The Department of Asian Studies at the Faculty of Arts at Palacký University Olomouc is an academic institution that focuses on educational, scientific, and research activities concerning contemporary languages and cultures in Asia, especially China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
The Department offers degree courses on undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level. To learn more about the study programmes that we currently offer, see Study Programmes.
Hedwig Amelia Waters, who is currently at our department as a Horizon Europe ERA Postdoctoral Fellow, has just published a book on "Moral Economic Transitions in the Mongolian Borderlands". The book was published in an Open Access mode and is thus available for download here.
"Since the early 1990s, Mongolia began its hopeful transition from socialism to a market democracy, becoming increasingly dependent on international mining revenue. Both shifts were promised to herald a new age of economic plenty for all. Now, roughly 30 years on, many of Mongolia’s poor and rural feel that they have been forgotten.
Moral Economic Transitions in the Mongolian Borderlands describes these shifts from the viewpoint of the self-proclaimed ‘excluded’: the rural township of Magtaal on the Chinese border. In the wake of socialism, the population of this resource-rich area found itself without employment and state institutions, yet surrounded by lush nature 30 kilometres from the voracious Chinese market. A two-tiered resource-extractive political-economic system developed. Whilst large-scale, formal, legally sanctioned conglomerates arrived to extract oil and land for international profits, the local residents grew increasingly dependent on the Chinese-funded informal, illegal cross-border wildlife trade. More than a story about rampant capitalist extraction in the resource frontier, this book intimately details the complex inner worlds, moral ambiguities and emergent collective politics constructed by individuals who feel caught in political-economic shifts largely outside of their control.
Offering much needed nuance to commonplace descriptions of Mongolia’s post-socialist transition, this study presents rich ethnographic detail through the eyes and voices of the state’s most geographically marginalized. It is of interest not only to experts of political-economy and post-socialist transition, but also to non-academic readers intrigued by the interplay of value(s) and capitalism."
Halina Zawiszová and Martin Lavička published an edited volume entitled Voiced and Voiceless in Asia which has thus become the first volume in our newly established Olomouc Asian Studies (OLAS) publication series.
The volume consists of 19 chapters that reflect the titular theme from a variety of angles, making use of diverse scholarly approaches and disciplines, while focusing specifically on China, India, Japan, and Taiwan. The chapters are broadly divided into two parts: (1) Politics and Society, and (2) Arts and Literature, although the texts included in the second part also deal with social themes. In addition to historical topics, such as Japanese colonialism or Chinese agricultural reforms in the 1950s, the volume also addresses current issues, including restrictive Chinese policies in Xinjiang, Japanese activist movements against gender-based violence and discrimination, or the problems of migrant laborers in India and performing arts in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, it provides insight into satirical woodblock prints from the Boshin War period or works of literature produced in Japanese leprosariums in the first half of the 20th century, as well as into selected topics in contemporary Chinese, Japanese, and Sinophone Tibetan literature. Collectively, the chapters comprised in this volume narrate the multifaceted relationship between 'voice' and 'power,' thus highlighting the fact that the question of 'voice' is closely intertwined with a variety of social, political, and cultural issues.
Supported by the Sinophone Borderlands – Interaction on the Edges project, the book was published as an Open Access and Print on Demand publication. It is available for free download here and for purchase as a physical copy here.
This publication by Petra Lee, M.A. from our department is an annotated translation of two classical Korean novels supplemented with a study. The Tale of Sim Ch'ǒng and The Tale of Unyǒng can be characterised as stories about devotion and unfulfilled love. The Tale of Sim Ch'ǒng is one of the most famous classical novels in Korea. The theme of the story is devotion and love between a father and a daughter. Sim Ch'ǒng suffers all the hardships; she even decides to sacrifice her life for her father. Also, the blind father tries to save his daughter, but after he is left alone, he suffers only misery. In the end, however, everything comes to a happy ending, so typical for Korean stories. On the contrary, The Tale of Unyǒng is a story of tragic love that overcomes social barriers and even death. The whole novel is interwoven with the tragedy and despair of the main and supporting characters, who live in a world full of pitfalls and where they fail to fulfil even the slightest wish. Unyǒng and her lover resemble Romeo and Julia, but their love can overcome everything.
This volume of our departmental journal Far East bear the title Journey to the East: The Lexicon of Chinese Language. It is a collection of nine single-author articles written in English by dr. Zdenka Heřmanová. You can read the journal in full here.
