Upcoming Events & Sustainability Activities

Peony Pavilion PerformanceAs the NCTA program has grown and expanded across the country, we have become increasingly interested in exploring ways that we can strengthen NCTA alumni teachers' interest in and commitment to improving teaching about East Asia. Within the Pittsburgh region we will support the following types of sustainability activities:





Lecture by Toshio Watanabe on “Modern Japanese Gardens in a Transnational Context"


Saturday, May 6 2017. 2PM @ Phipps Conservatory Botany Hall

We are very excited to be able to bring in Dr. Toshio Watanabe (University of the Arts, London) to give a lecture on “Modern Japanese Gardens in a Transnational Context.”

Japanese garden is often regarded as the quintessential symbol of traditional culture in Japan, representing the purest form of Japaneseness. However, once we start to examine its history in detail, it becomes clear that in many cases the Japanese garden assumes a clearly transnational character. Dr. Watanabe will focus on the development of modern Japanese garden from mid-19th to mid-20th century in their transnational context and explore what all this means. Examples will range from an exquisite private garden in Kyoto, a colonial Japanese public park in Hong Kong, remains of gardens created at a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II in California to a garden expressing post-war democracy in Takamatsu, Japan and a range of East European Japanese gardens mostly created more recently.


After Dr. Watanabe's lecture, attendees are invited to explore Phipps's Bonsai Garden.


We have applied for Act 48 Hours for this lecture.


DATE: Saturday, May 6, 2017
PLACE: Phipps Conservatory Botany Hall, (One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213)

COST: Free for NCTA Alumni and other Educators (who pre-register); For the general public: $15 for Phipps Members, $18 for non-Phipps Members (payable at the door of Botany Hall). Cost includes the lecture and entry to Phipps Conservatory.

REGISTRATION: Educators, please register by May 3 here


FLYER: Watanabe Flyer


Dr. Toshio Watanabe studied at the Universities of Sophia (in Tokyo), Tokyo, London and Basel, where he completed his PhD. Professor of History of Art and Design at Chelsea College of Arts, Research Centre for Transnational Arts, Identity and Nation (TrAIN), University of the Arts London and Professor for Japanese Arts and Cultural Heritage, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC), University of East Anglia (both part-time). Current research interest: modern Japanese garden in transnational context; historiography of Japanese art history; Japonisme, esp. 1920s – 1950s. Publications include High Victorian Japonisme (1991), Japan and Britain: An Aesthetic Dialogue 1850-1930 (1991), and Ruskin in Japan 1890-1940: Nature for art, art for life, (1997). Chair of the Association of Art Historians (1998-2001); member of the Tate Britain Council (2002-2005); Director of the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN), UAL (2004-2015); President of the Japan Art History Forum (2005-2011); Vice President of Comité international d’histoire de l’art (2010-2016); Chair of the Advisory Board, Tate Research Centre: Asia (2016-).













Online Book Discussion Group: Fact in Fiction and The Family



This semester we will delve deeply into Chinese history and culture during a period referred to historically as the May Fourth Movement (c. 1917-1921).  From today’s vantage point this period can be referred to as China's "First Cultural Revolution."  We will start our study by reading a graphic novel version of The Family, by Ba Jin, one of China’s most famous writers.  We will follow up with studying selected chapters from Fact in Fiction: 1920s China and Ba Jin’s FAMILY, by Kristin Stapleton.  Our goals will include exploring the environment which influenced Ba Jin’s depiction of the May Fourth/New Culture era as well as gaining an appreciation of his “strong commitment to social change” (Stapleton, p.3) within the new and struggling Republican period (1911-1949).


Registration deadline is January 23, 2017. For more information, including a registration form and a schedule of the readings, see the flyer: Fact In Fiction Flyer




Lecture By Dr. Patricia Wetzel:

“Aristotle meets Sei Shōnagon: Figures of Speech in Japanese Advertising”

Friday, January 20, 2017 at 4pm in 4130 Wesley Posvar Hall

Please join us for an afternoon talk by Dr. Patricia Wetzel, professor of Japanese at Portland State University, who will discuss the tropes and rhetoric in Japanese advertising.  Dr. Wetzel’s talk, “Aristotle meets Sei Shōnagon: Figures of Speech in Japanese Advertising,” In her lecture she will address the common rhetorical devices of Japanese advertising and how these compare with their western counterparts.  Dr. Wetzel’s talk should interest Japanese language teachers and anyone interested in understanding how Japanese is used in today’s world.

Light refreshments will be served.
Parking validation stickers for the Soldiers & Sailors lot will be available at the lecture for NCTA Alumni & Associates..
We are requesting Act 48 hours for this talk.

For more information about this talk, see the flyer: Wetzel Flyer




2017 NCTA Study Tour: Vietnam/Cambodia


June 26-July 12, 2017

This 17-day program offers a combination of guided excursions and free time to explore beaches and ruins, urban culture and awe-inspiring landscapes. Cruise the Mekong for a day. Overnight on a traditional sailing junk in Halong Bay. Witness the heights of Cambodia's past at Angkor Wat, and contemplate its lows by walking the infamous Killing Fields. Although many activities are included, there is still plenty of time to explore on your own and create the ultimate adventure.


Sponsored by the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, University of Pittsburgh coordinating site. This study tour is open to alumni in good standing of the 30-hour NCTA seminars from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware (and the Georgetown University Seminars in 2013 & 2014). Each alumni educator may invite one adult guest to join the travel group.


To enhance the educational impact of the trip, Dr. David Kenley, Professor of Asian History at Elizabethtown College, will travel with the group. He will provide historical and cultural context to enable each teacher to fully capitalize on this unique learning experience.


To offset travel costs, subsidies are available for NCTA alumni from the Pitt NCTA region.

For complete details, and to apply, go to:










Quick Links

Further Information