LAWRENCE — Public health is the focus of programming from the Center for East Asian Studies this year, beginning with a film series Oct. 25-28 at the Kansas Union. The four feature films deal with diverse public-health related issues and will be followed by discussions led by KU faculty and graduate student commentators. All films are free and open to the public.
- “Parasite” (Korean): 6-8:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, Kansas Union, Divine Nine Room. Discussion led by Yan Bing Zhang, professor of communication studies.
- “The Farewell” (Chinese): 6-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, Kansas Union, Centennial Room. Discussion led by Changming Duan, professor of educational psychology.
- “Go Away Mr. Tumor” (Chinese): 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, Kansas Union, Divine Nine Room. Discussion led by Hui Cai, associate professor of architecture.
- “The House Where the Mermaids Sleep” (Japanese): 6-8:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, Kansas Union, Divine Nine Room. Discussion led by Brad Cokelet, associate professor of philosophy.
The film series is part of the Center for East Asian Studies’ Title VI grant activities. Its 2022-2026 grant uses the conceptual frame of “Global Asia” to address diverse perspectives on nationally and internationally pressing issues. This year’s theme, shared by all KU area studies centers, is public health. It will address various related issues and concerns through educational activities such as a movie series, workshops and a spring conference. The intent is to support interdisciplinary discussions of structural inequalities, social well-being, mental health, environmental injustice and culturally specific medical practices through the lens of “global Asia.”
The importance of public health cannot be overstated, according to Akiko Takeyama, CEAS director.
"COVID-19 opened our eyes to the issue of public health that impacts our lives in many different ways: reliable resources, preventive medicine, structural inequalities, care work and culturally different reactions to the issue,” Takeyama said. “Thus, the theme of public health addresses not only science, medicine and technology but also social relations, cultural practices and a wide range of different experiences. Our center's mission intersects with what the Title VI grant expects of us: to provide Asian cultures and studies to reflect a wide range of perspectives and generate meaningful dialogues. It is our pleasure to shed light on public health in a global context through the lens of Asia."
To achieve these goals, the center created a public health steering committee consisting of CEAS- affiliated faculty from education, architecture, communication studies and philosophy. This interdisciplinary committee works collaboratively and shares ideas and insights on public health issues through their diverse perspectives. The committee hopes the film series will start an open-ended conversation leading toward a two-day spring symposium in April 2023. The goal of the symposium, according to Ayako Mizumura, CEAS academic director and steering committee chair, is “to bring graduate students and faculty together to foster further active interactions, knowledge exchanges and academic collaboration” and to create a “community building tool among faculty, public scholars and students, as well as local community members.”