, and said the online component distinguishes UVA from others around the country. Her team tested three different online platforms and selected one called WIZIQ because it is student-centered. “We are very satisfied with the interactive functions,” she said. “A lot of online courses put materials online and students learn on their own. But where is the quality? How do we closely monitor to make sure that learning takes place?”  WIZIQ, she said, makes that possible because teachers and students interact one-on-one in real time. “We are making the history to explore and pilot a program on how languages can be taught right and well online,” Tseng said. “We have put interaction as a central notion for everything we created.” On a recent day, students embarked on a virtual trip to Beijing, landing in an airport, connecting with host families and visiting a local school. “They talk about their daily classes and how to use their break time to do physical exercise,” Tseng said.

For the teachers, the five-week program began June 20 with two weeks of online learning in their home states, followed by a three-week residential experience at UVA. Lili Kessinger teaches Chinese at a high school in Connecticut and is excited to take what she is learning at UVA back to her students at Staples High School. “I just love the idea of how I can use this technology to deliver lessons to students,” she said. “I’ve been in many other STARTALK programs. They all have their own specialty, but I think the tools that I am learning in this program are going to benefit me a lot.” While the program is free for teachers and students, Kessinger is paying to earn five graduate-level UVA credits. “Teachers have the option to participate for free or to pay for credits,” she said. “I want to have the opportunity to transfer my credit to my second graduate degree.” That degree is going to be in second-language acquisition. “I’m just thrilled to be here. Coming in here, I know I am going to be learning a lot. It’s just a really innovative and forward-thinking program,” she said.


This article was originally published by NBC 29 News, in Charlottesville Va.  The link to the story is found here.