Call for Proposals: 2023 Annual Conference Late-Breaking Sessions

The AAS invites proposals for late-breaking sessions to be held at the 2023 Annual Conference online and in Boston, Massachusetts. Late-breaking panels and roundtables provide a forum for engaging in dialogue on current events that affect our perspectives on and work in the Asian region; proposed sessions should focus on emerging data or trending topics from the past six months.

The AAS will accept a maximum of three late-breaking sessions for the 2023 conference. Only organized panels and roundtables are eligible for consideration—no individual papers will be accepted. All conference sessions are 90 minutes in length. Individuals already on the program are welcome to participate in a late-breaking session.

All proposals must be submitted by 11:59pm Eastern Time on Monday, January 9, with decision notices sent to session participants later in January.

While the Program Committee encourages proposals on all timely topics, it especially encourages sessions that will discuss:

  • Feminism and gender politics
  • Race and systemic racism
  • The COVID-19 pandemic in Asia
  • U.S. political impact on the region
  • Gaming and addiction
  • Migration and displacement
  • Pollution and health in the region
  • Shifting demographics in the region
  • Other late-breaking topics

Read more and get information on how to apply at the AAS 2023 Annual Conference website.

Fall 2022 AAS Board of Directors Meeting — Report to Members

On October 17, 2022, the Association for Asian Studies Board of Directors (BOD) held a day-long meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with one Board member joining via Zoom. Over the course of the day, the BOD discussed ongoing business and voted on several important action items, summarized below.

For many years, the Chair of the Finance Committee—an individual appointed by the BOD—has sat on the AAS Board. As an outcome of the governance review carried out in 2020-21, the BOD voted to create the position of elected Treasurer, who will chair the Finance Committee and represent that body on the Board. The Treasurer will serve a four-year term with the possibility of re-election, and in the future there will be an open call for nominations. The BOD voted that when current Finance Committee Chair Thomas G. Rawski steps down at the end of 2022, Finance Committee member Siddharth Chandra will take office as AAS Treasurer. The Board of Directors thanks Rawski for his many years of service to the AAS.

Further amendments to the financial architecture of the AAS will follow, as the Association’s leadership seeks to increase transparency and improve the organization’s financial footing. There will likely be a change in management of the investment portfolio, proceeds from which provide an important source of funding for AAS programming. For the past decade, the Finance Committee has overseen investments, taking a generally passive “buy and hold” approach that has not met growth targets. Switching to professional management of the investment portfolio will entail management fees, but will enable a more flexible, nimble approach that will hopefully yield better results. The BOD also approved several changes to accounting procedures that will streamline operations in that department.

To better serve the needs of K-12 educators, the Board voted to create a new Educator membership. Those who join in this category will receive a print copy of Education About Asia rather than the Journal of Asian Studies, as well as one volume from the Key Issues in Asian Studies book series. The Educator category will be available in early 2023.

The Board received a proposal from the American Institute for Indonesian Studies and Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to co-host the 9th AAS-in-Asia conference in the summer of 2024. The BOD voted to accept this proposal and move ahead with planning for the conference.

William Tsutsui’s term as Editorial Board Chair will conclude at the end of 2022, and Jan Bardsley will take over this role, with Dong Wang in the vice-chair position. The Board of Directors expresses thanks to Tsutsui for his years of guidance as Editorial Board Chair.

Tsutsui presented several proposed changes to Editorial Board structure and operations, all of which were approved by the BOD. These include adding two new voting members to the Editorial Board (an Asian Studies librarian and a scholar who can add diversity, equity, and inclusion perspectives to the group’s work), switching to all-virtual meetings, receiving a designated panel slot at the AAS Annual Conference, and ensuring that all book series editors have formal fixed-term contracts with the potential for renewal.

The Diversity and Equity Committee requested two designated panel spots at the Annual Conference, with $5,000 in funding from the AAS each year to support them. The BOD voted in favor of this request.

The Board also voted on the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies award; the name of the individual selected will be announced early in the new year.

Excerpt: New Threats to Academic Freedom in Asia

New Threats to Academic Freedom in Asia

We are pleased to share an excerpt from the introduction of the latest Asia Shorts title from AAS Publications, New Threats to Academic Freedom in Asia. Edited by Dimitar D. Gueorguiev (Syracuse University), this collection originated with a May 2021 workshop supported by the Open Society Foundations and hosted by the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs at Syracuse University. The resulting volume includes six essays in which authors examine questions of academic freedom in locations from India to Japan, using cross-national data and in-depth case studies to shed light on the multifaceted nature of academic censorship and provide reference points to those working in restrictive academic environments.

Print and e-book copies of New Threats to Academic Freedom in Asia are available for order through Columbia University Press, the distribution partner of AAS Publications, and the volume is also available in open access format at the AAS website. Register now to join an AAS Digital Dialogue session about the book on Wednesday, November 30 at 7:00pm Eastern Time.

Introduction: Progress Under Threat — Academic Freedom in Asia

By Dimitar D. Gueorguiev

Asia at a Crossroads

In few places is the tension between a desire for academic progress and the threat to academic freedom more pronounced than it is in Asia today. On the one hand, countries in Asia have been keen on growing their intellectual footprint, both as a way of contributing to national development and security strategies as well as a means of retaining their most talented young minds who are otherwise likely to seek education and employment abroad. This push has manifested in several ways, including increased spending on higher education as well as schemes for repatriating and attracting talent from abroad.

Thanks to these investments, universities in Singapore, Japan, and China have joined the ranks of the world’s top schools.Asian researchers are also making their mark across disciplines in the sciences and the humanities, contributing an ever-growing share of global patents and publications. Across the region, higher education is increasingly seen not only as a tool for development but also as an instrument for garnering international prestige and bolstering national soft power. In short, Asia’s universities are contributing to and symbolizing the region’s growing influence.

At the same time, threats to academic freedom in Asia remain prevalent and widespread. These threats run the gamut from state repression to informal societal pressure; they even include betrayal in the classroom. Some threats, like the risk of losing state funding or promotion, are common and familiar across the region. Others, like Pakistan’s brutal anti-blasphemy laws, are concentrated in parts of Asia where scholars already work under dire conditions. Across the region, new laws against spreading rumors and misinformation on the Internet are cropping up, offering authorities novel and often unchecked power to suppress and sanction critical perspectives.

In terms of size, scope, and depth, academic freedom has arguably suffered the greatest under China’s authoritarian leaders. China’s uncomfortable relationship with academic freedom is nothing new. The Great Firewall has long been a barrier for Chinese scholars and students seeking to access global knowledge sources, including academic search engines like Google Scholar. Yet, under the current Xi Jinping administration, the space for international collaboration and foreign scholarship has been greatly diminished, authorities have issued blanket warnings against critical scholars, and regime leaders have called for thorough campaigns and party building on university campuses. Increasingly, Chinese censors have sought to assert their weight more globally, pressuring international publishers to edit content if they want access to the Chinese market while intimidating teachers and students, both in and outside the PRC, with laws that criminalize sensitive discussions on China.

While foundations for academic freedom are considerably stronger in the world’s largest democracy, the current leadership in India is widely seen as hostile to critical scholarship and free expression. More frequent use of India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, alongside limits on international collaboration, has substantially curtailed the space for scholarship that is critical of the regime and its policies inside India. Indeed, the broad scope of these measures impacted the production of this volume as well, with an important chapter on India being withdrawn late into the review process due to a steadily worsening situation on the country’s university campuses.

Across the region, academic freedom is also under threat from ultra-conservative elements within domestic society who have trained their sights on liberal and outspoken academics, often with active complicity or quiet acquiescence from university administrators. In Thailand, royalist groups openly harass students and academics they see as antimonarchy. Japanese historians critical of the country’s wartime experience have long been the target of conservative activists. Meanwhile, a rising Hindu-nationalist movement has pitted far-right groups against liberal intellectuals and students on campuses in India and abroad. Conservative groups in Indonesia have become increasingly brazen in their attacks on liberal scholars across a wide range of issues, from religion and communism to those issues related to the LGBTQ community and climate change.

Across much of Asia, these societal forces operate with tacit support or coordination from political parties and government agencies. Hindu nationalists, for instance, emboldened by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governors and their student-led branch, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), now have a presence across Indian universities and even some foreign campuses. In Japan, conservative groups are intermeshed with elites in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as well as those holding the keys to research funding and major media outlets. In mainland China, and even in classrooms abroad, student informants, loosely tied to Chinese Communist Party organizations like the United Front, are tasked with observing and reporting on their teachers and peers.

Increasingly, attacks on academic freedom are aided by the removal of legal protections. In the Philippines, former President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration revoked a long-standing prohibition against security forces on university grounds. Academic freedom is also being curtailed by new laws, such as online “fake news” restrictions, that give the state sweeping prosecutorial powers. As noted earlier, Hong Kong’s National Security Law (NSL), adopted in June 2020, gives Chinese authorities a legal framework for encroaching on academic freedom in an extraterritorial manner that puts both scholars and students at risk, irrespective of their location or their citizenship.

Despite these disturbing developments, Asia is also unique insofar as threats to academic freedom have been prosecuted in ways that help preserve academic prestige and institutional ranking in some areas, even as basic freedoms are denied in others. As such, the subversion of academic rights in Asia represents an existential test of whether academic freedom exists as an immutable concept for all or as a piecemeal offering granted to some disciplines and topics but not to others.

Asia’s Academic Freedom Trajectory

Taken together, the chapters included in this volume reveal a complex environment where formal and informal rules about academic rights and responsibilities often stand in opposition to one another. Each of the country cases covered in the volume has constitutional provisions that purport to enshrine and protect academic freedom, yet in each case, we also see instances in which these provisions are either ignored or superseded by new laws and regulations aimed at promoting political and national priorities. This tension is reproduced throughout the region. Take, for instance, Malaysia’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech and inquiry, but the Universities and University College Act gives the government control over student enrollments, staff appointments, educational programming, and financing, while also forbidding students and faculty from getting involved in political activities or trade unions.

Across cases, we see governments actively undercutting academic freedom and institutional autonomy, as in the case of China, Japan, and Singapore, but also passively not intervening when societal forces threaten and harass scholars who are working on unpopular topics, as in the case of Indonesia. These patterns are unfortunately replicated in neighboring states. In Myanmar, military authorities invoked security provisions to arrest and suspect thousands of students and teachers who took part in or expressed support for anti-coup protests in 2021. In India, the BJP government has repeatedly opted not to investigate or prosecute right-wing groups, like the ABVP, for attacks on university campuses in broad daylight.

In most cases, university administrators sit in between external pressures from the outside and internal pressures from their faculty and students. When universities are given the autonomy to stand up and defend their communities, academic freedom, as shown in [Katrin] Kinzelbach’s cross-national study, is often advanced. Even so, administrators, whether it is due to political or financial interest, can themselves become a source of pressure and intimidation. In many parts of Asia, rising corporatization, alongside dependence on state funding, means that university administrators are poorly incentivized and often underpowered to stand up and defend academic freedom.

The broader academic community looks at instances of academic suppression and intimidation with concern and outrage. Yet, it is unclear how much is being done in response. At the very least, global rankings for institutions of higher learning ought to penalize those institutions that fail to provide an open scholarly environment, even if they are well endowed and they turn out top-notch graduates. This, however, is not the case. As George et al. argue, world university rankings are themselves embedded in a monetized system that affords blind spots for the academic freedom shortcomings of otherwise elite institutions. Until measures like the AFI are incorporated into ranking systems, censorship, intimidation, and harassment will continue to carry relatively few costs.

When academic freedom is violated, the scholarly community cannot and must not look away. Those fortunate to live in open societies with robust legal and institutional support for free speech and free academic inquiry must show solidarity with colleagues abroad who lack those protections. They should also monitor their own institutions and hold their administrators accountable for the academic freedom standards they are tasked with upholding. As with any principled position, commitments to academic freedom cannot and should not be compromised, nor should they be taken for granted.

Call for Applications: Geiss Hsu Annual Conference Travel and Participation Grant

The James P. Geiss and Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation has awarded the Association for Asian Studies $20,000 to fund participation for Ming Studies scholars in the 2023 Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

Logo of the Geiss Hsu Foundation

The James P. Geiss and Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private, not-for-profit foundation which encourages and sponsors scholarly research and interpretation of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) in China. The Geiss Hsu Foundation supports studies of the predecessors and successors of the Ming, as well as contemporaries in geographic areas with which the Ming interacted.

The Geiss Hsu Annual Conference Travel and Participation Grant will award up to $2,000 each in travel support to scholars specializing in studies of Ming China, as well as scholars who engage in research related to the Ming. Applicants do not need to be a part of an organized session, nor do they need to be members of the AAS, to receive the grant.

Scholars of diverse rank and affiliation may apply for the grant, but preference will be given to contingent or part-time faculty, students, and independent scholars. The grant will cover expenses for in-person participation such as conference registration, economy airfare, and hotel. A select number of virtual participants will receive support for their registration.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • 1-page letter of application, which should detail:
    • The applicant’s current research and its connection to Ming Studies
    • The applicant’s plan for AAS conference participation. This should include details of session presentation, including title and focus (if applicable), and a proposed plan for networking and engagement in conference activities
  • CV

Please submit all materials to AAS Executive Director Hilary Finchum-Sung ( by December 10, 2022, to receive full consideration. Awards will be announced in mid-January 2023.

The Association for Asian Studies is grateful for the support of the James P. Geiss and Margaret Y. Hsu Foundation and is delighted to have this opportunity to support conference participants.

AAS 2023 Conference News: Calls for Session Chairs, Mentors, and Films

Call for Chairs

The AAS Program Committee is seeking session chairs for the 2023 Annual Conference. Please consider volunteering as a session chair for an Individual Paper Session. Volunteer opportunities are available for both in-person and virtual sessions! Click the button below for details.

Application Deadline: November 7, 2022

Call for Mentors

We are now accepting sign-ups for mentors willing to devote 60 minutes for group mentoring sessions on a variety of topics. 

The AAS Conference Mentor Program connects early-career Asianists with advanced scholars, teachers, and professionals to both build their professional network and seek advice and informal guidance within a structured setting. Mentors will lead an open-ended discussion with a group of no more than nine individuals at the Annual Conference in Boston. Click the button below for a list of suggested topics and details on becoming a mentor.

Application Deadline: December 1, 2022

Call for Films

Established as an Association for Asian Studies (AAS) conference program in 2011, AAS Film Expo is curated and organized by the Asian Educational Media Service (AEMS), a program of the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Documentary and independent films on issues reflecting contemporary life in Asia will be programmed and projected in a dedicated screening room Thursday through Saturday on conference dates. The film expo also provides an in-person, on-demand screening area to allow additional viewing opportunities for attendees unavailable for scheduled screening times.

Selected films may include short, post-screening Q&A sessions with filmmakers and film representatives attending the conference or via online video conferencing.

We welcome the submission of films related to Asia produced by scholars and independent filmmakers. Criteria utilized in the selection process include timeliness, broad appeal to the scholarly community, and examples of new field work. In considering your submission, please note that attendees viewing films may be seeking titles for classroom use or for their institutional libraries.

Approximately twenty to twenty-five films will be selected for screenings.

Submission Deadline: December 16, 2022

Franklin S. Odo (1939-2022)

Asian Studies lost an important bridge with Asian American Studies in the recent passing of Franklin S. Odo, an internationally recognized historian, scholar, and activist. As part of the civil rights and anti-war movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Odo emerged as a leader who galvanized a coalition of students, scholars, and activists. Although his academic training was in the field of Asian Studies, Odo’s personal commitment lay in issues of social justice. This eventually led to a role as a pioneering leader and charismatic mentor in Asian American Studies. Throughout his career, Odo exemplified deeply held values, based in no small part in his own personal bridgings of blue- and white-collar worlds, geographic and cultural divides, centers and peripheries of power, and racial crossings.  

A sansei (third-generation Japanese American) from Honolulu, Franklin Odo was the first graduate of Kaimukī High School to attend Princeton University, where he also earned his Ph.D. in 1975 in Japanese history after completing his M.A. in East Asian Regional Studies at Harvard University. During his early career, he taught at Occidental College, the University of California, Los Angeles, and California State University, Long Beach. However, when the fight to establish a permanent Ethnic Studies Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa was finally won in 1978, Odo returned to Hawai‘i to become its first director. Under his leadership, Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai‘i became a nationally recognized, degree-granting department, training a new generation of critical thinkers and compassionate leaders engaged in issues of race and class. From 1989 to 1991, he served as the President of the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS), and during the 1990s, held visiting professorships at the University of Pennsylvania, Hunter College, Columbia University, and his alma mater Princeton University.

Odo’s leadership extended beyond Hawai‘i when he left to become the founding director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center in 1997, retiring in 2010. The vision for that Center—“to enrich the American Story with the voices of Asian Pacific Americans”—expresses Odo’s strong political and personal commitment at the national and international levels. He also served as the first Asian Pacific American curator at the National Museum of American History.

In his post-retirement career from 2015 until his death, Odo was a beloved member of the Amherst College community, where he was the John J. McCloy ’16 Visiting Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy, and then the John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer in American Studies. No less committed or energetic than in his younger days, Odo worked tirelessly with students and colleagues to more than double the number of professors and course offerings in Asian Pacific American (APA) Studies. His presence was inspirational: the college recently announced three new tenure-track positions in APA Studies, and the recently formed Asian American Alumni Fellowship Network has announced a senior thesis prize in his name.

Odo’s numerous publications reflect his values: No Sword to Bury: Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i During World War II (2004), Voices from the Canefields: Folksongs from Japanese Immigrant Workers in Hawai‘i (2013), and many more. But perhaps even more impactful are the many Asian American scholars who cite his mentorship as foundational to their careers as scholars, activists, advocates, and community leaders. Odo received the President’s Award of the Japanese American Citizens League in July 2008, an award from the Organization of Chinese Americans in 2008, and the Association for Asian American Studies Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Odo was an infrequent attendee at Association for Asian Studies conferences; however he last spoke at the 2021 Presidential Roundtable on the subject of Global Asias, from the perspective of his own career as a representative of its expansive possibilities. Those possibilities include activism, advocacy, and social justice. But they also include a gentler, no less values-driven side based in culture and community. In a 1990 interview with the Center for Oral History of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Odo described the role of cultural activities in mobilizing and empowering people: “If you don’t control your own culture, and your own vision of life, and your own participation in life, then you don’t control anything. And that’s what we’re [Ethnic Studies] about. The true spirit of any kind of democracy is to have people be autonomous at the same time that they know that they’re dependent on the community around them.” Odo’s greatest advocacy lay in the dignity and respect wrought by the interdependence of individuals, cultures, and community. As someone who inhabited many bridging realms, he could speak from experience.

Odo is survived by his wife Enid, with whom he had just celebrated 59 years of marriage; his children David (Jany) of Cambridge, Mass.; Rachel (Tomaso) of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Jonathan (Christa) of Andover, Mass.; and his grandchildren Emma, Max, Benjamin, and Rebecca.

— Contributed by Christine R. Yano (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

There will be a private family memorial. In lieu of flowers, Franklin Odo’s family requests that friends and colleagues please consider donating to a fund in his honor, which will help carry on his legacy at the University of Hawai’i.

Do Black Lives Matter for Asian Studies?

Cover of Who Is the Asianist? The Politics of Representation in Asian Studies

By Will Bridges, Nitasha Tamar Sharma, and Marvin Sterling

We are pleased to share an excerpt from the introduction of Who Is the Asianist? The Politics of Representation in Asian Studies, forthcoming from the AAS Publications Asia Shorts series. Edited by Will Bridges, Nitasha Tamar Sharma, and Marvin Sterling, Who Is the Asianist? brings together contributions from more than a dozen authors to discuss questions of positionality, authority, and race in Asian Studies.

Pre-order the book now from our distribution partner, Columbia University Press, and join us on Thursday, October 6 at 1:00pm Eastern Time for an AAS Digital Dialogues virtual book launch to celebrate the publication of Who Is the Asianist?

Toward Unfragmented Epistemologies, or Do Black Lives Matter for Asian Studies?

