Professor Tansen Sen on NYU Shanghai’s Center for Global Asia

Professor Tansen Sen on NYU Shanghai’s Center for Global Asia

Since 2015, NYU Shanghai’s Center for Global Asia has brought together researchers, scholars, and students to investigate the study of Asia in the international hub of Shanghai. Director of the Center, and Professor of History Tansen Sen sat down to talk with us about the Center’s history, future goals, and some of the exciting projects and collaborations they’re working on.

In the 8 years since the founding, what has the Center’s mission been? What are some of your goals for the Center?

We think that the idea of Asia pertains to not only the physical place that is the Asian continent, but also the entanglement of Asian people, objects, and ideas from the region with different parts of the globe. Since the Center’s establishment, we have been engaged in a number of events and research projects that relate to this broader conceptualization of Asia. We have hosted annual conferences, organized lecture series and webinars, developed courses and international summer schools for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, recruited postdoctoral fellows and invited renowned visitors, such as the novelist Amitav Ghosh, and received prestigious research grants.

2018 Indian Ocean Summer School participants at China Maritime Museum, Shanghai, China. Photo by Yiyun Chen

Who makes up the Center? Who do you find yourself collaborating with?

I am a historian and the director of the Center, and we have about fifteen additional affiliated faculty from the Humanities, Social Sciences, Global China Studies, and Interactive Media Arts programs at NYU Shanghai. We currently have three postdoctoral fellows, and sometimes also host doctoral fellows. We also have visiting scholars who come from institutions around the world. We regularly hire undergraduate interns from NYU Shanghai and other universities in China to work on our database projects and help organize our diverse events. Two staff members oversee the management of the Center’s activities, collaborations, and fellows. In addition, we collaborate with NYU and NYU Abu Dhabi; we have also developed strong networks with other institutions, both locally and internationally, which I view as one of the biggest strengths of the Center. In particular, we have collaborated with Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University, Harvard-Yenching Institute, and universities in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Germany.

On May 10, 2016 at NYU Shanghai, Professor Joanna Waley-Cohen, Provost for NYU Shanghai and Professor Jin Guangyao, Director of Asia Research Center at Fudan University, signed the memorandum on behalf of Asia Research Center (ARC) at Fudan University and The Center for Global Asia (CGA), respectively, to promote the field of Asian Studies in China. Photo by CGA staff

What major projects is the Center undertaking right now? How do you engage and collaborate with other NYU campuses around the world?

In 2018, the Global Asia Studies centers at NYU, NYU Abu Dhabi, and NYU Shanghai received a three-year grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to study ‚ÄúPort City Environments in Global Asia.‚ÄĚ NYU Shanghai‚Äôs project has focused on the examination of Indian Ocean port cities and coastal regions. We have organized workshops and published essays that have explored the internal dynamics and external connections of Indian Ocean port cities. More recently, after the grant was renewed for another three years, we have been studying the environmental impact of infrastructure development projects on port cities and coastal communities. One of our key research undertakings is on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Asia and Africa. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Virginia and Hong Kong University, we are working on a database project that includes collecting publication data, creating timelines, and interviewing various stakeholders within and beyond China.

CGA Annual Conference 2017. Photo by CGA staff
CGA Dialogues | Where is Home? A Conversation with Wang Gungwu, Zoom Webinar Event on Jan 28, 2022. Screenshot by Haozhe Li

What are you looking forward to in the Center’s future?

As we enter into the second decade of NYU Shanghai, I am looking forward to our Center focusing even more on research output, database development, and curricular integration. Additionally, the past two years of the pandemic have forced us to use digital platforms and engage with global audiences through virtual events. The Center currently manages two academic journals and contributes to one of the largest circulating academic newsletters. We plan to expand into Chinese-language publications in the next decade. In the next two or three years we hope to complete our three ongoing database projects. These projects are on Asian Studies in China, the Belt and Road Initiative, and China-India interactions. With faculty from the Social Sciences and Humanities programs at NYU Shanghai we are trying to develop a graduate program in Global Studies; and with our partners in Abu Dhabi and New York we are discussing ways to introduce a Global Asia track within NYU Abu Dhabi‚Äôs planned PhD program in Global Crossroads. To expand our global presence and outreach we will be co-organizing two international conferences in Singapore in 2023. The first will be the inaugural biennial conference on China-India studies and second will focus on maritime heritage in the Indian Ocean world. Also in 2023, pending our grant application, we hope to organize a conference on ‚ÄúAsia and the Mediterranean World‚ÄĚ at NYU Florence. We are also looking into developing our digital humanities scholarship further (like in this VR Gallery). At the new Qiantan campus, we will have a CGA Digital Heritage Lab where we hope to develop resources to do various kinds of story maps, offer workshops, and create platforms to present research visually that will attract more general audiences and involve students in accessible ways.


