April 13, 6:00 p.m.: "The Poetic Roots of Chanoyu in Linked Verse Practice" **new time**
Speaker: Nancy Hamilton (Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford)
Japanese tea practice is a social practice based in the aesthetic salon culture of medieval Japan. In the tearoom, aesthetics are expressed through a prescribed physical setting and the objects employed within that setting. These objects operate on a functional level as vessels and implements for containing and handling the ingredients for preparing whisked tea.
In my presentation, I argue these objects are valued not simply for their functional role, but also for their semiotic capacity. Specifically, that tea objects operate as poetic texts in motion, and I propose that the genre of these texts is renga, or linked verse poetry.
Looking at contemporary toriawase of tea objects, I will show how the same ideals that govern a renga linking session also inspire a mode of poetic engagement in tearoom dialogue: (1) an emphasis on movement achieved through the tension between topical continuity and change, (2) drama achieved by lexical restrictions that limit potent poetic imagery, and (3) a temporality that values the ephemerality of the poetic connection while resisting overall interpretations.
Oct. 28: Richard Jaffe (Religious Studies, Duke) - "Spreading Indra’s Net: D. T. Suzuki’s Columbia University Seminars"
Nov. 11: Barbara Ambros (Religious Studies, UNC) - "Corporeal Cross-species Entanglements: Refraining from Killing and Releasing Life in the Edo Period"
Nov. 18, 4:00 p.m.: Robert Hellyer (History, Wake Forest) - "From Bancha to Sencha - The International Contexts of Tea Consumption in Modern Japan"
Feb. 17, 5:00 p.m.: Anne Allison (Cultural Anthropology, Duke) - "Self-Death-Making: Mortuary Planning to Ward off Lonely Death in Japan"
March 31, 5:00 p.m.: Timothy Smith (PhD candidate, Religious Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill) "Tangled Networks: Tenrikyō Churches as Positional Multiplicities"