This volume of essays is, among other things, a record of the transformative reverberations of the Black Lives Matter movement as they undulate throughout Asia. It is also an invitation to consider the transformations these reverberations might occasion for Asian Studies. In other words, this volume asks: Do Black lives matter to and for both Asia and Asian Studies? And if they do matter, in what way does the constitutive importance of Black life for Asia and Asian Studies make itself manifest?

Black Lives Matter, Laurie Collier Hillstrom writes, is a movement that began as a moment, namely the moment in which social justice activist-organizers Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi created and shared the hashtag “#BlackLivesMatter” on social media. The immediate inspiration for the hashtag’s creation was Alicia Garza’s 2013 Facebook post entitled, “Love Letter to Black Folks.” Prompted by the announcement of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, Garza wrote, “We don’t deserve to be killed with impunity. We need to love ourselves and fight for a world where Black lives matter. We matter. Our lives matter.” Cullors shared Garza’s love letter on social media alongside the hashtag “#BlackLivesMatter.” In the wake of the death of Michael Brown at the hands of the Ferguson Police Department, and the subsequent Ferguson protests of 2014, #BlackLivesMatter became a digital rallying cry for the activist work of Garza, Cullors, Tometi, and members of what would ultimately become the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, a decentralized, global network of activists “whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”

The emergence of BLM is informed by a sentiment—namely, the sentiment that Black life is a beautiful, constitutive expression of our shared humanity and thus is just as deserving of protection from undue legal and extralegal modes of eradication as any other expression of humanity—with a deep intellectual and political history. In The Making of Black Lives Matter, philosopher Christopher J. Lebron writes that the political ethos of BLM amalgamates four tributaries of Black intellectual and activist history: the tactic of “shameful publicity” practiced by Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells; the “countercolonization of the white imagination” proffered by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston; the “unconditional self-possession” embodied in the protests of Anna Julia Cooper and Audre Lorde; and what Lebron calls the “unfragmented compassion” of James Baldwin and Martin Luther King, Jr.

For the purpose of this volume (read: the purpose of articulating how Black lives matter to and for Asian Studies), BLM’s promotion of unfragmented compassion is particularly revelatory. Unfragmented compassion refers to a commitment to empathetic relationships defined by reciprocity and mutual regard. This commitment is coupled with a refusal to cede one’s rightful claim to self-respect and the pursuit of the good life. Such compassion is “unfragmented” insofar as it is extended to both the self and the other: unfragmented compassion entails good faith attempts to understand the humanity of one’s interlocutor alongside a non-negotiable vision of one’s own existential value. To the degree that the political ethos and tactics of the Black Lives Matter movement are informed by the civil rights movement—think here, for example, of the “Freedom Ride” to Ferguson, Missouri, organized by BLM in 2014 to protest police brutality—BLM political action often features the revivification of the unfragmented compassion of King, Baldwin, and other intellectual leaders of the civil rights era. To be sure, there is no one-to-one correspondence between the imaginative and actual infrastructures of BLM and the civil rights movement: BLM’s founding by Black queer women, its decentralized leadership structures, and its digital activism are all examples of the transformations ushered in with the changing of the guard from the civil rights movement to the BLM generation. There is a way in which, however, these shifts speak to a continuity between the movements: BLM represents the emergence of a movement better equipped to make good on the former’s promise of expanding, rather than fracturing, epistemologies.

This is one reason why Black lives matter to Asian Studies: Black Lives Matter serves as a model and reminder of Asian Studies’ need for what we might call unfragmented epistemologies. We are quickly approaching a grim anniversary: it has been almost two decades since Andrew Jones and Nikhil Pal Singh assessed Asian Studies as “characterized by a studied failure to consider the question of race in the constitution of . . . modernities . . . throughout Asia.” There has been relatively little reckoning with this state of affairs in the intervening years. This continuing “studied failure” is not a coincidence. Rather, it is an organic by-product of the historical formation of area studies in the American academy, in which the study of race is sequestered into ethnic studies; area studies functions as the equivalent of an intellectual safe haven for those who other their objects of study by other means. In turn, this historical formation emerges as a present in which, to borrow comparative literary scholar Shu-mei Shih’s articulation, Asian Studies rarely investigates its racial unconscious or the “open secret”—“that there is a dearth of African American or other non-Asian minority scholars in Asian studies”—underwritten by the unspoken racial logic through which Asian Studies organizes itself.

Shih writes that the emergence of a new Asian Studies, one which speaks consciously to the question of race in the constitution of modernities throughout Asia, requires a response to the “ethical demand” of recognizing “interlocking racial formation[s].” Such recognition would mean seeing race as an intellectual issue that Asian Studies “need[s] to bring over here and set . . . in active confrontation and dialogue, that is, in a relation” with the epistemological concerns typically privileged by the field. To say that Black lives matter for Asian Studies is not to ask Asian Studies to do Black Studies any favors. Instead, the creation of a relationship between Black Studies and Asian Studies provides—as the essays in this volume attest—the field of Asian Studies with an opportunity to make whole its fragmented epistemology, and in so doing, to come closer to the fulfillment of the promise of its intellectual endeavor.

#AsiaNow Speaks with Nozomi Naoi

Nozomi Naoi is Associate Professor of Humanities (Art History) at Yale-NUS College and author of Yumeji Modern: Designing the Everyday in Twentieth Century Japan, published by University of Washington Press and received Honorable Mention of the 2022 AAS John Whitney Hall Prize. See a media gallery to accompany the book at Art History Publication Initiative.

Cover of Yumeji Modern, by Nozomi Naoi

To begin with, please tell us what your book is about.

The popular Japanese artist Takehisa Yumeji (1884–1934) is an emblematic figure in the early twentieth century. His graphic works include leftist and antiwar illustrations in socialist bulletins, wrenching portrayals of Tokyo after the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923, and fashionable images of beautiful women—referred to as “Yumeji-style beauties”—in books and magazines that targeted a new demographic of young female consumers. Yumeji also played a key role in the reinvention of the woodblock medium. As his art and designs proliferated in Japan’s mass media, Yumeji became a recognizable brand.

Yumeji Modern examines the artist’s role in shaping modern Japanese identity and introduces for the first time in English translation a substantial body of Yumeji’s texts, including diary entries, poetry, essays, and commentary, alongside his illustrations. Yumeji’s graphic art emerged in the context of the media landscape from 1900s through the 1910s, when novel forms of reprographic communication helped create new spaces of visual culture and image circulation. Yumeji’s legacy and his present-day following speak to the broader, ongoing implications of his work with respect to commercial art, visual culture, and print media.

What inspired you to research this topic?

My interest in printed materials and reproducible media started even before my PhD, when I had the great opportunity to be at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I was there as an unpaid intern and as a Curatorial Assistant. The MFA has the largest collection of Japanese woodblock prints outside of Japan and I was part of their cataloguing project. It was there that I became really interested in the beauty and also the power of a medium that was made for circulation and a communal viewing experience among its viewers. I felt that reproducible media really had that power and I became really interested in not just the artworks but how it exists and affects a larger social sphere.

When I eventually started my PhD program at Harvard, I was incredibly lucky to have two mentors who were leading scholars in Japanese art history. It was first through issues of gender and the female image in Japanese art that I stumbled upon the modern graphic artist Takehisa Yumeji. Then, interest in medium and materiality really cemented Yumeji as a topic for my long-term research.

To give an example of Yumeji’s output and the kind of circulation that his artworks experienced, his overall mass-media output—illustrations, cover designs, poetry, essays, and designs for free gift inserts—comprised contributions to more than 2,200 volumes of magazines, journals, and newspapers during his entire career!

What obstacles did you face in this project? What turned out better and/or easier than you expected it would?

This is something I’ve had to ask myself many times throughout my research: Who is Takehisa Yumeji and how do I deal with him as an artist, a person, and how do I deal with his art? This was particularly challenging because Yumeji is so widely known in the popular sphere in Japan, still today.

For example, ordinary stationary stores throughout Japan sell items with his images or design (like the cute cat or botanical motifs) and Uniqlo, a well-known apparel company launched a line of light-weight kimono (yukata) for its 2007 summer season that were inspired by Yumeji’s designs. So, the self-fashioning and branding of the Yumeji name, the “Yumeji brand,” which I discuss in my book, remains alive and sustained by Japanese consumers today. Yumeji’s popularity is likewise reflected in the number of museums dedicated to his work. There are six museums and one gallery in Japan dedicated to his work, which is an astonishing number compared to other artists of his generation and earlier.

It was a challenge to deal with the popular image of the artist—one that is in fact still influenced from the kind of “self-branding” that Yumeji himself created—and to engage with his artworks and their importance in the larger artistic production of modern Japan from a scholarly approach.

Yumeji became quickly famous for his iconic images of beautiful women, known as “Yumeji-style beauties” (Yumeji-shiki bijin). The dainty, melancholic expression of the women in these images were often discussed as part of the artist’s scandalous romantic affairs and rumors, which fed into shaping the perception of Yumeji as a romantic, self-taught artist. Yumeji was adept at programing his own reception and was fully aware of the impact this had on his work and image. There is a posed photograph of the artist from 1910 (which is in the Introduction of the book) that shows him sitting on a windowsill, intensely introspective, dressed in a full suit and looking slightly downward, his head tilted to the side. The composition is intended to convey the figure of the modern, cultured bohemian artist—the Italian mandolin in his lap, an exotic foreign item newly introduced to Japan in the early twentieth century reinforces this. Yumeji was a master of self-fashioning, and even today we are drawn into this “spell” as we attempt to separate the interpretation of the artist and his work from the “Yumeji” image.

This is why it was important for me, as I wrote the book, to deal with the wide range of works by Yumeji. It was my attempt to discuss the artist with some distance from his self-fashioned image that led me to analyze his illustrations in socialist bulletins with images of anti-war and leftist sentiment (Chapter 2), his collaboration and impact on younger avant-garde artists of the time (Chapter 4), to wrenching portrayals of the devastation and rebuilding of Tokyo after the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 (Chapter 5).

It was this challenge of dealing with the image of the artist that allowed me to look at Yumeji’s production in a holistic manner. His subject matter is frivolous and mundane, at the same time serious and profound. Both apolitical and political, he remained outside official art spheres, despite his influence. An artist of many contradictions who defies art historical definition, Yumeji occupied a different “space” in Japanese visual and cultural history at a time when official definitions of art were being formed. In many ways his art offers a perfect lens through which to examine this particular moment in early twentieth-century Japanese art, one that coincided with the rise in new types of reprographic technology, emerging concept of the “fine arts,” and when concepts of design/designer were taking shape.

What is the most memorable story or scrap of research you encountered in the course of working on this book?

The earthquake series has personal meaning to me and it led to an unexpected encounter with a special person!

I end my book with the analysis of the series, Sketches of the Tokyo Disaster, which is a response to the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake and I was incredibly fortunate to have an understanding editor and team at UWP for letting me include all 21 installations of this series (and its translation) in the Appendix.

While doing research for this book in Japan, the Tōhoku Earthquake struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, followed by countless aftershocks and a massive tsunami. It was in the aftermath of this event and during Japan’s collective efforts to restore, reconcile, and narrate this disaster, that my host professor at Waseda University suggested that I look into Yumeji’s responses to the Great Kantō Earthquake, the greatest natural disaster during his lifetime.

There was a small exhibition at the Tokyo City Reconstruction Memorial on Yumeji’s earthquake series and there I had a chance encounter with Takehisa Minami, the artist and granddaughter of Yumeji! When I told her I was writing about Yumeji, she was delighted, and she told me how much Yumeji’s earthquake series meant to her.

This experience permitted me to approach this series with a better understanding of and insight into Yumeji’s heartfelt reactions to the 1923 earthquake and I decided to devote my last chapter of the book on this series and include the entire series translation in the appendix. I completed the translations and analysis of this series with the 2011 disaster in mind, which even years later affects the many people who are still unable to return to their homes today.

What are the works that inspired you as you worked on this book, and/or what are some other titles that you recommend be read in tandem with your own?

There were many works and people that have inspired me along the way. My research took a significant turn when I was introduced to Elise Wessels and her collection of Yumeji’s works at the Nihon no Hanga Museum in Amsterdam and it was an absolute honor to work with their collection and co-curate the first solo exhibition on Yumeji outside of Japan (Takehisa Yumeji: Artist of Romance and Nostalgia, 2015). I believe this exhibition truly helped put Yumeji on the international stage and aided in my further research for the book.

In writing the manuscript, I was fortunate to have Gennifer Weisenfeld, Alicia Volk, and Sarah Frederick along with my mentors Yukio Lippit and Melissa McCormick to engage in a one-day manuscript workshop. This dream team of scholars helped me so much in conceptualizing and finalizing my ideas for the book. I was inspired by all of their books, and I would especially recommend these two to be read in tandem with mine: Sarah Frederick’s Turning Pages: Reading and Writing Women’s Magazines in Interwar Japan and Gennifer Weisenfeld’s Imaging Disaster: Tokyo and the Visual Culture of Japan’s Great Earthquake of 1923.

Finally, what has captured your attention lately—as a reader, writer, scholar, professor, or person living in the world?

My current projects stem from my work with Yumeji and interest in the larger media environment in Japanese artistic production. It builds on my research of Japanese poster design (Mitsukoshi posters by Yumeji in the book) to examine the role of department stores, designers, and global modernism during the early 20th century.

I am currently drafting my second book, Modern Design and the Japanese Department Store: Visualizing the New Lifestyle, based on this research. My monograph inquires into the relationship between the rise of department stores and the development of modern design, and how they co-evolve to generate visualizations of Japan’s new lifestyle through the nexus of commercial art and design. In addressing this relationship, this book tells the story of the meeting and negotiation between different worlds: business and art; specialty store and corporation; traditional crafts and modern design; fine arts and commercial design; Western artistic styles and Japanese visual culture; the value of children and nation-building; and Japan and its Empire.

As part of my current project on modern design and posters, I am co-curating the exhibition, Made in Japan: 20th Century Poster Art at the Poster House Museum in New York (March 4-September 10, 2023). Along with my colleague, Erin Schoneveld (Associate Professor, Haverford College), I am working closely with the Merill C. Berman Collection of postwar Japanese posters for this exhibition. This will be the first major exhibition of postwar Japanese poster design at the Poster House Museum. So please stay tuned!

Call for Applications: Boundary Pushing in Asian Studies – A Workshop to Prepare Articles for Publication

Organized under the auspices of The Journal of Asian Studies to help increase the range, breadth and quality of journal article manuscripts, the theme for this workshop is “Boundary Pushing.” Significant new work in Asian Studies often runs counter to or across traditional categories of scholarly conversation. For this reason, work that pushes boundaries is often difficult to frame effectively for publication. The workshop is designed and conducted by the editors of JAS to help early career scholars prepare manuscripts for successful peer review. 

We seek prospective authors whose manuscripts push or cross geographical, methodological, disciplinary, or linguistic boundaries in Asian Studies. Working together with experienced editors, authors will gain concrete advice on how to effectively revise their manuscripts for submission to a major journal.

The virtual workshop will be hosted by the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh and held on February 10 – 12, 2023. All sessions will be held remotely. Sessions on each day will be in different formats, including author presentations, discussant critiques, one-on-one meetings with members of the JAS editorial board, and a roundtable with editors. Each selected manuscript will be commented on and critiqued by two editors. Selected participants will be the focus of different virtual meeting formats to engage with peers, senior scholars, and experienced editors. Presentations during a portion of the workshop will be open to the public. A roundtable session will be with editors from JAS and editors from other well-established journals for a vibrant discussion on boundary-pushing writing and scholarship.

To apply, please submit a brief cover letter providing biographical details, affiliation, a statement of research interests and information on disciplinary training. The letter should be no more than 300 words. To be considered for participation scholars must also submit completed essays of no more than 10,000 words, inclusive of abstract, references and notes. Please submit your application to by December 1, 2022. Selected participants will be notified by December 15. Applicants are encouraged to attend the AAS Annual Conference, where there will be an opportunity to meet informally with editors and other workshop participants. 

#AsiaNow Speaks with Anne Prescott

Anne Prescott is Director of the Five College Center for East Asian Studies in Massachusetts and one of four authors (the others are John Frank, Arlene Kowal, and Yurika Kurakata) of Walking the Tōkaidō: A Multi-Disciplinary Experience in History and Culture, an online curriculum created for the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia at the Five College Center for East Asian Studies and winner of the 2022 AAS Franklin R. Buchanan Prize.

To begin with, please tell us what your work is about.

Walking the Tōkaidō: A Multi-Disciplinary Experience in History and Culture is an innovative virtual curriculum project which allows educators and students to explore Japanese history and culture as they journey along the Tōkaidō from Edo to Kyoto. As participants reach each of seventeen selected stations (called milestones), they receive an e-mail with information and links to resources (readings, webinars, videos) and discussion prompts on a given topic.

This program uses the My Virtual Mission platform, with the route and the seventeen stations clearly marked, and the milestone e-mails automatically delivered to the participants. Accommodations are available for those who are not able or do not wish to walk. Teachers may also adapt the curriculum and use all or part of it independently of the platform.

Topics covered include: woodblock prints, tea, the environment, haiku, housing, soroban, transportation, geography, Edo life, Meiji restoration, travelers, religion, sports, and more.

Walking the Tōkaidō can be used for educator professional development (appropriate for K-16) or for classroom instruction (most appropriate for high school). Additional information and the downloadable curriculum are available at the Five Colleges website.

The authors are grateful to the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership for funding to develop these curriculum materials.

What inspired you to work on this project?

The pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, John Frank told me that he was going to do a virtual Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage, and I thought it sounded interesting. I was soon walking 10 miles a day, uploading my miles, and logging on to My Virtual Mission to explore the surroundings at the end of each walk. Within a few days I was hooked, and I ordered a guidebook so that I could read more about the history and culture of the areas I was virtually walking through.

After a couple of weeks John e-mailed and said, what if we turn this into a teacher professional development experience? Combine exercise with learning? We discussed several possible locations in East Asia, and we quickly realized that the Tōkaidō was the perfect route. We brought Arlene and Yurika into the discussion and got to work.

What obstacles did you face in this project? What turned out better and/or easier than you expected it would?

Narrowing it down to a manageable number of milestone stations was a huge obstacle. We started brainstorming possible topics and matching them to appropriate historical stations on the Tōkaidō. I think we ended up with close to 40 topics that we thought would be of interest to teachers and students. We wanted to get it down to 10 for a one-a-week seminar experience. But we just couldn’t do it. We finally settled on 10 core topics and 7 optional ones that participants can do if they wished.

It was also really difficult to narrow down the readings and resources, and I have a long—and growing—list of additional resources—books, videos, websites—for users who are really excited about a given topic.

Two things stand out as making this work easy. One was working with John, Arlene, and Yurika. Each person contributed their strengths to make the work interesting and fun. The other was working with My Virtual Mission to set up our program. Although their platform is designed to support wellness programs (their own as well as private corporate events), private “missions” (their term) are quite affordable and the platform is easy to customize. And their customer service is great!

What is the most interesting story or scrap of research you encountered in the course of working on this project?

It’s not a story or scrap of research, but I’ve been struck by how taken the participants are by the station at Kanaya, Shizuoka, where we look at green tea. As a tea lover, I was surprised that there are some people who have never tasted tea. Not just green tea—any tea. The participants have been fascinated by the growing, harvesting, and processing; the culture of tea; literature; even the machinery! As a direct result, we’ve added a separate virtual sencha tasting experience for teachers with dmatcha from Kyoto that has been really popular.

What are the works that inspired you as you worked on this project, and/or what are some other titles that you recommend be read or taught in tandem with Walking the Tōkaidō?

We knew we had to include Amy Stanley’s Stranger in the Shogun’s City in the program. It addresses so many topics—women, travel, samurai, daily life—that we wanted to touch on for this project. Oliver Statler’s Japanese Inn turned out to be another participant favorite. I recently discovered Green with Milk and Sugar by Robert Hellyer, which I’m now recommending to anyone using this curriculum. It fits in perfectly with the tea and Meiji Restoration topics, and also brings U.S. History into the picture.

