Workshop on the Second Book

The field of Asian Studies, like the rest of the humanities and social sciences, directs most of its developmental resources to supporting the younger generation of scholars through the doctoral and postdoctoral phases of their careers up to the publication of the first book. This is appropriate, as the challenges of turning the dissertation into that first monograph, clearing the path to promotion to tenure, are formidable. Beyond that phase, however, lies the mid-career challenge of writing the second book that, in most universities, marks the dividing line between associate and full professor. Of scholars in the humanities and social sciences who publish a first book, many do not publish a second. This is often by choice, as some of us elect to prioritize other aspects of our professional careers. For others, though, not publishing a second book is less a matter of choice than the product of circumstances. Research continues, writing gets done, and yet the book remains elusive, and with it, the rewards of promotion to full professor.

To help mid-career members who find themselves in this position, four senior scholars will offer this workshop on the challenges of writing the second book on the afternoon (1:00-5:00pm) of Thursday, March 19 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, prior to the opening of the AAS Annual Conference. The workshop will be jointly run by Josh Fogel, Hans van de Ven, Barbara Andaya, and Anand Yang. Scholars working in any Asian Studies areas and disciplines are invited to apply. The participants will be limited in number. No cost is involved, but coffee, tea, and water will be provided.

The workshop will unfold as follows. We shall first meet as a group for self-introductions and brief general discussion. We will then move to small break-out sessions based on area and discipline and led by one of the four workshop organizers. Finally, we’ll come back together to discuss overarching themes of interest to the group as a whole. The aim of the workshop is to address technical, professional, and other impediments to the finishing of a second book and to look for solutions. The four moderators will read all the materials requested below and will offer comments to those members of their break-out sessions, as well as to as many others in the workshop as they can.

This will be the third year that the workshop has been held. Many past participants have written the organizers to say they were pleased that their concerns as mid-career scholars are being addressed. Several have written to announce completion of their second books and to thank the organizers for helping them over the hump.

To apply, you must have written at least 100 pages (roughly 25,000 words) of the second book manuscript and be committed to completing it. The application consists of:

(1) a brief CV (no more than 3 pages);

(2) a short document (also no more than 3 pages) stating:

(i) title, publisher, and date of publication of your first book;

(ii) title and précis of the current book project in no more than 300 words, giving a word count of the current material in usable draft form;

(iii) a brief account of the problems you are facing in trying to complete the book, with some thoughts on the practicable solutions you see to these problems, and on what help you think you could use to move forward;

(3) a short description (one page) of one concrete writing problem you face, accompanied by a passage from your draft (no more than 5 pages) exemplifying this problem.

Please send your application materials in this order as a single PDF file to Josh Fogel at The deadline for receiving these materials, January 18, is absolute. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out the week of February 2. Same email address for any questions

Please pass this message along to prospective interested parties, and come prepared to talk freely about your work and have some fun.

—Submitted to #AsiaNow by Josh Fogel