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The Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago (CEAS) serves as an interdisciplinary nexus and clearinghouse for East Asian studies and an important resource for faculty and students across the University. CEAS supports academic activities, research, outreach, and public events to promote greater understanding of China, Japan and Korea. CEAS has been designated a Title VI National Resource Center by the U.S. Department of Education.
"Cooling the Womb of Stone: Empress Jingū and Embodied Pregnancy in Late Medieval Origin Stories"
Emily B. Simpson, Lecturer in the Department of Religion at Dartmouth University
Empress Jingū is held to have conquered the Korean peninsula in the third century with the help of the gods while pregnant; indeed, a central motif of her legend involves Jingū postponing childbirth until she returns to Japan victorious. Although previous scholarship on Jingū has largely focused on her conquest journey and relationship with divinities, less attention has been paid to her pregnant state and her unique delayed labor. Yet, these subjects are dealt with directly in many temple-shrine origin stories (jisha engi) and picture scrolls (emaki) of the late medieval period, in which Jingū’s pregnancy and bodily needs, both practical and miraculous, are discussed. From adjusting armor to fit her pregnant body to the use of a stone to halt childbirth, medieval priests and the texts they wrote described vividly how pregnancy affected Jingū’s body as well as her bodily experience of the conquest journey. Furthermore, these texts connect Jingū to other pregnant women in Buddhist and Shintō traditions, showcasing a concern not only for the continuation of the family line, but the embodied contours of pregnancy and childbirth. Dr. Simpson suggests that these diverse origin stories demonstrate ambivalent attitudes toward the female body and its capacity for reproduction, at turns misogynistic and empowering, with childbirth itself framed as both a natural and miraculous female experience.
The Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago is pleased to be cooperating once again with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago (otherwise known as TECO) to present l
The Committee on Japanese Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago is proud to announce the 2020-2021 William F.
The Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce Michelle Ha, Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS), as the winner of a special 2021 CEAS M.A.
Michael Bourdaghs, Robert S.
This year's U.S.-China Forum: Addressing Inequality and Promoting Social Welfare will explore the ways in which social policy and social service provision are leveraged to address social problems i