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From the monthly archives: February, 2018

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'February, 2018'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

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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Meet Prasenjit Duara, Incoming AAS Vice President

Prasenjit Duara is the Oscar Tang Chair of East Asian Studies at Duke University and will become Vice President of the AAS after the 2018 conference in Washington, D.C. I developed my interest in China during the heady days of the Cultural Revolution’s ideological impact in Delhi. As college students in the early 1970s we engaged in heated debates about the path for development and equity in India. The long and short of it was that I determined to study the Chinese revolution in order to show that a peasant revolution of the Chinese sort could not happen in India. I came to the U.S. to do my Ph.D., first at the University of Chicago and then moved with my advisor Philip Kuhn to Harvard, where I got my degree in Chinese history. While my thesis and first book did not directly address the issue of revolution comparatively, I did gain some insight into the nature of Chinese rural society under the Japanese occupation of the 1930s and 40s. The translation of Culture Power and the State: Rural North China ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Tom Cliff

Tom Cliff is an Australian Research Council DECRA Research Fellow at the Australian National University and author of Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang, published by the University of Chicago Press and winner of the 2018 AAS E. Gene Smith Book Prize (Inner Asia). To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Oil and Water is about the experience of being Han in Xinjiang. It is about the experience of being a second-generation colonial settler in the 20th and 21st centuries—in a world that is supposedly post-colonial. It is about being born, living your whole life, and feeling at home in a place that is not “home” to your forebears or “home” to the political and cultural institutions that shape your life. The book, therefore, is also about those political and cultural institutions, and the way that they are shaped by the people who make them up and their location on the quintessential frontier of modern China. What inspired you to research this topic? I formed thi ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Walter Hakala

Walter Hakala is Associate Professor in the Asian Studies Program and Department of English at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, and author of Negotiating Languages: Urdu, Hindi, and the Definition of Modern South Asia, published by Columbia University Press. He is the recipient of an Honorable Mention for the 2018 AAS Bernard Cohn Book Prize for a first book on South Asia. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Negotiating Languages explores the role of lexicographers (those who compile dictionaries) in the emergence of Urdu as a language of literature and state in South Asia. Modern Standard Hindi and Urdu are unusual in that they share the same grammar and, in ordinary spoken language, a common vocabulary. I argue that dictionaries were an important means through which elites were able to articulate and, occasionally, resist, the bifurcation of this single language on the basis of script (Arabic and Devanagari), vocabulary (Perso-Arabic and Sanskrit), and, increasingly, religion (Muslim an ...

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February 2018 AAS Member News & Notes

The AAS has opened a search for its next Executive Director, who is expected to take up the position in early 2019. We request that all applicants submit their materials by April 25, 2018; full details are available here. *** Applications for the spring round of the AAS First Book Subvention Program are due by March 1. See here for application instructions. *** Apply by March 2 for the University of Michigan’s Medieval Komonjo Workshop 2018, on the theme of “Commoners and Authority in Medieval Japan.” The workshop (funded in part by an AAS Northeast Asia Council grant) will span one month (July 9-August 3) and include two sessions, with full financial support for housing costs available to those attending both sessions. *** Registration for the 2018 AAS-in-Asia conference in New Delhi is now open. Early bird prices are available only until February 28, 2018, so register now to secure your place at these special rates. *** Three regional AAS conferences are currently accepting propo ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Nathaniel Roberts

Nate Roberts is Research Fellow at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen, and author of To Be Cared For: The Power of Conversion and Foreignness of Belonging in an Indian Slum, published by University of California Press and winner of the 2018 AAS Bernard S. Cohn Prize for a first book on South Asia. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. The book is about a community of women and men living under conditions of profound poverty and exclusion from the dominant national society. They were called Paraiyars (“Pariahs”), but they said this was just a label others had put on them, and that in reality that had no caste. I begin with their experience of rejection by their own countrymen, and the moral sense they try to make of it. For them, caste is the denial of common humanity and the refusal of care; against it they posed an alternative moral vision based on human vulnerability and the obligation to care for those in need. Yet even within the slum communit ...

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The Social Network: Lisu Use Digital Media to Find Each Other and Preserve Their Culture

Lisu (identified by patchwork bags, and man wearing blue shirt) wait in line for the bank to open on a very chilly morning in Fugong, China. Photo: Mark Goldschmidt By Michele Zack In the mid-1980s, I was a budget tourist on a hill tribe trek far from roads or electricity in Northern Thailand. There, I first encountered the Lisu—adaptable, egalitarian highlanders scattered in corners of China, Myanmar, and Thailand (tiny populations also live in India and Laos). I picked up with the group again in the 1990s when—by then based in Thailand—I wrote a popular ethnography of Lisu living in three nation-states with three different political systems. That book never saw print, but a new publisher 15 years later agreed to take up the project when still no book about Lisu had been published. I proposed to update the original work with a new longitudinal angle. Thirty years after first meeting members of the Lisu community, I have finally published The Lisu: Far from the Ruler (University Press of ...

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Job Opening: AAS Executive Director

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) seeks a new Executive Director (ED) to serve as the chief administrative officer of the Association beginning in the first months of 2019. The Association for Asian Studies is a non-political, non-profit international association open to all persons interested in Asia and the study of Asia. With a membership of approximately 7000, the AAS is the largest professional association in its field. Working under the supervision of the AAS Board of Directors, the Executive Director manages the AAS Secretariat in Ann Arbor, Michigan; oversees the administrative and financial affairs of the Association; is responsible for the continuing smooth functioning of the Association; and shares with the Board of Directors the work of representing the Association to its members and to the public at large. As the Association’s primary administrator and most consistent face, the Executive Director is expected to work with the Officers, the Board of Directors, and a Secretariat staf ...

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Drinking Bomb & Shooting Meth: An Interview with “Asia Shorts” Author Jeffrey W. Alexander

Last July, Hendrix College President and AAS Editorial Board Chair Bill Tsutsui introduced #AsiaNow readers to a new AAS book series, Asia Shorts. In these “small volumes with a big message,” Tsutsui explained, readers would find “rigorous, timely, and accessible work in our field,” written in concise, readable prose. We are happy to announce that the first Asia Shorts book is now available: Drinking Bomb & Shooting Meth: Alcohol and Drug Use in Japan, written by Pueblo (CO) Community College Dean of Arts and Sciences Jeffrey W. Alexander. Drinking Bomb & Shooting Meth relates the history of drug and alcohol production and sale in Japan between the late 19th century and the present day, using these substances as an entry point into an examination of the country’s cultural, social, and economic evolution over the decades. Here, Tsutsui interviews Alexander about his research, the challenges he faced in writing the book, and what’s most likely to be filling his own ...

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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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