Asian Studies

Past events

Selected seminars, conferences, lectures, film screenings, exhibitions, and workshops in Asian Studies (2015 -).

Asian Studies Seminar Series

a traditional Chinese temple with lamps outside

Each semester, Asian Studies welcomes a fantastic range of guest speakers and colleagues to present an evening seminar on their research.

The topics span fields as diverse as film and media, literature, religion, society and politics in China, Japan, Korea and, more broadly, East Asia.

Please note that speaker titles and universities, as listed, date from the time of the event and may have changed.

Korean Studies Distinguished Lecture Series

Scottish Centre for Korean Studies Distinguished Lecture Series 2022 to 2023

This series from the Scottish Centre for Korean Studies has been running since 2020, latterly in collaboration with our Korean Studies PhD reading group “Korea and Its Neighbours”.

Previous lecture topics have included Korean literature, poetry, and cinema, North Korean development, East Asian international relations, Korean history and society, and queer Korea.

Often, speakers will present on recent publications, and audiences have the opportunity to participate in question and answer sessions after their presentations.

Selected lectures have been recorded and uploaded to the Scottish Centre for Korean Studies’ YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Please note that speaker titles and universities, as listed, date from the time of the event and may have changed.

Conferences and symposia

The Yun Posun Memorial Symposium

Nine conference delegates standing in front of a conference banner

The Yun Posun Memorial Symposium was established in March 2013 to foster new partnerships between the UK and Korea, promoting longer-term understanding and the growth of contemporary Korean studies and culture in Scotland.

It is jointly organised by the Yun Posun Institute for Democracy and the University of Edinburgh.

The symposium is named after Yun Posun, who graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1930 and ultimately became the father of the modern democratic movement in Korea.

Typically, the conference comprises a mix of panel sessions, keynote plenaries, workshops and networking opportunities. Topics covered have included political economy, international development co-operation, and US-China relations.

The 2018 conference in Edinburgh incorporated cultural performances from Korea and Scotland, an exhibition of new art inspired by the conference theme, a film screening, and a guest lecture with the Asia Scotland Institute on Digital Disruption.

Please note that speaker titles and universities, as listed, date from the time of the event and may have changed. 

Dates Theme Venue Keynote speakers and discussants
2 and 3 November 2021 A New Agenda for South Korea-UK Cooperation in the COVID19 Era Online (Zoom; YouTube) Tae-sik Lee (Former Ambassador to UK and US); Dr Youngmi Kim (University of Edinburgh); Professor Chan Wook Park (Seoul National University); Professor Ihn-hwi Park (Ewha Womans University)
17 October 2019 A New Partnership between ROK and UK in the 21st Century Seoul  
8 and 9 October 2018 Inequality in Global Cities, Seoul in Comparative Perspective Playfair Library, University of Edinburgh  

More conferences and symposia

Dates: 2 and 3 September 2021

Venue: Online (Zoom)

Keynote speakers: William A. Callahan (London School of Economics and Political Science); Bruce Cumings (University of Chicago);Namhee Lee ( University of California); Rana Mitter (University of Oxford)

In brief: A two-day conference for graduate students and Early Career Researchers undertaking research relating to East Asia in any academic discipline.

Read more about the conference on Edinburgh Forum on Korea's blog

Lectures, talks, discussions and readings

Date: 6 March 2023

Venue: 50 George Square

Organiser: Scottish Centre for Korean Studies

Discussants: Beatriz Lopez (Commissioning Editor for Politics at Edinburgh University Press); Professor Natascha Gentz (Chair of Chinese Studies, University of Edinburgh)

In brief: Presentations by and a discussion between Beatriz Lopez and Professor Natascha Gentz on the subject of transforming a thesis into your first book. Beatriz discussed choosing the right book publisher and writing your book proposal, as well as the review and publishing processes. Natascha offered a brief introduction to publishing in Asian Studies, followed by discussion of the Edinburgh East Asian Studies series and the Modern Chinese Literature and Culture journal. She then provided a brief overview of the series editor role and the benefits of publishing as part of a book series for early career researchers.

Their presentations were followed by a Q&A and a practical exercise on book proposal writing.

Film screenings and festivals

A string of paper lanterns in focus across a city street with 'Japanese Film Festival' overlaid

Dates: 9 to 24 February 2023

Venue: 50 George Square

Organisers: Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh and the Japanese Studies department at the University of Edinburgh

In brief: Free screenings of contemporary Japanese film, accompanied by short explanatory talks from a series of relevant speakers, including staff and students from our Japanese department.

  • Little Lights, Little Love アイネクライネナハトムジー (Rikiya Imaizumi, 2019)
  • Key of Life 鍵泥棒のメソッド (Kenji Uchida, 2012)
  • Neko Ninja 猫忍者 (Takeshi Watanabe, 2017)

Explore the full festival programme

Exhibitions, workshops and performances

Photo of a Japanese tea ceremony

Date: 6 April 2022

Venue: 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh

Speaker: Tea Master Soju Nakazawa (Gakushuin Women’s College)

In brief:  A lecture and demonstration of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony by a visiting tea master from Japan. The event was supported by the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh.

Find out more about the tea ceremony and our guest speaker