Sino-American symposium to explore literature, cultural ties

April 15, 2013  

Purdue and a key Chinese partner, Tsinghua University, are bringing a symposium that promotes global scholarship and understanding to a U.S. public university campus for the first time.

The sixth Sino-American Comparative Literature Symposium -- featuring talks, dance, puppets and exhibits -- will take place May 2-4 at Purdue, primarily in Stewart Center. Faculty members can encourage co-curricular participation for their students to any of the symposium's rare learning opportunities, even though the event had to be scheduled during Purdue's finals and regulations prevent required attendance.

Joining U.S. scholars, 10 Chinese delegates will make presentations or participate in panels delving into literature both recent and classic. The keynote address will discuss the sometimes disputed choice of Mo Yan for the 2012 Nobel Prize in literature.

The event is free and open to the public, but early registration is requested for planning purposes, and the first 30 registrants will have an ensured spot at the Friday luncheon and on the Saturday cultural event.

The free registration is possible due to support from sources including Tsinghua and many Purdue units -- International Program, Religious Studies Program, Comparative Literature Program, School of Languages and Cultures, Center on Religion and Chinese Society, Confucius Institute at Purdue, Department of English and Purdue University Libraries.

The keynote speaker, renowned translator Howard Goldblatt, will address the symposium at 1-2 p.m. May 3 in Stewart Center, Room 310. Goldblatt, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, has brought several of Mo Yan's works to English-speaking readers. The talk is titled "Mo Yan's Well-deserved 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature."

The featured daily cultural events are:

* May 2 (Th) -- 5:30-6:30 p.m. Pao Hall, Mallett Theatre. "Amazing China" dance and puppet performances by the Confucius Institute Performing Art Troupe. Free reception following will include exhibits by the Asian Pacific American Caucus at 6:30 p.m. in the Pao Hall foyer.

* May 3 (F) -- 10:45-11:45 a.m., Stewart Center, HSSE Library, Swaim Room. "Biblical and Chinese Archives and Special Collections," a special view of key holdings with an overview by faculty and library staff.

* May 4 (Sa) -- 10:45 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Field trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art's special exhibit of daring Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Free bus and lunch for symposium registrants.

Talks and panels will be on May 2-3. The program for May 4 before the field trip consists of planning for the seventh "SAS." The planning session will be led by Fenggang Yang, professor of sociology and director of Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue.

For more about the symposium including a link to registration and a schedule, go to Symposium.html. For registration questions, contact Purdue Conferences at 49-66500 or 866-515-0023; or For symposium questions, contact Yuhan Huang at

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