Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) 19th Biennial Conference 2012

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The University of Western Sydney, 11-13 July 2012

Knowing Asia: Asian Studies in an Asian Century


The 19th Biennial Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) was held on the Parramatta Campus of the University of Western Sydney, 11 to 13 July, 2012, hosted by the University's Institute for Culture and Society, the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, and the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies. The theme was ‘Knowing Asia: Asian Studies in an Asian Century’.

Please note that conference proceedings will not be published. 

Conference Media

Conference videos

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Papers available for download

John Menadue AO, was a discussant for the plenary panel: Australia in the Asian Century: Reflections on the Australian Government White Paper. Download a copy of his speaker notes: Asia. Business failure…the new Conquistadors and the long smoko (opens in a new window)(PDF, 418KB).

Conference Background

In the past few decades massive economic, political, social and cultural transformations have taken place in the region known as Asia. In the process, it has acquired an increasingly prominent place in the world. Whether or not this ‘rise of Asia’ merits talk about a coming ‘Asian century’, it is clear that the historical context for the study of Asia has irrevocably changed.

Four major considerations are at play here. First, increasing globalisation has led to growing interpenetration and interdependence between different parts of the world. This problematises prevailing boundaries, not least those between ‘Asia’ and ‘the West’.

Cross-border interactions and transnational connections across and beyond the region are now vital determinants of local and national conditions in all parts of Asia. As a consequence, now more than ever, such local and national situations cannot be meaningfully studied without consideration of the constitutive role of the broader regional and global context. At the same time, studies of global significance must increasingly include studies of what is occurring in Asia.

Second, economic development throughout the region has given rise to the emergence of complex and vibrant new societies for which descriptors as ‘traditional’ or ‘postcolonial’ are inadequate, and whose understanding can no longer be pursued through using Western modernity as a benchmark. These societies are becoming modern in their own ways, requiring new concepts and tools for analysis.

Third, these recent transformations have led to a burgeoning interest in studying Asia among scholars who do not call themselves ‘Asianists’, for example in cultural and media studies, gender and sexuality studies, and human and urban geography. Thus, while specialist area studies and the disciplinary cores of political science, history, languages and so forth remain central, intellectual engagement with Asia has widened considerably.

Fourth, and crucially, as modern Asian societies mature there are new generations of Asian scholars who conduct research and scholarship on and within their own societies, establishing their own, intraregional scholarly networks. For these scholars, Asia is not ‘other’, as is still often the case for Western scholars.

In short, as Asia becomes an increasingly prominent, complex and self-confident region in the world, the meanings and potentials of ‘knowing Asia’ require fundamental rethinking at multiple levels.

The conference encouraged reflection on the implications of these shifts on the field of Asian studies, both in Australia and internationally.

Keynote Speakers 

Professor Lily Kong

Vice-President (University and Global Relations), and Acting Exec Vice-President (Academic Affairs), Yale-NUS College, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Professor Jie-Hyun Lim

Professor of History, Director of the Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture, Hanyang University, Seoul

Professor Prasenjit Duara

Raffles Professor of Humanities, Director, Asia Research Institute, and Director of Research, Humanities & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Conference Program

The final program is available on the Conference Program page. Please note that this version is an update from the printed version that was handed out at registration.

Supporting Organisations

We gratefully acknowledge the support of:

Businessman and philanthropist Mr William Chiu, supporter of the conference’s Postgraduate Forum and Welcome Reception.


Through the South Asian Studies Association:

Australia-India Council

Australia India Institute logo


Through the ASAA Women’s Forum:

Academy of Korean Studies logo 

Korea Institute logo 


Through the Japanese Studies Association of Australia:

Japan Foundation Sydney logo
 

Convenors

The conference was convened by Associate Professor Judith Snodgrass (School of Humanities and Communication Arts), Distinguished Professor Ien Ang and Dr Tim Winter (both from the Institute for Culture and Society).

For further information please contact Project Coordinator Silvia Martinez at s.martinez@uws.edu.au or Associate Professor Judith Snodgrass at j.snodgrass@uws.edu.au.

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Supporting Organisations

We gratefully acknowledge the support of:

Businessman and philanthropist Mr William Chiu, supporter of the conference’s Postgraduate Forum and Welcome Reception.


Through the South Asian Studies Association:

Australia-India Council

Australia India Institute logo


Through the ASAA Women’s Forum:

Academy of Korean Studies logo 

Korea Institute logo 


Through the Japanese Studies Association of Australia:

Japan Foundation Sydney logo