Thursday, October 16, 2014

CFP: Global Asias Conference by Verge: Studies in Global Asias

April 9-11, 2015 at Penn State
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Call for Papers Date: 2014-11-15

Penn State’s Department of Asian Studies announces Global Asias 3, a conference to celebrate the launch of a new journal, Verge: Studies in Global Asias (published by the University of Minnesota Press). By bringing into relation work in both Asian Studies and Asian American Studies, Verge covers Asia and its diasporas, East to West, across and around the Pacific, from a variety of humanistic perspectives—anthropology, art history, literature, history, politics, sociology—in order to develop comparative analyses that recognize Asia’s place(s) in the development of global culture and history.  In that expansive and multidisciplinary spirit, we invite proposals for the specific panels and roundtables listed below for the conference, to be held April 9-11, 2015.  Please submit materials (250-word abstract and brief c.v.) to specific roundtable and panel organizers directly by November 15, 2014.
Thanks to the generous support of the College of the Liberal Arts and the Department of Asian Studies, Penn State will cover lodging and food costs for all conference presenters.  In addition, we will provide all conference participants with a 1-year subscription to Verge: Studies in Global Asias.  General questions can be directed to Tina Chen ( or Eric Hayot (

Colonialism, Globalization, and the Asian City
Shuang Shen ( and Madhuri Desai (
This roundtable examines the cultural dimension of globalization as it is manifested in Asian cities and urban Asian diasporas. Studying the city from both historical and contemporary perspectives and at multiple scales, including the local, the national, the regional and the global, we invite presentations that reflect on the spatial implications and legacies of the complex condition of colonialism, ways in which political and social transformations were mediated through the built environment, how the flows of population, technology, and media shape Asian cities and ethnic urban communities, and how these movements follow, reproduce, or challenge ideological demarcations along the lines of race, gender, and class.  While this roundtable is focused on the Asian city, we also invite proposals that explore the urban experiences and environment of Asian immigrant communities in former metropolitan centers.
Empires and Asian Imperialism: Past and Present
Erica Brindley ( and On-cho Ng (
The nature of Asian empires in the past, as well as the definition of imperialism in contemporary times, is a topic of ongoing discussion among scholars from a wide range of fields. We invite submissions that explore issues concerning the mechanics and influence of empires, imperial authority, and imperial types of influence over indigenous cultures and frontiers in Asia, as well as their diasporas abroad and in the USA.  In addition to questions concerning the long history of Asian imperialism and comparisons with other empires, we also solicit submissions that speak to questions concerning contemporary Asian diasporas and their reactions to various forms of imperialism in the modern age.
Between Asia and Latin America
Andrea Bachner ( & Pedro Erber (
Asia and the Americas no longer occupy the disconnected extremes of an imagined map. Nor do they continue to embody the antipodes of East and West, framing Europe as the symbolic center. Yet, most approaches to the cultural interactions of the Transpacific remain limited by a focus on the Northern part of the Americas, often equating the label of “American” implicitly (or explicitly) with the US. This roundtable will approach the intercultural study of Asia and Latin America with the aim of rethinking the Transpacific as a method, a lens for comparison rather than simply an area or a region. We invite interventions that approach the real and imagined spaces of the Transpacific between Asia and Latin America from a wide variety of perspectives and disciplines and that pay attention to alternative links between Asia and Latin America: from diaspora, textual circulation, and cultural exchanges to uneven dialogues, compelling analogies, or conceptual affinities.
Radicalism in/of Asia
Shaoling Ma (
“They just don’t get it” is the contentious epitaph of radicalism. To be radical is to establish oppositional identities alongside collective ones so much so that the process also ends up shaping the issue at hand – the “it” that only “we” get. To approach Asia from the viewpoint of radicalism does not simply entail an exploration of social and cultural movements whether formal or informal, real or imaginary; it also means to reexamine the discursive lens that helped construct the politics of recognizing Asia both from within and without. Hence to discuss radicalism in Asia is also to acknowledge the radicalisms of “Asia” in its multiple valences. In the context of global branding and the mass commodification of politics, the danger of any radicalism is that it can always be co-opted by the hegemonic configurations that it sought to challenge. But can there be radicalism without the risk of normalization?

Visualizing Identity
Chris Reed ( & Chang Tan (
We invite papers addressing art and other forms of visual culture in which the complication and fluidity of “Asian” identities is at stake. Topics might include the ways ideas of national art in Asia took shape through influences across national borders, and how conceptions of Asian-ness in contemporary art and visual culture continue to be defined through communication with “the other.”  We especially welcome papers covering the 19th century to the present, a period during which the formation of national, ethnic and geopolitical identities became a key issue not only in countries of Asia, but also within Asian diasporas across the globe. This panel will examine how art and visual culture played—and continue to play—a crucial role in this process, at once articulating and dissembling this complex web of identities. 

Asia in the Global Food Chain
Jessamyn Abel (
The global expansion of food supply networks, while delivering a variety of foods around the world, has also heightened concerns about food safety and security.  In the market-opening mood of the 1990s, worries about Japan’s food security fueled support for import barriers on staple foods, and the looming threat of an influx of foreign rice sent Japanese consumers into an anxious frenzy of stock-piling domestic grain.  More recently, one tainted food scandal after another has inspired bans on imports of food from China, while spurring wealthy Chinese to import suitcases-full of goods like infant formula.  For centuries, the absence, availability, and provision of food has been a key element in the vibrancy of overseas Asian communities and the ability of immigrants to feel “safe at home” in their adopted country.  This panel will explore the intersection between issues of food safety and security and Asia’s place in global networks of immigration and trade.

Transnational Social Movements
Maia Ramnath (
This panel will highlight various efforts at social change, anti-systemic resistance and radical aspiration that have reached outside and beyond national frames.   Historical or contemporary movements could be looked at thematically and comparatively, or by situating localized conflicts in a broader, transregional web of causality.  This may involve following exilic or migratory activist trajectories through personal or organizational connections, or contagious eros effects; or following ideas that travel, taking on new implications in new contexts not through one-way diffusion but through a dialogical encounter of intellectual and cultural resources emerging from multiple contexts.  Since the late 19th century, conscious internationalisms have been expressed through multiple forms of Pan-Asianism, Pan-Islamism, left radicalism, Afro Asian solidarities, or geostrategic alignments.   Today, inter-Asian relationships have new shapes and meanings in a reconfigured [post-cold war, “war on terror”-stamped, economically east-shifting] world.

Cosmopolitanism and Language in Global Asia
Nicolai Volland ( & Xiaoye You (
This panel queries the role and function of languages--literary and otherwise--at the intersection of politics, societies, and cultural production in global Asia. In a fragmented yet highly interconnected world, how do languages bridge and divide, imagine and transform, construct and deconstruct Asia both in the region and beyond? We invite papers from literature, linguistics, history, anthropology, and other relevant disciplines that reflect on the meaning of languages in and for the multiple communities that form the tapestry of global Asia. We are particularly interested in contributions that explore the emergence, but also the limits, of new forms of cosmopolitanism in global Asia, past and present.

Asia and the Global Economy
Boliang Zhu (
We invite submission of papers that address the interaction between Asian countries and the global economy. We are particularly interested in topics related to the role of Asian countries in the world economy and the consequences of globalization on domestic politics in Asian countries.  Paper submission is open to all relevant disciplines.
Tina Chen
Pennsylvania State University

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