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Welcome to AAS 2018!

The registration desks are now officially open and the AAS 2018 Annual Conference has begun! We hope all attendees had safe travels to Washington, D.C. (without running into too many weather-related delays thanks to yesterday’s surprise snowstorm) and are ready for an exciting and productive four days.   Thursday highlights and important information:   • Registration and badge pickup counters, located on the Lobby Level of the Marriott Wardman Park, are open from 12:00 noon until 9pm today. Graduate student stipends can also be picked up by eligible students during those hours; that counter is located across from the registration desks.   • Film Expo screenings start at 12:30pm in the Taft room (Mezzanine Level) and continue through the evening. Many screenings will be followed by a Q&A with the director. Can’t make it to a scheduled screening? Talk with the Film Expo staff and arrange a time in our on-demand screening room.   • Please join us at 6: ...

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Learn from My Past Mistakes: Tips for First-Time AAS Attendees

My first time attending an AAS conference was in 2010, when I was a second-year PhD student, and I’ve only missed two since then. Even before I began working for the association, I frequently told people that AAS is my favorite scholarly meeting: it’s my intellectual home and also gives me the chance to catch up with friends whom I might only see once every few years. But much as I enjoy AAS, I’ve also found that it’s easy to burn out before the conference is half over (this is especially true if, like me, you’re an introvert—four days of social interactions can be wearing). There are plenty of guides out there that offer advice on conference networking, presenting, and other professionalization topics, so I won’t duplicate those recommendations here. Instead, I’m sharing a few tips and strategies that I’ve developed over the years to keep my energy levels high throughout the weekend and thus have the best AAS experience possible: 1. Pack lots of snac ...

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Visit the National Postal Museum During AAS 2018

Visit the Smithsonian National Postal Museum during your time in Washington, D.C.! The museum will offer a special introduction for AAS 2018 conference attendees on Thursday, March 22 from 10:00am to 12:00pm. For more than a century and a half, the world relied on postal services and postage stamps for the exchange of ideas between distant people. More than just enabling global conversations, however, postage stamps could be and often were an integral part of the discussion. The governments that created them carefully encoded philosophical, cultural, historical, and social messages they wished to project at home and abroad. Join the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s Chief Curator of Philately for an orientation to opportunities for semiotic and iconographic research in the museum’s collections of the stamps and postal history of Asia. After the program, coffee and doughnuts will be served and an optional docent-led tour of the museum will be offered. The Smithsonian National Postal Museum ...

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Visit the Freer|Sackler During AAS 2018

For scholars of Asian Studies, no trip to Washington, D.C. is complete without a visit to the Freer|Sackler, the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art. We anticipate that many AAS 2018 conference attendees will make time to hop on the Metro and ride down to the National Mall, where they will find a newly renovated Freer|Sackler and a number of special exhibits. The Smithsonian Metro stop is practically on the doorstep of the Freer Gallery of Art, which houses a permanent collection assembled by Detroit industrialist Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919). Freer had diverse artistic interests, and the Freer Gallery displays works from China, Korea, Japan, the Islamic World, and South Asia. The Freer is also home to the spectacular Peacock Room, designed for a London mansion in the 1870s by James McNeill Whistler and later transported to the United States by Freer. A connecting passage links the Freer Gallery with the below-ground Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (entrance to the Sackler is also possible via the pavi ...

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From Kabul to Kolkata: Of Belonging, Memories, and Identity

AAS invites you to the opening of the exhibition From Kabul to Kolkata: Of Belonging, Memories, and Identity Washington Marriott Wardman Park Exhibit Hall B South (adjacent to the Book Exhibit) March 23-24, 2018 9am to 5pm Photographs by Moska Najib and Nazes Afroz Exhibit Facebook page In 1892, Rabindranatha Tagore wrote a short story in Bengali about a man from a distant land—Afghanistan—living in Kolkata. Since then, the Kabuliwala has taken on a life of its own, with translations in many Indian and foreign languages as well as cinematic adaptations and theatrical performances. While until a few decades ago, real Kabuliwalas were a common sight on the streets of Kolkata, as in most cities of north and central India, today stereotypes and standard attributes have formed an ambiguous image of these people. Inspired by this story, Moska Najib and Nazes Afroz, two journalist-cum-photographers, embarked on a project about the Kabuliwalas of Kolkata that touches upon social transformations ...

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