Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

The Trinity Centre for Asian Studies organises regular public lectures, seminars and outreach activities. This page contains links to information about events that have been organised by the Centre or in association with its members. Events are open to all and free of charge unless otherwise indicated. Please email for further information about any events or conferences listed below.

Public Lectures & Seminars

Conferences & Symposia


Previous Events

Public Lectures & Seminars

Thursday 4th April, 19:00-20:30. Dynamics of Occupy Protests: Lessons from Taiwan's Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement. Ming-sho Ho is Professor of Sociology at National Taiwan University. He studies social movements, labor and the environmental issues and have published Working Class Formation in Taiwan (2014) and Challenging Beijing's Mandate of Heaven: Taiwan's Sunflower Movement and Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement (2016). He is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard Yenching Institute. The lecture is free of charge and all are welcome. Arts Building Room 2037 Robert Emmet Theatre.

Conferences & Symposia

Forthcoming events will be posted here.



 Previous Events

25 February 2019. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. "'You have become my heaven and my mariner': Fr. Angelo Zottoli SJ (1826-1902) and his mission in Shanghai". With Antonio de Caro, Hong Kong Baptist University/Trinity College Dublin.

19 February 2019. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. Cultural and Technological Experiences from a Taiwanese Perspective. Guest speaker: Dr Pierre Tzu-pao Yang, Taipei Representative Office in Ireland. Dr Yang will give a presentation on the Taiwanese experience of using technology to promote culture, including how technology can play a positive role in a ‘new renaissance of the twenty-first century’ and whether the Taiwanese experience suggests a new means of facilitating dialogue between technology and culture.

15 February 2019. Film Screening "The Edge of Night" 街頭 and Q&A with Director Chiang Wei-Hua. Chiang Wei-Hua is a Taiwanese independent filmmaker. His documentaries focus on Taiwanese youth cultures. The “Edge of Night” 街頭 (2018) was the selected competition film for the 2018 Taipei Film Festival and awarded for the Top Prize at South Taiwan Film Festival. With Dr Malte Kaeding (University of Surrey). Supported by the Taipei Representative Office in Ireland.

14 February 2019. TCAS Public Evening Lecture in association with the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival. 100 Years of Chinese Anti-Imperialism: The May Fourth Movement of 1919. In 1919, Chinese students organised a major protest movement, beginning on 4 May, to oppose the government's perceived acquiescence to the Treaty of Versailles. The protest swelled to include tens of thousands of people across China and became the most important political and cultural flowering of the period. Dr Isabella Jackson will explain the events and significance of this turning point in Chinese history.

11 February 2019. TCAS Public Evening Lecture in association with the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival. An Introduction to the Chinese Writing System. The Chinese language is well-known worldwide due to its long history and unique writing system. Whilst many of the world’s languages are written in alphabets or syllabaries, the ideograms of the Chinese writing system convey not only pronunciation but ideas and concepts in the form of picture symbols. Ning Jiang explores the evolution, development and transformation of the Chinese writing system, including contemporary developments in the digital era.

5 February 2019. TCAS Public Evening Lecture in association with the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival. Fifty Shades of Humour in China. Humour is an indispensable component of our life which provides a cognitive shortcut in our understanding of social and political issues, as well as how we perceive ‘the Other’. As polarisation sweeps both democratic and authoritarian regimes, this lecture examines how humour plays a part in our participation in political life. Dr Wang-Kaeding will look at the case of China and map out different types of humour which reflect and even condition state-society dynamics. The audience will see examples ranging from state-sponsored skits in the Chinese Spring Festival Gala to memes created by netizens, and will be invited share their opinions on examples to help come up with a working definition of ‘political humour’.

30 January 2019. In association with the International History Seminar Series. The Italian-Chinese Silk Market, 1850-1915. With Dr Aglaia De Angeli (QUB). Dr De Angeli is a sinologist who specialises in social and law history of Republican China. Part of the Sir Robert Hart Project at Queen’s, her work includes historical photography and Sino-Western relationships, especially between China and Italy, France and Ireland, on law, diplomats, silk and missionaries.