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Book Discussion | States of Disconnect: The China-India Literary Relation in the Twentieth Century

Book Discussion | States of Disconnect: The China-India Literary Relation in the Twentieth Century

Author: Dr Adhira Mangalagiri
Lead Discussant: Dr. Tansen Sen
Chaired by: Dr. Jayati Bhattacharya

Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2023-01-12 | 17:30-19:00 (Singapore | Shanghai)

States of Disconnect studies crises of transnationalism in Chinese and Hindi texts (1900-1965) that express an aversion to pairing ideas of China and India together. Such texts may seem to spell the ends of comparative thought, but the book shows how literary practice can offer possibilities of relation in the face of insular nationalisms and against globalized habits of thought. The book offers “disconnect as a critical lens for making sense of severed, interrupted, or absent transnational connection, and for finding in such moments an ethics of relation.

ADHIRA MANGALGIRI is Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London. She is also currently an Associate at the Harvard University Asia Center. Besides publishing in internationally reputed academic journals, she serves as General Editor for Comparative Critical Studies, the house journal for the British Comparative Literature Association, the Managing Book Review Editor for Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Asian Interactions, and General Editor for the China-India Studies database. In 2015, she received the American Comparative Literature Association’s (ACLA)
Horst Frenz Prize.

TANSEN SEN is Director of the Center for Global Asia, Professor of History, NYU Shanghai; Global Network Professor at New York University (NYU). He specializes in Asian history and religions and has special scholarly interests in India-China interactions, Indian Ocean connections, and Buddhism. He is the author of Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations, 600-1400 (2003; 2016) and India, China, and the World: A Connected History (2017). He has done extensive research in India, China, Japan, and Singapore and was the founding head of the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Center in Singapore.

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Email: shanghai.cga@nyu.edu

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Room W822, 567 West Yangsi Road,

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South Asia | China and the BRI Countries

China and the BRI Countries

South Asia

Bhagya Senaratne

Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Global Asia

In 2013, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to promote greater connectivity and cooperation among regions. From its modest beginnings, 130 countries have now partnered with the BRI. Each of these countries has a story to tell about their relations and experiences with the BRI. Therefore, this space will provide an overview of these relationships, the projects and initiatives that were launched under the BRI etc. The series of blogs and interviews commences by initially analyzing the BRI and South Asia. Those interested in contributing to this series can write to me at wbs5600@nyu.edu

Sri Lanka

China’s relations with Sri Lanka have various nuances that, although less well known, continue to dominate the conduct of relations. Bilateral relations can be dated back to the 1st century CE, when the Ancient Silk Route enabled greater interactions between the two countries fostering close bonds in the cultural, political, and trade spheres. Regardless of these ties, however, the discourse on China and Sri Lanka is dominated by misconceptions and misinterpretations. This blog will examine the nuances between China and Sri Lanka from when Sri Lanka recognised the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s and will attempt to clarify some of the misconceptions that have dominated their conversations, especially since Sri Lanka joined the BRI in 2013. Those interested in contributing to this series can write to me at wbs5600@nyu.edu

Pakistan

Pakistan has become China’s only All Weather Strategic Partner since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1950. Defense and security cooperation form the cornerstone of their bilateral relations, while there are increasing economic links and people-to-people connections. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that commenced in 2015 is considered the flagship project of China‚Äôs Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The series of blogs and interviews aims to provide a more nuanced understanding of Pakistan‚Äôs engagement with the BRI. Those interested in contributing to this series can write to me at¬†wbs5600@nyu.edu

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The BRI in National Peripheries: Gwadar and the limits of outsourced development

The BRI in National Peripheries: Gwadar and the limits of outsourced development

Speaker: Muhammad Tayyab Safdar
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-12-5 | 21:00-22:30 (Shanghai)
2022-12-5 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2022-12-5 | 17:00-18:30 (Abu Dhabi)

