Research Colloquia Program (2018-2019)

Every academic year the CFLLC holds a Research Colloquium, at which a colleague presents current research in an informal setting, with ample opportunity for discussion, feedback, and questions. This year’s colloquia will include the following discussions:

“Oral fluency for advanced level of proficiency: How fluent should one be?”

Tuesday, November 13, at 4PM, Hollander 241
Mamoru Hatekeyama, Visiting Lecturer in Japanese

Oral fluencyThis study investigated the relationship between oral fluency and proficiency in Japanese as a second language (L2). The study measured several indices of speech rate (such as number and length of runs), repairs (number and length of repetition), and breakdowns (number and length of filled and unfilled pauses) found in the audio recording of 57 ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interviews (OPIs) that were rated Advanced Low or Intermediate High. The participants spoke Chinese, English, or Korean as their first language (L1). Measures of indices were analyzed to examine whether oral fluency significantly differed across the major borderline of proficiency (i.e. Advanced Low and Intermediate High) and across different L1s within the same proficiency level.

The results indicated that Advanced Low speakers spoke significantly longer, faster and with less breakdowns. L2 speakers of different L1s within the same proficiency level did not differ significantly in terms of their oral fluency in the L2. In addition, measures of breakdown seemed to be better predictors of advanced level proficiency than measures of speech rate.

“Intereses (re)vestidos: Female Masculinity in the Mexican Revolution Photography”

Wednesday, November 28, at 4PM, Hollander 241
Roxana Blancas Curiel, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Mexican Literature and Cultural Production

Amelix RoblesIn this study, I explore the performance of female masculinity in the photography of the Mexican Revolution (1910). I take into account how this performance informed the construction of the “Mexican” identity during the first half of the 20th century, and its intersection with race/ethnicity and social class. In addition, I explore our understanding of femininity and masculinity outside the heteronormative spectrum in Mexican social imaginary. I concentrate on different ways women used both masculine and feminine elements to either survive during the armed phase, to actively participate in the battles, or to explore dissident gender identities.

The Emperor’s New “Stories”: Telling “Truth” and Writing History in Early Medieval China

April 15, at 4PM, Hollander 241
Lu Kou, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese

Early medieval China, also known as the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420–589), witnessed political division and ethnic tensions after the north was conquered by non-Chinese peoples while Chinese aristocratic families retained control of the south. Aside from military confrontations, all the rival states also competed in cultural terms, as they strove to appropriate a variety of symbolic means, such as rituals, ceremonials, and literary compositions, to proclaim political legitimacy and cultural superiority. Among these cultural endeavors, history writing became increasingly polemic, as the historical records sponsored by different court centers often offered contrasting versions of truth. A new kind of historical consciousness seemed to emerge during the period that emphasized the historians’ narrativity to shape “reality” and even alter people’s perception of “reality.”

This talk focuses on one case involving Liu Yu, (r. 466–472), also known as Emperor Ming of the Song dynasty (420–479), who became the emperor after usurping the throne from his nephew, Liu Ziye (r. 464–466). The new ruler then not only executed all the siblings of Liu Ziye to eliminate contenders but also his own brothers so that his son, the future royal successor, would not have to face powerful uncles. One finds here a rare case in which the emperor publicly denied the reasons of beheading two of his beloved brothers stated in his imperial edict, which was drafted by his courtiers, and then offered detailed stories to elaborate on what “truly” happened. Emperor Ming’s self-consciousness in making stories and detecting/controlling “meanings” generates problems of interpretation for later historians and readers. This talk examines how the emperor’s “personal” voice can be fashioned as an effective rhetorical strategy for persuasion and how later medieval historians grappled with the ruler’s “public” and “personal” voice while creating historical narratives.

“Non-Identitarian Revolution: ‘Object-Oriented’ Protest Art in Russia since 2011–2012”

May 1, at 4PM, Hollander 241
Jason Cieply, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian

During the 2011–2012 protests in Russia, leftist artists sought to develop aesthetic practices that would be both effective in mobilizing political opposition and inoculated against the latent authoritarian logic of the early Soviet avant-garde. Some saw in Dmitry Prigov’s performative poetics and critique of forms of late-Soviet subjectivity a model for integrating a multitude of fragmentary voices into a “shimmering,” poly-subjective collective that could assert itself politically while respecting individual autonomy. The disappointments of 2011–2012, however, have prompted many artists to reckon with their failure to achieve meaningful political change, let alone realize this utopian vision of de-alienated collectivity. This self-critical impulse is expressed most clearly in the turn toward an “object-oriented” poetics undertaken by the artists and theorists of the Translit circle. Their pursuit of objectivity represents not so much a break with the Prigovian model as a radicalization of it. This paper focuses on the evolving creative project of Roman Osminkin, a poet whose self-ironic performances have led many to question his sincerity. For Osminkin, properly ethical engagement in political art can only be approached (but never attained) negatively, through the uncompromising deployment of self-objectifying strategies and orientation toward the continued life of one’s own artistic utterances in other people’s mouths, or, as is more often the case with Osminkin’s art, on other people’s Facebook feeds. Unlike his comrades, however, Osminkin recognizes the inevitability and ethically necessity of the lyrical subject’s re-emergence in each creative act. His poetics is, rather, an objectification-oriented one, which resists the impulse to concede defeat and fall silent in an era of political disenchantment while obsessively documenting the inadequacy of its own representations of the external world.