New Kiriyama Professor Places Gender Studies in Cultural Context

Eva ManThe Center for Asia Pacific Studies at the University of San Francisco welcomes Professor Eva Man (Man Kit Wah) as its ​Kiriyama Professor for Asia Pacific Studies for the fall 2022 semester. While in residence at the center, Man will teach a 3-part graduate student workshop series, engage in research on art and morality in China, and share her findings in a public lecture in late November. This is not Prof. Man’s first stay in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2004, she received a Fulbright Scholarship and was affiliated with the Center for Chinese Studies Center at UC Berkeley. Some 16 years later, Man is back now to share her passion for connecting philosophers around the world and her expertise in artistic expression, gender, and cross-cultural studies with students.

Man describes herself as having multiple identities.  “I’m a media personality, a teacher, a postgraduate supervisor, a publishing scholar. I’m a mother; I’m a wife.” Born, raised, and educated in Hong Kong, Man received her Ph.D. in Chinese Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the 1990s. Immediately after graduation, she joined Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). Throughout the course of her career, she has served as the Head of the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing, Acting Director of the Academy of Visual Arts, Executive Associate Dean of Graduate School, Chair Professor in the Humanities, and Director of the Academy of Film.

In late September, Prof. Man will begin teaching, “Gender, Aesthetics, and Identity in China & Hong Kong,” her 3-part graduate workshop series. The series is designed to place gender studies in cultural context. According to Man, “As a Kiriyama professor, I want to share some of my research findings related to my studies in gender and body matters, artistic creativity, philosophy and identity politics in the social contexts I grew up in, which are Hong Kong and China. This research also reflects women living in similar situations under the Confucian teachings in most of the Asia and Pacific communities.” For example, for the final workshop, Man plans to talk about women’s fashion in Hong Kong in the 1960s. “Hong Kong was a very special space at that time. It was a place where East meets West. Hong Kong welcomed refugees from China. It was a place where they were exposed to international culture. It was the fashion design center. Having come from China which was undergoing the Cultural Revolution where all women wore the same thing, this was quite different.”

 Man’s approach to her research is cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, linking philosophy, gender studies, visual arts, and cultural studies to philosophy, arts, and film. During her stay, Man will conduct research on art and morality in China from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping. Man plans to trace the evolution of Chinese visual arts, from Mao’s 1942 Yenan speech on literature and art through Xi Jinping’s “Speech at the Forum on Literature and Art“ in 2014. The study is a timely review of Mao’s speech on art and legacy upon its 80th anniversary in 2022.

Professor Man will be sharing her research, “Art & Morality from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping,” at USF on Wednesday, November 30th from 5:30-6:45 p.m.