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President's Column

Mark Your Calendars: AAS 2018 Program Highlights

Sculpture by Cambodian artist Svay Sareth; photo courtesy of the artist. With the deadline for pre-registration for the annual AAS conference coming up on February 26, I would like to use this presidential column to share some information about art exhibits, five special #AsiaNow panels, and the conference as a whole. Gracing the atrium of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel will be a special sculptural installation by Cambodian artist Svay Sareth, who was the 2016 recipient of the Overall Best Emerging Artist and Best Emerging Sculptor at the prestigious Prudential Eye Awards in Singapore. Illustrating the theme of “When East Meets West,” the artist plans to create a Khmer version of Donald Trump clad in camouflage fabric looking at himself in a bamboo mirror. Sareth will fabricate and sew all the pieces in his workshop in Cambodia and assemble them before our eyes in the atrium. This artwork ties in with a special #AsiaNow panel, entitled “Asian Arts and Resistance: Defiant Subjects and their ...

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Celebrating Regional Conferences

Political events across the globe, not the least of which include the recent efforts by the Chinese government to censor scholarship, remind all of us of the important role academic organizations such as the Association for Asian Studies can play. As soon as AAS learned of the efforts to block articles in the Journal of Asian Studies, we expressed our opposition on behalf of our members and defended the importance of academic freedom. Keeping AAS strong involves varied initiatives, each providing opportunities for membership participation in actions ranging from writing short blogs for #Asia Now to organizing panels for the annual conference.  In this column I would like to highlight how participation in our regional conferences helps keep AAS strong. Nine regional conferences are affiliated with AAS; one is held annually in Japan and the remaining eight in locations across the U.S. AAS helps support these conferences and their affiliated outreach workshops for K-12 teachers. Each regional conference ha ...

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The Past, Present, and Future of AAS-in-ASIA

Because our AAS-in-ASIA conferences are so new, I would like to use my first presidential column to highlight their past, present, and future. The brainchild of my presidential predecessors, AAS-in-ASIA began in 2014 as an experiment. The vision was for AAS to work with a host institution in Asia to facilitate participation amongst AAS members and Asian scholars across Asia. By bringing Asian specialists from abroad together with scholars in Asia—who were not necessarily members of AAS and perhaps not able to attend the annual conferences held in North America—the conference originators hoped to spark new and fruitful areas of collaboration. The original idea was that AAS-in-ASIA would be smaller-sized conferences providing the opportunity to participate on panel sessions and network with colleagues in a more intimate setting. The conference has been extraordinarily successful and has been mushrooming in size. I invite everyone to consider participating in these conferences and to submit your sugg ...

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The Futures of Asian Studies

I begin this final President’s column in a moment when the word “future” takes on a particularly uncertain cast. There is no doubt that Asia will loom large in the American future in the coming months and years, and that whatever stands in front of us cannot be navigated without expertise and the wisdom of experience. But will such expertise be sought? Heard? Valued? By whom, and in what fora? I use the plural “futures” in my title with careful intention. Forward motion assumes a strong contingent of young Asianists working on many fronts. Support for this cohort is a primary responsibility of the Association for Asian Studies. Two of our core programs—the annual meeting, and the publication of a high-profile journal—give professional visibility to new work and new faces. Many of us gave our first professional papers as graduate students in the more intimate and supportive atmosphere of AAS regional meetings, and this tradition continues. Medium-sized AAS-in-ASIA mee ...

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