19 November, 2018. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. Turbulence in the world trade regime and the Japan-EU Economic Partnership. Professor Kimura, Keio University & Chief Economist, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Jakarta, Indonesia. Slides available here. This seminar is also available as a podcast. In association with the Embassy of Japan in Ireland.

12 November, 2018 TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. East Asia and Future of World Trade: An Assessment of the Trump and Brexit Impacts. Dr Christopher Dent, Senior Lecturer in Economics and Business at Edge Hill University. Slides available here. This seminar is also available as a podcast.

11 September, 2018. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. Watering down Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Claudia Mo is an independent, pro-democracy legislator and a journalist by training in the city. She is a founder of the HK First group. 

3 April, 2018, TCAS Public Evening Lecture. The Korean Peace Process and Civil Society: Towards Strategic Peacebuilding. Dr Dong Jin Kim, the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin.

20 March, 2018, TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. Caring for Japanese Arts at the Chester Beatty Library: A Life by Mrs Satoshi Ushioda. "Caring for Japanese Arts at the Chester Beatty Library" is the memoir of Yoshiko Ushioda, looking back at more than five decades of her life in Dublin.

1-2pm, Tuesday 11 September, 2018. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. Watering down Hong Kong, with Claudia Mo. Location: TCAS Seminar Room, Arts Building Room 2011 Born and raised in Hong Kong, Claudia Mo is an independent, pro-democracy legislator and a journalist by training in the city. After obtaining a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University, Canada, in 1979, she found her first niche at AFP’s Hong Kong bureau and had since worked full time as well as freelance for various press labels, print and electronic, local and foreign. While lecturing part-time on politics and media at local universities, Mo entered the Hong Kong political arena in midlife and is a founder of the HK First group. 

19 February 2018. Trinity Centre for Asian Studies Public Evening Lecture by Dr Adrian Tien, Dr Isabella Jackson and Dr Heidi Wang, “China in the Year of Dog”

February/March 2018, TCAS Chinese New Year Lecture Series in partnership with the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival.

30 Nov - 2 Dec 2017. International Japanese Studies Symposium, Japanese Studies in a global context: “The art of friendship”. Part of a series of activities marking the 60th anniversary of Japan-Ireland diplomatic relations. We would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Kansai Osaka 21st Century Association (JEC Grant Fund), without whom this symposium would have been impossible. We also extend our thanks to the TCD FAHSS Arts & Benefactions Fund and to Osaka University Graduate School of Letters for their financial support. The full symposium programme is available here.

13 December 2017. Trinity Centre for Asian Studies Lunchtime Seminar Series by HE Mr Richard Andrews, Australian Ambassador to Ireland. "Australia's East Asian Foreign Policy".

6 November 2017. "From 'Far East' to 'East Asia' in Global English Academic and Societal Discourse". TCAS Public Evening Lecture, with guest speaker Dr Kenn Nakata Steffensen. This presentation traced the genealogy of the contemporary idea of East Asia through Karl Ritter’s Ost-Asien, his student Élisée Reclus’ politicised use of Asie orientale, the migration of the Japanese ideas of East Asia from meteorology and geography to political discourse, and from there to the dreaming spires of Harvard. Dr Nakata Steffensen (IRC Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow, UCD) is a philosopher whose primary research interest is in social and political thought in modern Japan, the political philosophy of the wartime Kyoto School in particular.

15 November 2017. "World in Motion: Professional Circuits through Nineteenth-century China" by Professor Robert Bickers. Robert Bickers is Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He specialises in modern Chinese history and the history of colonialism, in particular the British empire and its relations with China and the history of Shanghai (1843-1950s). His guest lecture explored the acceleration of travel, and the interaction of various entertainers with China, c. 1850s-1890s. It examined "professionals" in an old sense, of theatres and performers, and discussed amateur and professional music, circuses, Hong Kong's first tourist, a globe-trotting Chinese giant, jugglers and acrobats.