We also incorporated webinar lectures into this curriculum. The most popular of the original set from spring 2021 are Amy Stanley’s Stranger in the Shogun’s City and Andreas Marks’ Ukiyoe: Depictions of the Tōkaidō. In response to teacher interest, in fall 2021 we added two webinars on Shinto by Kaitlyn Ugoretz and Women Travelers in Early Modern Japan by Laura Nenzi. All of the webinars can be used independently of the curriculum. (Links to our archived webinars are available online.)

Finally, what has captured your attention lately—as a reader, writer, scholar, professor, or person living in the world?

So many new directions for K-12 programs have resulted from Walking the Tōkaidō. I mentioned the addition of virtual sencha tastings that grew from the tea unit. At Yokkaichi we discuss environmental movements, which in turn lead a science teacher to look into zero waste and recycling, which lead us to add a hands-on virtual workshop on sashiko needlework with Atsushi Futatsuya of Upcycle Stitches. Interest in the environment was also the motivation for adding virtual Kyoto garden guided tours with An Design in Kyoto. And now we’re working on preliminary plans to add another virtual walking experience in Taiwan.

#AsiaNow Speaks with Archana Venkatesan

Cover image of Archana Venkatesan, Endless Song

Archana Venkatesan is Professor of Religious Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of California Davis and author of Endless Song: Nammāḻvār’s Tiruvāymoḻi, published by Penguin Classics, India, and winner of the 2022 AAS AK Ramanujan Book Prize for Translation.

To begin with, please tell us what your book is about.

Endless Song is a complete English translation of the 9th century Tamil devotional poem, Tiruvāymoḻi (Sacred Speech) by the poet Śaṭhakōpaṉ-Nammāḻvār. The long poem of 1102 verses praises the god Vishnu in his many guises—as transcendent deity, divine beloved, as god enshrined in particular sacred places and within the poet’s own heart—and describes in evocative and provocative detail the crests and lows of the poet’s relationship with Vishnu. The Tiruvāymoḻi has been in continuous circulation since at least the 11th century and is a foundational religious text for the sect of South Indian devotees of Vishnu called the Srivaishnavas. The book also has a substantial introduction and ancillary material, such as summaries of medieval commentary, and compilations of myths and sites referred to in the poem. The title, Endless Song, alludes to the interlinked structure of the poem, called the antāti, as well as the poet’s characterization of his poem as a garland of song.

What inspired you to work on this topic?

I never thought to translate or study the Tiruvāymoḻi because it is a daunting poem. It comes with centuries of very erudite commentary. It is profound, brimming with stunning lines of verse and is philosophically difficult. It is the kind of poem one might consider translating after spending a lifetime with it. Professor Francis Clooney, who has worked on the Tiruvāymoḻi for much of his academic career, approached me in the early 2000s with the prospect of working collaboratively on a translation. I was thrilled at the thought of a collaboration, but geography—he’s on the East Coast and I am on the West Coast of the U.S.—and our packed schedules proved too difficult surmount. We worked very closely together on about 60 verses, which was an eye-opening experience for me. I learned a lot from reading and translating with Prof. Clooney. After our initial collaboration (I think it must have been in 2008 or 2009), it took me nearly 10 years to finish a complete draft and then to begin the slow, painstaking work of revision. The book came out in February 2020, just as the pandemic made its presence felt.

What obstacles did you face in this project? What turned out better and/or easier than you expected it would?

I was my greatest obstacle, especially in the early stages of the project. I did not feel up to the task, but I had committed myself to it, so I had to see it through. I had so many doubts when I first started, and the initial stages were agonizingly slow, and I was tempted to give up many times. I was lucky if I did a verse a day. For every verse, I also had to read the commentaries. I read and re-read the pioneering academic works on the Tiruvāymoḻi (Frank Clooney’s Seeing through Texts, Vasudha Narayanan’s Vernacular Veda, and John Carman and Vasudha Narayanan’s Tamil Veda, in particular), and I read a lot of English language poetry to find a register for the Tiruvāymoḻi in English. Eventually, I found my way and I set myself the task of translating every single day, even if only a single verse. Many days, I would post these attempts on social media, and as I had several experienced translators, like Martha Selby and David Shulman, on my social media feed, they would give me useful suggestions and feedback. While I was working on the translation, I was also deep into a research project on the annual Festival of Recitation, at the center of which is the Tiruvāymoḻi. The sights and sounds of the festival, of watching devotees weep listening to specific verses from the text, and of the spectacular processions that are integral to it, allowed me to tap into the somatic and affective dimensions of the poem. By the time I was halfway through the translation, I looked forward to the daily quiet of my translation practice, of time spent with the poem and the poet, in some kind of secret place, just the two of us. I completed the first full revision of the Tiruvāymoḻi while documenting the Festival of Recitation at the Vishnu temple in Tirukkurungudi in December 2017. I finished the last decad of the poem on the festival’s last day, and this was absolutely thrilling.

What is the funniest or most interesting story or scrap of research you encountered in the course of working on this book?

When I first begin translating, I often produce multiple versions of a single verse. I followed the same practice with the Tiruvāymoḻi. I also like to start at the beginning of a text and make my way through the whole text before starting major revisions. So, when I was going through the first full revision of the Tiruvāymoḻi, I came upon a translated version that I loved, but that had no relationship to Nammāḻvār. Somewhere along the way, in producing these multiple drafts, I had come up with my own poem that had no relation to the original. This was a startling and revelatory discovery for me, as I prided myself on accuracy as a translator. But it also made me laugh, for I’ve always wanted to be a poet, and I did manage to riff on Nammāḻvār to produce a semi-decent poem of my own. In that moment, I deleted my poem and no longer have a record of it, which of course, I now regret. The experience also made me even more vigilant, and I double-and triple-checked my translations against the Tamil to make sure I wasn’t masquerading as Nammāḻvār.

What are the works that inspired you as you worked on this book, and/or what are some other titles that you recommend be read in tandem with your own?

I have already mentioned the work of Frank Clooney, Vasudha Narayanan, and John Carman. I read and referred to these constantly. Although I knew A.K. Ramanujan’s Hymns for the Drowning, his iconic translation of Nammāḻvār, very well, I avoided reading it deeply while working on my own translation, as I wanted to find my own way. I read Keats, because I always do, and I read many American modernist poets to find inspiration in the ways they handle language and images, and of course in the precision and economy of their poetry. I also read at least one English-language poem every day—this is how I begin my mornings—and I would often reflect on the poem before sitting down with Nammāḻvār. I found it helped me think poetically.

Finally, what has captured your attention lately—as a reader, writer, scholar, professor, or person living in the world?

I relish solitude and quiet, but it’s hard to find them amidst the busyness of life and an academic career. Despite the many challenges, disruptions, stresses, and sorrows of the pandemic years, I found this quiet in translation. So, I try to keep up my daily translation practice, not because I need to produce something, but because it gives me great pleasure. I find joy and peace in it. I am also trying to do more creative things, work collaboratively with colleagues, and to take more risks in the kind of translations and research I do. I’ve started re-reading Milton’s Paradise Lost again. I am going very slowly, often just a few lines a day, letting myself sink into the language. Part of the reason I picked up Paradise Lost is because I am working on a translation of the Tamil Rāmāyaṇa of Kampaṉ. This is very different from Nammāḻvār. For one, it is a narrative poem, and the language is lush and extravagant. I’ve struggled to make the switch from Nammāḻvār, and I have been searching for English-language poets who might be able to help me find the perfect pitch in English. I do not know whether Milton will find a way into my translation of Kampaṉ, but I am delighting in my rediscovery of Paradise Lost.

#AsiaNow Speaks with Puangchon Unchanam

Puangchon Unchanam is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Naresuan University, author of Royal Capitalism: Wealth, Class, and Monarchy in Thailand, published by University of Wisconsin Press, and recipient of the Honorable Mention for the 2022 Harry J. Benda Prize.

Cover of Royal Capitalism, by Puangchon Unchanam

To begin with, please tell us what your book is about.

My book challenges the assumption that monarchy is incompatible with capitalism. Once the latter ascends, it has been normally assumed, the former has to be abolished or restrained. My book introduces a surprising case of the Thai monarchy. Thanks to its active role in national politics, the market economy, and popular culture, the Thai crown remains both the country’s dominant institution and one of the world’s wealthiest monarchies. To be exact, my book examines the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (1946–2016) and how the crown thrived by transforming itself into a distinctly “bourgeois” monarchy that co-opted middle-class values of hard work, frugality, and self-sufficiency. The crown also positioned itself to connect business elites, patronize local industries, and form strategic partnerships with global corporations. Instead of restraining or regulating royal power, white-collar workers joined with the crown to form a dynamic, symbiotic force that has left the lower classes to struggle in their wake. Above all, my book presents an astonishing case study for those who are interested in the relationship between monarchy and capitalism. It shows that kings and queens today still live long and large in cooperation with the bourgeoisie’s interests and ideology.

What inspired you to research this topic?

I had two reasons to write this book; one was academic, another political. In political theory, political economy, and economics, monarchy is a subject that has been treated as if it were dead in the age of global capitalism. But when I looked at Thailand, I wondered whether the crown is truly irrelevant to capitalism. Seeing the Thai monarch at the top of several lists of the world’s wealthiest royals since the beginning of the twenty-first century, I wanted to examine how the Thai crown accumulates wealth, competes and cooperates with capitalists from inside and outside the kingdom, and even tames Thai capitalists who may have potentials to revolt against the crown’s hegemonic status in the market and the state. This examination, I aspired, would lead to a rethinking of the relationship between the crown and capital in academia.

The second inspiration came from the injustice, violence, and exploitation that many Thai people have suffered during the last decade. In the face of Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, one of the harshest in the world, they dare to speak out about how the monarchy is a part of many enduring problems in the kingdom. They wonder how the king and members of the family live so large while ordinary people struggle to make ends meet. They also consider the close relationship between the crown and capitalists, the king and coups, and the blue bloods and the bourgeoisie unconstitutional, problematic, and hypocritical in the kingdom that has been promoted as constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy, and “land of all Thais.” Speaking truth to power, many people who are critical of the crown have been charged by the police. Some have been left to rot in jail, and some have to live in exile. Their tragedies gave me the will to write and finish my book. I dedicated it to them.

What obstacles did you face in this project? What turned out better and/or easier than you expected it would?

It was really difficult to find data about the Thai monarchy, especially those that are not parts of royalist propaganda. Most of the information about the monarchy that the palace, the government, and the mass media has provided to the public audience puts the crown only in a very flattering light. Furthermore, when I contacted the palace, state offices, and even academic institutions in order to access the information, they did not welcome any project that deemed critical of the crown. But the biggest obstacle I faced in this project was the discouragement and self-censorship of my colleagues in Thai academia. They claimed that my project was too risky; it was too political; it wasn’t worth it; and it would kill my career.  

What turned out better than I expected was the reception I got after I sent my manuscript to University of Wisconsin Press. As a writer who had never published any book before, I was worried that the UW Press would not be interested in my project. Moreover, I was concerned that a project about a monarchy in a Southeast Asian country might not sound appealing to the wider audience. Surprisingly, I received a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the UW Press. It was a real privilege and a great pleasure to work with the editorial teams of this first-class publishing house.

What is the funniest story or scrap of research you encountered in the course of working on this book?

The funniest story I encountered in the course of working on this book is about the early days when I tried to access data about the Thai monarchy by visiting the Grand Palace’s library. The first day that I visited the library, I dressed casually, like most people who live in the hot and humid weather of Bangkok, in a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. The librarians did not treat me well as they considered the way I dressed disrespectful to the palace. Since I really wanted the librarians to help me find some books that were important to my project, I changed my clothing the next day. Like most Thai royalists do when they attend royal ceremonies, I wore a yellow polo shirt with a royal emblem at the left of my chest. This time, the librarians gave me a warm welcome. Perhaps thinking that I was a true-blue monarchist, they helped me find anything that I wanted. When my wife picked me up at the Grand Palace in the evening of that day, however, she could not believe what I had done. More critical to the monarchy than I was, she thought that I sold my soul to the crown. She did not even want to talk to me while we were having dinner. Since then, I have never dressed with any kind of royalist cloth again. When my book was published, I had a chance to show my true colors to my wife, and luckily, she forgave me.

What are the works that inspired you as you worked on this book, and/or what are some other titles that you recommend be read in tandem with your own?

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels has been the most important work that inspires me to study capitalism. It also gave me a big puzzle that drove me to study the relationship between capital and the crown in Thailand: is it always the case that when capitalism has been established in a society, “all that is solid melts into air”? The Origin of Capitalism by Ellen Meiksins Wood is another work that I revisit several times while working on this project. This book is about the birth of capitalism, transition to capitalism, and differences between the old form of social exploitation and the new one. It inspired me to apply the same concepts to the historical contexts of Thai capitalism.

I would like to recommend two titles to be read in tandem with my book. The Real Face of Thai Feudalism [Chom na sakdina Thai] by Chit Phumisak gives a Marxist analysis of Thai feudalism and the role of the monarchy in that kind of social system. Examining the role of the Thai monarchy in today’s capitalism, my book can be read as a sequel to that classic work. “Studies of the Thai State: The State of Thai Studies” by Benedict Anderson is an iconoclastic article that criticizes how Thailand has been studied. One of its main arguments is that the monarchy has long been given a free pass by scholars in Thai Studies, and the essay calls for a critical study of the crown. My book is a response to that call.

Finally, what has captured your attention lately—as a reader, writer, scholar, professor, or person living in the world?

The role of modern monarchies in the age of global capitalism is a topic that I would like to explore in the future. In particular, I want to study and compare three countries: the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand. Apparently, they are notably different in terms of geography, religion, tradition, history, local politics, and social development. Nonetheless, they are essentially similar in terms of a form of government; they are kingdoms, and to be exact, capitalist ones. Above all, their monarchies still survive and thrive today despite several waves of political and economic changes in the modern world. I hope to explore how each of them adapt itself into the age of global capitalism and how they are still resilient in the face of oppositional forces.

The Vietnam Studies Group 2023 Graduate Paper Prize Competition

Deadline: Thursday September 22, 2022

The Vietnam Studies Group (VSG) is pleased to announce a call for submissions for its annual graduate student paper prize competition. The competition encourages the direct involvement of graduate students in the growth of Vietnamese studies and supports their professional development. The competition is open to full and part time graduate students, regardless of their disciplinary specialization. Preference will be given to sole-authored papers based on original field, archival, and/or statistical research. However, thematic reviews that critically synthesize existing literature on a particular topic related to Vietnamese studies will also be considered.

The winner will receive a $500 prize and a one-year subscription to the Journal of Vietnamese Studies. We will also award two honorable mentions, each with a prize of $250. The winners will be notified in late Autumn 2022.

Papers may be written in English or Vietnamese. Submissions will be reviewed by a VSG sub-committee, which will evaluate the entries on the basis of their scholarly merit, theoretical and/or methodological originality, clarity, and style. Papers should also have implications that transcend their disciplinary boundaries to reach a broader academic audience. Only unpublished papers will be considered.

Submissions are due by 11:59 PM (BST) Thursday September 22, 2022, to Sean Fear: The committee regrets that late submissions will not be accepted. In the email please attach (1) an anonymised PDF of the paper and (2) a letter of good standing from the applicant’s graduate department.

Additionally, it is a requirement that all submissions come from current (dues-paying) VSG members. The AAS secure online payment link to join VSG is: If you don’t already have an account, click on this link first and register one: People can make donations of any size; the recommended donation for student participants in VSG is $10. You will be provided an online receipt that you should send to the VSG Treasurer Richard Tran at

VSG is a “study group” of the Association of Asian Studies, and its primary mission is to foster greater participation among Vietnam specialists in AAS and at the Annual Conference.

It is strongly desired, but not required, that students who have submitted a paper for consideration attend both the VSG meeting and the AAS conference (virtually if available or in person). Graduate students are eligible to apply for additional AAS travel stipends and reduced conference fees.

Please contact Sean Fear at should you have any questions, and best of luck to all contestants!

Adriana Boscaro (1935-2022)

Adriana Boscaro, Professor Emerita of Japanese and longtime director of the Department of Oriental Studies at the University Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy, died August 21, 2022 at her home in Venice. She was 87 years old. Professor Boscaro was a major figure in the field of Japanese studies in Italy and a scholar known internationally for her work in the fields of sixteenth-century Japanese history, modern Japanese literature, and Japanese bibliography.

Adriana Boscaro graduated in Japanese in 1969 from the University Ca’ Foscari in Venice. In 1971 she joined its faculty and taught there until 2004. She was a founding member and past president of both the European Association of Japanese Studies (EAJS) and the Italian Association of Japanese Studies (AISTUGIA). Generous, gregarious, multilingual, and efficient, Professor Boscaro organized many conferences, the most famous being the Tanizaki Symposium held in Venice in 1995. Leading scholars from all over the world participated in this memorable conference. People who were too young at the time can still enjoy the variety and quality of the papers presented through the volume that collects them, A Tanizaki Feast: The International Symposium in Venice, published both in English (University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, 1999) and in Japanese.

Professor Boscaro’s research was manifold: from the history of Japan, to which she devoted numerous studies, her interests gradually extended to modern and contemporary Japanese literature. She made a major contribution to the latter field by conceiving the Mille gru (Thousand Cranes) series together with the Venetian publisher Marsilio. This series of translations from Japanese to Italian presents novels by Tanizaki Jun’ichirō, Kawabata Yasunari, Fukunaga Takehiko, Enchi Fumiko, and Edogawa Ranpo, as well as standard classical literary works such as Hōjōki and Ugetsu monogatari.

Professor Boscaro wrote authoritatively on two major topics. The first, the profound influence of westerners on Japanese society and vice versa in the sixteenth century (sometimes called the Christian Century), addressed subjects such as the Japanese embassy of 1585 to Europe, Jesuits and printing in East Asia, the European cartography of Ezo, and Hideyoshi’s edicts against Christianity. The second topic was modern Japanese literature, in particular the works of Tanizaki Jun’ichirō. Professor Boscaro translated many of Tanizaki’s books and short stories into Italian and wrote widely on aspects of Tanizaki’s art, including her essay, “In Pursuit of the Prints of Those Feet,” in A Tanizaki Feast. Throughout her career Professor Boscaro also published comprehensive bibliographies on Japanese history and literature, one of the more recent being Tanizaki in Western Languages (2000).  

Professor Boscaro was the recipient of many awards, including the Okano Prize (1990), the Cesmeo Prize for the translation into Italian of Katō Shūichi’s A History of Japanese Literature (1999), and the Order of the Rising Sun, awarded by the Japanese government in 1999. 

Adriana Boscaro was admired and respected by colleagues and students for her dedication to the field of Japanese studies, her high academic standards, and her teaching and networking skills. In the words of one colleague, Giorgio Amitrano, “Those who knew her will retain the memory of Adriana as a dynamic person, full of energy and initiative, driven by an inexhaustible love for Japan.”

— Submitted by Aileen Gatten and Frank Joseph Shulman. The authors are grateful to Professors Giorgio Amitrano and Roberta Strippoli for their contributions to this obituary.

2022 AAS Election Nominees & Issues

We are pleased to announce the slate of candidates for the fall 2022 AAS elections. The online ballot will open on September 15, and all current AAS Members will receive an email with instructions for accessing it. Election day (when the ballot is closed and votes recorded) will be November 15. Newly elected representatives will take office immediately after the in-person Annual Conference in March 2023.

In addition to the offices up for election, the Association for Asian Studies Board of Directors (BoD) requires membership approval for amendments and additions to the Constitution and Bylaws. There are four (4) proposed revisions to the AAS Constitution and Bylaws that each member may vote on. Please read the information presented on the ballot and prepare to vote either approval or disapproval of the additions and amendments.

Our sincere thanks to all candidates for accepting nominations to represent their respective areas and councils.

Read more about each candidate and their vision for AAS leadership and governance by clicking on the arrow next to their name, which will expand the green box below.