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an important pilot project of China’s Belt & Road Initiative. Within CPEC, Gwadar in Pakistan’s Balochistan province enjoys a privileged position in the development imaginaries of both Chinese and Pakistani policymakers. Even though Gwadar is central to the discourse on CPEC and development, the impact on the ground remains limited. What explains this lack of progress despite Gwadar‚Äôs privileged position within CPEC and the BRI? This paper* argues that the lack of progress in Gwadar is a function of multiple variables, including the region‚Äôs history as peripheral to Pakistan‚Äôs development imaginary, persistent violence and a growth model predicated on land speculation. Furthermore, Gwadar signifies what the paper refers to as an ‚Äėoutsourced development‚Äô model in the BRI. In this model, Chinese actors, especially State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), take on the responsibilities of the state in providing public goods and other social services. The state within the host country further abdicates its limited role in providing peripheral regions with public goods and social services. The paper argues that although these non-state transnational actors are filling the void left by a weak domestic state, they have limited space for independent action and must work through local power structures.

*This paper is co-authored by Hammal Aslam Baloch, Director of the International Center for Refugee and Migration Studies, Assistant Professor at BUITEMS.

Tayyab Safdar completed his MPhil and PhD in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge. His current research explores the emerging dynamics of South-South Development Cooperation, especially after the launch of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013. His research also looks at the economic and political dimensions of increasing Chinese investment on host countries that are a part of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), focusing particularly on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Tayyab’s research has been published in the Journal of Development Studies and Energy for Sustainable Development.

Prior to joining UVA, Tayyab was a Newton Trust Post-Doctoral researcher at the Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge.

Introduction by Bhagya Senaratne, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai; Senior Lecturer in the Department of Strategic Studies, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka (KDU).

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Postdoctoral Fellow Adhira Mangalagiri: Navigating Transnational Thoughts Through Literature

Postdoctoral Fellow Adhira Mangalagiri: Navigating Transnational Thoughts Through Literature

In 2021, Dr. Adhira Mangalagiri, Lecturer in Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London, embarked on a new phase of her research journey by joining NYU Shanghai’s Center for Global Asia (CGA) as a Postdoctoral Fellow. CGA promotes the study of Asian interactions and comparisons and encourages the examination of Asia’s connections with the wider world, which echoes Mangalagiri’s research specialization in Chinese and Hindi/Urdu literatures to a large extent. 

After finishing her one-year fellowship, Mangalagiri has returned to Queen Mary, continuing her research, writing and teaching career. Recently she shared her experience and learnings from this NYU Shanghai journey. 

What attracted you to come to NYU Shanghai and particularly the Center for Global Asia for your postdoctoral research? 

CGA has great appeal to me. In addition to its focus on Asia’s connectedness with the wider world, CGA has significantly contributed to the growth and development of intra-Asian research. Over the past years, CGA has served as an important hub in intra-Asian studies. 

CGA especially facilitates research in Asia and has forged close relationships to academic spheres across China, India, and other parts of Asia. NYU Shanghai proved the ideal base from which to explore such connections, which are all the more urgent given the growing distance between the Chinese and Anglo-American academic worlds. 

Could you share with us how the resources and environment provided by the CGA at NYU Shanghai facilitate your research and study? 

During my fellowship, I greatly benefited from participating in CGA’s program of talks and seminars, which brought leading scholars to NYU Shanghai to discuss their recent projects and publications. I’ve also been able to connect with colleagues in my field and Ph.D. students based in China, which allowed me to gain an understanding of recent developments in Chinese academia. Meanwhile, I also got the chance to exchange ideas with the wider community at NYU Shanghai. These connections undoubtedly enriched my research. 

Director of the Center for Global Asia, Professor of History¬†Tansen Sen¬†was my faculty advisor at NYU Shanghai. During the one year in Shanghai, I brought my first book to completion, and Tansen has offered invaluable support and mentorship throughout the process. Our conversations and collaborations have continued even after my fellowship here. We‚Äôve recently brought a co-edited project to completion (a special issue of the International Journal of Asian Studies on ‚ÄúMethods in China-India Studies,‚ÄĚ the¬†introduction¬†of which is available via Open Access) and are beginning new projects.¬†¬†

What first drew you to dig into Chinese and Hindi/Urdu literatures? Why did you choose Comparative Literature as your field of study? 