Languages using a pleremic writing system, from which Chinese is undoubtedly the most widespread, show a much deeper connection between language units and their graphic representations since it involves the semantic dimension. What makes the Chinese writing system a truly unique phenomenon is how its graphics capture the meaning of the represented linguistic unit. This semantic connection was primarily established through graphic components with their own meanings, so-called determinatives. Although their use was primarily associated with an effort to distinguish by graphic means the (often too many) different meanings of one sinogram, the entire system also undoubtedly provides unique insight into how ancient Chinese experienced reality. The semantic diversity of sinograms subordinated to one determinative forms a particular network of contexts with some relationship to the basic concept. This book provides a concise Czech translation of the oldest known study on Chinese grammatology Shuo Wen Jie Zi 說文解字 Meaning Explanation of Primary Sinograms and Structure Analysis of Secondary Sinograms which endeavors to reflect on the Chinese writing system as an essential bearer of Chinese culture. Based on the procedures of Chinese cultural linguistics, it adopts the author’s determinative-based setting and analyses the so-called semantic profile of all the 540 determinatives by arranging sinograms into groups sharing certain semantic features.
The World in Sinograms (written in Czech) by Tereza Slaměníková and David Uher is available for purchase here.
A collective monograph entitled China's Avant-Garde, 1978–2018 and co-edited by Giorgio Strafella from our department was recently published by Routledge.
"This book examines how China’s new generation of avant-garde writers and artists are pushing the boundaries of vernacular culture, creatively appropriating artistic and literary languages from global cultures to reflect on reform-era China’s transformation and the Maoist heritage. It explores the vortex of cultural change from the launch of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in 1978 to Xi Jinping establishing his leadership for life in 2018. The book argues that China’s new avant-garde adopt transcultural forms of expression while challenging the official discourse of Xi Jinping’s regime, which promotes cultural nationalism and demands that cultural production in China embodies the essence of the 'Chinese nation'. The topics range from body art, women’s poetry and Boys’ Love literature to Tibetan-themed fiction and conceptual ceramic art."
The publishing house Mi:lu has just published a collection of essays by a Taiwanese writer Walis Nokan (Walisi Yougan). The collection was translated to Czech by Petr Janda from our department. See this link for more information (in Czech).
Join us at our 16th Annual Conference on Asian Studies which will take place on November 25–26, 2022 in a hybrid format in Olomouc, Czech Republic and online via the conference (web)app Whova. The general theme of the conference this year is “Bodies, Gender, Identities”. See the interactive conference program and register as an audience member in order to gain access to the conference (web)app Whova. After your registration has been processed, you will be able to access the conference webapp and use the mobile app as well.
The Department of Asian Studies at Palacký University Olomouc hosts the 9th EAKLE Workshop on 30–31 August 2022. With its biennial workshop, EAKLE provides a stage for scholars and teachers in the field of Korean language education to discuss and advance methods of teaching Korean that best suit the different students in the various countries of Europe and in other parts of the world. The workshop fosters collaboration among scholars and teachers and is also open to researchers on Korean linguistics and Korean literature insofar as their work pertains or can be connected to language education. It will feature presentations and discussions on a wide range of topics related to the teaching of Korean as a second language. The participants will discuss evergreen topics against the backdrop of new trends and insights gained through recent language education scholarship and experience, thus getting updates, fresh input and inspiration. Performances “outside the box” are encouraged. Some presentations will be “shows of best practice”, involving the audience and demonstrating hands-on solutions for actual challenges encountered in classroom.
This is mostly a live and face-to-face event but as some presentations will be held online, the 9th EAKLE workshop will be held in a hybrid mode, using a Whova platform. This will be a closed event, open only to registered participants who are members of the association. More information is available on https://www.sites.google.com/view/eakle. A separate event homepage will be available soon. For queries to the conference organizer write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A collective monograph entitled Interests and Power in Language Management and co-edited by Halina Zawiszová from our department was recently published by Peter Lang. The book was published Open Access and so is freely available for download here.
"The volume expands the discussion on the language management (LM) framework through two themes: interests and power, which are driving forces of the LM process, observable and describable at every step. It consists of thirteen contributions analyzing diverse situations in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Authors focus on a range of topics, including the role of language ideologies in various types of institutions, such as higher education institutions and language cultivation centers, the struggle to maintain minority languages, the positions of the actors involved in the process of making policies concerning foreign language teaching, or the processes that learning and choosing to use foreign languages entail. Emergent insights into the commonalities in the ways in which interests and power guide or underlie the management of language, communication, and sociocultural problems contribute significantly to the strength of LM as a sociolinguistic framework."