12 October 2017. "Business between Ireland and China". TCAS Lunchtime Seminar with guest speakers Padraic Brennan (Head of Business Banking Development) and Chen Tian (Senior Vice President, Foreign Direct Investment) from the Bank of Ireland to the first in this year's lunchtime seminar series.  The TCAS Lunchtime Seminar Series brings guest speakers from business, trade and industry to the table for an informal presentation and Q&A.

18 September 2017. "The Underside of Japan": Capitalism, Empire, and the Production of Space in Modern East Asia, 1895-1972. Dr Yijiang Zhong,Tokyo University. This lecture explored spatial production in modern East Asia. It focuses on the origin and operations of the idea “the Underside of Japan” or “Ura-Nihon.” The term refers to the Sea of Japan side of the Japanese archipelago in contrast to the area facing the Pacific Ocean, known as the Upper-side (Omote-Nihon). The idea “the Underside of Japan” emerged in the context of late Meiji industrialization and discussions of civilization and progress. This talk explores how it came to be identified, in spatial proximity and ideological association with the Asian continent, as bleak, stagnant, and backward in contradistinction to the bright and progressing Upper-side, the embodiment of Japan’s modernity. Yijiang Zhong is associate professor of the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo. He is a historian of modern Japan with major research interests in religion, nation(alism), and space. His first book, "The Origin of Modern Shinto in Japan: the Vanquished Gods of Izumo" (Bloomsbury 2016), looked at how early modern developments of Shinto both enabled and compromised the construction of the modern nation-state in Meiji Japan (1868-1912). While examining "space," he also closely follows the globalization of Japan's higher education.

1 June 2017. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar by Paul Costigan, General Manager Asia Pacific, DecaWave. Paul Costigan is a leading semiconductor executive with global experience. Former CEO at Senseg, he was previously the chief operating officer and president of the Asia-Pacific region for Movidius. Prior to that, he was the chief operating officer of Chipidea Microelectronica S.A., based in Lisbon. Mr Costigan is known as the co-founder and chief executive officer of Massana, a Dublin- and Palo Alto-based fabless semiconductor firm focused on the Gigabit Ethernet market that was acquired by Agere Systems (now part of LSI Corp.) in 2003. Paul Costigan began his career as a GSM chipset developer for Alcatel. He holds an MSEE degree from Northeastern University and a BE degree from University College, Dublin.

8 June 2017. TCAS Public Evening Lecture, Neill Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub. Sino-US relations in the Trump era by Professor Sam Crane, Williams College, Massachusetts. Since coming into office, the Trump administration has reversed itself on several of its campaign positions regarding China. It turns out China will not be labelled a "currency manipulator," and the US government will continue to adhere to the "One-China policy." Also, suggestions that the US might back away from its close alliances with Japan and South Korea have been superseded by events. What does the apparent inconsistency and uncertainty of US policy toward China portend for East Asian international relations in the coming years? Sam Crane is W. Van Alan Clark '41 Third Century Professor in the Social Sciences at Williams College in Massachusetts. He teaches courses on contemporary Chinese politics, East Asian international politics, and ancient Chinese philosophy. His most recent book - Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao: Ancient Chinese Thought in Modern American Life (Wiley, 2013) - draws ideas from classical texts of Confucianism and Daoism and applies them to controversial social issues (abortion, same sex marriage, end of life questions) current in the US today.

9 May 2017. "Briefing on Indonesia" by His Excellency Dr Sukma, Indonesian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland. Trinity Centre for Asian Studies Public Evening Lecture. His Excellency Dr. Rizal Sukma assumed his position as the Indonesian Ambassador to the UK and Ireland in February 2016. He was the first Indonesian to receive the Nakasone Award, in July 2005, and named one 100 Global Thinkers in 2009 by Foreign Policy magazine. Dr Sukma has published three books: Security Operations in Aceh: Goals, Consequences, and Lessons (Washington, DC: East-West Centre, 2004); Islam in Indonesia’s Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2003), and Indonesia and China: The Politics of a Troubled Relationship (London: Routledge, 1999).