Reading the literatures of China and India together can teach us so much about how to think across national borders and how to navigate the forms of conceptual insularity that can impede transnational thought. My research studies and extends the long intellectual history of pairing ideas of China and India together. My interest in this history stems from my own experiences of growing up in both China and India. 

Comparative Literature brings together two values that drive my teaching and research. First, I strongly believe in the importance of literature and literary criticism. Universities and funding bodies often require scholars in literary studies to state the value of their work in terms of various rubrics of instrumentality. For me, the importance of literary scholarship lies in its ability to articulate its importance precisely by interrogating the very ideas of ‚Äúvalue‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúusefulness‚ÄĚ that literary work is so often subject to. Second, Comparative Literature brings multilingual practice to the fore. Beyond the ability to conduct research in multiple languages and literary traditions, multilingualism also demands an attentiveness to different cultures and ways of being in the world.

Could you talk about your current research interests and recent projects? 

My first book, States of Disconnect: The China-India Literary Relation in the Twentieth Century (Columbia UP, 2023), takes on a conceptual challenge currently facing Comparative Literature, namely, the inability of the discipline’s globalized habits of thought to fully apprehend the growing national insularity of our current world. How can comparison attend to the failures of global visions of a happily interconnected world 

and, at the same time, confront the narrow and exclusionary idiom of present-day national belonging? States of Disconnect takes up this question through the case of China-India comparison. 

I am also currently working on a second project that studies literary experiments with time in trans-Asian literatures, from early twentieth-century modernist explorations of non-linear, fragmented temporalities, to contemporary ecocritical writings on foreclosed and inaccessible futures.

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Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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Imagining India in Modern China: Literary Decolonization and the Imperial Unconscious, 1895‚Äď1962

Imagining India in Modern China: Literary Decolonization and the Imperial Unconscious, 1895‚Äď1962

Speaker: Gal Gvili
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-11-18 | 21:00-22:30 (Shanghai)
2022-11-18 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2022-11-18 | 17:00-18:30 (Abu Dhabi)
2022-11-18 | 13:00-14:30 (London)

Beginning in the late Qing era, Chinese writers and intellectuals looked to India in search of new literary possibilities and anticolonial solidarity. In their view, India and China shared both an illustrious past of cultural and religious exchange and a present experience of colonial aggression. These writers imagined India as an alternative to Western imperialism‚ÄĒa Pan-Asian ideal that could help chart an escape route from colonialism and its brutal grasp on body and mind by ushering in a new kind of modernity in Asian terms.

Gal Gvili examines how Chinese writers’ image of India shaped the making of a new literature and spurred efforts to achieve literary decolonization. She argues that multifaceted visions of Sino-Indian connections empowered Chinese literary figures to resist Western imperialism and its legacies through novel forms and genres. However, Gvili demonstrates, the Global North and its authority mediated Chinese visions of Sino-Indian pasts and futures. Often reading Indian literature and thought through English translations, Chinese writers struggled to break free from deeply ingrained imperialist knowledge structures.

Imagining India in Modern China traces one of the earliest South-South literary imaginaries: the hopes it inspired, the literary rejuvenation it launched, and the shadow of the North that inescapably haunted it. By unearthing Chinese writers’ endeavors to decolonize literature and thought as well as the indelible marks that imperialism left on their minds, it offers new perspective on the possibilities and limitations of anticolonial movements and South-South solidarity.

Gal Gvili studies and teaches modern and contemporary Chinese literature. Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in The Journal of Asian Studies, Religions, Comparative Literature Studies, China and Asia: A Journal in Historical Studies and the edited volume Beyond Pan-Asianism: Connecting China and India 1840s-1860s. Her book Imagining India in Modern China: Literary Decolonization and the Imperial Unconscious, 1895-1962 (Columbia University Press, 2022) examines how the image of India, in particular, Chinese writers’ multifaceted visions of Sino-Indian connections, shaped the making of a new literature in the twentieth century.

Introduction by Adhira Mangalagiri, Lecturer in Comparative Literature, Queen Mary University of London.

