DALLC Thesis Symposium, Monday, 1/22, 4 PM, Hopkins 001

Please join the Department of Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures for a senior thesis symposium on Monday, 1/22 at 4 PM (Hopkins 001). We have two seniors writing year-long thesis this year and they will be giving their work-in-progress presentations (in English). Please come to learn more about their projects and some interesting figures in Chinese literature. All are welcome.

  1. Joe Fox, ‘24–“Translating Modern Chinese Drama: An Invitation from Chiang Kai-Shek by Wen Fangyi”

Joe Fox ’24 is a senior from San Diego who began studying Chinese on his first day of classes at Williams College. A fondness for theatre—Joe has spent his college career a captive of Cap & Bells—has inspired him to pursue a translation thesis in the field of Chinese theatre. Joe is translating a Chinese play into English and writing an analysis of the play. Wen Fangyi’s popular 2012 play An Invitation from Chiang Kai-shek (lit. ‘The Face of Chiang Kai-Shek’) was written for the 110th anniversary of Nanjing University, at which time the author was a junior of the university. The central conceit of the play (which is self-classified as a comedy by Wen) is based on real events: in 1943, when Chiang Kai-shek was appointed president of Nanjing University (then known as National Central University), he invited three professors from the Chinese department to a dinner. Mixed feelings over Chiang’s role as leader of the nationalist government as well as the role of the state in educational affairs give rise to a complicated, intellectual, and provocative dialogue between the professors as to whether or not they should honor Chiang’s invitation. This translation thesis aims to faithfully reproduce the play in English, with footnotes included for clarity and historical context. The play is thick with references to Chinese intellectual and political history that are unlikely to have been encountered by Western audiences, and the analysis component of the thesis aims to place the play in both a modern and historical Chinese cultural context.

  1. Kazi Raleh, ‘24– “The Zhuangzian Sage: Liberating the Inner De (virtue)”

Kazi Raleh is a double major in Philosophy and Chinese. He started to learn Chinese 101 during his sophomore year with a goal to be able to read Classical Chinese texts. He has always been fascinated with invigorating philosophical questions such as how we ought to live in relation to one another and give meaning to our lives, questions that people from different philosophical traditions have been attempting to answer for centuries. In his thesis “The Zhuangzian Sage: Liberating the Inner De   (virtue)”, he is currently investigating de 德 (virtue) in the sages that appear in Chapter 5, The Sign of Virtue Complete, 德充符 , in the text Zhuangzi 莊子. What does it mean for someone to have and cultivate de and what implications does it have for our relationship to ourselves and the world? Is de something that’s communicable, learnable or reversible? Through careful examination of the text, he argues that having 德, consists of, amongst other things, an ability to see the interconnectedness of all things, and embrace all alterations.