George Washington University English professor Alex Huang recently testified in front of Congress on behalf of the humanities on May 16, 2013. The event on the Capitol Hill was called “Briefing on the Humanities in the 21st Century: Addressing National Security and Other Global Challenges through Cultural Understanding,” and was co-sponsored by the National Humanities Alliance in cooperation with Congressional Humanities Caucus; it was chaired by Eva Caldera, Assistant Chairman for Partnership a
By Alexander Huang
Touring theatre is a place where theatre studies and globalization come into contact. The year of 2012 was a year of global festivities in which Shakespeare’s works played a major part. Through their exemplary power, the intersections of world cultures and Shakespeare provide a set of important issues for repositioning theatre studies in the wider field of globalization studies. How does Shakespeare make world theatre legible in the British context? What roles have “fore
Artists in exile or in transit have produced some of the most exciting works, which is why intercultural theatre thrives in the contact zones among different ethnic, cultural, and performance traditions. Snow in August (2002), a Buddhist-inflected play by Chinese French Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian, is a case in point. Why would a secular artist bring the religious rhetoric to bear on his philosophical investment in the idea of exile? The act
What are digital video’s functions? How can those functions be best facilitated in the field of Shakespeare studies when the boundary between text and performance is often blurred by virtual performative texts? This article surveys the state of Shakespearean performances in a global context and analyses the implications of digital video in current and future scholarly and pedagogic practice. While recent scholarship has begun to address Shakespeare’s place in the new media and digital culture, i
Alex Huang's Talk at the Edinburgh International Festival, August 2011
Continental Shifts - All the World's a Stage
Continental Shifts was a series of talks and debates on the themes and ideas of Festival 2011. Contributors discussed perspectives and ideas effecting our understanding and shifting perceptions of the global landscape with special reference to Asia. The series was presented in association with the British Council, The Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Co
Co-sponsored by the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, the Korean Embassy, and other units at GW, and co-organized by new GW English professor Alex Huang and colleagues in History, EALL, and Anthropology the Korean Tempest event was a huge success this weekend, with over 200 people from the community and GW in the audience. The renowned Korean director and playwright of over 60 original plays Mr. OH Tae-suk visited GW and spoke at the colloquium
With the Republican debates taking up most of media’s attention in the month of November, it seems fitting that GW should have its own debate—only, this one wasn’t political. Students from both Prof. Holly Dugan’s and Prof. Alexander Huang’s Shakespeare classes took to the stage in a debate concerning the protagonist of The Tempest—the topic was: “Resolved that Prospero genuinely pardons his foes and is a model of true forgiveness and reconciliation.” Does he truly forgive his enemies or is i
There was a tempest of sorts happening outside as I rushed over puddles and clumps of wet leaves to catch one of newly-arrived Professor Alex Huang's courses entitled "Global Shakespeare." The course title could easily be describing Dr. Huang himself, a native of Taiwan, who first encountered a performance of the Bard's work in Germany--coincidentally, it was a performance of The Tempest--while an exchange student. Even his name is cross-cultural (much of his scholarship focuses on thi
It seems impossible for some to imagine anything exciting and new about that notoriously long-winded author William Shakespeare. He wrote centuries ago in an English tongue that hardly resembles our speech today.
One new professor, however, is impassioned about theater and Shakespeare, and is determined to pass that interest on to his students. This fall, GW welcomed Alexander Cheng-Yuan Huang, who will teach two English courses: Shakespeare Today and Global Shakespeare.
Faculty and students at the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute are overjoyed that Alexander Huang has joined George Washington University as Associate Professor of English.
