Conference/Call for Papers: AsiaScapes: Contesting Borders

On 28/08/2013 by Site Default

The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is pleased to announce that its 20th Biennial Conference will be held on 8-10 July 2014 at the University of Western Australia, Perth.

AsiaScapes: Contesting Borders

Although ‘landscape’ as a metaphor is well-worn, ‘-scape’ remains a productive suffix, spawning terms such as ethnoscapes, technoscapes, mediascapes, ideoscapes and so on, to account for the movement of peoples, technologies, money, images, ideals and ideologies throughout the world. This Conference seeks to emphasise the involvement of Asia as a region of origin, transmission and reception in such flows, extending from the local to the global in scale.

The first decade of the 21st century has seen the beginnings of a shift towards redefining ‘Asian Studies’ as a platform of collaboration between disciplines and cultures rather than an investigation of Asia as a defined and bordered space. This Conference aims to encourage reflection upon how the region has played a part historically in processes of imaginative world building, as well as considering the material processes and structures in which these ideational constructions are based.

It follows that the Conference Theme also seeks to problematise the regional classifications of bordered entities within Asia. The viability of regional delimitations has been queried since the formation of Asian Studies programs in the Cold War period. On the other hand, as Emmerson presciently noted in 1984, while such naming may be an exercise in fiction, it is perhaps most like science fiction, since labelling something that does not yet exist may facilitate its eventual emergence as a reality. Clearly, institutions like ASEAN now provide some material foundation to the concept. Similar dilemmas have been the object of scholarly critiques in regard to West Asia, the Middle East, and indeed all the so-called constituent regions, and Asia itself. This conference seeks to encourage further thought on how the intensified processes of multiple and complex social, economic and cultural tessellations have impacted on the construction, shifting and dismantling of borders within which we experience and understand Asia.

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