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AAS-in-ASIA

“My Paper Was Turned Down. Should I Take It Personally?”

This is a revised and updated version of Laurel Kendall’s President’s Column from the Fall 2016 issue of the AAS E-Newsletter. The carefully crafted panel submission, a summation of hot-breaking research, the anticipation of a lively intellectual exchange … and then the rejection message, “owing to the number of high-quality submissions and the limitations of space”—a splash of cold water! Many of us have been there—I certainly have—and so have many distinguished scholars, including at least one former President of the AAS whose proposed submissions were rejected twice in the years after his service. It happens. In such circumstances it is difficult not to feel that “there must have been some mistake,” or worse “AAS is just not interested in the kind of work I do,” or still worse, that “someone on the program committee had it in for me.” In a healthy organization, there will always be many more proposals than available slo ...

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President’s Column, September 2018: Conference Report on AAS-in-Asia in New Delhi

“Circular firing squad.” Professor Engseng Ho of Duke University used this phrase to describe the situation of Asian Studies scholars in the run-up to the 5th AAS-in-Asia conference, which was held at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi this past July. Professor Ho was speaking on a special panel chaired by AAS Past President Katherine Bowie; the panel had been added to the conference program in response to a decision by the Government of India that we had learned about four months earlier. The Indian government had decided not to grant visas for the conference to any citizens of Pakistan, nor to citizens of any other country whose ancestors had come from Pakistan. Frustration and anger over this discriminatory decision spilled over into attacks by scholars of Asia on one another. As recounted earlier in this space, the AAS officers and Secretariat staff deplored India’s decision, as did our co-organizers at Ashoka University. The absence of the excluded scholars was a great loss to our ...

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Save the Date: AAS-in-Asia 2019

The Association for Asian Studies is pleased to announce that the next AAS-in-Asia conference will be held in Bangkok, Thailand on July 1-4, 2019 at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Please mark these dates on your calendar. The Call for Proposals will open in early September, and the deadline for panel proposals will be late October. As with previous AAS-in-Asia conferences, the program committee will consider only proposals for organized panels or roundtable discussions. Individual paper proposals will not be accepted. The AAS-in Asia conferences offer opportunities for Asia-based scholars to interact with each other and their international colleagues. AAS is partnering with a five-university coalition of organizers led by Thammasat University; the other members of the coalition are Chiang Mai, Chulalongkorn, Kasetsart, and Mahidol Universities. In terms of travel, tourism, and obtaining necessary visa documents, Bangkok is k ...

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President’s Column, June 2018: On AAS-in-Asia

Dear Colleagues, We live in turbulent times. For the past year and a half or so, I have spent many hours mesmerized by my television set, watching as my country (the USA) lurches from one “unprecedented” event to the next. I fume and steam and sometimes shout out loud, then go to bed. I wake up to 13th-century Maharashtra, to remote temple towns and lovely but dwindling groves in the Western Ghats of India, to my teaching duties and the local politics of my home institution. By evening I am ready for another bout of outrage. Now the AAS too finds itself in turbulent times, caught up in geo-politics and subjected to cascades of criticism from within and without. The fifth AAS-in-Asia conference is due to be held in Delhi next month. The Government of India, while granting political clearance to the conference (a requirement under Indian law), has refused to issue conference visas to citizens of Pakistan or even to persons of Pakistani origin. The officers of the AAS (that means, currently, Ka ...

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AAS Statement on 2018 AAS-in-Asia Conference

A Statement by the Officers of the Association for Asian Studies A controversy is developing among the AAS membership with regard to the AAS-in-Asia conference in Delhi, following the decision of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the Government of India to deny visas to all Pakistani scholars. The AAS-in-Asia conferences began as an experiment four years ago. Two questions now face our membership: 1) Should the experiment to hold AAS-in-Asia conferences be terminated? and 2) How should AAS handle the current situation? With regard to the first question, AAS members need to consider two sets of difficulties that arise in holding AAS conferences in Asia. The first is finding host institutions that are willing to provide the faculty, administrative staffing, and funding involved in organizing a conference that is now being attended by some 1,000 scholars. This is a challenge everywhere: even the smaller regional conferences affiliated with AAS stateside are finding it difficult in this age of b ...

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