Call for Papers: “Who is the Asianist?” The Politics of Representation in Asian Studies

The Black Lives Matter movement and the killing of George Floyd in May 2020 by Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department have been cause for international reflection about the marginalization of Black people in multiple sectors of American and other societies. Within the U.S. academy, it has animated a discussion about the experiences of Black scholars and the development of knowledge by and about members of the Black diaspora and their relations to other underrepresented groups within the academy, including in Asian Studies. It has prompted us to revisit the history of Asian Studies, its grounding in “Orientalism,” and its complicity with colonialism. However, there is also reflection upon the possibility for reimagining the discipline—its past and its future—at this crucial moment in its history.

The Association for Asian Studies invites scholars to submit abstracts for “Who is the Asianist?” The Politics of Representation in Asian Studies, part of its Asia Shorts book series. Paper topics might include:

  • Essays on positionality and expertise: Who is the Asianist? Who is expected to study what topics within Asian Studies?
  • Reflections on Black scholars in Asian Studies and Asianists who study Blackness in Asia
  • Interrogating and expanding the “proper” topical scope of Asian Studies 
  • Historicizing and “decolonizing” Asian Studies in theory and pedagogical practice
  • Black Lives Matter in Asia
  • Intersections of Black and Asian intellectual histories
  • International comparative analyses of race and racism
  • The geographic and intellectual boundaries and reach of Asian Studies
  • Theorizing Afro-Asia, Transpacific Studies, and the Black Pacific 
  • Black/Indigenous/Asian interchanges
  • Afro-Asian perspectives from Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Militarization and war as spaces of Afro-Asian and Transpacific encounter
  • Critical Mixed Race Studies in Asia  
  • Blackness in East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia
  • Queer and feminist formations in Asian Studies
  • Anti-AAPI racism in US, Black and Asian tensions, and the possibilities of Afro-Asian solidarity
  • Perspectives of earlier generations of scholars of Afro-Asia, the Transpacific and the Black Pacific (submissions by these authors themselves are particularly welcomed)
  • Reimagining Asian Studies and its possible futures 

Prospective authors should submit a title as well as an abstract between 500-600 words as Word docs or pdfs by May 31, 2021 to co-editors William Bridges, IV (Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Rochester University) at and Marvin D. Sterling (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University) at  A selection of authors will be invited to submit full papers (from 4,500 to 5,500 words, including endnotes) due on August 7, 2021

All submissions will be peer-reviewed. The volume is scheduled for publication in Spring 2022. All inquiries about this call for papers should be addressed to co-editors Keisha Brown (Assistant Professor, Department of History, Tennessee State Univeristy) at or Nitasha Sharma (Professor, Department of African American Studies, Northwestern University) at