Brown University’s initiative to strengthen its international programs now includes an exciting research partnership between the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, the East Asian Studies Department, and the Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown with the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Science at Nanjing University. The Institute for Advanced Studies is well matched as a partner to the Brown programs. A new institute, it aims to break through traditional disciplinary constraints and to make intellectual connections across linguistic and cultural barriers.
The purpose of the “Joint Program in Gender Studies and the Humanities” is to bring outstanding scholars from Nanjing University into dialogue with scholars here at Brown about the global future of gender, feminist studies, and the humanities. With an ambitious schedule of faculty and student exchanges and an exciting series of publications, the Nanjing-Brown Program promises to build vital connections between our institutions and foster rigorous and imaginative global critical thinking.
Nanjing University is a comprehensive university with a long history, founded in 1902. In the process of building world-class university, Nanjing University established the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (IAS) in May 2005. Guided by the concept of “comprehensive, research-oriented and internationalized,” the birth of IAS marks a new endeavor in the innovation of research system. Under the direct supervision of the vice-president in charge of humanities, IAS is a comprehensive university-level institution, whose academic activities are supervised by the Committee of Experts. Three kinds of academic positions are offered at the institute, including lecture professors, chair professors and scholars in residence. Interdisciplinary research groups are formed to carry out research of special issues concerning important social and theoretical problems.
The goal for establishing IAS is to break the blockage between disciplines and departments, integrate the academic resources of the university, encourage interdisciplinary research and improve research work. Putting forward three lecture series, i.e. “Masters’ Tribune,” “Academic Frontier,” and “Scholars’ Forum,” the institute invites distinguished scholars from both home and abroad to give speeches at the university. Three interdisciplinary teams are associated with the institute, i.e. “Environmental Studies,” “Media and Culture Studies,” and “Gender Studies.” The institute has had academic exchanges with a number of prestigious universities abroad and in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The institute has become the window and platform of the internationalization of humanities and social sciences at Nanjing University.
The Pembroke Center was established in 1981 as a research center on gender. Funded in its early years by the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Center now supports its programs largely through its endowment, made possible by generous alumnae/i and other donors.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, numerous centers for research on women and gender were established in the US. What distinguished the Pembroke Center was its focus on the theoretical dimensions of the category of gender. The story of the Center's uniqueness can be seen in the relationship between its name and its research mission--a relationship that has carried a productive tension from the beginning. In 1981, a decade after the merger of Pembroke College into Brown University, the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women was named in honor of Pembroke College and the history of women's efforts to gain access to higher education: the first two women were admitted to Brown in 1891; in 1928, the women's college was named Pembroke after Pembroke College at Cambridge University and retained that name until the 1971 merger. The name of the Center was designed to keep alive the history of women at Brown and Pembroke.
On the one hand, the name of the Center evokes the concrete historical achievements of women. At the same time, the Center's research and teaching has, from the outset, questioned the self-evident meanings of the categories of "women" and "woman." While most centers and programs in the late 1970s and the 1980s were taking women as a starting point, the Pembroke Center's scholars and students took neither women nor gender for granted, but looked, rather, at the many and complex articulations of difference that produce such categories and give them their historically specific meanings.
At the heart of the Center's research agenda is a questioning of what counts as foundational knowledge in a given discipline. This questioning of the production of knowledge is related, in turn, to the challenges that studies of "difference" present to the academy--gender studies; studies of race, ethnicity, multiculturalism; cross-cultural and postcolonial studies. Scholars affiliated with the Center look to the complex ways "differences" are produced culturally, socially, epistemologically: sexual and gender differences, the differences that are fundamental to the categories of "race" and ethnicity, nationality, religion, and so forth. It is there, at the intersection of the production of knowledge and articulations of "difference," that the Pembroke Center locates its research and teaching.
The Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown University supports collaborative research among scholars in the humanities, focusing on interdisciplinary and comparative work across cultural and linguistic boundaries. Through its fellowship and grant programs, distinguished visitors program, and regularly scheduled events, the Cogut Center strives to:
- Foster innovative work in the humanities and related disciplines.
- Sustain and nurture international perspectives at Brown in an era of increasing globalization.
- Explore the history and effects of the rapid growth of technologies of information and visualization.
- Examine the public role of the humanities in the context of recent challenges and pressures.
- Enrich relations between the humanities and the studio and performing arts.
- Investigate the re-emergence of pressing issues of ethics and aesthetics.
- Reinvigorate the concept of critique and the role of critical theory in the humanities.
East Asian Studies is a multidisciplinary department teaching and creating new knowledge about that part of the world geographically located in East Asia, embracing the western rim of the Pacific Ocean, and whose society is based on the Confucian tradition.
Its mission is to provide rigorous and varied exposure to East Asia through the teaching of three languages - Chinese, Japanese and Korean - and substantive courses on these cultures, both individually and in comparative contexts. East Asian Studies is committed to the study of Chinese, Japanese and Korean as the essential foundation of expertise on these cultures. Courses on cultural issues draw upon many disciplines, particularly the humanities and social sciences.
Associate Professor of East Asian Studies
Co-Director, Nanjing-Brown Joint Program
Professor of English and Drama
Associate Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanjing University
Co-Director, Nanjing-Brown Joint Program
Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanjing University
Director of the Chinese Social Sciences Research Evaluation Center, Nanjing University
Director, Pembroke Center
Director, Cogut Center for the Humanities
Interim Chair, East Asian Studies
Christy Law Blanchard
Director of Program Outreach and Development, Pembroke Center
In order to facilitate scholarly dialogue and disseminate the presentations at scholarly exchanges, Nanjing University and Brown University have committed to a number of publications.
Journal of Gender Theory and Culture
Inaugural issue forthcoming in Chinese, Nanjing University Press. Issue will feature papers from the Symposium on Feminist Theory and Gender Studies (June 24-25, 2008)
Co-edited by Chengzhou He and Lingzhen Wang.
Gender and Chinese Cinema (English)
(Under Review at Columbia University Press)
Two volumes to feature papers from the International Conference on Gender and Chinese Cinema Gender Studies (June 26-29, 2008)
- Vol 1: Engendering Cinema: Chinese Women Filmmakers Inside and Outside China (edited by Lingzhen Wang)
- Vol 2: Gender and Chinese Cinema: New Interventions (Co-edited by Lingzhen Wang and Mary Ann Doane)
Gender and Chinese Cinema (Chinese)
(forthcoming, Nanjing University Press)
One volume to feature papers from the International Conference on Gender and Chinese Cinema Gender Studies (June 26-29, 2008)
Essential Readings in U.S. Feminist Theory (Chinese)
(forthcoming, Nanjing University Press)
Edited by Elizabeth Weed