Jean C. Oi (Stanford University), the current AAS Vice President, will automatically assume the role of President.

Vice President Nominees

Represented Area: Northeast Asia

Hyaeweol Choi

Current position: Professor; C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family and Korea Foundation Chair in Korean Studies

Institution/Affiliation: University of Iowa

Discipline: Gender history and culture; Korean studies

Area or countries of interest: Korea

Specialization or research interests: Modern Korea, gender history and culture, colonialisms, religions, food and body, transnational history


  • Gender Politics at Home and Abroad: Protestant Modernity in Colonial-Era Korea (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
  • New Women in Colonial Korea: A Sourcebook (Routledge, 2013).
  • Gender and Mission Encounters in Korea: New Women, Old Ways (University of California Press, 2009). Chinese translation by Jiangsu People’s Publishing, Ltd (2023).

Service to the Profession

  • Chair of the Annual Conference Program Committee of AAS (2021-22) and Vice Chair of the Annual Conference Program Committee of AAS (2020-21)
  • AAS Northeast Asia Council (2008-11)
  • President of the Western Conference of the AAS (2008-2009)

Personal Statement

I am deeply honored to be nominated for the position of Vice President of the Association for Asian Studies. I think that this particular historical moment poses numerous challenges but also presents exciting new possibilities for scholars of Asia in the 21st century. If elected, I would work to foster inter-area, transnational, and diasporic studies while continuing the traditional vigor in country-specific research by cultivating active collaboration not only between traditional areas of focus in the humanities and social sciences but also natural, medical, and environmental sciences. As a strong believer in mentoring, I would also further strengthen various programs to support the younger generation of scholars. In addition, in response to a growing demand for timely and relevant scholarship on the critically important issues of our time, I would work to cultivate creative and responsible engagement with issues of the day for the public good as well as greater diversity and equity.

I feel I am well-suited to serve our community of scholars to advance AAS. In my own research, which focuses on gender history, colonialisms, religions, food, and body, I take a strongly interdisciplinary, transnational, and intersectional approach. I bring years of global experience building collaborative networks with scholars, students, and community members at a number of institutions and professional societies. I have already served in a number of leadership positions in Korean Studies, Asian Studies, gender studies, and religious studies in Korea, the U.S, and Oceania. I have had a number of enriching experiences as an appointed or elected member of councils and committees within the Association for Asian Studies. Most recently I served as the Chair of the Annual Conference Program Committee of AAS (2021-22). I have been elected to the Northeast Asia Council (2008-11), the Council of Conferences (2004-2007), and the Executive Committee on Korean Studies (2004-2007). I have also served as President of the Western Conference of the AAS (2008-2009). While working as the Director of the Korea Institute at the Australian National University (2010-2016), I spearheaded a team of colleagues from Korean, Japanese, and Chinese studies that successfully applied for a five-year grant from the Academy of Korean Studies. As project director for this grant project, I made special efforts to facilitate inter-area dialogue by co-organizing conferences, such as “Grassroots Regionalization and the Frontiers of Humanities in East Asia: Korea as a Hub” (2015) and “Latent Histories, Manifest Impacts: Interplay between Korea and Southeast Asia” (2015). I am currently serving as the founding director of the Korean Studies Research Network at the University of Iowa, which brings together Korea-focused scholars throughout the Midwest in a virtual network dedicated to mentoring and fostering interdisciplinary, innovative, and collaborative research.

I would welcome the opportunity to serve AAS by listening to members, facilitating innovative scholarly communication across regions, further internationalizing AAS through closer links and communication with Asia, Europe, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas, and finding ways to make Asia research and teaching highly relevant to this rapidly changing world.

William Tsutsui

Current position: Chancellor and Professor of History

Institution/Affiliation: Ottawa University (Kansas and Arizona, USA)

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Japan, the Pacific World

Specialization or research interests: Business, economic, environmental, and cultural history of modern Japan, with particular interest in Japanese industrial management and labor relations, Japanese banking, the environmental history of Japan and its empire, oceans and fisheries, and Japanese popular culture (especially the Godzilla franchise).


  • Manufacturing Ideology: Scientific Management in Twentieth-Century Japan (Princeton University Press, 1998).
  • Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Japanese translation: Gojira to Amerika no hanseiki, Kamiyama Kyōko (Chūō Kōron Shinsha, 2005).
  • “The Pelagic Empire: Reconsidering Japanese Expansion,” in Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power, eds. Brett Walker, Julia Thomas, and Ian Miller (University of  Hawaiʻi Press, 2013), pp. 21–38.

Service to the Profession

  • Chair, AAS Editorial Board (2011–present)
  • Member (2008–2011) and Chair (2010–2011), AAS Northeast Asia Council
  • Commissioner, Japan–US Friendship Commission and Panelist, US–Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) (2020–present)

Personal Statement

I study modern Japanese history, with eclectic research and teaching interests spanning business and environmental history, Pacific fisheries, and Godzilla movies. My professional path has been equally varied, taking me from a big state flagship to a private research university to a small liberal arts institution to a regional comprehensive with sprawling adult and online programs. Along the way I served as department chair, center director, dean, and college president, and am currently the chancellor of a private university system. 

In each of these institutions and leadership roles, I have been a fierce advocate for the power of area studies, the promise of public scholarship, and the imperative of justice on our campuses, in our profession, and throughout our society. At a time of shrinking budgets and enrollments, accelerating contingentization of the professoriate, rising threats to academic freedom, and public devaluation of scholarly knowledge (and expertise more generally), professional associations like the AAS are more important than ever before. The AAS must be an inclusive, accessible, and empowering organization for all scholars and students interested in Asia; it must work to grow our field and the impact of our research and teaching around the world; it must make the case (in the academy and to the larger public) for the central importance of Asian Studies; it must support our membership with high-quality programs and publications; and it must continue to evolve with changes in the academy, scholarship, and the sociopolitical contexts of our work. As Vice President, I would strive to amplify the voices—and the impact—of all Asianists and of our field as whole.

Over my three decades in the academy, I have been the only person of color on far too many committees, seen far too many of my graduate students struggle with precarious employment, and witnessed far too many instances of systemic injustice go unaddressed on campuses and in our larger society. Consequently, I am passionate about working with others to create just organizations where all can feel a genuine sense of belonging. I chaired the Diversity Committee of the American Society for Environmental History, was a member of the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, and have been active with Japanese American community organizations. In the administrative roles I have held, I have worked doggedly to mobilize people and resources to advance equity. During my presidency at Hendrix College, for instance, we improved compensation and job security for contingent faculty, built vibrant partnerships with Arkansas schools to boost accessibility, welcomed our most diverse classes ever, almost doubled the percentage of Pell-eligible and first-generation students, and dramatically improved retention and graduation rates for students of color. 

I am an inveterate proselytizer for Asian Studies. I have long been committed to outreach—to K-12 educators and learners, as well as to the broader public—since the long-term sustainability of our field is dependent on having students in our courses and broad general interest in our scholarship. I founded and directed the Kansas Consortium for Teaching about Asia, providing professional development for hundreds of classroom teachers across the Great Plains; chaired the Kansas Committee for International Education in the Schools, an advocacy organization promoting world language learning and global awareness; and have developed curricular materials and resources (including my volume on Japanese popular culture for the AAS Key Issues in Asian Studies series). Sharing my enthusiasm for Asia is just second nature to me, so I am a frequent media commentator and have given hundreds of presentations (the vast majority on Godzilla and Cool Japan) in rural public libraries, school and university classrooms, Rotary Clubs, and anime conventions across the United States. 

The AAS has been important to me since I was a graduate student in providing opportunities to learn from others, make professional connections and personal friends, and share my research with the global scholarly community. I have sought to give back to the AAS and the field whenever possible: as a member (and chair) of NEAC, as the chair of the Editorial Board and editor of the book series Asia Past and Present and Asia Shorts, on the Board of Directors (from 2010-2011 and since 2019), and as a member of the committee that developed the recently completed AAS strategic plan. I have also served Asian Studies over the decades by co-organizing numerous scholarly conferences (including a fiftieth-birthday extravaganza for Godzilla in 2004), serving as Title VI National Resource Center director, and writing, winning, and administering grants totaling over $5 million. I am particularly proud that these grant-funded projects supported the growth of the field through expanded opportunities for study abroad in East Asia, instruction in Asian languages at the K-12 level, and the creation of eight new tenure-track faculty positions.

I am a strong believer in the mission of the AAS and its unique, critical role in advancing the field of Asian Studies, scholarship related to Asia, and the professional lives of its members (both in and beyond the academic world). As Vice President, I would leverage my experience working with other complex institutions to help the AAS achieve its full potential as an essential resource, an influential advocate, and an agent of change. Throughout my career I have sought opportunities to bring people together to make organizations and systems more responsive, more participatory, more effective, and more just: the AAS can only flourish if it empowers (and listens to) its members, adapts to meet the changing needs of all Asianists, and makes real its commitment to diversity and equity. I am humbled to be nominated for this position and would be honored to serve the AAS and its membership.

East & Inner Asia Council Nominees

Jackie Armijo

Current position: Visiting faculty, Centre for the Study of Islamic Culture

Institution/Affiliation: Chinese University of Hong Kong

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: China

Specialization or research interests: China’s Muslim communities, Chinese Muslim diaspora, China-Gulf relations, education and cultural dimensions of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, women’s education in Asia


  • With Shaojin Chai, “Chinese Muslim Diaspora Communities and the Role of International Islamic Education Networks: A Case Study of Dubai,” in Chinese Religions Going Global, eds. Nanlai Cao, Giuseppe Giordan, and Fenggang Yang (Brill, 2020).
  • “China,” in Oxford Handbook of Islamic Archaeology, eds. Timothy Insoll and Bethany Walker (Oxford University Press, 2020).
  • “Islam in China,” in Asian Islam in the 21st Century, eds. John Esposito, John Voll, and Osman Bakar (Oxford University Press, 2007).

Service to the Profession

  • Editor-in-Chief for “Islam in China” article series for Oxford Islamic Studies Online, Oxford University Press (2013-2014).
  • Organized and chaired five panels for AAS Annual Conferences (2006-2016) on a range of interdisciplinary border-crossing topics.
  • Manuscript reviewer for Columbia University Press, Stanford University Press, and University of  Hawaiʻi Press; peer reviewer for the Journal of Asian Studies, Modern China, Late Imperial China, Population and Development Review, Ethnopolitics, Cross-Currents, Comparative Education Review, Paedgogica Historica, etc.

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

Teaching overseas for almost 20 years, across Asia from Shanghai and Hong Kong to Bangladesh, Qatar and the UAE, I’ve been able to contribute to developing or introducing China studies in several countries and facilitated inter-Asian research networks among a range of scholars. In the U.S., I also had the opportunity to develop a China studies program at Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black college in Atlanta. My own research is interdisciplinary, and while focusing on different dimensions of China’s Muslim population, also incorporates a range of inter-Asian themes including diaspora studies, women’s education, museums and identity, and the cultural and educational dimensions of China BRI projects.

Ho-fung Hung

Current position: Wiesenfeld Professor in Political Economy

Institution/Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University

Discipline: Sociology/International Studies       

Area or countries of interest: China, East Asia

Specialization or research interests: Global political economy, development, state formation, nationalism, protest


  • Clash of Empires: From “Chimerica” to the “New Cold War” (Cambridge University Press, 2022).
  • The China Boom: Why China will not Rule the World (Columbia University Press, 2015).
  • Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty (Columbia University Press, 2011).

Service to the Profession

  • Editor-in-Chief, Asian Perspective (2022-present)
  • Program Committee Co-Chair, Social Science History Association (2021-22)
  • Member, Publication Committee, Social Science History Association (2022)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

When Asia and the world are still struggling with the pandemic and confronting the multiple crises of authoritarian advance, worsening inequality, great power rivalry, and racist hatred, the AAS offers a unique platform for open, inclusive, and in-depth research and debate on Asian issues. It is indispensable to advancing the world’s understanding of Asia and mutual understanding between Asian peoples. In our polarizing world, the AAS tradition of accommodating scholarly exchanges among diverse or even conflicting views is precious and needs to continue. One area that the AAS could do more in the future is to introduce our members’ deep historical and cultural knowledge to policymakers and practitioners to help them make more educated decisions involving Asia.

Maria Repnikova

Current position: Associate Professor 

Institution/Affiliation: Georgia State University

Discipline: Communication and Political Science

Area or countries of interest: China (but now expanding to Central Asia as part of a new research project)

Specialization or research interests: China’s political communication, including domestic propaganda and journalism, and more recently, soft power.


  •  “Rethinking China’s Soft Power: ‘Pragmatic Enticement’ of Confucius Institutes in Ethiopia,” The China Quarterly (2022).
  • Chinese Soft Power (Global China Element Series, Cambridge University Press, 2022).
  • Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Service to the Profession

  • Editorial Board Member, International Journal of Press/Politics (January 2022–present)
  • Chair, Chinese Politics Mini Conference, Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association, Montreal (September 2021-September 2022)
  • Editorial Board Member, Routledge Handbook of Chinese Media (May 2022-May 2023)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I aspire to contributing to the AAS leadership and governance by making the study of Asia more accessible to and inclusive of diverse backgrounds, institutions, and methodologies. I hope to partake in efforts to expand the participation in the AAS by scholars from Asia, but also from the Global South, including Africa and Latin America, including institutions that tend to be cut off from the Western academy. I also plan to advocate for more methodological diversity and inclusivity, and especially to further strengthen and expand the existing focus on interdisciplinary research approaches and collaborations across scholars in humanities and social sciences.

Guldana Salimjan

Current position: Visiting Assistant Professor

Institution/Affiliation: Simon Fraser University

Discipline: Feminist Anthropology

Area or countries of interest: China

Specialization or research interests: intersectionality of race, ethnicity, and gender, politics of memory, settler colonialism, and environmental justice


  •  “Blood Lineage,” “Recruiting Loyal Stabilisers: On the Banality of Carceral Colonialism in Xinjiang,” and “Camp Land: Settler Ecotourism and Kazakh Dispossession in Contemporary Xinjiang,” in Xinjiang Year Zero, eds. Darren Byler, Ivan Franceschini, and Nicholas Loubere (Australian National University Press, 2022). DOI:
  •  “Naturalized Violence: Affective Politics of China’s Ecological Civilization in Xinjiang,” Human Ecology, special issue “Ecological Resilience and Society in China” 49, no. 1 (2021): 59-68.
  • “Mapping Loss, Remembering Ancestors: Genealogical Narratives of Kazakhs in China,” Asian Ethnicity, special issue “Voiced and Voiceless in Xinjiang: Minorities, Elites, and Narrative Constructions in Context” 22, no. 1(2021): 105-120.

Service to the Profession

  • Co-director of the Xinjiang Documentation Project at the University of British Columbia
  • Member of the Academic Freedom, Advocacy, and Scholars at Risk (AFASAR) Committee at Central Eurasian Studies Society
  • Peer reviewer for the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, Central Asian Survey, and Asian Ethnicity

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

As an ethnic minority originally from China and now navigating academia in North America, I believe diversity, equity, and inclusivity mustn’t only be lip service. My vision for AAS leadership and governance prioritizes promoting academic work about and by Indigenous people of Asia and creating more space for dialogue in building international Indigenous solidarity, decolonizing efforts, and public scholarship.

Tansen Sen

Current position: Professor

Institution/Affiliation: NYU Shanghai

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: China and India

Specialization or research interests: Chinese history; China-India interactions; Chinese Buddhism; intra-Asian connections


  • Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations, 600-1400 (Association for Asian Studies and University of  Hawaiʻi Press, 2003). South Asian edition: Manohar, 2004. Paperback edition: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016. Chinese edition forthcoming.
  • India, China, and the World: A Connected History (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). South Asian edition: Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • Editor, with Brian Tsui, Beyond Pan-Asianism: Connecting China and India, 1840s–1960s (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Service to the Profession

  • Director, Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai (2016–present)
  • Co-editor, Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Asian Interactions (2018–present)
  • Co-series editor, Oxford Series on India-China Studies (2016–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

If elected to the East and Inner Asia Council of the AAS, I hope to engage in the discussions on conducting research in China as well as AAS’s engagement with the scholars and institutions in China and elsewhere in Asia. I would also like to explore the possibilities of further developing border-crossing and inter-Asian emphasis through AAS events and publications. Additionally, if needed, I can contribute to AAS-in-Asia initiatives.

Emily Wilcox

Current position: Associate Professor and Director of Chinese Studies

Institution/Affiliation: William & Mary

Discipline: Asian Studies

Area or countries of interest: China

Specialization or research interests: modern and contemporary Chinese performance culture, PRC history, gender and ethnicity, Sinophone studies


  • Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy (University of California Press, 2018).
  • Editor, with Katherine Mezur, Corporeal Politics: Dancing East Asia (University of Michigan Press, 2020)
  • Editor, with Zhuoyi Wang and Hongmei Yu, Teaching Film from the People’s Republic of China (Modern Language Association, forthcoming).

Service to the Profession

  • President, Association for Asian Performance (2015–2017)
  • Board Member, Society of Dance History Scholars (2014–16)
  • Board Member, Dance Studies Association (2019–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I have participated in the governance of multiple scholarly organizations over the past decade. I am eager to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to AAS that I gained from this decade-long experience. I want to be part of the conversation and labor that brings a vibrant and responsible in-person AAS into the new post-pandemic environment, while also maximizing the reach and access afforded by new technology. I hope to continue and deepen AAS’s initiatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion and to foster conversations across regions and fields within Asian Studies, as well as between Asian Studies and other disciplines.

Shengqing Wu

Current position: Professor

Institution/Affiliation: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Discipline: Chinese Literature

Area or countries of interest: China

Specialization or research interests: Modern Chinese literature and culture, Chinese poetry, history of photography, the study of text and image, sensory studies, etc.


  • Photo Poetics: Chinese Lyricism and Modern Media (Columbia University Press, 2020).
  • Modern Archaics: Continuity and Innovation in the Chinese Lyric Tradition 1900-1937 (Harvard University Asia Center, 2013).
  • Editor, with Xuelei Huang, Sensing China: Modern Transformations of Sensory Culture (Routledge, 2023).

Service to the Profession

  • President of the Association of Chinese & Comparative Literature (2013–2015)
  • Member of the Humanities Panel for the Hong Kong Research Assessment Exercise (2020)
  • Editorial board member, Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (2021–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I feel grateful and delighted to be considered for this position with the East and Inner Asia Council. I would like to thank you in advance for your encouragement and support. Given the challenges of our times and the drastically changing academic environment, I will work diligently with other committee members to identify exciting areas of research that critically address our history and social reality and encourage emerging ideas, methods, and missions. Drawing on my extensive academic and personal experience working across the transpacific region, if elected, I will continue my endeavor to facilitate productive dialogues and social networking between scholars working in East Asia and the West.

Northeast Asia Council Nominees

Japan Candidates

Charlotte Eubanks

Current position: Professor of Comparative Literature, Japanese, and Asian Studies

Institution/Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University

Discipline: Comparative Literature

Area or countries of interest: Japan

Specialization or research interests: Buddhist literature, Japanese literature and visual culture, book history


  • Miracles of Book and Body: Buddhist Textual Culture and Medieval Japan (University of California Press, 2011).
  • The Art of Persistence: Akamatsu Toshiko and the Visual Cultures of Transwar Japan (University of  Hawaiʻi Press, 2020).
  • Co-Editor with Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, Special Issue on “Indigeneity,” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 4:2 (Fall 2018).

Service to the Profession

  • Verge: Studies in Global Asias. Associate Editor (2016–present); Member of Editorial Collective (2010-2015)
  • MLA Executive Committee “LLC Japan to 1900.” Chair of Proposal Committee and Lead Organizer (2013–2015); Founding Chair (2016–2017); Chair ex-officio (2017–2018)
  • MLA Executive Committee “East Asian Languages and Literatures to 1900.” Member (2011–2013); Secretary (2013–2014); President (2014–2015); President ex-officio (2015–2016)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I am honored to have been nominated and see service on the NEAC as an opportunity to support research, to encourage diversification of the profession, and to promote inter-institutional collaborations. As a comparatist, I have spent my career working across and between disciplines (literature, religious studies, history, art history) and am eager to think together about how our different fields can be brought into fuller conversation. At my home institution, much of my service work has focused on building mentorship structures and on centering equity and inclusion initiatives: areas of energy I would be excited to continue working on at the NEAC.