A chapter by Lucie Olivová (Masaryk University) a Ondřej Vicher (Palacký University Olomouc) entitled "On translating Jin Ping Mei to Czech" was published in the volume Encountering China's Past: Translation and Dissemination of Classical Chinese Literature. "This contribution aims to provide general insight into translating the novel Jin Ping Mei 金瓶梅 into Czech. Part one, written by Lucie Olivová, provides a brief introduction to the translation history of traditional Chinese literature into Czech, followed by a report on our translation of the Wanli edition, taken over from the late professor Oldřich Král, which began at the beginning of 2020. In Part two, Ondřej Vicher consequently describes the joint translation process, concisely introduces the main features of the Czech language, and analyzes the specific translation issues which both current translators encountered, most of them having been caused by the specifics and peculiarities of the Czech language." (source)
Andreas Schirmer's chapter "Korean 'Multicultural Literature' and Discourses About Koreanness" has been published in a volume that deals with the long-term historical influence of Korea's international contacts, exploring the impact of international influences on the society and language of both North and South Korea.
"Before the South Korean state began to promote multiculturalism, the idea of the 'homogenous' nation was cherished in South Korea for decades, and this has often been concomitant with concepts of a specific essence that defines what it is to be Korean. In view of this, Andreas Schirmer explores the intriguing fact that the struggling characters in South Korea’s tamunhwa munhak ('multicultural literature') are usually not haunted by any sublime quintessence of the homo coreanicus but rather by Korean ideals of outward appearance."
See the publisher's webpage for more details.
The Department of Asian Studies at Palacký University Olomouc is going to host the 2022 edition of the European Association for Japanese Studies's prestigious workshop for Ph.D. students working on topics related to Japanese studies.
"The European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS) invites doctoral students in all fields of Japan-related research (humanities and social sciences) to apply for the 18th EAJS Workshop for Doctoral Students (23–26 August 2022). The workshop will take place at Palacký University. The EAJS will cover the costs of travel (up to 400 EUR) and accommodation for the duration of the workshop for a group of 18-20 doctoral students and 4-5 senior scholars who will act as advisors. The EAJS Workshops for Doctoral Students aim to create a multidisciplinary European network of advanced graduate students and senior scholars in Japanese Studies. The informal setting of the workshop provides a unique opportunity for participants to work intensively together to improve individual projects and engage in deep discussions on common themes and methods. Through presentations and focused sessions, participants give and receive critical feedback on dissertation projects, fieldwork plans and preliminary findings. Participants will be required to submit a report outlining their dissertation project prior to the workshop. Moreover, they will be asked to read the work of their peers and prepare for workshop presentations, thus linking their own work to the broader international field of Japanese Studies. Students will also get extensive opportunity to discuss their projects with a senior scholar in their respective field." (source)
More information is available here. You can also ask directly Prof. Barešová or Dr. Zawiszová.
Kateřina Šamajová a Michaela Zahradníková published an article entitled "Key Factors in the successful implementation of Chinese language courses in upper secondary schools: a case study from the Czech Republic" in The Language Learning Journal. "This paper aims to provide a comprehensive narrative of the current status of Chinese language teaching at upper secondary schools in the Czech Republic. Processes involved in developing the Chinese language curriculum in upper secondary schools were mapped through a qualitative survey. Representatives of 20 schools were interviewed to identify factors associated with the successful implementation of Chinese language courses. The research focuses on answering two questions: (1) What factors determine the success or failure of a Chinese language programme at a secondary school? (2) What systemic support can be provided to facilitate Chinese teaching at upper secondary schools? In answer to the first question, factors such as the mindset of stakeholders, curricular classification, employment, and partnerships are discussed. As for systemic support, fostering a realistic attitude, institutional support and cooperative partnerships are suggested. These findings may serve as a source of inspiration for countries where the Chinese language in secondary education is still in the process of development, as is the case in the Czech Republic." (zdroj)
We have just published a Call for Chapters for a collective monograph entitled On Continuity and Change in Asia that we intend to publish in our Olomouc Asian Studies series. Please see the attached file for details. We are looking forward to your submissions!
"Invented Traditions in North and South Korea examines the ways in which compressed modernity, Cold War conflict, and ideological opposition has impacted the revival of traditional forms in both Koreas. The volume is divided thematically into sections covering: (1) history, religions, (2) language, (3) music, food, crafts, and finally, (4) space. It includes chapters on pseudo-histories, new religions, linguistic politeness, literary Chinese, p’ansori, heritage, North Korean food, architecture, and the invention of children’s pilgrimages in the DPRK." (source)
Andreas Schirmer’s chapter explores how modern Korean translations of premodern Korean literature written in classical Chinese (hanmun) were promoted as a form of heritage conservation. In principle, translation granted access to high culture to all. But when these “old classics” are constructed as the centerpiece of original Koreanness, the concept of invented tradition comes into play.