He specializes in Shakespeare and globalization (especially Asia), Shakespeare and performance, and digital humanities. He is also Research Affiliate in Literature at MIT and General Editor of the Shakespearean International Yearbook (since 2010). As co-founder a
The Modern Language Association of America today announced it is awarding its eighteenth annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies to Alexander C. Y. Huang, of Pennsylvania State University, for Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange, published by Columbia University Press. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly work that is written by a member of the association and that involves at least two li
Filmmakers around the world have brought Shakespeare and Asian aesthetics together in the past decades to create diverse incarnations and bold imaginations of Shakespearean plays. In the global cultural marketplace, the beginning of the new millennium is for Asian Shakespeare films as the 1990s were for English-language Shakespeare on film — when a large number of creative and popular screen interpretations emerged. Shakespeare has been a part of the film and popular cultures of various Asian co
Marshal Brown raises a very important issue in the essay "Period and Reisstances." Brown seeks to define and evaluate the importance of a period, how much it covers, and the validity of its coverage. For the most part, I did not find the essay interesting or groundbreaking as Brown procedeed to explain the different reasons and name of periods. However Brown does assert a crucial and very thought provoking point which that periodization does not concern knowledge. Rather it conerns tho
Marshall Brown’s “Periods and Resistances” is an application to the study of history of the idea that constraints can be productive. By drawing temporal distinctions, we create “necessary fictions,” in David Perkins’ words (311), that allow us to organize the uninterrupted flow of time in order to make sense of it. Concepts are, after all, assertions of difference, demarcations without which thought is impossible. Necessarily, then, we periodize when we think about the past. As Brown writes
In “Periods and Resistances,” Marshall Brown considers periodization as a dialectic method for category and examination of literature – both as “a challenge and an opportunity, a resource and a corrective” (316). According to Brown, even though disadvantages of periodization, such as characterizing history with certain labels, bring about discomfort to people, periodization is indeed an indispensible instrument for people to write the history of literature. Brown further suggests that people sh
That history is cut up into periods, that we recast names, dates, and ideologies from the supposed vantage point of “now” is, as Marshall Brown quotes David Perkins in “Periods and Resistances,” a “necessary fiction.” Even so, Brown argues for the continuation of the practice of periodizing, but challenges our assumptions about why we do and should periodize—just what are we getting at in our efforts? He makes his case as he asserts that “without categories—such as periods—there can be no thou
For Marshall Brown, the periodization of time into conceptual eras challenges the formation of those assigned boundaries even as it institutes them. These periods, while problematic in many ways, are also to a large extent necessary for the study of human history; Brown describes their practicality, noting, “Periods are the chapters of history” (310).
Like book chapters, periods in time attempt to describe the events or concepts which predominate within their assigned boundaries, w
As I read Marshall Brown’s “Period Resistance” and “Theory Without Method” I couldn’t help feeling that he was reading my mind. Throughout this past year, we (those of us in CMLIT 502 and CMLIT 503) have been consistently forced to think of periods and schools of thought—studying the pre-modern, the medieval, the modern, and the postmodern—and cramming literary theory—sometimes studying two or three theorists per week and sometimes ten or twelve—all with the aid of The Norton Anthology of Theo
What makes reading easier? A text divided in parts (paragraphs, bullets, chapters etc.) is easier to the eye and the brain than a text without any divisions. This is valid not only for academic texts, but for literary texts such as novels or epics, that was probably the reason why the Odyssey was divided into twenty four chapters when it became one of the most commonly read texts in many European schools. Marshall Brown, in his article “Periods and Resistances” evaluates the ways of dividing a t
In his comments on "Periods and Resistances," Marshall Brown makes some important meta-points about periodization as a "necessary fiction." While we need classifications and categories to make sense of historical events, he notes, we also understand that these structures are just useful figments of our shared imagination. The style of periodization we choose will determine which way we impose meaning on the past, but there is no getting around that inherent imposition. Soluti
Karatani's claim that landscape is important to the construction of subject and object positions is at once both obvious and novel. Though landscape art is often thought of horizontally - like a frame from a panning shot in film - it is notable for Karatani because landscape also creates a sense of foreground and background that adds an extra dimension to our perceptions of the scene. I am here, perceiving, and it is there, being perceived. One important implication of this observation is that,
In the article “Là,, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté: the surpreises of applied structuralism,” Haun Saussy whether a European theory could apply to East Asian literature or culture not only depends on whether the European convention is compatible to the East Asian texts and contexts, but also depends on whether the theory interweaves both European and Asian cultural traditions. Saussy mainly discusses post- structuralists’ efforts in the project of “deconstruction” that he generally
Jacques Derrida writes in his Of Grammatology, “the writer writes in a language and in a logic whose proper system, laws, and life his discourse by definition cannot dominate absolutely. He uses them only by letting himself…be governed by the system. And the reading must always aim at a certain relationship, unperceived by the writer, between what he commands and what he does not command of the patterns of the language that he uses” (1825). During the European Middle Ages, writers exhibited