11-12 April 2017, Trinity Creative. The Music of Silence: Its Interpretation and Performance. Can silence be musical? Putting this question differently, can music exist when there is silence? The answer to this question depends on what "silence" really means and how it is interpreted culturally and musically. Different cultures respond to this question differently. Trinity Centre for Asian Studies and the Department of Music collaborated in exploring the role of silence in music, setting out to show that true silence in the sense of a "complete absence of sound" does not exist and, using Chinese, Japanese, Korean as well as Western music (classical and contemporary) as examples in performance, demonstrate that different musical traditions have different culture-unique interpretations for something like silence. Further details about Trinity Creative. The full event programme is available here.

3 April, 2017. TCAS Public Lecture Series in Asian Studies. A Timely Passion for ‘Printed Things’: Chester Beatty’s Collection of Surimono Prints, by Dr Mary Redfern, Chester Beatty Library. From 3 March to 27 August, the Chester Beatty Library celebrated the 60th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland with an exhibition of surimono prints from its permanent collections. Privately commissioned by individuals and poetry clubs for exchange at New Year or on other occasions of note, these luxurious prints embody the cultivated taste of the literati circles of Edo Japan. It was the refinement and quality of surimono  (lit: ‘printed things’) that caught the eye of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. When Beatty began to collect Japanese prints in earnest in the mid-1950s, he recognised the unique appeal of surimono. While other collectors were busily fighting over their larger cousins—the better-known and commercially produced ukiyo-e—Beatty was able to amass an impressive collection. Examining the formation of the Library’s collection of surimono and the role played by Beatty’s advisor, Jack Hillier, this lecture considered the place of these prints within the institution Beatty was then establishing. Mary Redfern was appointed Curator of the East Asian Collections at the Chester Beatty Library in October 2015. Prior to completing her PhD on imperial tableware and diplomatic dining in Meiji-era Japan at the University of East Anglia, she worked as assistant curator for East Asian collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of Scotland and Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. Mary curated the Chester Beatty's Library’s exhibition, ‘The Art of Friendship: Japanese Surimono Prints’.

March 2017. Manga Hokusai Manga Travelling Exhibition. The Japan Foundation's travelling exhibition Manga Hokusai Manga: Approaching the Master’s Compendium from the Perspective of Contemporary Comics was hosted by TCAS as part of the university's celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of Japan-Ireland diplomatic relations, in association with the Embassy of Japan and Experience Japan. Press release.

27 March, 2017. TCAS Public Lecture Series in Asian Studies. Seizo Sugawara, Eileen Gray's enduring collaborator by Ruth Starr, Trinity College Dublin. This lecture considered Eileen Gray’s position in the early 20th century at the intersection of an Irish and European perception of Japonisme with the reality of lacquerwork as actually practiced by Japanese masters. It explored the central role of Seizo Sugawara’s influence on Eileen Gray’s emerging aesthetic. Ruth Starr is a lecturer in the Arts of Japan at Trinity College Dublin. Her research interests include aspects of Japonisme in Ireland with particular reference to lacquerware and Eileen Gray.

6 March, 2017. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. What do Chinese Christians think about politics? Political support and liberal democratic values among young urban Protestants by Dr Phil Entwistle, UCD. Protestant Christianity has grown rapidly in in China in recent decades, raising the question of what effect this will have on the country’s society and politics. This lunchtime seminar focused on what political values and attitudes do Protestants hold, and how these differ from those of non-Protestants.  Dr Entwistle is Lecturer in Chinese Studies in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics at University College Dublin. 

