Asian Studies

Past events

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

Asian Studies Seminar Series

Photo of a cityscape with Asian Studies Seminar Series written over it

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

Photo of a temple in Korea

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.

The Yun Posun Memorial Symposium

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.

The 8th Yun Posun Memorial Symposium

Dates: 2 and 3 November 2021

Venue: Online (Zoom; YouTube)

Events series: Yun Posun Memorial Symposium

Keynote speaker: Tae-sik Lee (Former Ambassador to UK and US)

Discussants: Dr Youngmi Kim (University of Edinburgh); Professor Chan Wook Park (Seoul National University); Professor Ihn-hwi Park (Ewha Womans University)

In brief: A two-day conference organised by the Yun Posun Institute for Democracy and the University of Edinburgh. Themed 'A New Agenda for South Korea-UK Cooperation in the COVID19 Era', the event comprised an opening ceremony, keynote address, and panel sessions on political economy, international development co-operation and US-China relations.

Conferences and symposia

East Asia on the Move: Shifting Dynamics

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

SoKEN 2021

Photo of a Korean flag

Date: 29 January 2021

Venue: Online (Zoom)

Events series: The Social Science Korean Studies European Network (SoKEN) Conference

Keynote speaker: Professor Victor Cha (Georgetown University)

In brief: Hosted by the Scottish Centre for Korean Studies, this event focused on Korea’s future under a new US administration.

Read more about the conference

Lectures and talks

Edinburgh Buddhist Studies - In conversation: Shingon Buddhism

Photo of a statue of Buddha

Date: 19 November 2020

Venue: Online (Teams)

Events series: Edinburgh Buddhist Studies - In conversation

Speakers: Dr Ian Astley (University of Edinburgh); Dr Paulus Kaufmann (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich)

In brief:  A free online discussion between Edinburgh Buddhist Studies member Dr Ian Astley and guest Dr Paulus Kaufmann discussing why they became involved in studying Shingon Buddhism - one of the major schools of Buddhism in Japan - and what they see as its principal value for Buddhist Studies.

Read more about the discussion

Film screenings and festivals

Sill from the film Grass of two people having coffee

Dates: 18 to 23 November 2019

Venue: Edinburgh Filmhouse

Events series: London Korean Film Festival - UK tour (Edinburgh)

In brief: A collaboration between Korean Studies and Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Filmhouse, and the Korean Cultural Centre UK to screen three films as part of the 14th London Korean Film Festival's UK tour. Selected from the Festival's 'Century of Korean Cinema' and 'Cinema Now' strands, the films were: 

  • Aimless Bullets  오발탄 (Yu Hyun-mok, 1961)
  • Grass  풀잎들 (Hong Sangsoo, 2017)
  • The Devil’s Stairway  마의 계단 (Lee Man-Hee, 1964)

Exhibitions, workshops and performances

How Japanese Aesthetics Differs from the West - Japanese Tea Ceremony

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