Katsuya Hirano

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University of California Los Angeles

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Japan

Specialization or research interests: Early modern and modern Japanese history, (settler) colonialism, capitalism, racism, indigenous studies, Marxist historiography, global history 


  • “遭遇としての植民地主義:北海道開拓における人種化と労働力の問題をめぐって”, 成田龍一、田辺明生、竹沢泰子編『環太平洋地域の移動と人種』(京都大学出版、2020) (“Colonialism as Encounter: On Racialization and Labor Power in the Settler-Colonization of Hokkaido”), in Migration and Race in the Trans-Pacific Region, eds. Ryuichi Narita, Akio Tanabe, and Yasuko Takezawa (Kyoto University Press, 2020), pp. 31-69. (English version forthcoming as “Settler Colonialism as Encounter: On Racialization and Labor Power in the Dispossession of the Ainu” in Migration and Race in the Trans-Pacific Region, eds. Akio Tanabe and Yasuko Takezawa [ Routledge, 2022]).
  • “Regulating Excess: Cultural Politics of Consumption in Tokugawa Japan” in The Right to Dress: Sumptuary Laws in a Comparative and Global Perspective, eds. Giorgio Riello and Ulinka Rublack (Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 435-460
  • “Thanatopolitics in the Making of Japan’s Hokkaido: Settler Colonialism and Primitive Accumulation,” Critical Historical Studies 2, no. 2 (September 2015): 191-218.

Service to the Profession

  • Associate editor, positions (2020–present)
  • Editorial board member, Settler Colonial Studies (2018–present)
  • Organizer, Trans-Pacific Workshop (2013–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

During my tenure, I would like to encourage and support the following activities: free and innovative academic inquiry that comes with academic integrity; transnational collaborations across disciplines; productive exchanges between academia and activism.

Sarah Kovner

Current position: Senior Research Scholar

Institution/Affiliation: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Japan, Korea, Northeast Asia

Specialization or research interests: Gender history, war and society, labor migration, international and global history


  • Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese POW Camps (Harvard University Press, 2020). Forthcoming in Japanese translation (Misuzu Shobo, 2022).
  • Occupying Power: Sex Workers and Servicemen in Postwar Japan (Stanford University Press, 2012; paperback 2013).
  • “The Soundproofed Superpower: U.S. Bases and Japanese Communities, 1945-1972,” Journal of Asian Studies 75, no. 1 (February 2016): 87-109.

Service to the Profession

  • Chair, Columbia University Seminar on Modern Japan (2019–present)
  • Peer Reviewer, Harvard University Press, Cornell University Press, Columbia University Press, Berghahn Books (2007–present)
  • Book Prize Committee, Southeast Conference Association for Asian Studies (2014–16)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

Considering the impact of Covid-19, the role of the AAS in building community and providing support for new scholarship has never been more important. If elected, I would seek to listen to and advocate for all members, especially those with nontraditional career paths, and try to broaden membership in Latin America, Europe, and Australia. I would aim to develop a new mentoring and collaboration program, which would pair junior and senior scholars. I would also work to create new ways of recognizing all the work members do, including more workshops and new NEAC awards for teaching and mentoring.

Kate McDonald

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University of California, Santa Barbara

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Japan

Specialization or research interests: History of mobility, history of technology, critical human geography


  • Placing Empire: Travel and the Social Imagination in Imperial Japan (University of California Press, 2017).
  • Editor, with David R. Ambaras, Bodies and Structures: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History (2019 and 2021),
  • “Olympic Recoveries,” Journal of Asian Studies 79, no. 3 (2020): 599-608.

Service to the Profession

  • Associate Editor for Japan, Journal of Asian Studies (2019–present).
  • Monograph series coeditor, Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology (2021–ongoing).
  • Peer reviewer for University of  Hawaiʻi Press, University of California Press, Stanford University Press, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Japanese Studies, Technology and Culture, positions, and others (2019–present).

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I’m excited for the opportunity to serve the NEAC and the AAS. If elected, I would work to create opportunities for early career scholars to develop their work and build new connections across area fields, disciplines, and languages. I am particularly interested in developing ways to more fully incorporate digital scholarship in the intellectual and pedagogical work of the AAS.

Korea Candidates

Christine Kim

Current position: Associate Teaching Professor

Institution/Affiliation: Georgetown University

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Korea, Northeast Asia

Specialization or research interests: Modern Korea, social and cultural history, empire studies


  • “Politics and Pageantry in Protectorate Korea (1905-10): The Imperial Progresses of Sunjong.” Journal of Asian Studies 68, no. 3 (August 2009): 835-59.
  • “Colonial Plunder and the Failure of Restitution In Postwar Korea.” Journal of Contemporary History 52, no. 3 (July 2017): 607-624.
  • “South Korea: Commemorations, Revision, and Reckoning,” in Memory, Identity, and Commemorations of World War II: Anniversary Politics in Asia Pacific, eds. Mike Mochizuki and Daqing Yang (Lexington Books, 2018), pp. 55-68.

Service to the Profession

  • Researcher for Overseas Historical Materials, National Institute of Korean History (Kuksa p’yŏnch’an wiwŏnhoe) (2014–2017)
  • Review panelist, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships on East Asia, multiple occasions
  • Judge, George Washington Institute for Korean Studies Next Generation Scholarship Conference (2022).

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I would welcome the opportunity to contribute to Asian Studies by promoting networks that connect U.S. and international scholarly communities; supporting Korean scholarship that is transnational, comparative, and interdisciplinary; and encouraging research that broadens academic and public understanding of Korea.

Jina Kim

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University of Oregon

Discipline: Literature

Area or countries of interest: Korea, Japan, Taiwan

Specialization or research interests: Modern Korean literature and cultural studies; comparative literature (Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Korean American); sound studies, radio, and radio dramas; intermediality.


  • Urban Modernities in Colonial Korea and Taiwan (Brill, 2019).
  • “Broadcasting Solidarity Across the Pacific: Reimagining the Tongp’o in Take Me Home and the Free Chol Soo Lee Movement.” Journal of Asian Studies 79, no. 4 (2020): 891-910.
  • “Between Documentation and Dramatization: Modes of Critique in South Korean Yushin-Era Radio Culture.” positions: asia critique 27, no. 2 (2019)” 397-420.

Service to the Profession

  • Editorial Collective, positions: asia critique (September 2021–present)
  • Korean Literature Association, Executive Committee (2021–present)
  • MLA, Delegate Assembly, LLC Korean Representative (2020–2022)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

Having benefited from AAS since I was a graduate student, I would like to continue to play a role in making various aspects of AAS accessible to graduate students through grants that would enable them to attend conferences and hold special workshops/panels that connect graduate students to mentors and peers across different institutions. Additionally, although I am primarily a Koreanist working on Northeast Asian topics, I would like to foster greater cross-regional collaborative research as well as see comparative work within Northeast Asia present.

Sungyun Lim

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University of Colorado Boulder

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Korea

Specialization or research interests: Korea under Japanese colonial rule, women, law, family, colonialism/post-colonialism


  • Rules of the House: Family Law and Domestic Disputes in Colonial Korea (University of California Press, 2019).
  • “Adopting in the Shadows: False Registry as a Method of Adoption in Postcolonial Korea.” In special issue, “Productive Encounters: Kinship, Gender, and Family Law in East Asia,” eds. Seung-kyung Kim and Sara Lizbeth Friedman. positions: asia critique 29, no. 3 (August 2021): 495-521.
  • “Affection and Assimilation: Concubinage and the Ideal of Conjugal Love in Colonial Korea, 1922–1938,” Gender and History 28, no. 2 (2016): 461–479.

Service to the Profession

  • Mentor, Committee on Korean Studies Mentoring Program, Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, March 23, 2019 (Mentee, Young Sun Park)
  • Co-organizer and Panel Chair, “Breaking Through the Old Paradigm: Expanding the Landscape of the ‘Comfort Women’ Issue” (sponsored by the Northeast Asia Council of AAS), co-organized with Sayaka Chatani (NUS), Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference
  • Discussant, “Beyond Colonial Modernity: New Approaches to State-Society Relations in Japanese-Occupied Korea,” Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Boston, MA, March 2020. [conference cancelled due to COVID-19 outbreak]

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

AAS has been crucial in my development as a scholar, and I would like to help the AAS continue its strong presence as the leading conference in the field of Asian Studies. I would like to see AAS expand its works on bridging academias between North America and Asia. I would also like to explore innovative ways to help AAS stay relevant and current to the fast-developing field of Asian Studies.

South Asia Council Nominees

Dean Accardi

Current position: Assistant Professor

Institution/Affiliation: Connecticut College

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Kashmir, South Asia, India, Pakistan

Specialization or research interests: History of gender, religion, and politics in South Asia, especially in early modern and modern Kashmir; secularism and religious conflict; connections between religious and political practices, institutions, and discourses; gendered ascetic practices of saints revered by both Hindus and Muslims and their use to establish and articulate religious and political power.


  • “Religious and Political Power in Kashmir: Recollecting the Past for the (Post)colonial Present,” in Routledge Handbook of Critical Kashmir Studies, eds. Mona Bhan, Haley Duschinski, and Deepti Misri (Routledge, 2022).
  • “Orientalism and the Invention of Kashmiri Religion(s),” International Journal of Hindu Studies 22, no. 3 (2018).
  • “Embedded Mystics: Writing Lal Ded and Nund Rishi into the Kashmiri Landscape,” in Kashmir: History, Representation, Politics, ed. Chitralekha Zutshi (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Service to the Profession

  • Faculty Consultant, Kashmir Scholars Consultation and Action Network (2019–present)
  • Trustee, American Institute of Pakistan Studies (2016–2018)
  • Guest Editor, special issue of International Journal of Hindu Studies, on Modern Hagiographical Politics (2017–2018)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

As a historian of Kashmir, I am particularly attuned to the complexities and challenges around the need to represent voices of those in liminal spaces who are continually subjected to—if not silenced by—those with privilege and power wishing to exert their own nationalist, religious, or other identities and agendas over them. If I am chosen to serve on the South Asia Council, I will make explicit efforts to bring forward the work and perspectives of those from oppressed and underrepresented communities in South Asia as well as highlight the particular challenges facing South Asia and connect them to the broader issues confronting Asia for which the AAS exists to address. With the rapid changes and  challenges facing the world today, we cannot simply continue hearing the voices and pursuing the agendas of those who have led us to where we find ourselves today. I vow to do what I can to bring about the changes needed to make the South Asia Council and the AAS more generally better represent the aims and interests of those marginalized in/from our community and positions of power in the world.

Mabel Gergan

Current position: Assistant Professor in Asian Environmental Studies

Institution/Affiliation: Vanderbilt University

Discipline: Geography

Area or countries of interest: South Asia/Himalayan Region

Specialization or research interests: Race and ethnicity in South Asia; indigenous environmentalism; Himalayan region


  • With Cháirez-Garza, J., Ranganathan, M., Vasudevan, P., “Introduction to the Special Issue: Rethinking Difference as Racialization through the Indian Context,” Ethnic and Racial Studies (2021). 
  • With Curley, A. Indigenous Youth and Decolonial Futures: Energy and Environmentalism among the Diné in the Navajo Nation and the Lepchas of Sikkim, India (Antipode, 2021).
  • With Chakraborty, R., Sherpa, P. Y., and Rampini, C., “A Plural Climate Studies Framework for the Himalayas” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 51 (2021): 42-54.

Service to the Profession

  • Editorial Board Member (Nature and Society), Annals of the American Association of  Geographers (2019–present)
  • Executive Council member, Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies (2018–2022)
  • Search Committee Member for Mellon Assistant Professor position in AsAm/AsAm  Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

To advocate for scholarship from the geographic and cognitive borders and margins of Asian Studies. To give prominence to the existing and next generation of Black, Indigenous, and minoritized scholars in Asian Studies. To generate more lines of inquiry and conversation between the social science and humanistic disciplines in Asian Studies.

Walter Hakala

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University at Buffalo, SUNY

Discipline: South Asian Studies

Area or countries of interest: South Asia

Specialization or research interests: Urdu language and literature


  • “Two New Kinds of Fire: Syphilis and Capsicum in Early Hindvi Vocabularies,” in Objects, Images, Stories: Simon Digby’s Historical Method, ed. Francesca Orsini (Oxford University Press, 2022), pp. 134-161.
  • “Literary Translingualism in Hindi and Urdu,” in The Routledge Handbook of Literary Translingualism, eds. Steven G. Kellman and Natasha Lvovich (Routledge, 2021), pp. 301-315.
  • Negotiating Languages: Urdu, Hindi, and the Definition of Modern South Asia (Columbia University Press, 2016; New Delhi: Primus Books, 2017). Awarded The Edward Cameron Dimock, Jr. Prize in the Indian Humanities, American Institute of Indian Studies, 2015; Honorable Mention, AAS Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize, 2018.

Service to the Profession

  • Member, Nominations Committee, American Institute of Pakistan Studies (2015, 2017, 2018); Chair (2021)
  • Member, Fellowship Selection Committee, American Institute of Indian Studies (2017–2019); Chair (2019–2020)
  • At-Large Trustee (elected), American Institute of Pakistan Studies (2015–17, 2018–21)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

As the lone South Asianist at a large state university, I have strived to apply former Journal of Asian Studies editor Jeffrey Wasserstrom’s “one over rule” in my professional life by reaching across disciplinary and regional boundaries to support colleagues and students. In my previous role as director of the University at Buffalo Asian Studies Program, I organized an annual faculty symposium on pan-Asian themes and a weekly Asia at Noon lecture series, and I secured student research funds in South Asian languages, Korean Studies, and Southeast Asian Studies. My eclectic interests find reflection in the wide range of research projects for which I regularly recruit undergraduate students assistants (see as well as the Rustgi Undergraduate Conference on South Asia, an annual student-run conference I have overseen since 2018 that has brought to Buffalo dozens of undergraduates from across Canada, India, Pakistan, UK, and U.S. I hope to work with the South Asia Council to find ways to identify additional sources of research funding for non-U.S. citizen students and create opportunities for first-generation students and those attending institutions of higher education without established area studies programs to attend AAS regional conferences.

Anneeth Kaur Hundle

Current position: Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Dhan Kaur Sahota Presidential Chair of Sikh Studies

Institution/Affiliation: University of California, Irvine

Discipline: Anthropology

Area or countries of interest: South Asia, Punjab, Indian Ocean, East Africa

Specialization or research interests: Sikh Studies, Punjabi/Sikh diasporas, Afro-Asian entanglements/connections, race, religion and caste, violence, citizenship, gender and sexuality, feminist approaches to transregional study, university studies, with regional interests in Punjab, Indian Ocean, East Africa, Uganda.


  • “Decolonizing Diversity: The Transnational Politics of Minority Racial Difference.” Public Culture 31, no. 2 (2019): 289-322. Special Issue on “Interrogating Diversity,” eds. Damani Partridge and Matthew Chin.
  • “Guru Nanak in an Era of Global Thought: Sikhism, Sikh Studies, the University and the Political” (overview of Sikh Studies/critical approaches to the field)
  • “Postcolonial Patriarchal Nativism, Domestic Violence and Transnational Feminist Research in Uganda.” Feminist Review, special issue on “Transnational Feminist Research 121, no. 1 (2019): 37-52.”

Service to the Profession

  • Associate Editor, Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory (2019–present)
  • Steering Committee Member, Sikh Studies Unit, American Academy of Religion (2017–2022)
  • Organizer, Sikh Formations Quarterly Webinar Series (2020–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

As a member of the South Asia Council, I will look forward to helping shape the policies and activities of the AAS along inclusive and critical directions. I aim to build equitable membership and represent the needs of the existing South Asian/South Asian Studies focused membership at the AAS. In my leadership capacity, I plan to highlight minoritized and marginalized perspectives (religious minority, caste-oppressed, feminist and queer perspectives), advocate for initiatives that speak to critical approaches to region and area (transregional perspectives to South Asia and South Asia diasporas), and strategize responses to pressing political and ethical concerns, including within academic institutions. I look forward to helping build AAS South Asia membership through the UC system, the public university system with which I am affiliated, as well as critical Sikh Studies networks. Finally, I plan to learn from institutional histories and previous AAS leadership to better understand the inner-workings of the AAS and mentor others (especially junior scholars) who will fill leadership roles in the AAS in the future.

Naeem Mohaiemen

Current position: Associate Professor of Visual Arts & Concentration Head of Photography

Institution/Affiliation: Columbia University

Discipline: Visual Arts, Visual Anthropology, Photography, Moving Image

Area or countries of interest: Bangladesh, South Asia, Islamicate World

Specialization or research interests: Naeem Mohaiemen combines photography, films, archives, and essays to research the many forms of utopia-dystopia (families, borders, architecture, and uprisings)—  beginning from Bangladesh’s two postcolonial markers (1947, 1971) and then radiating outward to unlikely, and unstable, transnational alliances and collisions. Despite underlining a historic tendency toward mis-recognition of allies, the hope for a future international left, as an alternative to current silos of race and religion, is always a basis for the work. A through-line in all his work is family unit as locus for pain-beauty dyads, abandoned buildings as staging ground for lost souls, and the necessity of small prevarications to keep on living.


  • Editor, with Eszter Szakáks, Solidarity Must Be Defended: An Anthology on Visual Art Practices Across Nations (Tranzit, forthcoming 2022).
  • “What Was Chobi Mela and What Comes Next,” in Art and its Worlds: Exhibitions, Institutions and Art Becoming Public, eds. Choy, Esche, Morris, Steeds. (Afterall Books, 2021).
  • Prisoners of Shothik Itihash (Correct History) (Kunsthalle Basel, 2014).

Service to the Profession

  • Board Member, Vera List Center for Art & Politics, The New School for Social Research, (2019–present)
  • Board Member, Film Council, Institute for Contemporary Arts, London (2018–present)
  • Curriculum Sub-Committee for Expanded Practices, Columbia University (2022–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

The United States Census, and myriad tributary forms (e.g., healthcare), continue to have “Asian” as an overall, undifferentiated check-box category, despite decades of efforts by scholars and activists to bring in the nuances, differences, and overlaps between regions as diverse as Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Western Asia. As a member of the South Asia Council, I would gently bring this conversation into our governance, programming, and public communication. In addition, I would emphasize expanding the concept of “South Asia” to its constitutive elements, including, but not limited to, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Myanmar, as well as India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

Projit Bihari Mukharji

Current position: Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania

Discipline: History of Science

Area or countries of interest: India, Bangladesh, Myanmar

Specialization or research interests: History of science and medicine in modern South Asia


  • Brown Skins, White Coats: Race Science in India, c. 1920-66 (University of Chicago Press, 2022)
  • Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies and Braided Sciences (University of Chicago Press, 2016)
  • Nationalizing the Body: The Medical Market, Print and Daktari Medicine (Anthem Press, 2009).

Service to the Profession

  • Co-Editor, Osiris
  • Associate Editor, Asian Medicine: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine
  • Council Member, History of Science Society

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

There are two forms of engagement I would love to see more of. First is a greater engagement with the humanistic and social scientific study of science and medicine in Asia. Second, a greater opportunity for conversation between scholars working on different regions of Asia. The first of these would require AAS’s leadership working with the leadership of professional associations in science, technology studies, history of science, medical anthropology, etc. The second could be promoted by working with editors of regionally focused journals. In both cases, AAS leadership could play a mediating role.

Navine Murshid

Current position: Associate Professor of Political Science, Director of International Relations

Institution/Affiliation: Colgate University

Discipline: Political Science

Area or countries of interest: South Asia, Bangladesh, India

Specialization or research interests: Migration, refugees, neoliberalism, ethnicity, nationalism, culture


  • India’s Bangladesh Problem: The Marginalization of Bengali Muslims in Neoliberal Times (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).
  • The Politics of Refugees in South Asia: Identity, Resistance, Manipulation (Routledge, 2013).
  • With NS Murshid, “‘Innovations’ during COVID-19: Microfinance in Bangladesh,” Affilia: Feminist Inquiry in Social Work 37, no. 2 (2022): 232-249.

