Inaugural lecture addresses Olympics, Asia

Published 2010-03-03T00:00:00Z”/>


Andrea Wagner

Olympic failure topped discussion during the first inaugural lecture this semester for the history department.

To an attentive mixture of students, faculty and community members, Assistant Professor Sandra Collins, spoke on “Olympic Failures: The Missing 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games” in the Performing Arts Center on Wednesday evening.

Though Collins started teaching East Asian studies at Chico State last semester, she was nervous, she said.

“A couple times I looked up and panicked,” Collins said.

Her research focused on the 1940 Olympic Games that were supposed to happen in Tokyo, but didn’t, Collins said.

After her presentation, Collins answered questions from the audience, with a reception following in Trinity Hall.

“I liked having a lot of questions at the end,” Collins said.

Her book, “The 1940 Tokyo Games: The Missing Olympics: Japan, the Asian Olympics and the Olympic Movement,” discussed the Japanese nationalism and militarism that were part of the Olympic politics before World War II.

Several of Collins’ present and former students such as senior Andrew Bosse, a history major, came to support her.

“She knows her subject well,” he said.

Bosse was among many who came to congratulate Collins on her big night during the reception afterward.

The lecture gave Bosse the opportunity to learn more about the topic than he could in class, he said.

Junior Molly Ryan, a history major, was interested in the information about Japan pushing for international status through the Olympic Games, she said.

“The dishonesty of breaking the credo of “sports above politics’ was interesting,” she said.

Ryan took Collins’ class in pre-modern East Asian history last semester, she said.

Other students were also interested in learning more.

“I learned more details about how Olympics are chosen,” said Dawn McClement, a history major.

Community members came to hear Collins as well.

After seeing a notice about the lecture in a local magazine, Norma Romo, 79, and Anna Stephens, 73, both of Paradise, decided to come and listen, they said.

With the Olympics going on, the topic of the 1940 Olympics sounded interesting, Romo said.

“We wondered if war had something to do with it being canceled,” she said.

Previously, Collins taught at San Francisco State after receiving her bachelor’s and doctorate at the University of Chicago.

“Chico students are friendly, earnest, interesting and interested,” she said.

Collins feels welcomed by students and colleagues and enjoys that people take the time to stop and chat and are willing to ask questions, she said.

Collins thought the feedback following her lecture was positive, she said.

In the classroom, Collins hopes to inspire students to think differently and more enthusiastically about Asia, she said.

“I hope to get students to think that Asia is not so different,” Collins said. “I want to create bridges and make people excited about history.”

Collins’ inaugural lecture was part of an ongoing series of lectures by the history department to introduce relatively new members of the department to the colleagues and the campus.

Andrea Wagner can be reached at<a href= “javascript:void(location.href=’mailto:’+String.fromCharCode(97,119,97,103,110,101,114,64,116,104,101,111,114,105,111,110,46,99,111,109)+’?subject=re%3A%20Inaugural%20lecture%20addresses%20Olympics%2C%20Asia’)”>[email protected]</a>

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