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Introducing the Gender Equality in Asian Studies Group

By Denise Ho, Margaret Mih Tillman, Brigid Vance, and Shellen Wu One woman nearly broke down in tears as she described her travails attending a previous Association for Asian Studies conference as a new mother. At the time, AAS provided no nursing facilities during the annual conference. She could not find a place to pump in the conference space and in desperation had to track down and borrow a friend’s hotel room. Others had stories of their experiences doing research in Asia (where they were frequently asked, “Who is taking care of your husband!?”) and the difficulties women in particular encounter in doing fieldwork. Someone else mentioned the frustrations and lack of mentorship that come with working in departments of mostly older men. The outpouring of stories was a wake-up call and made us realize the real need for an advocacy group and network for women in Asian Studies. We hope to not only provide a forum to share our experiences and advice, but also to create a platform to push for ...

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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