Abstract: The current study is a comparative research on the Daodejing (道德經) and Ecclesiastes with the aim of answering the question of the meaning of life. The focus of the study is on the two texts especially the content related to the two terms xu (emptiness 虛)and hebel (vanity) in the Daodejing and Ecclesiastes respectively. It starts with a miniature demonstrating the framework of the current study based on the comparison of the two terms xu and hebel. It then follows by six chapters from the Xu and Hebel Comparison to the Meaning of Life Reflection. It finds that emptiness is the common ingredient of xu and hebel in Chapter 3. It suggests that Socrates is the hidden protagonist of Ecclesiastes in Chapter 4. It offers the possibility of seeing the trueness of one’s life through xu in Chapter 5. It discovers the similarities of the two texts which lie under their very different appearances and backgrounds in Chapter 6. It ends with the findings in Chapter 7 that one lives a harmonious life freely, truly and positively; works for the goodness of all people continuously with the objective of having all humans living peacefully and healthily in an ordered society as the final answer to the question of the meaning of life. The answer is based on the results of the previous chapters which are the process of analyzing and comparing the two texts. The answer ends the current research on the meaning of life through a comparative research on the Daodejing nd Ecclesiastes.
Abstract: In this presentation I examine the practices and policies relating to the language education provided for, and experienced by, adult migrants who are settling in English-dominant countries. Over the past two decades in the UK, the US and elsewhere in the English-dominant west, the English language has become central to debates and policies about migration, citizenship, nationality and belonging. English language education has thus become tightly linked to immigration and citizenship policy. With this in mind, I note two current concerns. First, language education for migrants as currently conceived – in policy circles and in established curricula – is associated with a powerful ideology of ‘one nation one language’. This monolingual stance disregards that people develop competence in English as part of a multilingual repertoire – and that language education practice has a role in in supporting their multilingualism. Second, bracketing language education with social integration betrays an understanding of integration as being primarily the responsibility of the newcomer, instead of recognising settlement and belonging as issues for everyone. Drawing on recent research in urban multilingualism, language education policy formation and studies of practice, I outline principles for an alternative social justice-informed approach to adult migrant language education, appropriate for conditions of mobility and times of change. Biography: James Simpson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, University of Leeds, UK. His research interests lie in the teaching and learning of English for Speakers of Other Languages, in migrant language learning and arts practice, and in the sociolinguistics of mobility. His work involves the critical analysis of linguistic practices relating to identity and belonging, language diversity, language pedagogy, language policy and literacy. His books include Translanguaging as Transformation (Multilingual Matters, 2020, edited with Emilee Moore and Jessica Bradley), Voices and Practices in Applied Linguistics (White Rose Press, 2019, edited with Clare Wright and Lou Harvey), Adult Language Education and Migration: Challenging Agendas in Policy and Practice (Routledge, 2015, edited with Anne Whiteside), The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics (Routledge, 2011), and ESOL: A Critical Guide (OUP, 2008, with Melanie Cooke). He manages the discussion forum ESOL-Research, and is Chair of MESH, a charity supporting adult migrant language education.
Abstract: The concept of language aptitude refers to the specific abilities that allow us to adequately predict or explain why some people can learn a foreign/second language more efficiently and effectively than their peers. Since its inception in the 1950s and 60s, language aptitude research has undergone both popular and marginalized periods in the past six decades. This seminar aims to provide the audience with a critical review and analysis of major language aptitude models and test batteries. It will begin with the classic model of John Carroll, to be followed by some innovative cognitive aptitude models and test batteries proposed by scholars from multiple disciplines of psychology, neuroscience, and SLA. Towards the end, I will tease out the remaining challenges and highlight future directions to further advance language aptitude theory construction, test development, and pedagogical applications. Biography: WEN Zhisheng (Edward) is currently an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at Macao Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Wen has over 20 years of teaching experience at universities and his research interests include second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and task-based language teaching & learning. His current research foci are language aptitude and working memory from an interdisciplinary perspective. He has published extensively in top-notched journals and volumes. His research monograph Working memory and second language learning was published by Multilingual Matters (2016) and reprinted by FLTRP in 2018 (Beijing). Dr. Wen is the leading editor of Working memory in second language acquisition and processing (Multilingual Matters, 2015), Language aptitude (Routledge, 2019), and Researching L2 task performance and pedagogy (John Benjamins, 2019). His forthcoming books include “Cognitive individual differences in second language acquisition” (de Gruyter Mouton) and “Cambridge handbook of working memory and language” (Cambridge University Press).