9 February, 2017. Dublin Chinese New Year Festival public lecture. How do we connect Years of the Rooster to environmental protection in the People’s Republic of China and why does it matter? by Dr Heidi Ningkang Wang-Kaeding. This lecture tracked back to 1957, the first year of the Rooster in the People’s Republic, and explored representative events from each Year of the Rooster to demonstrate the trend of environmental protection (or destruction) of various political actors.  Dr Heidi Ningkang Wang-Kaeding is Assistant Professor in Asian Politics in the Department of Political Science and the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies at Trinity College Dublin.

20 February, 2017. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. The Epicentre of the Meiji Literary Translation Boom, by Dr James Hadley, Trinity Centre for Literary Translation. Japan’s modern history of literary translation is generally held to have begun in the Meiji period, when the near isolationism of the previous two centuries gave way to an enthusiastic importation of ideas from the expansionist powers of Europe and North America. While technical, diplomatic, and philosophical translation was undertaken from before the beginning of the Meiji period, literary translation was not undertaken widely until the latter two decades of the nineteenth century. When it did begin, the translation of literary works originally written in European languages fostered substantial change in native Japanese literary norms, and continues to play an important role in the Japanese literary system as a whole. This event was part of a series of activities held in Trinity College celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland in 2017.

6 February, 2017. Dublin Chinese New Year Festival public lecture. A century of Years of the Rooster: Vignettes of a changing China by Dr Isabella Jackson. Traditionally, people are warned to expect bad luck in their own year of the Chinese zodiac, so those born in the year of the rooster should beware in 2017. This lecture traced the life of an imaginary character born in the year of the rooster 1909, looking at how China changed in each year of the rooster during her lifetime, and how these changes would affect her. Dr Isabella Jackson is Assistant Professor in Chinese History in the Department of History and the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies at Trinity College Dublin.

30 January, 2017. TCAS Public Lecture Series 2016/17. Chinese New Year Celebration: China in the Year of the Rooster. Celebrating the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rooster – with Adrian Tien, Isabella Jackson and Heidi Wang-Kaeding from the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies. This public lecture comprised three short talks, each tackling an aspect of China or Chinese related to the theme of the rooster.

31 January, 2017. Dublin Chinese New Year Festival public lecture. Chinese eating and drinking: A linguistic and cultural perspective by Dr Adrian Tien. While the acts of eating and drinking may seem universal, the cultural underpinnings of eating and drinking certainly vary from culture to culture. Eating and drinking in some cultures occupy a special place, sometimes to the point of reverence. Chinese cuisine is world renowned, but it isn’t often that people go beyond the gastronomic pleasures in an attempt to understand why eating and drinking in Chinese hold a privileged place in Chinese culture. This lecture delved into the acts of eating and drinking in Chinese culture through linguistic evidence that attest to the culture-uniqueness of these acts.  Dr Adrian Tien is Sam Lam Associate Professor in Chinese Studies and Programme Director of the M.Phil. in Chinese Studies at Trinity College Dublin.

26-28 January 2017. Eco-Urbanites: International Multidisciplinary Symposium in Comparative Urban Studies. This symposium brought together a range of experts who will approach the growth of the city through their own particular lens – as architects, urban geographers, sociologists and historians, linguists, policy-makers and engineers. Contemporary urbanism locates the study of the city within a social framework, where the nature of city living is scrutinised, and issues of justice, equity and well-being are at the heart of understanding what cities are and can become. In other words, despite the differences in scale, cities in Japan and Ireland are understood as spaces within which intense human interaction occurs, often fleeting yet always constant. Visit the dedicated Eco-Urbanites symposium website: Download the symposium programme and the symposium slides. We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Japan Foundation in the organisation of the Eco-Urbanites symposium. This event was the first in the series of activities to be held in Trinity College in 2017 which celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland.

