Our colleague Afshan Bokhari recently delivered a lecture at Harvard. Her talk was titled Ars Erotica: ‘Visualizing’ Sufism in Indian and Persian Miniature Paintings and the Narratives of Jahan Ara Begam (1614-1681).
The talk was sponsored by The Aga Kahn Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University. Dr. Bokhari is currently a Harvard AKPIA Fellow in the Program.
On March 24-26, 2011, the conference “Asian Studies: Traditions and Transformations” was held at Omni Parker House Hotel, and six of us attended. Chris Westphal (Education and Human Services), Simone Chun (Government), and Micky Lee (Communication and Journalism) presented papers at the panel “Globalization: Labor, Trade Union, and Constructed Citizenship,” of which Da Zheng (English) served as moderator. At two other separate sessions, Gertrude Hewapathirana presented her paper “Lived Experience of Successful Entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka,” and Ron Suleski (Rosenberg Institute) gave a PowerPoint presentation about his detective work in tracing and analyzing a Chinese family’s genealogical history against the backdrop of the Republic Era. All of these sessions were very well attended, and audience seemed interested and asked questions.
In addition, a few members from Suffolk attended some sessions.
Professor Da Zheng led a group of nine students and Suffolk alumni to Shanghai for the Chinese Language and Culture Program at Shanghai Normal University from June 1 to June 22, 2010.
The university’s International College of Chinese Studies is one of the most reputable Chinese language teaching sites in China. Upon their arrival, students were immediately immersed in language learning. Morning classes were full of grammar studies and practicing oral Chinese. In the afternoon, the group participated in various cultural activities, such as calligraphy, martial arts, and er-hu (a Chinese string instrument).
The group also spent time in vibrant Shanghai and its suburbs, and took excursions to Suzhou and Hangzhou, seeing historic sites and traditional Chinese architecture. Students also visited the World Expo in Shanghai, walking into various pavilions and encountering different cultures.
The entire experience reminded everyone of the richness of world culture and the need for mutual understanding.