October 10 (Friday)

Elie Wardini (prof mellanösternstudier)

A Macro and Micro View of Middle Eastern Place Names

Seminarieledare: Irmy Schweiger

Names, both personal names and place names, are part and parcel of social interaction, among persons and with the physical landscape. As any social phenomenon, place names reflect these interactions. Place names when subjected to analysis, provide valuable insight into societies, present or past. Studies on place names in general, and MENA place names in particular, have concentrated on establishing the etymology of the names and for place names in ancient texts, on locating unknown places. The present research rather approaches the study of place names as any “text”. As “text”, the study of place names requires specific approaches and tools.

The following paper is suggested to be read in advance (attached/ available on JSTOR):

Margaret C. Rodman “Empowering Place: Multilocality and Multivocality”

American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 94, No. 3 (Sep., 1992), pp. 640-656.

October 24 (Friday)

Amanda Walldoff (doktorand mellanösternstudier)

Different scripts, one syllabus. 

Seminarieledare: Irmy Schweiger

At the Department of Oriental Languages, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic are taught to large groups of students. The great interest in these languages is further visible in that they can be studied as “Modern languages” in the upper secondary school in Sweden. Languages taught as “Modern Languages” share a common syllabus. Accommodating languages written with scripts other than the Latin script to the existing syllabus has however proved to be problematic. For example, the teachers of Chinese as a “Modern Language” raised concerns that it was impossible for their pupils to progress according to the requirements of the syllabus due to the specific challenges the writing system presents. As a result, an adapted syllabus for Chinese as a “Modern Language” has been prepared and is being introduced this school year (2014-15).  

Not only “Modern Languages” share a common syllabus. It is also the case with languages taught in the mother tongue tuition. The subject “Mother Tongue” is language instruction directed to heritage language speakers with prior knowledge of the target language. In the colloquium, I will review the wordings of different steering documents concerning “Mother Tongue [Languages]” that (1) are not written with the Latin script, and, (2) have coexisting language varieties.  Arabic will serve as a point of reference, but the presentation is intended to encourage a general discussion from the perspective of different languages taught at the department.

Preparatory reading material is available on request from amanda.walldoff@orient.su.se. Since the text files are work in progress they are however not attached to the invitation.

November 21 (Friday)

Gunilla Lindberg-Wada (prof em japanska)

Area Studies? - Some thoughts on our situation in the academic community

Seminarieledare: Irmy Schweiger

When I was invited to participate in a symposium in Copenhagen in 2012 that was arranged by The International Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto with the title Rethinking “Japanese Studies” from Practices in the Nordic Region, I thought the theme of the symposium fit in very well with a set of questions that have bothered me ever since I entered the Department of Oriental Languages at Stockholm University as a student in 1970. In my paper I discuss the implications of the theme of the symposium, rethinking “Japanese Studies” from practices at Stockholm University, focusing on questions such as: What do we mean by “Japanese Studies”? What do we want? How do we overcome conventional divisions between academic fields and geographical areas? How do we make best use of the inherent “in-between-ness” of Japanese Studies? As the title of our kollokvium indicates, the questions discussed in my paper are relevant to all of us at the Department of Oriental Languages, regardless of specific field of studies.

You find my article “Japanese Literature in Global Contexts” attached as a PDF-file.

It was published in Rethinking “Japanese Studies” from Practices in the Nordic Region. Edited by LIU Jianhui / SANO Mayuko. International Research Center for Japanese Studies, 2014.3.31. If you want the article as an off-print, just send me an e-mail at the latest by 16 November, and I’ll make sure you have it in your post-box by the 17th.

If you want to get access to the whole book, it is available in electronic form via the following link: http://publications.nichibun.ac.jp/en/item/symp/2014-03-31/pub


[1] Kollokvium är ett vetenskapligt samtal, mer informellt och ofta riktat till en bredare publik än seminariet. Kollokviet kompletterar genom sina öppnare samtal seminariets mer formella granskning av uppsatser och artiklar.