Service to the Profession

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Bangladesh Studies (2016–2018)
  • Executive Committee Member, Bangladesh Development Initiative (2016–present).
  • Executive Committee Member, Bangladeshi Educators of North America

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

South Asian Studies is heavily dominated by Indian hegemony such that scholarship on India by Indian scholars finds most prominence here. As a self-proclaimed “margins scholar,” I hope to draw attention to peripheralized perspectives at the Council and help foster an inclusive space for scholarship on countries and peoples deemed less important by global powers in the interest of a more democratic process of knowledge production.

Sasanka Perera

Current position: Professor of Sociology and Dean, Social Sciences

Institution/Affiliation: South Asian University

Discipline: Sociology/cultural anthropology

Area or countries of interest: South Asia/Sri Lanka/Nepal/India

Specialization or research interests: Urbanization and spatial politics; education; ethnicity, nationalism and political violence in Sri Lanka/South Asia; politics of memory; visual cultures; the idea of South Asia


  • Fear of the Visual? Photography, Anthropology and the Anxieties of Seeing (Orient BlackSwan, 2020).
  • Warzone Tourism in Sri Lanka: Tales from Darker Places in Paradise (Sage, 2016)
  • Violence and the Burden of Memory: Remembrance and Erasure in Sinhala Consciousness (Orient BlackSwan, 2015).

Service to the Profession

  • Vice President, South Asian University, New Delhi (2016–2019)
  • Founding Editor, Society and Culture in South Asia (2015–2020)
  • Chairman, Colombo Institute for the Advanced Study of Society and Culture, Sri Lanka (2003–2010)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

South Asia produces a significant body of work in English as well as numerous local languages, though most of it does not reach global forums due to issues of language as well as politics of location. I would like to explore ways to allow some of this knowledge to transgress the language and locational borders   that restrict them and enter global discourses through AAS. Also, it is necessary to complicate the idea of South Asia itself in research and writing and find ways for its political pluralism to more clearly manifest in centers of knowledge production, including AAS.

Southeast Asia Council Nominees

Michitake Aso

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University at Albany, SUNY

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Specialization or research interests: Environmental and medical history


  • “Mapping Invasion: Biological Warfare During the First Indochina War,” for Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History, directed by Kate McDonald and David Ambaras,
  • Rubber and the Making of Vietnam: An Ecological History, 1897-1975 (University of North Carolina Press, 2018).
  • “Learning to Heal the People: Socialist Medicine and Education in Vietnam, 1945-1954,” in Translating the Body: Medical Education in Southeast Asia, eds. Hans Pols, C. Michele Thompson, and John Harley Warner (National University of Singapore Press, 2017).

Service to the Profession

  • Executive Committee, Vietnam Studies Group (2018–2021)
  • Book Review Editor, H-Envirohealth (2016–present)
  • Program Committee, History of Medicine in Southeast Asia Conference (2015–2016)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

As a SEAC member, I would promote the presence of Vietnamese and Southeast Asian studies within AAS and work to ensure the health of the organization overall. For me this means continuing to advocate for diversity and the inclusion of scholars from Southeast Asia. It also means expanding engagement with the digital humanities and encouraging effective communication, both in person and online. Finally, I would seek to raise awareness among the public of the myriad environmental and health challenges currently facing the region.

Netra Eng

Current position: Executive Director

Institution/Affiliation: Cambodia Development Resource Institute

Discipline: Public Policy

Area or countries of interest: Southeast Asia

Specialization or research interests: Public policy, political economy, state-society relations, gender equality


  • With Astrid Norén-Nilsson, “Pathways to Leadership within and beyond Cambodian Civil Society: Elite Status and Boundary Crossing,” Politics and Governance 8, no. 3 (2020).
  • With Caroline Hughes, “Coming of Age in Peace, Prosperity, and Connectivity: Cambodia’s Young Electorate and Its Impact on the Ruling Party’s Political Strategies,” Critical Asian Studies  49, no. 3 (2017): 396-410.
  • With Caroline Hughes, “Peace Formation in Cambodia,” in Post-Liberal Peace Transitions: Between Peace Formation and State Formation, eds. Oliver Richmond and Sandra Pogodda, (Edinburgh University Press, 2016).

Service to the Profession

  • Board member, Youth Star Cambodia, (2017–present)
  • Civil Society Expert Team in Cambodia (2010–2020)
  • Fulbright Alumni Board (2003–2006)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

To support the AAS to be more accessible and more engaged with scholars, researchers, students, and policymakers from Southeast Asian countries, particularly from under-represented countries and groups of emerging researchers, in strengthening interests, participation, exchange, and collaboration in the Asian Studies.

Jenna Grant

Current position: Assistant Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University of Washington

Discipline: Anthropology

Area or countries of interest: Cambodia; Southeast Asia; Southeast Asian America

Specialization or research interests: Cultural anthropology; social studies of science, technology, and medicine; visual studies; multimodal anthropology


  • Fixing the Image: Ultrasound and the Visuality of Care in Phnom Penh (University of Washington Press, 2022).
  • “Portrait and Scan,” Public Culture 33, no. 3 (2021): 349-369.
  •  “Repair in Translation,” East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal 14 (2020): 15-33. DOI 10.1215/18752160-8233535

Service to the Profession

  • Board member, Thailand/Laos/Cambodia Group (2016–2018)
  • Organizer and host, visit of Cambodian diasporic filmmaker Rithy Panh to University of Washington as Walker Ames Scholar (2018)
  • Reviews editor (founding), Medicine Anthropology Theory (online, open-access journal) (2013–2016)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

If elected, I would look forward to supporting scholarship and creative work about, from, and for Southeast Asia. This could involve new methods of institutional collaboration, building on insights from my ongoing work with Center for Khmer Studies and the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center in Cambodia. It could involve focused conversations with Asian American Studies, inspired by ongoing work with scholars in American Ethnic Studies (where I am Adjunct Assistant Professor) and with community activists and cultural workers in Seattle/Tacoma.

Paul Hutchcroft

Current position: Professor of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs

Institution/Affiliation: College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

Discipline: Politics

Area or countries of interest: Southeast Asia

Specialization or research interests: Southeast Asian politics and comparative politics, with a particular focus on the Philippines


  • Co-author, with Edward Aspinall, Meredith L. Weiss, and Allen Hicken, Mobilizing for Elections: Patronage and Political Machines in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2022).
  • Co-author, with Weena Gera, “Strong-Arming, Weak Steering: Central-Local Relations in the Philippines in the Era of the Pandemic,” Philippine Political Science Journal (forthcoming 2022).
  • Co-author, with Ronald D. Holmes, “The Philippines in 2021: The Decline of the House of Duterte?,” Southeast Asian Affairs 2022 (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2022).

Service to the Profession

  • AAS Program Committee Chair (2006–2007)
  • Founding Director, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (2009–2013)
  • Overall chief investigator of ANU project on democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Southeast Asia (2018–2021)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

Service on the Southeast Asian Council would build on involvement with the AAS that began more than 30 years ago. I greatly value the way in which AAS facilitates the exchange of ideas not only across disciplines, but also among scholars who focus on different countries in Southeast Asia and indeed among those who focus on different regions of Asia. As a scholar of Philippine politics, and Southeast Asian comparative politics more generally, I have worked to make contributions of value both to academic and to practitioner audiences (often in close collaboration with colleagues in Southeast Asia, including many junior scholars). As a member of SEAC, I would seek opportunities to foster programs that encourage various types of productive dialogue: across disciplines, across borders and regions, across cohorts of our profession, and across the scholarly-practitioner divide.

Allan Lumba

Current position: Assistant Professor

Institution/Affiliation: Virginia Tech

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: United States

Specialization or research interests: Throughout almost fifteen years in academia, I’ve been exploring the entanglements of race, capitalism, and colonialism in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific in my writing. I also enjoy teaching about Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian diasporic films, fiction, art, music, and culture. I also bridge much of Southeast Asia with the broader world, especially the worlds of the Atlantic and the Caribbean in my teaching and public dialogue.


  • Monetary Authorities: Capitalism and Decolonization in the American Colonial Philippines (Duke University Press, 2022).
  • “Left Alone With the Colony,” Journal of Critical Ethnic Studies 7, no. 1 (Spring 2021).
  • “Transpacific Migration, Racial Surplus, and Colonial Settlement,” in Histories of Racial Capitalism, eds. Justin Leroy and Destin Jenkins (Columbia University Press, 2021), pp. 111-134.

Service to the Profession

  • Advisory Board member, Philippine Studies Group

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

My scholarly and pedagogical commitment has been to critically explore how and why the peoples, cultures, and histories of Southeast Asia offer much in thinking about the major and urgent global questions of the present. I am invested in strengthening and supporting AAS initiatives in bridging scholarship of Southeast Asia (and Asia more broadly) to pressing social and political issues, such as transnational anti-Asian racism, climate catastrophe, refugee and migrant crisis, global anti-Blackness, and international wealth inequality. My vision entails a collective and collaborative effort, not only with scholars in the Global North, but scholars across the Global South—across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well exploring beyond traditional paywalled media platforms, to engage broader, wider, and differently literate publics.

Mary Mostafanezhad

Current position: Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Discipline: Geography and Environment

Area or countries of interest: Southeast Asia

Specialization or research interests: I am a human geographer broadly interested in development and socio-environmental change in Southeast Asia. Development geography encompasses the range of socio-economic activity that unevenly affects people’s livelihoods and wellbeing. My scholarship engages with these themes through the analysis of tourism, agriculture, and infrastructure. My work on socio-environmental change draws on political ecology framings that account for the range of political and economic drivers of environmental degradation and socio-ecological movements. I focus on how these processes materialize in the contexts of air pollution, forest degradation, and agrarian transitions. Collectively, my work asks, how is everyday experience mediated by broader transnational processes and with what social and environmental implications? I seek answers to this question through ethnographic fieldwork and in popular culture and other textual representations, as well as collaboratively with GIS and remote sensing specialists.


  • With Sebro, T., Prasse-Freeman, E., and Norum, R., “Surplus Precaritization: Supply Chain Capitalism and the Geoeconomics of Hope in Myanmar’s Borderlands,” Political Geography 95 (2022): 102561.
  • With Dressler, W., “Violent Atmospheres: Political Ecologies of Livelihoods and Crises in Southeast Asia,” Geoforum 124 (2021): 343-347.
  • With Evrard, O. “Chronopolitics of Crisis: A Historical Political Ecology of Seasonal Air Pollution in Northern Thailand,” Geoforum 124 (2021): 400-408.

Service to the Profession

  • Executive Committee, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
  • Affiliated Researcher, Chiang Mai University
  • Editor and Chief, Tourism Geographies

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I will represent the interests of the Southeast Asia contingent by supporting initiatives that will help grow the representation of Southeast Asian scholars as well as scholars of Southeast Asia in the AAS. I also anticipate contributing to the further development of diversity and inclusion in the AAS through the support of financial, mentoring, and publication opportunities for early career scholars. Finally, I will contribute to the ongoing growth of timely AAS scholarship on issues such as environmental change, regional politics, and health and wellness in Southeast Asia by supporting initiatives that address new research agendas in the region.

Ardeth Thawnghmung

Current position: Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University of Massachusetts Lowell

Discipline: Political Science

Area or countries of interest: Myanmar

Specialization or research interests: Political economy, ethnic politics, political violence, Myanmar/Southeast Asia, qualitative research methods/research ethics


  • With Jacques Bertrand and Alex Pelletier, Winning by Process: The State, Democratic Transition, Ethnic Conflict in Myanmar (Cornell University Press, forthcoming 2022).
  • The Everyday Economic Survival in Contemporary Myanmar (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019).
  • The “Other” Karen in Myanmar: Ethnic Minorities and the Struggle Without Arms (Lexington Books/Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, 2012).

Service to the Profession

  • President, SayDaNar Community Development Center, Lowell MA (2012–present)
  • Southeast Asia Regional editor, Critical Asian Studies (2020–present)
  • AAS Southeast Asia Council (2012–2015)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

To promote diversity and inclusivity in governance and conference participation by making easier access to Southeast Asia-based scholars; to create educational opportunities for faculty and students from conflict-affected areas; fund raising for the Council through endowment.

Council of Conferences Nominees

New York Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS)

Nathen Clerici

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: SUNY New Paltz

Discipline: Literature

Area or countries of interest: Japan

Specialization or research interests: modern Japanese fiction & film; subculture


  • “Yumeno Kysūaku and the Spirit of the Local,” Japanese Studies 39, no. 1 (March 2019): 75-94.
  • “Performance and Nonsense: Osaki Midori’s ‘Strange Love,’” Japanese Language and Literature 51, no. 2 (October 2017): 271-304.
  • “History, ‘Subcultural Imagination,’ and the Enduring Appeal of Murakami Haruki,” Journal of Japanese Studies 42, no. 2 (Summer 2016): 247-78.

Service to the Profession

  • NYCAS Executive Board Member (2017–present)
  • NYCAS host and co-organizer (2019)
  • Faculty Senator (Languages, Literatures & Cultures Representative) (2019–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I want to encourage continued support for regional conferences, which play an important role for fostering scholarship and teaching networks, especially for early-career scholars. They also encourage local outreach. The variety of funding programs and publishing venues AAS provides is impressive, and given the challenges to research projects during the Covid pandemic, these resources must be continually supported and even expanded. Again, this is particularly important for early-career scholars.

Patricia Welch

Current position: Professor of Japanese and Comparative Literature

Institution/Affiliation: Hofstra University

Discipline: Japanese Literature and Language

Area or countries of interest: Japan primarily

Specialization or research interests: Modern Japanese fiction, including Murakami Haruki, detective fiction; also rakugo, comic oral narrative


  • “Trumping 1Q84/Nineteen Eighty Four: Reading Murakami in a Dystopian Era,” in Murakami Haruki and Our Years of Pilgrimage, eds. Gitte Marianne Hansen and Michael Tsang (Routledge, 2022).
  • With Mari Fujimoto, NipponGO! An Introduction to Elementary Modern Japanese Language (Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2017).
  • “A Consideration of Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life.” Book and essay translated into Vietnamese as Kokoro – Những Ám Thị Và Âm Vang Trong Đời Sống Nội Tại Nhật Bản and published by NXB Thế Giới, Phương Nam Book, 2018. Essay originally published in reissued edition of Lafcadio Hearn’s Kokoro: Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner Life (Tuttle, 2011).

Service to the Profession

  • NYCAS representative, AAS Council of Conferences (2009–2011)
  • President, NYCAS Executive Board (2005–2008, 2008–2011, 2011–2014, 2015–2018, 2018–2021)
  • Representative, NYCAS Executive Board (2004–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

The COC serves as a vital bridge between the larger AAS body and the regional conferences. As a COC officer and a long-standing member of the NYCAS board, I would work hard to promote exchange and collaboration between NYCAS, AAS, and the other regional conferences. I am also excited about the opportunities to continue the COC’s mission of providing outreach opportunities for the regional conferences. In addition, I would like to promote greater opportunities to support emerging scholars’ work through increased participation at regional and national conferences.

Southeast Conference of the AAS (SEC/AAS)

Annika A. Culver

Current position: Associate Professor of East Asian History

Institution/Affiliation: Florida State University

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Japan and Northeast Asia (Northeast China, Korea)

Specialization or research interests: My research and publications have focused on propaganda and advertising, cultural production in Manchuria/Manchukuo and the Japanese empire, the history of science in Japan, and more recently, the growth of Japanese consumer capitalism. My latest project involves a microhistory of U.S.-Japan relations as revealed within the movements of a trans-oceanic Japanese-American noble family in the twentieth century.


  • Japan’s Empire of Birds: Aristocrats, Anglo-Americans, and Transwar Ornithology (Bloomsbury Press, 2022)
  • Editor, with Norman Smith, Manchukuo Perspectives: Transnational Approaches to Literary Production (Hong Kong University Press, 2019).
  • Glorify the Empire: Japanese Avant-Garde Propaganda in Manchukuo (University of British Columbia Press, 2013; University of Washington Press, 2014).

Service to the Profession

  • Scholar, US-Japan Network for the Future (2012–present)
  • Executive Board, Member at Large, Southeastern Council of the Association for Asian Studies (2019–present)
  • Editorial Board, Texas National Security Review (2020–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

Since 2012, I have served as a scholar in the US-Japan Network for the Future, a group initiated by the late Ezra Vogel to connect academics to foreign policy communities. I also belong to the Editorial Board of the Texas National Security Review (TNSR). As a cultural and intellectual historian, I highly support diversity of viewpoints, as well as interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to global issues benefiting from multifaceted understandings of history. In addition, I strongly believe in advocating for additional support for solo parents to attend AAS meetings, as well as encouraging and funding graduate student conference participation as essential to career growth. Fostering inclusion in our profession is also a priority, and establishing strong mentorship for early, and mid-career, scholars in under-represented fields and communities.

Kevin Fogg

Current position: Associate Director, Carolina Asia Center

Institution/Affiliation: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Southeast Asia, Indonesia

Specialization or research interests: Islamic history in Indonesia


  • Indonesia’s Islamic Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2020)
  • “Indonesian Socialism of the 1950’s: From Ideology to Rhetoric,” Third World Quarterly, special issue on “Marx and Lenin in Asia and Africa: Socialism(s) and Socialist Legacies,” 42, no. 3 (2021): 465-482.
  • With Saipul Hamdi, “The Indonesian Central Government in Local Conflict Resolution: Lessons from the Reconciliation of Nahdlatul Wathan,” Indonesia 112 (2021).

Service to the Profession

  • Local Arrangements Chair, 2021 annual meeting of the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies
  • Interim President, Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (2022-23)
  • Editorial Board, Indonesia and the Malay World (2014–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

Having worked in a tenure-track position in Europe, a lecturer and research collaborator in Southeast Asia, and now as an administrator in the United States, I know that Asian Studies requires leaders with many different skills and backgrounds. I hope to increase support for the teaching of Asia at minority-serving institutions and community colleges (I am also active in this area through my position administering a U.S. Department of Education-funded National Resource Center). I also want to amplify the voices of non-professors who contribute to the discipline through their research, activism, and administrative roles.

Li-ling Hsiao

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: UNC-Chapel Hill

Discipline: art, literature, and theater

Area or countries of interest: China

Specialization or research interests: illustrations of Ming drama, Chinese traditional theater, Chinese paintings, guqin music, poetry by Wang Wei


  • “Beyond Words: The Writing and Reading of the Color Stationery in the Illustrations of Xixiang Ji by Min Qiji,” Art Collection and Appreciation, no. 4 (Dec. 2018): 83-100.
  • “Picturing Qin Music: Min Qiji and Others’ Illustrations of ‘Yingying Listens to Qin’ in Xixiang ji,” Ming Qing Studies (2018): 189–230.
  • “Theater and Society in the Ming World” in the Ming World project, ed. Kenneth Swope (Routledge, 2018), 183–199.

Service to the Profession

  • Co-editor, Southeast Review of Asian Studies (2010–2013)
  • President, Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (2014–15)
  • Secretary/Treasurer, Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (2016–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

Encourage the members of Southeast Regional Conferences to participate in AAS and the annual meetings, the academic institutions to host regional conferences to promote the awareness of Asian Studies in institutions that do not have an obvious presence of Asian Studies.

Southwest Conference on Asian Studies (SWCAS)

Paul Clark

Current position: Professor

Institution/Affiliation: West Texas A&M University

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Japan

Specialization or research interests: Modern Japanese history, language  history, Kokugo Studies


  • Commodore Perry’s Visit to Japan: A Short History with Documents (Hackett Publishing, 2020).
  • The Kokugo Revolution: Education, Identity, and Language Policy in Imperial Japan (Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California Press, 2009).
  • “Seinan Jo Gakuin, Women’s Schools and Parochial Education in Taishō Japan,” Journal of the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies 8 (September 2015): 146-160.

