A group of faculty experts will present the Second Annual Introduction to Asia Conference on Wednesday, February 17, from 12:15-3:30 p.m. in the UTC University Center, Raccoon Mountain Room. This event is free and open to the public. The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography is sponsoring the conference.
Following an introduction by Dr. Herbert Burhenn, Dean of Arts and Sciences, beginning at 12:15 p.m., Dr. Zibin Guo will present “Cultivating a Healthy Mental State with Gentle Movement: Tai Chi as a Bodily Expression of Cultural Ideas.” A University of Connecticut alumnus, Guo served as fellow lecturer at Harvard Medical School from 1995-1998. Currently, Guo is an applied medical anthropologist and a UC Foundation Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography. He specializes in cross-cultural studies in medicine, mental health, disability, and aging. Guo is also an internationally known expert in wheelchair Tai Chi, an adaptive form of Chinese healing arts. A program he developed was premiered at the 2008 Beijing Olympics/Paralympics cultural festivities and it was also included in the Chinese National Health and Promotion Program for people with disabilities.
Guo’s conceptual vision for the inaugural conference last year was based on a desire for the campus and community to learn more about the West. “Sitting at two sides of the globe, the west and the East form a unity; one cannot exist without the other,” Guo said.
Alice Tym, instructor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Geography, plans and organizes the conference.
At 1 p.m., Dr. Richard Rice will present “Dogs and Chinese not Allowed: How Historical Myth Shapes the Modern Chinese World View.” Professor of history and Co-Director of the UTC Asia Program, Rice holds the Ph.D. in history and East Asian Languages. He has taught Japanese and Chinese History at the UTC since 1981. Rice has traveled widely in Asia leading teacher study groups and doing research, most recently on the Ainu in northern Japan, and human rights issues – among other minority frontier groups such as the Montagnards, Uyghurs, and Acehnese.
Dr. Craig Laing will present “The Cultural Landscapes of Yunnan Province’s National Minorities” beginning at 1:40 p.m. Laing is an Associate Professor of Geography at UTC. His primary research interests center on the geography of Appalachia and the American South, but he has had special interest in the geography of Asia ever since an undergraduate course on the subject in the mid-1980s. Laing has also done research on the cultural landscapes of Japan through essays, photographs and maps which can be found at http://www.utc.edu/Research/AsiaProgram/teaching .
Beginning at 2:20 p.m., Dr. Lucien Ellington will present “China’s History: Ten Key Points for Americans.” Ellington is UC Foundation Professor of Education and Co-director of the Asia Program. He is editor of the Association for Asian Studies teaching journal, Education About Asia and the organization’s pedagogical booklet series, Key Issues in Asian Studies. Ellington has published four books on Japan and is interested in East Asian economic history, East Asian educational thought, and East Asia in World History.
From 3-3:30 p.m., Mark Bowers will present “Modern Vietnam: Hostility or Harmony?” Bowers is the Curriculum Project Manager at the Chalmers Center for Economic Development where he coordinates the development of a curriculum entitled “Training Low Income People in Business, Home, and Health.” He also serves as an adjunct instructor for UTC and Covenant College. Bowers earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from Bryan College and received the M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College. He completed his graduate work while teaching at a Quy Nhon University of Pedagogy in Vietnam. His interests include teaching and training, short story writing, foreign language, cultural reconciliation, and international development.