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Welcome to AAS-in-ASIA 2017!

Welcome to Day 1 of AAS-in-ASIA 2017! We hope that everyone had a smooth trip to Seoul and we look forward to a productive conference.  Today’s highlights: The registration center and exhibition halls will both be open from 9:00am through 6:00pm. There are two blocks of panel sessions today; the first is 10:00-11:50am, the second 4:10-6:00pm. Panel schedules are available online, as well as in the conference app (instructions for app access were emailed to all registered conference attendees earlier this week). At 1:00pm, all conference participants are invited to convene in the Inchon Memorial Hall for the AAS-in-ASIA 2017 Opening Ceremony. This will include welcome remarks from conference organizers, followed by Professor Wen-hsin Yeh’s keynote speech, “Ships, Savages, and States: Rethinking the China Coast in the 19th Century.” The Opening Ceremony will conclude with a performance by the Ewha Korean Music Orchestra, which blends traditional Korean music with Western and ...

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AAS Member Spotlight: Wen-hsin Yeh

Wen-hsin Yeh is Richard H. & Laurie C. Morrison Chair Professor in History at the University of California at Berkeley. She will deliver the keynote speech at this year’s AAS-in-ASIA conference at Korea University on Saturday, June 24. Your discipline and country (or countries) of interest: Modern Chinese History How long have you been a member of AAS? Possibly since 1983—I can’t recall! Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues? I joined when I was a graduate student. AAS provided great opportunities to learn about the state of the field. How did you first become involved in the field of Asian Studies? I can’t say for sure. I have always been interested in history and I love reading books. One book leads to another. And I also enjoy working with documents—about recovering the circumstances of their creation. What do you enjoy most or what were your most rewarding experiences involving your work in Asian Studies? I enjoy ...

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Excerpt: Opening to China, by Charlotte Furth

Charlotte Furth is Professor Emerita of History at the University of Southern California and previously taught at California State University, Long Beach. She is author of numerous academic articles and books, including A Flourishing Yin: Gender in China’s Medical History, 960-1665 (University of California Press, 1999), for which she received the “Women in Science” award from the History of Science Society. In 2012, the AAS honored Furth with its “Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies” award in recognition of her decades of service to the field. Furth earned her Ph.D. in Chinese history at Stanford University in 1965—an era when it was virtually impossible for Americans to travel to the People’s Republic. With the establishment of relations between the United States and PRC over the course of the 1970s, Furth and other scholars finally had the opportunity to spend time in the country they studied. She visited the PRC for the first time in 1976 on a two-week d ...

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Buddhism in Decline: Media Narratives in Thailand

By Brooke Schedneck “In deeply religious Thailand, monks have long been revered. But badly behaved clergy, corruption scandals, and the vast wealth amassed by some temples has many asking if something is rotten at the heart of Thai Buddhism. From selfies on private jets to multimillion dollar donations from allegedly crooked businessmen, Thailand’s monks are coming under increasing fire for their embrace of commercialism.” This quote from Delphine Thouvenot and Thanaporn Promyamyai’s Bangkok Post article from 2015 titled “Chequebook Buddhism: Threat to Buddhism in Thailand?” exemplifies the ways the media, both foreign and Thai, frequently constructs Buddhism in Thailand as existing in a state of collapse. In many opinion pieces, Buddhism is portrayed as a religion in dire need of transformation, reform, or even an entire overhaul. The highest-ranking monks, called the Sangha Council, are criticized for their weak actions and lack of power. Editorials often state th ...

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A Lexicon of Repression in Thailand

By Tyrell Haberkorn In an essay for the May 2017 issue of the Journal of Asian Studies (“The Anniversary of a Massacre and the Death of a Monarch,” currently free to download), I reflect on the fortieth anniversary of the 6 October 1976 massacre, when state and para-state forces brutally murdered unarmed students at Thammasat University in Bangkok. Unresolved questions about the possible role of the institution of the monarchy in the massacre have been a primary factor both ensuring impunity for the perpetrators and constricting public discussion about the massacre. The anniversary events, held under the military regime of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and marked by calls for recognition of the humanity of those killed, directly challenged the ongoing impunity of the perpetrators of the massacre. One week after the anniversary, Rama IX, Bhumipol Adulyadej, died and the crown prince, Maha Vajiralongkorn, was named his successor as Rama X. One of the primary features of the NCPO ...

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