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March 2018 AAS Member News & Notes

Congratulations to AAS Member Mitra Sharafi (University of Wisconsin-Madison), recipient of a Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Dr. Sharafi will spend the 2020-21 academic year in residence at the National Humanities Center working on her project, “Fear of the False: Forensic Science in Colonial India.” *** The ACLS has also selected AAS Members Levi McLaughlin (North Carolina State University) and Tulasi Srinivas (Emerson College) as two of its Luce/ACLS Fellows in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs. Dr. McLaughlin will use the fellowship to continue his research project on “Religious Influences on Japanese Politics and Policymaking,” and Dr. Srinivas will explore “The Absent Goddess: Religion, Ecology and Violence in Urban India” during her fellowship term. *** The Hamako Ito Chaplin Memorial Award is conferred yearly and administered through the Association for Asian Studies. In accordance with the wi ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Sigrid Schmalzer

Sigrid Schmalzer is professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of Red Revolution, Green Revolution: Scientific Farming in Socialist China, published by University of Chicago Press and winner of the 2018 AAS Joseph Levenson Post-1900 Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Red Revolution, Green Revolution is about what science meant to people in Mao-era China, where official policy called for uniting tu and yang—native, earthy, peasant-based knowledge with Western, elite, professional science. It’s about scientists who mobilized peasants to rear parasitic wasps for the control of insect pests; girls whose efforts to fertilize fields with pig manure challenged gender norms and thus counted as revolutionary “scientific experiment”; local cadres who promoted modern high-yielding varieties of rice while secretly allowing traditional varieties to be planted in hidden valleys; “old peasants” whose resistance was alternat ...

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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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#AsiaNow Speaks with Cynthia Talbot

Cynthia Talbot is Professor of History & Asian Studies at the University Of Texas at Austin and author of The Last Hindu Emperor: Prithviraj Chauhan And The Indian Past, 1200-2000, published by Cambridge University Press and winner of the 2018 AAS Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy Book Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. My book traces how, and by whom, the Indian ruler Prithviraj Chauhan has been remembered since his death in the late twelfth century. Because he was defeated in battle by an Afghan king whose generals went on to establish the Delhi Sultanate, in modern times Prithviraj Chauhan has often been called “the last Hindu emperor” of North India. Even earlier, Indo-Persian historians regarded the conquest of Prithviraj Chauhan as a milestone in the rise of “Muslim” dynasties—polities led by men of Central Asian or Afghan descent and Islamic faith—in the subcontinent. The majority of the book focuses on a few key texts and critical moments ...

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