19 January, 2017. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. Media and Medical Equipment in the Republican Shanghai, 1912-1949, by Meishan Zhang, doctoral researcher, Trinity Centre for Asian Studies. Republican Shanghai (1912-1949) has been an important area of investigation for its distinctive treaty-port environment. Politically, public health provided an important avenue for the expansion of foreign authority to face social and environmental challenges which were caused by the expanding population and required institutional intervention. Culturally, Shanghai was the centre of the Chinese media, which enabled the exchange of medical knowledge, the dissemination and discussion of policies and especially the promotion of medical products and services. For the development of medical science, the rapidly developing industry and commerce supported the mass-production and importing of medical products. This talk examined the significant roles that medical equipment and media were playing as material and cultural vehicles, and how they made health issues more Chinese or Shanghainese in the newly forming medical system among the public, medical institutes and the government against a multicultural background.

5 December, 2016. TCAS Public Lecture Series in Asian Studies. Rakugo: Traditional Storytelling in Contemporary Japan by Dr Till Weingärtner, Lecturer in Japanese Studies, University College Cork. As an art of Japanese storytelling that involves relaying past events from Japanese history, the majority from the Tokugawa Period (1603-1868), Rakugo storytelling might initially appear to be an anachronism. Dressed in a Kimono, the lone performer entertains the audience with very traditional comic monologues, thereby evoking a feeling of nostalgia and longing for the past. As methods of entertainment have progressed and become more elaborate and varied, many critics have previously forecast the death of Rakugo. However, it is still very much alive in the 21st century: Performers, fans and journalists even speak of a new “Rakugo Boom”. This talk was followed by an English-language performance of Rakugo.

29 November 2016, TCAS Lunchtime Seminar. TCAS Lunchtime Seminar, Do the right thing: Chinese expressions of moral duty and practical necessity, by Dr Carlotta Sparvoli, Lecturer in Contemporary Asian Studies, School of Asian Studies, University College Cork. This seminar focused on the notions of sense, sensibility and practical necessity in Chinese, highlighting the different paradigms that underpin the notion of necessity in China and the West. It explored how different types of necessity are embodied in two natural classes of words, retrievable at a cross-linguistic level. In the Chinese modal system, the duty-necessity contrast play a particularly significant role and is lexicalized in two words of different grammatical status: the auxiliary yīnggāi 应该and bìxū 必须, which is often described as an adverb. These two terms represent the prototypical elements of two distinct classes of modals, deontic and anankastic, and which are described in Li Jinxi (1924), Lü Shuxiang (1942) and Gao Mingkai (1948), under the labels of yīngrán 应然 (duty) and bìrán 必然 (necessity). Dr Sparvoli showed how these two classes of words have symmetrical distinctive features and are related to the different semantic contribution of these modalities.

10 October 2016, TCAS Public Evening Lecture Series, Current Developments in the East Asian and Chinese Economies by Professor Kai KAJITANI, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University, Japan. In this public evening lecture, Professor Kajitani addressed the current state of the East Asian economy and discussed the role of the Chinese economy in this context as well as in the world economy. This lecture examined the issues surrounding the accumulation of capital in the Chinese economy and its potential impacts, exploring the objectives and prospects of Chinese economic policy. Professor Kajitani, a leading international scholar, specialises in the study of Chinese Economics, Development Economics and Comparative Economics, and has published extensively in these areas. In association with the Embassy of Japan in Ireland. 

5 September 2016, TCAS Launch of the Penguin English translation Tales of Ise, one of the seminal works of Japanese literature, by Peter MacMillan. Trinity Long Room Hub, Neill Theatre. Along with the Tale of Genji and One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each, The Tales of Ise is considered one of the three most important works of Japanese literature. A poem-tale collection from the early Heian period, it contains many stories of amorous adventures, faithful friendship and travels in exile, framing the exquisite poems at the work's heart. The Tales of Ise has influenced waka, Noh, tales and diaries since the time it was written, and is still the source of endless inspiration in novels, poetry, manga and cartoons. This volume has been translated by Peter MacMillan and includes a preface by the renowned Japanologist Donald Keene. Organised in association with the Embassy of Japan in Ireland.

Download our Events Archive 2014/15, 2016/17