DLLC International Speaker Series

2023-2024 DLLC International Speaker Series

The Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures’ 6th Annual International Speaker Series will feature Dr. Robin Visser, Professor of Asian and Middle East Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Visser will hold a public lecture titled Beijing Westerns and Indigenous Opacity in Ecoliterature of Southwest China on Wednesday, March 27, 2023, from 5:30-6:30pm in Belk Library, room #114

The presentation will be followed by a round table discussion with Dr. Xiaofei Tu, Assistant Professor of Chinese & Japanese (Dept of Languages, Literatures & Cultures) and Dr. Cuong Mai, Associate Professor of Religious Studies (Dept of Philosophy & Religion).

Presentation abstract: 
Indigenous knowledge of local ecosystems often challenges settler-colonial osmologies that naturalize resource extraction and the relocation of nomadic, hunting, foraging, or fishing peoples. In this talk, I present findings from my book, Questioning Borders: Ecoliteratures of China and Taiwan (Columbia UP, 2023), which analyzes relations among humans, animals, ecosystems, and the cosmos in literary works by Han and non-Han Indigenous writers of China and Taiwan. I compare “root-seeking” novels by Beijing writers, set in China’s “exotic” southwest, with literature by Wa and Nuosu Yi Indigenes from Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. I argue that Beijing westerns appropriate “peripheral” Indigenous ecological perspectives to critique Maoist destruction of the environment and the undermining of Han neo-Confucian values to strengthen the “center” of the nation-state. Indigenous accounts, on the other hand, manifest what Edouard Glissant has called “opacity,” refusing colonial epistemes by centering the border as a place of home, heritage, and everyday humanity, though under great duress from climate change.

This event is sponsored by:
Dept. of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
Dept. of Philosophy & Religion
Office of International Education and Development
Appalachian State Multicultural Center
Asian and Pacific Islander Caucus