Loyola Marymount professor speaks about Women’s History


The Asian Studies program along with the Jane Kopas Women’s Center at The University sponsored guest speaker Robin Wang, Ph.D. Tuesday March 4 at 7pm in the Moskovitz Theater. Wang came to speak about her new book and its relevance in celebrating International Women’s Day which takes place March 8.

The audience of this lecture-style event was comprised of mostly students as well as many faculty members and outside guests. Justine Johnson, director of the Jane Kopas Women’s Center, along with Anne Pang-White, Ph.D., director of Asian studies introduced Wang.

Johnson spoke about Women’s History Month and its celebration in more than 150 countries spanning more than 100 years. Johnson said the goal of the celebration is to “recognize women’s rights as human rights.”

“Equality for women is progress for all,” Johnson said.

Johnson encouraged the audience to “think globally and act locally” and proposed that everyone can make a difference.

Pang-White talked about the partnership between the Jane Kopas Women’s Center and the Asian Studies Department in bringing Wang to campus.

“We are very happy to celebrate International Women’s Day,” Pang-White said before her introduction.

Wang received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy from Beijing University. She then moved to the U.S. and obtained her second master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Wang received her Ph.D. from the University of Wales.

“She truly is an example of an international woman,” Pang-White said.

Wang is currently a professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Her specialties include Chinese philosophy, comparative philosophy and ethics, and she has published many books on those subjects.

Wang’s most recent publication, entitled “Yinyang: The Way of Heaven and Earth in Chinese Thought and Culture,” published by Cambridge University in 2012, was the primary focus of her lecture.

She explained the background behind some elements of “Yinyang,” such as “qi” and “feng shui,” which are commonly known today in the western world.

Wang spoke about her experience as the cultural consultant on the production of “The Karate Kid” (2010) and her recommendation to make the Taoist monk a woman because the “Daoists do not set a limit on females; they embrace femininity.”

Wang then went on to explain yinyang and the gender roles put into place in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E.- 220 C.E.). She explained how females were viewed as a necessary part of the origin of the universe and the important role females played in that culture.

More specifically, Wang discussed the importance in equality between males and females because, in humanity, they comprise the two sides of yin and yang. She spoke about how, according to yinyang, masculinity and femininity balance each other out just like all aspects of yinyang, such as light and dark, fast and slow, hot and cold, etc.

Keeping with the theme of feminism in many cultures, the Jane Kopas Women’s Center will host another event with the Latin American and Women’s Studies Department at 5 p.m. Thursday. There will be a screening and discussion of “The Berlin Years,” a film concerning black feminism, to celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

During the lecture Johnson gave words of encouragement.

“If you can, make every day International Women’s Day.”

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