Service to the Profession

  • Chair, AAS Council of Conferences (2013–2014)
  • Editor, Southwest Journal on Asian Studies (2008–2020)
  • President and Program Chair, Southwest Conference on Asian Studies (2009)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I would like for the AAS to continue to advocate for and promote scholarly investigation into the peoples of Asia, facilitate networking and exchange between cultures, and support career development of its members. I can think of few changes I would like to see in the leadership and governance of the body as it is currently constituted.

Jooyoun Lee

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: St. Edward’s University

Discipline: Global Studies and Political Science

Area or countries of interest: Northeast Asia, Japan, Korea, Asia-U.S. Relations

Specialization or research interests: Historical memory, conflict and reconciliation in Asia, international/Asian security, discourse and narrative, knowledge production, gender and politics, popular culture, imperialism and decolonization, East Asian politics, East Asian international relations, Asia-U.S. relations


  • “Healing an Abnormalized Body: Bringing the Agency of Unseen People Back to the Inter-Korean Border,” Third World Quarterly (2021), advance online publication at
  • “Yasukuni and Hiroshima in Clash? War and Peace Museums in Contemporary Japan,” Pacific Focus 33, no. 1 (2018): 5-33.
  • “The Korean Wave: Korean Popular Culture at the Intersection of State, Economy, and History,” in Asia in International Relations: Unlearning Imperial Power Relations, eds. Pinar Bilgin and L.H.M. Ling (Routledge, 2017), pp. 172-183.

Service to the Profession

  • President, Southwest Conference on Asian Studies (2018–2019)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Southwest Conference on Asian Studies (2017–2020, 2021–2024)
  • Member, L.H.M. Ling Outstanding First Book Prize Committee, British International Studies Association (2020, 2021)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance I would be honored to serve as the representative of the Southwest Conference on Asian Studies (SWCAS) to the Council of Conferences of the Association for Asian Studies. I believe that my experience as the President of the SWCAS in 2018–2019 has provided me with valuable lessons that have developed my critical understanding of how to bridge the SWCAS and the AAS. As a liaison between the two, I hope to bring diverse voices from the members of the SWCAS to the AAS and collaborate with other regional conferences and AAS leadership in a way to promote transparent communication, inclusive learning, and mutual growth. I will work to contribute to creating multiple spaces where new connections for and diverse knowledge about Asia are produced in order to vitalize Asian Studies.

Leah Renold

Current position: Associate Professor

Institution/Affiliation: Texas State University

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: India

Specialization or research interests: My work explores the complex inter-relationships between Hindu identity, Hindu-Muslims relations, education, and colonial policy during the Indian independence movement. My first book was Hindu Education: The Early Years of Banaras University (OUP). I have continued to work on Hindu nationalism in Uttar Pradesh and have a forthcoming book, Hindu Interests: The Life and Times of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. My current research focuses on the environmental history of the Ganges River during the colonial period.


  • “Nationalist Education: The Case of Banaras Hindu University and Malaviya,” in Handbook of Education Systems in Asia, eds. P. M. Sarangapani and R. Pappu (Springer Nature, 2021).
  • “The Maharaja and the Brahman: The Subordination of History to Myth,” in Hidden Histories: Religion and Reform in South Asia, eds. Manu Bhagavan and Syed Akbar Hyder (Primus Books, 2018).
  • “The Mahatma and the Missionary: Gandhi’s Conflicting Accounts of His First Encounter with Christianity,” Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 19, no. 1 (Spring 2018). Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/cch.2018.0006.

Service to the Profession

  • Treasurer, Southwest Conference on Asian Studies (2020–present)
  • Editorial Board Member, Indian Journal of Dalit and Tribal Studies (2020–present)
  • Organized Roundtable Discussion and Lecture by Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi on white nationalism in the U.S. and Hindu nationalism in India, Texas State University (October 2021)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I am happy to work with the AAS as it continues its efforts to promote transparency and increased inclusiveness in its governance. In addition to the promotion of scholarship and intellectual exchange, I support the active engagement of the AAS in social justice issues related to gender, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity. As global citizens and educators, the members of the AAS have a responsibility to work both within the organization and outside against oppression, discrimination, and authoritarianism.

Diversity & Equity Committee Nominees

Graduate Student Nominees

Felicity Stone-Richards

Current position: PhD Student

Institution/Affiliation: University of California, Santa Barbara

Discipline: Political Science

Area or countries of interest: Japan, Northeast Asia, United States

Specialization or research interests: Contemporary Japan politics, Japanese anti-racist activism, and Afro-Japanese intellectual exchange


  •  “Afro-Japanese Feminist Practice: Reading Fujimoto Kazuko, Yoshida Ruiko and Chikappu Mieko,” in Who Is the Asianist? The Politics of Representation in Asian Studies, eds. Will Bridges, Nitasha Tamar Sharma, and Marvin D. Sterling (Association for Asian Studies, forthcoming 2022).
  • Review, “The Color Line: Les Artistes Africains-Americains et la Ségregation, Paris, Quai Branly, 04 October 2016 – 15 January 2017,” Detroit Research 3 (Spring 2022).

Service to the Profession

  • President, UCSB Graduate Student Association (2021–2022)
  • VP for External Affairs, UCSB Graduate Student Association (2020–2021)
  • President, Political Science Graduate Student Association (2019–2020)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

I am excited to have the opportunity to represent graduate student interests in the Diversity & Equity Committee for the Association for Asian Studies. I have three years of experience in graduate student advocacy and have detailed knowledge of the structural barriers affecting all kinds of graduate students. I will assist in developing policies that will increase support for Black scholars in Asian Studies, and particularly Black graduate students. I will also advocate for increasing financial travel support for graduate student conference presenters.

Veronica Sison

Current position: Teaching Associate

Institution/Affiliation: University of the Philippines Diliman

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: Southeast Asia, Philippines

Specialization or research interests: Cold War Asia, post-war history of Southeast Asia and the Philippines, labor migration history, social history


  • Review of Women Who Stay: Seafaring and Subjectification in an Ilocos Town, by Roderick G. Galam, Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints 67, no. 2 (2019): 265-268. doi:10.1353/phs.2019.0014.

Service to the Profession

  • Research Fellow, Cold War Archives Research Institute Fellowship under the History and Public Policy Program of the Wilson Center (December 2021–June 2022)
  • Overseas Research Assistant, Reconceptualizing the Cold War Project in Asia under Professor Masuda Hajimu of the National University of Singapore (April 2020–December 2021)
  • Core Group, Reading Group Landscapes of Southeast Asia: Spaces, Times, Disciplines hosted by the Centre of South Asian Studies (under Dr. Michael Edwards and Dr. Nicole Aboitiz), University of Cambridge (2021–present)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

As a Filipina scholar based in Manila, I have been exposed to and greatly benefited from various research and mentorship programs locally and internationally. By running for a position in the DEC, I hope to provide a platform to enrich the AAS community and promote its programs and opportunities to my fellow scholars based in the peripheries, such as provinces and far-flung communities.

Tenure-track/Adjunct/Non-tenure-track/Independent Scholar Nominees

Mark Bookman

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow

Institution/Affiliation: Tokyo College, the University of Tokyo

Discipline: Disability Studies

Area or countries of interest: Japan

Specialization or research interests: 1) Disability history and policy; 2) minority social movements; 3) inclusive education and employment; 4) accessible built environments; and 5) equitable disaster risk management


  • “The Coronavirus Crisis: Disability Politics and Activism in Contemporary Japan,” Japan Focus: The Asia–Pacific Journal 18, no. 3 (2020): 1–13.
  • “Creating ‘Disability Publics’ in Postwar Japan (1937-1957),” Journal of Japanese Studies 49, no. 2 (forthcoming 2023).
  • “A Recent History of Activism for Accessibility in Japan (1981–2006),” Disability Studies Quarterly 43, no. 1 (forthcoming 2023).

Service to the Profession

  • International Committee Member, Japan Society for Disability Studies (2021–present)
  • Accessibility Consultant, Organizing Committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (2018–2021)
  • Chairperson of the Committee for Equity and Access, University of Pennsylvania Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (2017–2018)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

If elected to the AAS Diversity and Equity Committee, I would help draft accessibility guidelines for all organizational activities by mobilizing my personal experiences and professional expertise as a wheelchair user and historian of disability policy in Japanese and global contexts. To date, the AAS has demonstrated its commitment to inclusion by offering some people from diverse backgrounds accommodations on an ad-hoc basis at specific events: for example, quiet rooms, infant changing stations, childcare services, and hybrid presentation modes. I would expand and formalize such accommodations by introducing a list of best practices for real-time captioning, image descriptions, preferred terminology, and related services for all AAS programs, which can empower disabled persons, foreign language learners, sexual minorities, and other demographics. By working with members of the AAS community to implement new policies around accessibility, I aim to incentivize the recruitment and retention of diverse academics interested in Asia, reduce the association’s carbon footprint, and amplify its contributions towards a more equitable society.

Lin Li

Current position: Assistant Professor

Institution/Affiliation: University of St. Thomas

Discipline: History

Area or countries of interest: East Asia

Specialization or research interests: Trained in East Asian history with a minor in gender and women’s studies, Lin is interested in the interactions among gender, disability, race, and imperialism in East Asia and across the Pacific. 


  • “Integrating Black Feminist Studies, Transforming ‘Comfort Women’ Scholarship,” invited paper contribution to an edited volume on latest trends in studies on the “comfort women” issue edited by Mary McCarthy (forthcoming 2023/24).
  • “‘Comfort Women’ Memorials at the Crossroads of Ultranationalist, Feminist, and Decolonial Critiques: Triangulating Japan, South Korea, and the United States,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies 43, no. 3 (forthcoming January 2023).
  • Review of Embodied Reckonings: “Comfort Women,” Performance, and Transpacific Redress, Journal of Asian Studies 78, no. 4 (2019): 1001-3.

Service to the Profession

  • Co-chair, the North American Asian Feminist Collective caucus, National Women’s Studies Association (2022–present); active committee member on the caucus since 2019
  • Editor and contributor to Gender News, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University (2020–present)
  • Co-organizer, Third and Fourth Trans-Asia Graduate Student Conferences, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2015–2016, 2014–2015)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

If I were elected a non-student member of the Diversity and Equity Committee, I would be dedicated to making three major contributions to AAS leadership and governance through my service: (1) bringing in an anti-racist feminist of color lens, which means I will actively plan academic talks, forums, teaching resource sessions, and in-person events at Annual Conferences that address how the field of Asian Studies can be transformed through feminist and anti-racist perspectives; (2) promoting a wider awareness of barriers faced by scholars with disabilities in the field of Asian Studies, and implementing appropriate accommodations and overall changes to make virtual events and in-person conferences more inclusive and equitable; and (3) supporting students and junior scholars of Asian Studies, especially those who are of international immigrant status, who don’t have stable funding, and who have young children.

Wen Liu

Current position: Assistant Research Fellow

Institution/Affiliation: Academia Sinica

Discipline: Institute of Ethnology

Area or countries of interest: Taiwan, East Asia, Transpacific

Specialization or research interests: queer theory, Asian/American Studies, diaspora, affect theory, critical race theory, decoloniality, interimperial rivalry


  • “Boundless China and Backward Asians: Hegemonic Confucianism as Epistemological Violence in Queer Psychology,” Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science 56 (2022): 491–505.
  • Editor, with Chien, J.N., Chung, C., and Tse, E., Reorienting Hong Kong’s Struggle: Leftism, Decoloniality, and Internationalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).
  • “Complicity and Resistance: Asian American Body Politics in Black Lives Matter,” Journal of Asian American Studies 21, no. 3 (2018): 421-451.

Service to the Profession

  • Chair, North American Asian Feminists Caucus at National Women’s Studies Association (2020–2022)
  • Co-Director, Taiwan Feminist Scholars Association (2021–2022)
  • Editorial Board member, Current Sociology (2020–2023)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

My vision for the position is to increase interdisciplinary and inter-regional dialogues, specifically between Asian Studies and Asian American Studies. In light of the globalization of Black struggles as well as the increasingly hostile conservative backlash, I believe it’s critical for the Association for Asian Studies to closely engage with the questions of race and racial power in the context of Asia and the Asian diaspora. I would like to propose programs and special issues that deal with Black-Asian interracial solidarity and critically approach questions around the racial formation in Asian societies.

David Oh

Current position: Associate Professor of Communication Arts

Institution/Affiliation: Ramapo College of New Jersey

Discipline: Communication

Area or countries of interest: South Korea

Specialization or research interests: Korean media culture & alterity; transnational reception of Korean popular culture (racial difference and diaspora)


  • “‘Feminists Really Are Crazy’: The Isu Station Incident and the Creation of Androcentric, Misogynistic Community on YouTube,” Journal of International & Intercultural Communication (advance online publication).
  • With Han, M. W. “Globalization from Above and Below: Rejecting Superficial Multiculturalism and Igniting Anti-Korean Sentiment in Japan,” International Journal of Cultural Studies 25, no. 1 (2022): 51-67.
  • Whitewashing the Movies: Asian Erasure and White Subjectivity in U.S. Film Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2022). 

Service to the Profession

  • Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, Access Committee, International Communication Association (2021–present)
  • Immediate Past Chair, Critical & Cultural Studies Division, National Communication Association (2022)
  • Minority Faculty Staff Association President, Ramapo College of New Jersey (2020–2021)

Statement of Vision for AAS Leadership and Governance

My vision for leadership is to empower all members to have a voice and stake in the direction of AAS. As a scholar with ties to communication, cultural studies, ethnic studies, and contemporary Korean studies and as a colleague with scholarly and service commitments to D.E.I., I would bring a unique perspective as well as intellectual and social commitments to equality and social justice in the field of Asian Studies. My goal would be to make space for those who have been historically marginalized in the field, including scholars of color, queer scholars, women scholars, scholars whose work sits outside the dominant sites of inquiry, and scholars from underrepresented interdisciplinary fields.


Name of China & Inner Asia Council

Issue 1:  Member vote on changing the China & Inner Asia Council to the East & Inner Asia Council.

At its March 2022 meeting, the AAS Board of Directors approved the following motion:

The name of the CIAC is unique among the association’s four area councils in that its label centers on one particular country. The names of the various councils are intended to encompass the variety of fields in them. Some scholars in the CIAC have felt that highlighting one modern country’s name in the council title misrepresents the diversity of the areas and time periods that they study and marginalizes their work. In order to redress these concerns, we propose changing the name of the “China and Inner Asia Council” (CIAC) to the “East and Inner Asia Council” (EIAC).

The AAS Board of Directors seeks membership approval to change the name of the China & Inner Asia Council to the East & Inner Asia Council in the AAS Constitution and Bylaws.

Current (AAS Constitution):

Article V, Section 7. Councils

(a) The China and Inner Asia Council, the Northeast Asia Council, South Asia Council, and the Southeast Asia Council constitute the four major divisions of the Association relating to areas of scholarly interest in Asia.

Proposed (AAS Constitution)

Article V, Section 7. Councils

(a) The East and Inner Asia Council, the Northeast Asia Council, South Asia Council, and the Southeast Asia Council constitute the four major divisions of the Association relating to areas of scholarly interest in Asia.

If approved, this name change in Section 7(a) of the AAS Constitution will apply to all appearances of “China and Inner Asia Council” throughout the document.

Current (AAS Bylaws)

12. Area Councils

(a) The four major regions of Asia shall be deemed to refer to: China and Inner Asia; Northeast Asia; South Asia; and Southeast Asia.

Proposed (AAS Bylaws)

12. Area Councils

(a) The four major regions of Asia shall be deemed to refer to: East and Inner Asia; Northeast Asia; South Asia; and Southeast Asia.

If approved, this name change in Section 12(a) of the AAS Bylaws will apply to all appearances of “China and Inner Asia Council” throughout the document.

Removal of Gender-Specific Language

Issue 2: Proposed Amendment to Remove Gender-Specific Language from AAS Constitution and Bylaws

This proposal seeks to make the AAS Constitution and Bylaws more inclusive through removal of all gender-specific language in the documents. If approved, all instances of the pronouns “he” and “she” and variations thereof will be changed to “they,” “them,” and “their” throughout the Constitution and Bylaws.

AAS Council Chair Terms of Service

Issue 3. Membership vote on instituting two-year terms of service on the AAS Board for Council Chairs

The AAS Board of Directors proposes the following amendments to sections 12 and 13 of the AAS Bylaws:


Section 12. Area Councils

(a) The four major regions of Asia shall be deemed to refer to: China and Inner Asia; Northeast Asia; South Asia; and Southeast Asia.

(b) There shall be one council to represent each of the four major regions of Asia, designated as: the China and Inner Asia Council; the Northeast Asia Council; the South Asia Council; and the Southeast Asia Council.

(c) Each council shall be charged with promoting and developing the Association’s interest for the geographic area. Collectively, all four area councils and the Council of Conferences shall serve as the major policy body for the Association, and shall serve as liaison between the Board of Directors and the members at large.

(d) Each of the four area councils shall consist of nine members elected for three-year staggered terms so that three new members shall be elected each year.

(e) Each of the four area councils shall elect annually a chairperson and a vice-chairperson. These Council officers may be reelected for up to three terms. The chairperson shall be a member of the Board of Directors.

(f) Insofar as the electoral process permits, each council shall be constituted in such a manner that the several disciplinary and/or geographic interests of the membership concerned with that major region are adequately represented.

(g) A council may establish committees or groups for the study of particular countries, regions, or topics within the area of its specific geographic concern, or for the management of some part of the council’s program. Such committees or groups shall normally have a rotating membership, and will become recognized as a part of the Association upon approval by the Board of Directors. All persons serving on such committees or groups shall be members of the Association. The committee or group must meet the legal, financial, and reporting requirements of the Association.

(h) The Board of Directors shall consult the councils for advice on staffing and policy, and may request each council to designate a representative of that council to serve on any committee of the Association.

Section 13. Council of Conferences

(a) The Council of Conferences represents the interests of the several regional conferences concerned with Asian studies.

(b) It shall be charged with promoting and developing interest in Asia and the encouragement of the scholarly and more popular understanding of Asia in the regions of its concern. The Council of Conferences shall serve as a liaison between the Board of Directors and participants in the various conferences.

(c) The Council shall consist of one member from each regional conference elected for three-year staggered terms so that new members shall be elected each year.

(d) The Council of Conferences shall consult with the constituent conferences to assure an appropriate rotation of actual nominations for the council so that no constituent conference is unrepresented on the council. In case a position becomes vacant among the members of the council, the position shall be filled by the person nominated by the same regional conference who received the next highest number of votes for that position.

(e) The Council of Conferences shall elect its chairperson and vice-chairperson annually from among its membership. These council officers may be reelected for more than one term. The chairperson shall be a member of the Board of Directors.

(f) The Board of Directors shall consult the Council of Conferences on staffing and policy, and may request the council to designate a representative of that council to serve on any committee of the Association.


Section 12. Area Councils

(d) Each of the four area councils shall consist of nine members elected for three-year staggered terms so that three new members shall be elected each year, subject to the exceptions provided for in (e) and (f) in this section.

(e) Each of the four area councils shall elect a Chair every two years and a vice-Chair annually. The Council Chair will serve for two years and may not be reelected; the Vice-Chair may be reelected for up to three terms. The Chair shall be a member of the Board of Directors.

(f) If a Council member is elected as Chair for two years and this would mean that this member would exceed the normal three-year term on the Council, the Council can allow this extension of service for up to two years, during which period the Council will have ten members at any given point in time (with some financial implications and need for cutbacks).

Section 13. Council of Conferences

(c)The Council shall consist of one member from each regional conference elected for three-year staggered terms so that new members shall be elected each year, subject to the exceptions provided for in (f) in this section.

(e) The Council of Conferences shall elect its chairperson every two years and vice-chairperson annually from among its membership. The Chair may not be re-elected; the Vice Chair may be reelected for more than one term. The chairperson shall be a member of the Board of Directors.