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To our visitors:
‚ÄĘ RSVP¬†may be required for this event. Please check event details
‚ÄĘ Visitors will need to present a photo ID¬†at the entrance
‚Äʬ†There is no public parking on campus
‚Äʬ†Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue)¬†
‚Äʬ†Taxi card¬†
‚Äʬ†Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B¬†
‚Äʬ†Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

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Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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© 2023 All Rights Reserved

Chinese Sojourners in Wartime Raj, 1942-45

Chinese Sojourners in Wartime Raj, 1942-45

Speaker: Yin Cao
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-10-19 | 20:00-21:30 (Shanghai)
2022-10-19 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2022-10-19 | 16:00-17:30 (Abu Dhabi)

Since the outbreak of the Pacific War, British India had been taken as the main logistic base for China’s war against the Japanese. Chinese soldiers, government officials, professionals, and merchants flocked into India for training, business opportunities, retreat, and rehabilitation. This book is about how the activities of the Chinese sojourners in wartime India caused great concerns to the British colonial regime and the Chinese Nationalist government alike and how these sojourners responded to the surveillance, discipline, and check imposed by the governments. This book provides a subaltern perspective on the history of modern India-China relations that has been dominated by accounts of elite cultural interaction and geopolitical machination.

Cao Yin is Associate Professor in the Department of History, Tsinghua University. He works on modern Indian history, global history, and inter-Asian connections. He is the author of Chinese Sojourners in Wartime Raj, 1942-45 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022) and From Policemen to Revolutionaries: A Sikh Diaspora in Global Shanghai, 1885-1945 (Leiden: Brill, 2018). 

Introduction by Tansen Sen, Professor of History Director of the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai.

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To our visitors:
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‚Äʬ†Taxi card¬†
‚Äʬ†Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B¬†
‚Äʬ†Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

#Center for Global Asia

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CONTACT US

Email: shanghai.cga@nyu.edu

Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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© 2023 All Rights Reserved

World History in China: The Twentieth Century

World History in China: The Twentieth Century

Speaker: Xin Fan
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-9-26 | 20:00-21:30 (Shanghai)
2022-9-26 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2022-9-26 | 16:00-17:30 (Abu Dhabi)

World history as a field of knowledge production has a history in China that goes back prior to the twentieth century. In this talk, I focus on a case study on ancient world history and trace three stages of the development of world history into an academic field of teaching and research over the course of the entire twentieth century: the rise of amateur world-historical writing in late Qing era, the inclusion of world history as a mandatory teaching component in the school curricula in the Republic, and the establishment of world history as a research field from the early People’s Republic to the 1980s. Throughout this process, the historians in focus constantly negotiated the relationship between national identification and global outlook in their teachings and research. By examining this process, I show how the separation of world history from national history came about as an unintended consequence of the state’s massive social engineering projects.

Dr. Xin Fan (ŤĆÉťĎę) is Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York. He is interested in Chinese intellectual history, historiography, and global history. He is the author of¬†World History and National Identity in China: The Twentieth Century¬†(Cambridge University Press, 2021). He also co-edited¬†Reception of Greek and Roman Antiquity in East Asia¬†(Brill, 2018). He is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled, ‚ÄúThe Right to Talk about China: Liberal Intellectuals and the Rise of Emotional Politics, 1900 to 1949,‚ÄĚ as well as collaborating with scholars in Europe, America, and Asia on several projects on nationalism, historiography, and conceptual history. In addition, he is writing about world-historical analogies.¬†For the upcoming academic year, Dr. Fan will teach at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University. He will also become a Fellow and Director of Studies at Lucy Cavendish College at the university.

Introduction by Tansen Sen, Professor of History Director of the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai.

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To our visitors:
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‚ÄĘ Visitors will need to present a photo ID¬†at the entrance
‚Äʬ†There is no public parking on campus
‚Äʬ†Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue)¬†
‚Äʬ†Taxi card¬†
‚Äʬ†Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B¬†
‚Äʬ†Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

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CONTACT US

Email: shanghai.cga@nyu.edu

Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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Southeast Asian studies in China

Asian Studies in China Blogs and Interviews

Southeast Asian Studies in China

Interview with Dr Xie Kankan, Peking University

Yiming Yu

Research Assistant at the Center for Global Asia

Amid the rapidly increasing engagement between China and the rest of the world, when the importance of Chinese Studies is receiving wider recognition and critical evaluation outside China, Chinese scholars have also been striving to learn more about the rest of the world, especially the regions in Asia. As a result, the discipline of Asian Studies has witnessed remarkable growth in China during the past decade.

