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#AsiaNow's Articles

AAS Fall 2019 Election Nominees

We are pleased to announce the slate of candidates for the fall 2019 AAS elections. The online ballot will open in September, and all current AAS Members will receive an email with instructions for accessing it. Election day (when the ballot is closed and votes counted) will be in early November. Newly elected representatives will take office immediately after the annual conference in March 2020. Our sincere thanks to all candidates for accepting nominations to represent their respective areas and councils. Vice President Nominees (Represented Area: Southeast Asia) Hy V. Luong — Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto Country/area(s) of interest: Vietnam Specialization(s): Discourse, ideology, political economy; gender and family; rituals, gift flows, social capital; migration and rural economy Personal Statement: I am strongly committed to dialogue, mentoring, and research collaboration across disciplines and national boundaries. I have served on many committees and intern ...

The Anti-Extradition Bill Protests and the Democracy Movement in Hong Kong

By Francis L.F. Lee Hong Kong experienced a very special June. The weather was as hot as usual, but the social atmosphere was even hotter. Three large-scale demonstrations and a series of more or less conflictual protests forced the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government to “suspend” a highly controversial extradition bill. The bill would have allowed China to request the extradition of “criminals” staying in the city to the mainland. Considering the fact that the Chinese Central Government had publicly supported the extradition bill in May, the “success” of the movement was highly unexpected. Yet Hong Kong society and the protesters also paid a heavy price. By the time of the writing of this essay, at least 100 protesters have been arrested by the police. Even more sadly, several individuals had committed suicide as a way to protest against the government.    Numerous factors could be cited to explain the protests’ ability to for ...

July 2019 AAS Member News & Notes

Proposals for the AAS 2020 Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts are due in just over two weeks! The deadline for all proposals is Tuesday, August 6 at 5:00pm Eastern Time. There will be no extensions to that deadline, so don’t wait until the last minute—submit your proposal as soon as possible. *New for #AAS2020*: Digital Technology Sessions Following the success of our 2019 Digital Technology Expo at the Denver conference, we have decided to incorporate digital sessions into the regular conference program. See the Call for Proposals for more information about Digital Technology Workshops, Roundtables, and Lightning Presentations. *** Participate in our first AAS Photo Competition and your image could be featured in our 2020 calendar for donors! AAS Members may submit up to two pictures for consideration. Act fast—the deadline for submission is Saturday, July 20. *** Graduate students in International/Asian Studies who are based near the AAS Secretariat in Ann Arbor, ...

An Artist Undercover with Academics: A SEAΔ Fellow at the AAS-in-Asia Conference

SEAΔ fellows at the AAS-in-Asia conference held in Bangkok, Thailand, July 1-3, 2019. Image credit: Mekong Cultural Hub. By Catherine Sarah Young It can be easy to spot an artist at an academic conference, and I, together with my colleagues, definitely stood out at the recent AAS-in-Asia in Bangkok. I wore, at times, a floral gas mask with a Cambodian theme, a piece from my Apocalypse Project series (left; image credit: Sinath Sous). My business card was a pop-up piece of art with no institutional logo. My fellow presenters and I wrote no academic papers; instead, we brought cardboard architecture to display. Let me explain. From July 1 to 3, I was among ten SEAΔ fellows at the “Asia on the Rise?” AAS-in-Asia Conference hosted by the Association for Asian Studies in Bangkok. We were about three-quarters into our fellowship, and this time we found ourselves in Thailand in the middle of monsoon season. SEAΔ: Exchange, Create, Share, Reflect SEAΔ is a program co-created by the Meko ...

Hong Kong Barricades: The Future will be Redeemed by the Young

By Ken Ueno I have spent the 2018-19 academic year as a Visiting Professor of Sound Art at the City University of Hong Kong. During that time, I regularly passed by the ice skating rink at the upscale Festival Walk mall as I climbed from the MTR station located in the belly of the mall to the Libeskind-designed building housing the School of Creative Media at the top of the hill. Sometimes on breaks I would grab coffee and watch flocks of children learn to skate—some naturally dexterous, many awkward and fragile, like baby birds learning to fly. Other times, the somehow-calligraphic-and-meditative grace of the Zamboni coating the surface of the ice would hold my gaze for a good part of an hour. There were times I would be reminded of the first sentence of A Hundred Years of Solitude: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” But, mostly, I considered how hot it was ou ...