(f) If a Council member is elected as Chair for two years and this would mean that this member would exceed the normal three-year term on the Council, the Council can allow this extension of service for up to two years, during which period the Council will have ten members.

Creation of an Executive Committee

Issue 4. Member vote on addition of an Executive Committee to the AAS Constitution and Bylaws

The Association for Asian Studies Board of Directors seeks membership approval for the creation and implementation of an Executive Committee (EC). If approved, the addition of the EC would be reflected in both the Constitution (Article V, Section 10) and the Bylaws (section 22)

Proposed Addition to the AAS Constitution:

Section 10. Executive Committee

(a) The purpose of the Executive Committee (EC) is to add value to the work of the Board of AAS by taking action on behalf of the Board in the case of a crisis or other urgent circumstances when it is difficult for the full Board to meet; by exploring complex strategic issues in order to advise the full Board; by providing counsel to the President and ED, as requested; by overseeing the evaluation of the ED; and by undertaking any other specific tasks formally delegated to the Committee by the Board.

(b) The committee will consist of the President, Past President, Vice President, two (2) council chairs (including the Past Past President region’s chair), one (1) member of the Finance Committee, and ED. The five council chairs are to identify which Council Chair will sit as the second council Chair and, if needed, the BOD will vote on it. All committee members are to have a current AAS membership.

(c) All members of the Executive Committee, except for the Executive Director, have a vote. If there is a tie, then that is a signal that the issue should come before the entire Board.

(d) The President of AAS shall serve as the Committee’s Chair (the “Chair”);

Proposed Addition to the AAS Bylaws:

22. Executive Committee (EC)

(a) The EC will act, if necessary, on behalf of the full AAS Board, in the case of a crisis or other urgent circumstances, when it is extremely difficult to convene the full Board, subject to any specific policies, guidance, or instructions on any given topic given by the full Board.

(b) The EC shall provide counsel to the President and ED on any matters of importance on which they seek advice.

(c) The EC shall consider complex strategically important matters in-depth with a view to advising the full Board and/or making recommendations on a policy or course of action

(d) The EC shall coordinate, oversee, and deliver the results of the evaluation of the Executive Director and report these to the full Board.

(e) The Committee will not generally take decisions on the following matters: amending the AAS Bylaws; electing or removing Board members; hiring or firing the Executive Director; approving or changing the budget; or making major structural changes (adding or eliminating programs, approving mergers, or dissolving the corporation).

(g) The Executive Committee reports and is accountable to the full Board. The proceedings and any decisions of the Committee will be communicated as soon as possible after they have occurred. The Committee will provide the minutes of its meetings to the Board. The full AAS Board will always confirm the Committee’s decisions in its next meeting.

(i) Once a year, at a regular meeting, the Board will undertake a review of the functioning of the Executive Committee, to assess the value and efficiency that it has added and identify any issues or concerns.

8th AAS-in-Asia Conference to be Held in Daegu, Korea

Photo of Hilary FINCHUM-SUNG and YUN Jae Seug showing the signed memorandum of understanding for the AAS-in-Asia 2023 conference
AAS Executive Director Hilary FINCHUM-SUNG and YUN Jae Seug, Director of the Kyungpook National University Institute of Humanities Studies, show their signed memorandum of understanding for the AAS-in-Asia 2023 conference.

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) and Kyungpook National University (KNU) have signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on the 8th AAS-in-Asia conference. The conference will take place on the KNU campus in Daegu, Korea, from June 24 to 27, 2023.

First held in 2014, AAS-in-Asia conferences feature panel sessions and roundtables, a keynote address, cultural events, an exhibit hall, and receptions. With a smaller size than the AAS Annual Conference, AAS-in-Asia offers scholars the opportunity to present their work and network with colleagues in a more intimate setting.

Located in southeast Korea, Daegu is easily accessible by air and KTX high-speed rail. Conference participants will be able to select accommodations from a range of options, including school dormitories as well as local hotels.

“The AAS is excited to work with Kyungpook National University, one of Asia’s leading institutions in the humanities, on the 2023 AAS-in-Asia conference,” AAS Executive Director Hilary Finchum-Sung said. “We also appreciate the tremendous assistance and support for the event provided by the Daegu Convention and Visitors Bureau.”   

The conference website will launch soon and Call for Proposals will open in September 2022.

Association for Asian Studies 2021 Annual Report

We are pleased to share the Association for Asian Studies 2021 Annual Report and invite all members of the AAS community to access it by clicking on the cover image below.

AAS celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2021, and this milestone year was a busy one for our members, Board of Directors, and staff. Within the pages of this report, you will read about the wide variety of activities that filled our year. Many of them were firsts for the AAS: our first virtual Annual Conference, our first Assist-A-Scholar fundraising campaign, and our first governance review. In addition, we continued the work that has been at the heart of AAS over the past 80 years—producing high-quality publications, providing grants for scholarly work in Asian Studies, and supporting those pursuing a career in the field. As the organization embarks on its ninth decade, we look forward to many more years of combining our core strengths with exciting new innovations in this manner.

Traditionally, the 80th anniversary is symbolized by the oak tree, representing strength and longevity. We appreciate everyone in the AAS community who has helped us grow tall and strong, and we thank you for eighty years of nourishing our roots in the field of Asian Studies.

We appreciate your feedback! If you have comments, questions, or suggestions after reading the AAS 2021 Annual Report, please share them with the AAS staff. Contact information for individual staff members is listed at the end of the report, or you can email

Call for Applications: 2022-2023 Cultivating the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grants

The Cultivating the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grants are made possible thanks to the generous support of Sweden. This grant program is part of a new collaborative transnational project that aims at enhancing the research capabilities of scholars and local institutions, especially in post-conflict and conflict areas, while helping to reduce the social and economic vulnerabilities of South and Southeast Asian countries through policy-relevant research.

The project focuses on junior faculty, graduate students, senior and independent scholars, women, and ethnic minority groups in particular. Cultivating the Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) Research Grants are available for short- (up to 2 months), medium- (2-6 months), and long-term (12 months) research projects that advance the fields of the humanities and social sciences in South and Southeast Asia.

The Association for Asian Studies invites applications from low- and lower middle-income countries of Southeast Asia (e.g., Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) as well as from less economically advantaged countries and areas of South Asia (e.g., Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India). When evaluating proposals from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and India, the review committee will prioritize applicants who come from regions and/or institutions with resource and infrastructure constraints. We also encourage collaborative projects, especially those that partner scholars from under-resourced institutions with colleagues at institutions that offer more resources and infrastructure to support their work.

Recipients of CHSS grants will be invited to submit a panel proposal at an AAS-in-Asia conference, where they will have the opportunity to share the results of their research projects, participate in skill-building workshops, and discuss publishing prospects with our partners based in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.

Who Is Eligible?

  • South and Southeast Asian nationals holding a Ph.D. or Master’s degree or equivalent who are—or will be—engaged in the academic profession in South and Southeast Asia.
  • Scholars, students, independent researchers, and public intellectuals, who are based in low- and lower medium-income countries as well as those who come from and may be living in post-conflict areas or areas where conflicts are still ongoing.
  • AAS membership is not a requirement.

Program Overview

The CHSS grant program encourages both individual and group projects (such as those bringing senior and junior scholars together) that will explore the subjects of i) democracy, ii) human rights, iii) gender, and, iv) the environment. These themes may be researched on their own, or in combination with one another, or in ways that cut across the humanities and social sciences. Preference will be given to applicants who have never received a research grant in the past and/or who are based in an under-resourced institution.

The program also welcomes proposals for special initiatives aim at the recording, preservation, and dissemination of endangered languages, oral histories, and traditional knowledge.

CHSS grants typically range from $2,000 for a short-term project to $12,000 for long-term.

The grants will be awarded with the understanding that within two years of completion of their project, the recipients will present the results of their research at an AAS-in-Asia conference, or a similar international conference, with acknowledgement of the award. Any publication based on the funded research should also acknowledge the AAS-Sweden Cultivating the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grants.

What Funding May Be Used For

  • Research essential for postdoctoral scholars and PhD and Master’s students theses, dissertation, and/or book projects, or for manuscript revisions and journal articles in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Small scholarly seminars and pedagogical workshops.
  • Translation, curriculum development, and textbooks projects.
  • Documentary films and visual arts projects.

What Funding May Not Be Used For

  • Travel and accommodation expenses to attend a professional conference.
  • The funding may not be used in conjunction with another research grant.

How to Apply

All applications must be submitted through the AAS application portal by September 30, 2022. Your application should include:

  • A cover letter outlining: 1) how the research grant will be used; 2) how it will contribute to the applicant’s professional development and academic career; 3) how this will contribute to the field of South or Southeast Asian studies in general.
  • A detailed curriculum vitae, as well as the curriculum vitae of any team members or co-primary investigators (if applicable).
  • A proposal of 800-1,000 words on the research project
  • A budget, detailing anticipated project expenses.
  • A sample of the applicant’s work. (No minimum length, but ideally 2,000 – 2,500 words)
  • Two recommendation letters by referees, who are familiar with the applicant’s field of research. Preference will be given to applicants who have never received a research grant in the past and/or who are based in an under-resourced institution. Each applicant must request that the letters be submitted via the online portal by September 30, 2022. Please contact the Grants Manager at if any difficulties arise on this step.

Applicants will be notified in December 2022 of funding decisions.

Excerpt: Beyond the Book

Beyond the Book cover

AAS Publications is pleased to announce the newest volume in our Asia Past & Present monograph series. Beyond the Book: Unique and Rare Primary Sources for East Asian Studies Collected in North America is edited by Jidong Yang (Stanford University) and includes chapters from over twenty contributors, writing on nonbook sources such as “manuscripts, archival materials, photographs, sound and video recordings, maps, and so on.” Beyond the Book originated from a conference by the same name, held in July 2015 at Stanford University’s East Asia Library, that brought together librarians, scholars, and archivists who presented lesser-known collections of materials and described the value those resources would have for scholarly research. Offering new angles on foreign missionary activity in China, events of the Sino-Japanese War, film and music in Korea, and manuscript culture in Edo Japan, the articles are complemented by high-quality photographs, many reproduced in color.

Below, we share an excerpt from Jidong Yang’s preface to Beyond the Book for #AsiaNow readers. Visit our AAS Publications distribution partner, Columbia University Press, to order your own copy, with a 20% discount on the list price for AAS members.

Just like all other disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, the scholarship of East Asian studies is shaped, defined, and limited first of all by the scholarly resources that are available and accessible to researchers. To put it simply, the type and quantity of primary materials that a researcher can gather is oftentimes the deciding factor in the quality of his or her research. East Asian peoples and their civilizations have survived for thousands of years, but the vast majority of information about those peoples and civilizations, especially in the premodern age, has been lost forever. History, as historians have pointed out over and over again, is never a comprehensive account of all the things that happened in the past. Instead, it is a collection of fragmentary human memories that have survived in written and various other forms. Generation after generation, East Asian studies scholars have lamented the scarcity of primary sources for their research. Taking Chinese history as an example, while China has perhaps the world’s longest continuous tradition of state-sponsored history writing, its recorded past is almost an exclusive account of the events that took place inside the capital city and between the emperor and his closest ministers. From the so-called twenty-four dynastic or official histories, modern scholars can scarcely draw anything useful when they attempt to restore the daily lives of ordinary Chinese people living in the provinces, especially those far from the capital. In the case of early Japanese history, to take another example, although today’s researchers are fortunate enough to have classical historiographies such as the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki, they are very clear in their view that all those texts are a mixture of legends, myths, and historical facts. To find the true origin of a country’s civilization, one cannot rely on those sources alone and so must look for new materials.

If we take an overview of the history of East Asian studies over the past one and a half centuries—starting in the mid-nineteenth century when Sinology and Japanology were gradually transformed from Christian missionary learning into college academic programs in Europe and modern humanities and social sciences began to be introduced into East Asia—we can confidently conclude that the discovery of new research materials has played an essential role in the development of the field. During the period, large numbers of ancient sites in East Asia have been scientifically and systematically investigated by archaeologists; thousands of premodern texts have been excavated from underground; numerous government archives have opened their doors to the public; and many private writings, such as diaries, manuscripts, and correspondences, have also been made available to researchers. As the scholarship has been transformed, the very notion of “primary sources” has also undergone dramatic changes. Materials in nonbook formats are now being equally valued by scholars. Needless to say, all these changes have greatly expanded the frontiers of East Asian studies. Taking a quick look at the fields with which I am most familiar, namely, the history of premodern China and the Silk Road, we can see that they were fundamentally reshaped and redefined thanks to the abundance of newly discovered research materials. Beginning with the last years of the nineteenth century, a vast number of ancient manuscripts and inscriptions in Chinese, Tibetan, Tangut, Khitan, Sanskrit, Tocharian, Sogdian, Khotanese, Old Uighur, Old Turkic, and many other languages and scripts were discovered first by European explorers and then by Chinese archaeologists in Northwest China. Those manuscripts and inscriptions, dated from the third century BCE to the twelfth century CE, completely transformed our knowledge of ancient China and the Silk Road, which was previously reliant entirely on the official histories written by Chinese court historiographers. They have allowed scholars around the world to understand the local societies and economies of the medieval Chinese empire and the international and intercultural exchanges between China and other parts of the Eurasian world, as well as the languages and literatures of many historical Sino-Tibetan, Indo-European, and Altaic peoples who used to live in the territories now belonging to the People’s Republic of China, and whose traces would have been utterly lost without the discovery of their written records. In the study of Korean and Japanese history, the same kinds of breakthroughs have also been brought about by numerous exciting discoveries. The uncovering of the Goguryeo Kingdom inscribed steles in Manchuria, for instance, has thoroughly rewritten the early history of the Korean people and their civilization. In short, new resources are the life support for East Asian studies, and the development of the discipline depends on the continuous supply of fresh primary sources. Only against this background of academic history from the nineteenth century on can we fully comprehend the significance of the cause we are pursuing throughout this volume.

Our articles focus on resources collected by North American institutions. As relatively young countries, both the United States and Canada have a shorter history of cultural communication with East Asia than Europe does. When Jesuit missionaries arrived in East Asia in waves and began to bring Chinese and Japanese woodblock-printed books back to Europe in the sixteenth century, French and Spanish expeditions to the North American coastlines and inland valleys had only just begun. When the Chinese and Japanese styles became a major theme of European decorative arts and architecture during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, colonial America’s imagination of East Asia was still limited to the fine porcelains imported from South China by way of Europe. Entering the nineteenth century, however, North America’s interest in East Asia grew quickly. Soon after the country gained its independence, and especially after the War of 1812, a growing number of US citizens, most of whom were Protestant missionaries, embarked on the long journey to East Asia. Sailing mostly from New York, they had to endure more hardship than the Asia-bound Europeans because they had to overcome the heavy seas of the North Atlantic before entering the maritime route along the African coastline. The American Oriental Society, the first learned society in the United States devoted to a particular field of scholarship, was founded in 1842 to promote the study of Asian civilizations. After California joined the United States, America’s distance from East Asia was significantly reduced. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as the United States became an economic and political power on a global scale, succeeding generations of Americans displayed a much stronger interest in other parts of the world and began to collect East Asian books and arts on a large scale. Several vivid examples of that booming interest can be found right across the street from the East Asia Library of Stanford University in the exhibition hall under the Hoover Tower. They are the Chinese vases collected by President Herbert Hoover, one of the first graduates of Stanford, and his wife Lou Henry, both of whom spent several years in China and were fluent in Mandarin. During the entire first half of the twentieth century, East Asia was in constant turmoil. With their rapidly accumulating wealth, the United States and Canada played an important role in collecting and preserving the cultural heritages of the East Asian peoples. After World War II, thanks to the generous funding support from both public and private sources, East Asian studies flourished in North America. Meanwhile, the collection of primary sources for the field underwent the fastest period of development ever seen in the history of the West.

Scholars’ interests are always changing. Raw research materials collected by insightful archivists and librarians do not necessarily draw scholarly attention right away. Over time, precious materials can end up being buried in dust-covered boxes in the corner of the storage room. It is hard to estimate how many such boxes of East Asian materials are still waiting to be discovered and studied across North America, but I can tell from my own career that quite a lot of them are out there. Several years ago, when I was working for the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, I found quite a number of interesting and valuable items among unprocessed materials, such as a textbook of the Shanghai dialect written in the Latin alphabet and published in 1860. It was clearly used by Christian missionaries to teach the local language to their coworkers. Today it is an important piece of primary source material for studying the language of Shanghai, my hometown, during the nineteenth century when the city underwent dramatic social and cultural changes. I made an even greater discovery at Penn when I noticed that quite a few old Chinese and Japanese books displayed a bookplate bearing the name “the McCartee Library,” which does not exist in Penn’s library system today. After conducting some research, I found that D. B. McCartee was a Presbyterian missionary born in 1820. After graduating from Penn’s medical school, he arrived in China in 1842 and spent the better part of his life in China and Japan. As one of the very few Americans in the nineteenth century who mastered two East Asian languages, McCartee left numerous legacies in China and Japan. He donated more than a thousand East Asian books to Penn to establish one of the earliest East Asian libraries on this continent. As part of my research on McCartee, I visited a number of institutions in Philadelphia, including the University of Pennsylvania Archives, the Academy of Natural Sciences, American Philosophical Society, Presbyterian Historical Society, and the Free Library of Philadelphia. In all of those places, I found exciting new materials related to East Asia and worthy of scholarly research. It is my firm belief that, throughout North America, treasures like these are everywhere, and we do not need to look too far away from each of us to find some of them.

That is why we held the conference at Stanford in 2015 and are publishing this book today. By presenting a whole set of little-known yet valuable materials at once, we are showing the scholarly world that the potential for digging out new East Asian studies resources is still endless and that we librarians and archivists are fully behind scholars to help them in developing groundbreaking research ideas. The vast majority of the resources presented in this volume are in a nonbook format. I believe this will make them even more special and meaningful in pushing the boundaries of East Asian studies.

In Memoriam: Chang Hao 張灝 (1937-2022)

Dr. Chang Hao, the renowned Sinologist and scholar devoted to the intellectual history of modern China, died April 21 at age 85 in Albany, California. Dr. Chang was born in 1937 in Xiamen, and after living in Chongqing and Nanjing he moved with his family to Taiwan in 1949. He studied with well-known China scholars in both Taiwan and the United States, including Yin Hai-guang, Yang Lien-sheng (aka L.S. Yang), and Benjamin Schwartz. In 1966, Dr. Chang completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University. Two years earlier, he had begun his teaching career at Louisiana State University. He relocated to the Department of History at The Ohio State University (OSU) in 1968 and taught at OSU until 1998. After retiring from OSU, Dr. Chang moved for seven years to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, his final academic position.

Dr. Chang authored widely acclaimed books, articles, and chapters in both English and Chinese, including Liang Ch’i-ch’ao and Intellectual Transition in China, 1890-1907 (1971) and Chinese Intellectuals in Crisis; Search for Order and Meaning, 1890-1911 (1987). Both focused on what Dr. Chang called “the transitional generation” of late Qing intellectuals influenced by unorthodox Chinese thought along with modern Western thought, literature, and media. Both books were translated into Chinese and have influenced generations of scholars.

In February of this year, Dr. Chang donated his book and manuscript collection, an invaluable contribution to historical research, to the National Central Library (Taiwan). Comprised of 5,000 books, plus personal papers, the library plans to make this gift a separate, named collection honoring him. It will be open to the public after it has been catalogued.

During his distinguished career, Dr. Chang received numerous honors. He was elected to membership in Academia Sinica in 1992. Other honors and scholarly recognitions included grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He was also honored with the Qian Mu History Lectureship and the Yu Ying-shih Lectureship, both at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, along with the Tseng Yueh-nung Lectureship on Comparative Study of Cultures at Tunghai University, Taiwan.

Remembrances have been held in America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. A virtual commemoration of Dr. Chang’s life and accomplishments was held on June 27, 2022 in Menlo Park, CA. A recording of the service can be viewed on YouTube.

— Submitted by Philip C. Brown and Christopher A. Reed, The Ohio State University