Introducing #AsiaNow

On behalf of the Association for Asian Studies, I’d like to welcome you to #AsiaNow, our first-ever born-digital publication.

We’ve created this space to provide Asianists a venue in which to analyze current affairs, share notes from the field, and keep up with the latest news from the AAS. #AsiaNow won’t replace the Journal of Asian Studies, Education About Asia, or our various monograph series. Instead, #AsiaNow is a new type of venture for the AAS—one that will encourage scholars of Asia to bring their expert knowledge to non-academic audiences and provide informed analysis of events and trends in Asia. It will also facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas across the Asian Studies field in an effort to fight the tendency for scholars to fragment into clusters of sub-specialists. We want #AsiaNow to be a place for broader conversations.

#AsiaNow also enables us to provide timely association updates to AAS members. At the blog, you’ll see information about the annual conference and AAS-in-ASIA, messages from the AAS officers, member spotlight features, and other association news. The blog platform provides us with a more flexible and readable format than the cumbersome PDF E-Newsletter did, and also makes it easier for readers to share posts on social media or via email.

Right now you’re seeing #AsiaNow in its “beta” version, a preview of what’s to come. Over the next few weeks—that is, between now and the March 16-19 AAS annual conference in Toronto—we’ll mostly run posts linked to that meeting, such as a President’s Column by Laurel Kendall about this year’s special panel on non-academic careers for Asianists, a guide to Toronto restaurants and museums prepared by local scholars Josh Fogel and Joan Judge, and an introduction by Margaret Tillman to the newest AAS affiliate organization, the Gender Equality in Asian Studies Group.

After the conference, we’ll expand to feature a wider range of content: commentary and analysis, field notes, interviews with authors, and more. If you have an idea for a potential #AsiaNow post, please see the instructions for contributors for how to proceed with a pitch.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who submitted ideas for the blog name when we asked for suggestions last year. We received over one hundred submissions, which the AAS board and staff reviewed and discussed before narrowing down the field. In the end, we combined two ideas: “#Asia” (submitted by Sheila Smith of the Council on Foreign Relations) and “AsiaNow” (suggested by three people: Jon Wilson, AAS Publications Manager; Eileen Hsu, Independent Scholar; and Ann Hill, Dickinson College). We liked the idea to add a hashtag to the blog’s name, conveying its digital nature, and the immediacy of “AsiaNOW.” And thus, “#AsiaNow” was born.

Much more to come, so please stay tuned. Once again, welcome!

Throughout May, AAS is celebrating Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Read more