Religion, Political Identities and Sacred Symbols in East Asia

JEASC Annual Conference & Graduate Student Professional Development Workshop








Friday, November 15, 2013

12:00 PM to 5:00 PM

6275 Bunche Hall, UCLA

The UCLA-USC Joint East Asian Studies Center (JEASC) is hosting its 4th annual conference and graduate professional development workshop entitled "Religion, Political Identities and Sacred Symbols in East Asia." The European distinction between religious and secular so basic to modern conceptions of political authority and the separation of church and state do not address contemporary relations among religion, governments and the ways in which people develop commitments to either their religions or their countries. We invite students and faculty who work on religious practices in both historical and contemporary Asian contexts to join those who work on politics, especially political identities and the ways in which such identities involve the generation of symbols that either call upon or represent an alternative to religious symbols and rituals. Together we want to encourage students and faculty working on historical subjects to ponder the contemporary relevance of their work and those working on contemporary topics to recognize the ways in which historical materials matter to their research.

This workshop is sponsored by the UCLA-USC Joint East Asian Studies Center (JEASC) with funding from the US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grant. The workshop is intended to give UCLA and USC graduate students and faculty studying East Asia an opportunity to meet in an interdisciplinary forum on a topic of common interest and comment on each other’s work as a kind of professional engagement and development.

Event flyer

Please RSVP to Elizabeth Leicester at

This event is co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Buddhist Studies


12:00-1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm: Welcome

R. Bin Wong (Professor, UCLA History; Director, UCLA Asia Institute)

1:10-2:30pm: Panel I: Buddhist Iconography

> Di Luo (PhD Candidate, USC East Asian Languages and Cultures) and Ruichuan Wu (Undergraduate Senior, UCLA Asian Languages and Cultures), "The World in a Grain of Sand: Buddhist Cosmos in a Revolving Sutra Case"
> Sonya Lee (Associate Professor, USC Art History), "Buddhist Cave Temples as Cultural Heritage Sites in China"
> Mya Chau (PhD Student, UCLA Art History), "Female Iconography and Buddhist Inscriptions from Đồng Dương (Vietnam)"

Discussants: Katsuya Hirano (Associate Professor, UCLA History) and Claudia Huang (PhD Student, UCLA Anthropology)

2:30-2:45: Break

2:45-4:05: Panel II: Symbols of Political Economy

> Jihyun Shin (PhD Student, USC Political Science and International Relations), "Dokdo/Takeshima: A 'Territorial' Dispute or a Territorial 'Dispute'?"
> Joonbum Bae (PhD Candidate, UCLA Political Science), "Impossible Allies? Korean Views of Japan in a Changing World Order"
> Jonathan Slakey (MA Student, UCLA Public Policy), "Moving the Gods: The Omikoshi Tradition in Japan"

Discussants: Brett Sheehan (Associate Professor, USC History) and David Kang (Professor, USC International Relations and Business; Director, USC East Asian Studies Center)

4:05-4:15: Break

4:15-5:00: Keynote

Katsuya Hirano (Associate Professor, UCLA History)



  • East Asian Studies Center
  • 3454 Trousdale Parkway
  • College Administrative Services Building (CAS) 100
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0154