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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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Thomas Patton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian and International Studies, and Associate Director of the Southeast Asia Research Centre, at the City University of Hong Kong. A scholar of religious studies, Patton is a specialist in Buddhism in Southeast Asia—specifically Myanmar—and has been a member of the AAS since 2005.
Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues?
When I was a masters student living in Boston in 2003, a classmate asked me to drive him to New York City to visit his friend who was presenting at an AAS conference. While sitting in the lobby of the conference venue, I was beside myself to hear dozens of people talking casually about Asian Studies as if they were chatting about the weather. I immediately registered for the conference and spent the remaining 3 days enthralled by the conversations and interesting people I met, one of whom would later become my PhD advisor.
How did you first become involved in the field of Asian Stud ...
Below is the Editor’s Message from the newest issue of Education About Asia, the open-access teaching journal of the Association for Asian Studies. For complete online access to this issue, as well as over 1,500 articles from 22 years of Education About Asia, please visit the EAA website.
By Lucien Ellington, Education About Asia Editor
I hope readers are enjoying the spring. The intent to make a more effective special section through utilizing a “political economy” approach should be evident in the topical breadth of the issue and, hopefully, a “real world” approach to understanding the influences of demography, geopolitics, national security, technology, economic development, religion, and ethnicity upon governments and politics.
The special section, “Asian Politics,” begins with Tony Tai-Ting Liu’s “The Rise of China and its Geopolitical Implications” that should serve as a basic introduction for educators and students to a number of issu ...
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 ...
A joint statement from the Association for Asian Studies and Ashoka University:
The first AAS-in-Asia conference was held at the National University of Singapore in 2014, and in subsequent years there have been conferences at the Academia Sinica in Taipei, at Doshisha University in Kyoto, and at Korea University in Seoul. The purpose of the AAS-in-Asia conferences is to encourage collaboration and intellectual exchange among scholars based in various parts of Asia and between scholars based in Asia and those based in other parts of the world. The fact that the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India has decided to deny visas to Pakistani scholars (including scholars of Pakistani origin who are citizens of other countries) to attend the AAS-in-Asia conference in Delhi is not in tune with the open exchange of ideas and knowledge that is the very purpose of the conference. However, neither the Association for Asian Studies nor Ashoka University has the authority to tell the Government of India ...
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