Abstract: Diasporic traders in lower-end sectors, particularly those from the global South, are becoming ‘out of place’ in Asia. They are earning less profits as many Asian countries strive to upgrade their economies and phase out low-end production niches. One of these groups is Indian textile traders in southeast China. Based on my ongoing anthropological fieldwork that started in 2009, this talk traces the entrepreneurial engagement of Indian textile traders in and beyond China. I summarize the vicissitudes of their engagement as taking place in two stages. First, throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, the traders rapidly expanded their transnational business through hypermobility between different parts of China, the Middle East, and other parts of Asia while intentionally skipping over their home country of India. This growth was largely driven by a China-centric mentality of “getting rich no matter the cost,” which was one of their various tactics in global trade and migration. The second stage started around 2015, when the decline in low-cost production in China coincided with the global decrease in demand. Despite facing steady a decline in business, the traders cannot see alternatives to China as their supply center because China’s production capacity is hard to replicate. The traders thus hang on to their business in China as long as they can without a sense of the future. As the talk will explore, the current stagnancy of this diasporic economy may indicate an end to the tide-like developmental pattern of “racing to the bottom” that spreads from more advanced countries to less developed countries in Asia, which characterized the economic rise of Asia, especially of China, in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Biography: Ka-Kin Cheuk (DPhil, Oxford) is an Annette and Hugh Gragg Postdoctoral Fellow in Transnational Asian Studies at Rice University. Ka-Kin is an anthropologist whose work revolves around the study of globalization, migration, transnationalism, and inter-Asian connections, with ethnographic focuses on China, Hong Kong, and India. He previously held teaching and research positions at Universiteit Leiden and NYU Shanghai. His articles have been published in journals such as The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology. Ka-Kin is an editorial board member of Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration, for which he edited a special issue entitled “Transient Migrants at the Crossroads of China’s Global Future” (2019). He has conducted fieldwork over the past decade on the Sikh diaspora in Hong Kong and on Indian textile traders in southeast China. While writing up his research on Indian migration, Ka-Kin is currently developing a new project on flower industries and Europe-China circuits of environmental ethics.
Abstract: LanguageFrom 1884 to 1888, the late-Qing translator, writer, and world traveler Wang Tao 王韜 (1828-1897) serialized nearly 200 tales in the lithographically-printed Dianshizhai Pictorial 點石齋畫報, grouping them into the two collections Songyin manlu 淞隱漫錄 and Songyin xulu 淞隱續錄. Many scholars have regarded the Songyin serial as the “swan song” of the Chinese classical tale genre, maintaining that Wang’s innovative response to the advent of modernity is at cross-purposes with his choice of a moribund narrative form populated by ghosts and fox spirits. In my talk, I will discuss how this line of thinking symptomizes the negative consequences of the still-prevalent disregard among scholars for the medium and context of the tales’ original publication. Re-reading Wang’s tales alongside their accompanying illustrations, I will explore how the Songyin serial - written specifically for the Dianshizhai Pictorial - taps directly into its reader’s frequent encounter with the countless lithographic images of science novelty, foreign lands, and idealized women that proliferated in the most influential late-Qing illustrated magazine. My discussion will focus especially on the way Wang’s literary imagination of “the realm of illusion” - a recurring topos in his tales - crystallizes changing perceptions of the world in fin-de-siècle Shanghai. Through this talk, I aim to show that Wang’s serial, far from the last iteration of a genre in extremis, is actually one of the earliest Chinese literary works to embrace the age of mechanical reproduction and its new visual culture. Biography: Wang Shengyu is a comparatist and literary scholar specializing in pre-modern Chinese literature, with a focus on the Chinese classical tale genre. He obtained his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago and currently teaches in the School of Chinese Language and Literature at Soochow University. His research interests include the fantastic and supernatural, crime, late-imperial Chinese visual and material culture, media studies, and chinoiserie. Currently, while working on a book manuscript about literatus Wang Tao’s contribution to the development of 19th century Chinese literature, he is researching late-imperial anomaly writings on animated objects and re-animated bodies.