East Asia

Michael Berry • Michael Puett • Amy Tan • Susan Stranahan • Eleana Kim • Leslie Chang

The goal of the East Asia forum series is to broaden the student population’s understanding of Asian cultures, enabling them to critically reflect on lifestyles that differ from their own. Through exposure to new perspectives, students will begin to see and understand the varying social, cultural, economic, and political viewpoints of East Asia and the impact that they have on identity. All events are open to the college community as well as the general public, and start at 7:30 pm in McGaw Chapel, unless otherwise noted.

Michael Berry

Chinese Cinema with Hollywood Characteristics

Thursday, September 4th

(7:30 pm, McGaw)



Michael Berry is Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies and Director of the East Asia Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of several books on Chinese film and literature, including Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers, A History of Pain: Trauma in Modern Chinese Literature and Film, Jia Zhangke’s Hometown Trilogy and Boiling the Sea: The Cinematic World of Hou Hsiao-hsien. He is also the translator of numerous works of contemporary Chinese fiction, including novels by Yu Hua, Wang Anyi, Ye Zhaoyan and Chang Ta-chun. He has served on the jury for the Golden Horse Film Festival (Taiwan), Fresh Wave Film Festival (Hong Kong), and the Dream of the Red Chamber Award (Hong Kong) and has written weekly Chinese columns for The Beijing News.


Check out the following links for more information on Michael Berry:


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Michael Puett

Understanding the ‘Rise of China’ from the Perspective of World History

Thursday, September 25th

(7:30 pm, McGaw)


Michael Puett is an historian at Harvard University whose scholarship focuses on the intersections of anthropology, religion, philosophy, and history in China. Likewise, he is the author of The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China and To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China.




Check out the following links for more information on Michael Puett:


Puett on China

Lecture on Zhuangzi:

Ritual and Humanity:

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Amy Tan

The Heart of a Writer

Tuesday, September 30th

(7:30 pm, McGaw)


 Amy Tan is award winning author whose books explore the relationships of immigrants and the inter-generational dynamics, particularly between mothers and daughters. You may know her from her popular novel, and later movie, The Joy Luck Club. Throughout her career she has written several bestselling novels including, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, and The Bonesetter’s Daughter, with her most recent one being The Valley of Amazement

Check out the links below for more information on Amy Tan:


Where does creativity hide?:

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Susan Stranahan ’68

Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster and Its Aftermath

Tuesday, October 14th

(7:30 pm, McGaw)




Susan Stranahan was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. She has recently co-authored a book on the nuclear disaster in Japan: Fukushima-The Story of a Nuclear Disaster. She has led an eventful career acting as a reporter, and as a result was the College of Wooster recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996. 

Check out the links below for more information on Susan Stranahan:

Wooster Alumni

Center of Public Diversity

Fukshima-The Story of a Nuclear Disaster

Lecture on Book:

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Eleana Kim

Making Peace with Nature: The Ecological Value of the Korean DMZ

Thursday, October 30th

(7:30 pm, McGaw)



Kim is an anthropologist whose current research examines the social and political dynamics that have shaped the natural environment of the Korean DMZ. She has written Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Poltics of Belonging. She is also working on a book titled Making Peace with Nature: The Greening of the Korean Demilitarized Zone which aims to provide a thorough analysis of the transformation of one of the most heavily militarized borders in the world into an area that is widely referred to as a haven for biodiversity. 

Check out the links below for more information on Eleana Kim: 


Making Peace with Nature

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Leslie Chang

The Lives and Loves of a Chinese Factory Girl

Tuesday, November 4th

(7:30 pm, McGaw)


    Leslie Chang is the author of the well-known book Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China, which is an examination of the rapid urbanization within China and its impact upon women and the social structure of China.

Check out the links below for more information on Leslie Chang:

The Voices of China’s Workers

Factory Girls

Factory Girls in a Changing China:


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