In this series of interviews by the Centre for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai, we aim to provide insights into how the study of Asia has developed in China. We examine the history as well as the current landscape of Asian Studies through dialogues with scholars at various academic institutions in mainland China who have made outstanding contributions to the field.

Dr Xie Kankan is Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Peking University. His research and teaching deal with various historical and contemporary issues of the broadly defined “Nusantara” (Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore), particularly the region‚Äôs left-wing movements, the intersection of colonialism, nationalism & decolonization, as well as China and Southeast Asia relations during the Cold War. His current research focuses on the history of Indonesian leftism and Chinese diaspora, funded by China‚Äôs National Social Science Foundation and the Institute of Overseas Chinese History Studies. Xie has published in Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia, Journal of Indonesian Social Sciences and Humanities, Dongnanya Yanjiu, and Nanyang Wenti Yanjiu. He received his Ph.D. in Southeast Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and holds an M.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University and a B.A. in Malay Language & Literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University.

01.

As a scholar specializing in Southeast Asian studies, especially on Indonesia and the Malay World (Nusantara) could you please describe the development of Southeast Asian studies overall, particularly in China, and say what Peking University has done to promote these fields of study?

Modern Southeast Asian studies in China can be traced back to the 1920s, when the National Jinan University in Shanghai established the Nanyang Cultural Affairs Bureau to study socioeconomics, history, geography, and social culture in the Southeast Asian region. Southeast Asian studies in China started in the form of ‚ÄėNanyang studies‚Äô, was closely associated with research on the Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and was broadly defined as ‚ÄėOverseas Chinese Affairs‚Äô. Despite the Second World War having an adverse impact on Chinese research institutions focusing on Southeast Asian studies, interest in and the demand for studying Southeast Asia continued to grow in China. In the post-war era, ‚ÄėOverseas Chinese Affairs‚Äô or ‚ÄėNanyang studies‚Äô gradually evolved into ‚ÄėSoutheast Asian studies‚Äô focusing on the region‚Äôs nation-states. At present, research institutions concentrating on Southeast Asian studies in China can be found at institutions of higher learning, Academies of Social Sciences, and military organizations, which are located in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi and Yunnan.

In terms of the history of the field, Southeast Asian studies at Peking University stemmed from two branches: the Department of Oriental Languages, and the Institute of Asian and African Studies. The study of Southeast Asian languages at the Department of Oriental Languages was built upon the disciplinary foundations laid by the National College of Oriental Languages, which had been established in 1942. In the beginning, these languages included Burmese, Vietnamese, and Thai. The objective was to train translators to satisfy the urgent requirements of the nationalist government during the war. In 1949, the National College of Oriental Languages was merged into the Department of Oriental Languages, which gradually added Bahasa Indonesia (Malay) and Filipino to its curriculum. In 1999, the Department of Oriental Languages was integrated with the Departments of English, Russian, and Western Languages to form the School of Foreign Languages. The Department of Southeast Asian Studies, under the School of Foreign Languages, now offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in all five languages.

The Institute of Asian and African Studies was set up at Peking University in 1964 with the aim of studying and teaching Asian and African politics, economy, society, and culture and serving China’s diplomatic initiatives. The Southeast Asian Research Unit at the Institute has long focused on the Overseas Chinese, Southeast Asian politics and economy, and other topics. At the end of the 1990s, the Institute of Asian and African Studies was merged with the School of International Relations. Apart from the School of Foreign Languages and the School of International Relations, scholars from other departments at Peking University, such as History, Government, Law and Sociology, have been engaged in the study of Southeast Asia as well. Peking University has also set up cross-departmental and interdisciplinary research institutions, including the Asia-Pacific Research Institute, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and the Center for Overseas Chinese Studies. Moreover, in 2018, Peking University established the Institute of Area Studies, of which Southeast Asian studies is an important component, aiming to integrate campus-wide resources and build a comprehensive academic platform that will draw together academic research, academic management, scholarly training, think-tank functions, and international academic exchanges.

02.

What types of support does Peking University provide to undergraduate and postgraduate students in Southeast Asian studies, such as language training, academic resources, and international exchanges?

