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Washington State University
News Travels December 2016 Newsletter Home

Student Scores High in Chinese Bridge Competition

From left to right, Xiaotong Lin, Weiguo Cao, Trudy Boothman and Christopher Lupke with Trudy's trophies.
From left to right, Xiaotong Lin, Weiguo Cao, Trudy Boothman, and Christopher Lupke with Trudy’s trophies.

Trudy Boothman, a student majoring in Chinese language, took home some serious hardware from the all-state “Chinese Bridge” competition sponsored by the Confucius Institute of Washington State.

Trudy won first place in two of the three competition categories, “Speech” and “Talent.” She took second place in the third category, “Knowledge of the Chinese Language.” She demonstrated her artistic talent by singing in Chinese.

In addition to her trophies, Trudy won a free trip to San Francisco where she will participate in the national championship in May. If she wins at the national level, she will receive a free trip to China where she will participate in the international championship.

Her teacher Xiaotong Lin has been working hard with the students on this competition, and this is a great example of our accomplishments in the Chinese program.

Faculty Activites

Dr. Slovic (middle) with Dr. Liu (far right).
Dr. Slovic (middle) with Dr. Liu (far right) and other lecture participants.

Dr. Xinmin Liu led two research-related events in February. As the key part of his External Mentor Collaborative Research Grant provided by the College of Arts and Sciences, he coordinated a public address and follow-up seminar at WSU by Dr. Scott Slovic, a prominent ecocritic and professor and chair of the English Department at the University of Idaho. Despite his busy schedule, Dr. Slovic found time to come to WSU and present the public address “From Numbers and Nerves to Singularity: New Discourses of ‘Sensitivity’ in Ecocriticism, Cognitive Narratology, and the Psychology of Risk.” He also led a follow-up seminar in which he continued to address and elaborate on the main theme of new directions in “sensitivity” by way of reading closely the textual examples selected from recent literary and biographical works. The two activities attracted interested faculty and students at WSU; more important, it gave Dr. Liu tremendous help in terms of theoretical insight and research potential to guide his ongoing writing on the connection between “cognitive dissonance” in environmental neglect and ruin and the complex issue of “oriental opulence” in traditional Chinese landscape art and its misleading impact on the “disembodied imaginary” typical of displaced and ineffective interest in nature-related writings.

Dr. Lupke's book cover.
Dr. Lupke’s book cover.

Dr. Christopher Lupke has written a book, The Sinophone Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien: Culture, Style, Voice, and Motion which is being published by Cambria Press. Here’s a brief summary:

“This is the most comprehensive treatment of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s cinema to date. The first chapter provides an overview of Hou’s film in what Lupke terms the ‘odyssey’ of Hou’s professional career, offering insights on each of his films from the beginning of his career to the present. Each subsequent chapter deals in turn with one dimension of Hou’s work, sometimes focusing on a single film and at other times examining several in conjunction with each other. In the second chapter, Lupke offers a careful discussion of the use of gender and voice in Hou’s A Summer at Grandpa’s. The third chapter deals primarily with family relations and filiality in his A Time to Live, A Time to Die, as well as how the film compares to the work of Ozu Yasujiro. Hou’s monumental and courageous work A City of Sadness is the primary subject of Chapter Four. In it, Lupke illustrates how the protagonist of the film, who has a speech disability, becomes an emblem for historical memory in Taiwan. Lupke shows in Chapter Five how several of Hou’s films are concerned with the ways in which attempts to accomplish significant life achievements are often thwarted. Chapter Six deals with Hou’s literary adaptation into film. These chapters are followed by several interviews of Hou Hsiao-hsien that Lupke has translated into English. The book ends with a Chinese glossary, detailed filmography and a substantial bibliography.”

You can find more information about Dr. Lupke’s book here.

Bill McKibben giving the keynote speech for Humanities Week.
Bill McKibben giving the keynote speech for Humanities Week.

Dr. Christopher Lupke and Dr. Francisco Manzo-Robledo continue to serve on the Humanities Planning Group, which Dr. Lupke chairs. The main goal of the HPG is to establish a Center for the Humanities at WSU. To this end, this year we awarded three WSU internal Humanities Fellowships to support the research of faculty in the humanities at WSU. In addition, we sponsored three public lectures and two literary readings. Most important, we convened our third annual Humanities Week. This year, the theme was “The Humanities and the Natural World.” Foreign Languages was well represented in the events, as we sponsored the Global Cinema Film Series. We organized two roundtable discussions featuring faculty who work in the environmental humanities. One group was WSU faculty and the other group was University of Washington faculty. It was the first time at WSU that we collaborated with humanities faculty from UW on such a large scale. Among the WSU faculty, Dr. Kota Inoue in Japanese was one of the presenters. We also hosted Bill McKibben, arguably the most important environmental activist in the United States today. McKibben was on campus for two days and led four different events. The week concluded with the Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference, which the HPG co-sponsored with the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs at WSU as well as the University of Idaho. It was a robust series of events and the total attendance and participation came close to 1,000 people.


This is #GnomieHomie Daltan Boucher. Dalton is an astounding senior studying Biology and Chinese!

Daltan and Tomás hanging out in-between classes.
Daltan and Tomás hanging out in-between classes.

In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit of learning another language?
“It presents a challenge that you have not faced before, and it really allows you to understand another culture and gain a different level of respect.”

What was your most embarrassing experience using a new language?
“While studying abroad in Taiwan I was ordering dumplings and Chinese and I got the tone wrong and kept telling them I wanted to sleep rather than order food!”

What are your plans after WSU?
“Hopefully I will get accepted into a masters program for biology and continue my career as a researcher and speak Chinese whenever the opportunity arises.”

What is one of the things on your bucket list?
“One thing on my bucket list is to go scuba diving with sharks. Hopefully, I’ll get that done this upcoming summer!”

Meet #GnomieHomie, Tyler M. Lanfear. He is a senior double majoring in Asian Studies and Chinese!

Tyler posing with the Department's mascot.
Tyler posing with the Department’s mascot.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
“Ireland. I love the attitude of the people there and I know that they know how to have a great time.”

In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit of learning another language?
“Learning another language involves more than just memorizing close translations and a different way to speak one’s own language. By speaking another language one must develop a real understanding of the words being used and their true meaning. When that happens real learning occurs along with an expansion in world perspective.”

What are your plans after WSU?
“Become a pilot.”