A letter from Laurel Kendall, President, Association for Asian Studies (2016-17)
The Association for Asian Studies exists to serve its current and future members and to further the study of Asia. Your support is a part of the project.
If Asian Studies is to have a future in a rapidly changing and globalizing world, it will come in part from new thinking that destabilizes existing academic silos and through projects that reach beyond the boundaries of nation states. AAS has a key role to play in this process. It is already evidenced in the panel line-ups for recent AAS meetings. The Association’s “Emerging Fields in the Study of Asia” is another step toward the future of Asian Studies. We have now held three successful AAS-in-Asia conferences and the Board of Directors has endorsed plans to continue this popular and professionally enriching new program. Other new initiatives, described below, are expanding and changing the work of the Association. And of course, the AAS’s hallmark programs—our flagship publication, The Journal of Asian Studies, and the Annual Conference held in North America each spring—continue to grow and change.
The 2017 AAS Annual Conference will be held in Toronto, March 16-19, 2017
The AAS Annual Conference is an occasion to showcase the work of scholars, promote new transnational networks and collaborations, meet old friends, and encourage the participation of those who represent the future of the Association. We anticipate a large number of participants. You will find more information on the AAS Conference page. I hope to see you there. Member contributions make it possible for younger scholars, our next generation, to attend the meeting (see below).
Summer Workshops on Emerging Fields in the Study of Asia
We have launched a new program to support the Association’s commitment to identify and promote emerging fields in Asian studies. The Association has a tradition of encouraging under-represented and emerging fields of study at its annual conference, but we now feel that a more sustained, planned program is needed to respond to the rapid changes going on not just within Asia but within the academic disciplines that treat Asia. To this end, we have received a 4-year grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support Summer Workshops on Emerging Fields in the Study of Asia.
The first under-represented field selected by the AAS board is economic history. A planning meeting with 8 senior scholars of economic history was held in May. A 15-person 5-day workshop will be held in the summer of 2017 aimed primarily at younger scholars.
The second emerging field will be Asia and the Anthropocene. A planning meeting will take place in the early summer of 2017 to be followed by a 15-person workshop in the summer of 2018.
Suggestions for the third emerging field are welcome and may be made through Council chairs or other board members.
The AAS-in-Asia conferences are a major new Association initiative. Three have now been held: in Singapore in 2014; Taipei in 2015; and Kyoto in 2016. These experimental conferences have grown in size and significance since their inception. The Kyoto conference attracted 1,215 registered participants from 40 countries.
The June 2017 conference will take place at Korea University in Seoul. The 2018 conference will be hosted by Ashoka University in Delhi. As hoped, these AAS-in-Asia conferences have attracted young scholars of Asia, many of them based in Asia, as well as senior scholars from all over the world.
The New AAS Social Media Manager Position
The Association has moved ahead to create a new staff position—the AAS Social Media Manager—to enhance and energize AAS connection with members and others interested in Asia.
AAS Dissertation Workshops
Continuing an AAS program that brings together young scholars across regional and disciplinary lines, a dissertation workshop on “Art as Politics: Expression, Legitimation and Critique” will be held in March 2017.
I write now to ask for your financial support to enable the AAS to pursue new initiatives while continuing to fulfill its core functions.
Beyond the annual conference and the AAS-in-ASIA conferences, the AAS is an important voice for the continued support of Asian studies, the training of new scholars and teachers, encouraging the teaching of Asian languages, and advancing information literacy about Asian societies and cultures. Here are a few projects you might wish to support:
The AAS Fund for International Exchange and the Fund for Young Scholars, which make attendance at the annual conferences possible for members coming from Asia, and for the young scholars on whom our Association's future depends.
Contributions to the AAS Endowment Fund will help guarantee the Association's ability to support and expand the study of Asia far into the future. Your gift of $500, $100, $50, or any other amount will help the AAS build its base among younger scholars and with our colleagues in Asia.
If you are interested in joining the AAS Legacy Society, which is endowed through estate planning, you can find information here, or you may contact Krisna Uk, Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors: Outreach and Strategic Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential discussion.
If you contributed to the work of the Association, you have my thanks. If you have yet to contribute but feel able to do so, please use the form opposite. With your help, the AAS can continue to serve its members and the wider public.
President, Association for Asian Studies, 2016-2017
American Museum of Natural History