As a comprehensive university, Peking University is relatively rich with its academic resources, curricular development, library collections, inter-university exchanges and other opportunities. MA and doctoral students in the field of Southeast Asian studies are able to apply for funding for a variety of exchange programs, fieldtrips and short-term research. The sources for such funding are diverse, coming from either standard funding agencies such as the China Scholarship Council, the University and its Graduate School, or specifically through supervisors, alumni, and project-based grants. Compared with other comprehensive universities in China, Peking University enjoys a degree of advantage in training in Southeast Asian languages. The School of Foreign Languages regularly offers courses in five concentrations: Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Filipino. Each of these five concentrations enrols undergraduate students every four years and occasionally employs foreign scholars to enrich their curricula. Before the pandemic, many undergraduate students had opportunities to visit countries of their concentrations for one or two semesters. Others attended summer schools in Western countries. However, the pandemic has made such international experience more difficult. Those not majoring in these languages, whether undergraduates, and postgraduate students, are also able to enrol in or audit language courses that are occasionally offered to non-majors. The Southeast Asian studies program at Peking University is not confined to these five languages. We enrol postgraduate students (including international students) interested in studying Laos, Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia. Many of these students also choose to study additional research languages from outside of Southeast Asia, such as Sanskrit, Pali, French and Spanish, for their research. Evidently, the languages acquired for research exceed those learnt for teaching purposes.

03.

Some of your projects related to Indonesian studies receive funding from the National Social Science Fund and Peking University. What is the state of funding like for Southeast Asian studies from Chinese universities and the Chinese Ministry of Education?

My academic interests lie primarily in modern Indonesian history, specifically left-wing movements in the late colonial period. At present, I am an independent PI of a research project funded by the National Social Science Fund‚Äôs Young Scholars Program. Additionally, I am a co-PI of another project under the Fund‚Äôs Major Projects scheme. I also received funding from the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese (AFCROC). All these projects are closely related to my research interests. In the last decade, the Belt and Road Initiative has drastically boosted the government‚Äôs support for area studies, prompting Chinese universities to establish relevant research institutions en masse. Peking University therefore considers area studies a priority field under ‚ÄėAdvanced Interdisciplinary Studies‚Äô and an important ‚ÄėAcademic Growth Sector‚Äô. Southeast Asia is a neighbouring region of China, with close connections through exchanges of people, trade, and culture. In China, Southeast Asian studies often involve an indispensable sub-field of the Overseas Chinese studies. Thus, with the rise of area studies in China, developing a good Southeast Asian studies program has become an important objective of many Chinese universities. With regard to the National Social Science Fund, I have not found an evident preference for area studies in general or Southeast Asian studies in particular. However, agencies such as the Ministry of Education and the AFCROC, as well as local governments at all levels, have clearly intensified support for policy-related research within the field of area studies. The methods and intensity of support from Chinese universities vary as well. At comprehensive universities located in places such as Beijing and Shanghai, Southeast Asian studies does not have a clear advantage over studies of other regions. However, similar programs at universities in Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi and Yunnan enjoy more favorable treatment because of their proximity to Southeast Asia.

04.

Southeast Asia is a geographical region that includes eleven countries. As for Southeast Asian studies in China, is there any centre of gravity, i.e. does any particular country or area receive more focus? What impact do you think such a preference will have on the future development of Southeast Asian studies in China?

There is a clear preference for Southeast Asian studies in China. A basic tendency is that the greater the country's economy, population size and territorial area, the more attention it receives. As a result, the larger Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand receive more attention within Chinese academia. However, smaller countries like Brunei, Cambodia and Timor-Leste are barely studied. The same phenomenon exists among Western scholars as well. A major difference between Chinese scholars and their Western counterparts is in their respective research into ‚Äėmiddle countries‚Äô. Chinese scholars focus more on countries such as Malaysia and Singapore, largely because of the Chinese diaspora, but the Philippines, a country of similar size, does not receive similar treatment. The main reason for this is accessibility to research resources, as many Chinese scholars working on Southeast Asian studies only know Chinese and English and not the local languages. Many of them thus use the local Chinese community as the starting point for their research, studying Southeast Asia through the lens of the Chinese overseas. In the long run, Chinese scholars have inevitably failed to avoid the bias of ‚ÄėChina-centrism‚Äô or ‚ÄėChinese-centrism‚Äô, where there is a lack of important local perspectives. The other trend in Southeast Asian studies in China is the emphasis on current affairs in the neighboring regions. One example of this is the focus on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the coup in Myanmar, and measures to prevent COVID-19 in many Southeast Asian countries. The consequence of this trend is that many scholars over-emphasize the study of ‚Äėhot‚Äô current affairs at the expense of the necessary long-term accumulation of knowledge and in-depth investigation of the region.