AAS-in-Asia Survey: Summary of Results

In April 2019, the AAS officers composed a survey regarding the AAS-in-Asia conferences as a way to measure member attitudes toward the continuation of these meetings. The survey was sent on April 24 via email blast to all AAS members who have opted in to member communications (6,001 recipients), with a reminder message on May 1. By the time the survey ended on May 6, 517 AAS members had completed it. All responses were anonymous. Overall, the survey results indicate that AAS members favor continuing the AAS-in-Asia conferences, but with some caveats and suggestions for how the association might handle the meetings differently in the future. Strikingly, 70 percent (367) of the survey respondents indicated that they had never attended an AAS-in-Asia conference. When asked why not, 335 people filled in a free-response answer; of those replies, an even more striking 175 (52 percent) indicated that the cost of attending the conference and/or lack of institutional financial support had been barriers to their ...

June 2019 AAS Member News & Notes

The Vietnam Studies Group 2020 Graduate Paper Prize Competition The Vietnam Studies Group (VSG) is pleased to announce that it is accepting submissions for its annual graduate student paper prize competition. The competition encourages the direct involvement of graduate students in the growth of Vietnamese studies and supports their professional development. The competition is open to full- and part-time graduate students, regardless of their disciplinary specialization. Preference will be given to sole-authored papers based on original field, archival, and/or statistical research. However, thematic reviews that critically synthesize existing literature on a particular topic related to Vietnamese studies will also be considered. The winner will receive a $500 prize and a one year subscription to the Journal of Vietnamese Studies. If the winner agrees to pick up their award in person at the VSG annual meeting during the AAS Annual Meeting (March 19-22 in Boston), then the winner will also receive a $200 ...

After Easter: Sri Lanka’s Muslim Community and the Question of Islamic Radicalism

By Bart Klem Bart Klem is Senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne. In 2011, his article, “Islam, Politics and Violence in Eastern Sri Lanka,” was published in the Journal of Asian Studies. In the #AsiaNow post below, written shortly after the Easter Sunday bombings of several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, Klem explains how these attacks fit—or, rather, do not fit—into the broader history of Sri Lanka’s Muslim community. Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, an oft neglected group, suddenly became world news on Easter Sunday with the Islamist bomb attacks on several churches and hotels. The forensic details of the attack, the network responsible, and the lapse of the intelligence services have been covered in news updates. The basic challenge of putting the attack in context is that it does not fit—the Easter attacks do not make Sri Lankan sense, but now that they have happened, they affect the dynamics of Sri Lanka’s continuing ethno-political confl ...

AAS Statement on Stanford University Press

June 14, 2019 The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is writing to express its concern regarding the decision of Provost Persis S. Drell to cut $1.7 million in subsidies to Stanford University Press, thus placing the future of the Press in financial jeopardy. For Asian Studies in particular, Stanford University Press is one of a very select group of top-tier academic publishers in North America that commands international respect. Its publications represent cutting-edge and discipline-redefining research as exemplified by the “South Asia in Motion” series, as well as in new studies of pre-modern and modern Korea, innovative analyses of Asia in global and transnational contexts, and ground-breaking work in Asian environmental studies, drug culture, and funerary practices. Moreover, the field of Asian women’s history owes much to the Press, whose early support has made the entire field possible. Most of the humanities and a large part of the social sciences take the publication o ...

Member Spotlight: Emily Rook-Koepsel

Emily Rook-Koepsel is a historian of modern India and Assistant Director of Academic Affairs at the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Contact her at How long have you been a member of AAS? I have been a member of AAS since I got my first job out of graduate school (2011). I have tried to maintain this membership and vote in each AAS election. Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues? AAS is often seen as primarily an East Asian organization, and while it is true that the bulk of presentations at the annual conference are focused on East Asia, it is deeply rewarding to be able to work with and learn from other scholars of Asia. But more importantly for me, I think the regional conferences offer young scholars of Asia a first glimpse into the world academic presentation. Both the regional and national conferences also work hard to include new scholarship on pedagogy, cross-national scholarship, and innovative moves in medi ...

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