Teaching a class on Southeast Asian at PKU. Many international students enrolled before the pandemic.

A lecture by Professor Henk Schulte Nordholt on nationalism, decolonization, and the Cold War in Southeast Asia.

A Panel discussion after Professor Henk Schulte Nordholt’s lecture on nationalism, decolonization, and the Cold War in Southeast Asia. Participants from right to left: Henk Schulte Nordholt (KITLV and Leiden University), Ngeow Chow Bing (University of Malaya) and Xie Kankan (Southeast Asian Studies, PKU).

05.

Speaking of the three Nusantara countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, many people would associate them with studies of local Chinese communities, and much of your research is on these communities. So, in the first place, how much does research on local Chinese communities account for studies of the Malay World in China? Secondly, apart from this subject, what are the emerging or popular topics in studies of the Malay World in China? Which areas do you think deserve more attention?

Overseas Chinese studies is a topic that is impossible to overlook in Southeast Asian studies. Despite the fact that the Chinese communities are in the minority in most Southeast Asian countries, the international academia pays a great deal of attention to this group, which is closely associated with China‚Äôs influence in these places and the political and economic status of the Chinese in local societies. With regard to the three Nusantara countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, the Chinese communities have always been an important research subject. Nanyang studies, the predecessor of Southeast Asian studies in China, originated from a focus on these countries. The Schools of International Relations of Xiamen University and Jinan University, two important institutions for Southeast Asian studies in China, were built on the foundation of the respective institute of Overseas Chinese studies. However, in recent years, most space in academic periodicals for area studies in China is devoted to International Relations. In terms of Southeast Asian studies, Overseas Chinese studies still accounts for about ten percent of the core periodicals of International Studies, even though most publications related to this subject focus on culture and history (see: Luo, Yifu, ‚ÄúStatus of Southeast Asian Studies in China (2007-2017)‚ÄĒBased on Articles Issued by Journals of International Relations Studies in China,‚ÄĚ Journal of Strategy and Decision-Making 9, no. 5 (2018): 28.) The Journal of Overseas Chinese History Studies, the periodical specifically focusing on this subject, also features a large Southeast Asia-related content. Apart from Overseas Chinese studies, Chinese academia now focuses on bilateral relations, domestic politics, trade and economic ties, ASEAN and regional cooperation, and the South China Sea. Most of China‚Äôs academic focus still falls primarily in the fields of politics and macroeconomy, which are relatively elite-driven and time-sensitive. There needs to be more attention to local society and culture, long-term history, and minority communities. Similarly, archival studies and ethnographic studies, which demand long-term and in-depth research in local areas, are rare. Before the 21st century, there was a relatively strong tradition of cultural and historical studies in Southeast Asian studies in China, which have now been relegated to the fringe amid the rise of policy-related area and country studies. I think we need to seriously reflect on this shift.

Book launch of Language Ungoverned: Indonesia’s Chinese Print Entrepreneurs, 1911‚Äď1949 (Cornell University Press, 2021), by Dr. Tom Hoogervorst (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, KITLV).

A lecture on Dutch-Indonesian writer Tjalie Robinson (1911-1974) by Jeroen Dewulf, Queen Beatrix Professor in Dutch Studies at UC-Berkeley.

06.

You chose to do a Designated Emphasis (minor) in Dutch studies for your PhD. Given the colonial past of Southeast Asian countries, how important do you think it is to simultaneously study the colonial history from a Western perspective in Southeast Asian studies? In the field of Southeast Asian studies in China, is it common to study the metropoles and colonies at the same time?

I systematically studied Malay during my undergraduate years at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, laying the foundation for my smooth transition into the study of Indonesia in the postgraduate programs. The relatively long length of doctoral study in the USA enabled me to learn Dutch from the scratch with ease, which fortunately led me to study colonial history. Undoubtedly, the Dutch perspective is very helpful in my study of Indonesia because firstly, there is a rich collection of archives and materials in the Netherlands, and secondly, there is an outstanding tradition of Indonesia studies in the Netherlands, where one can find a large number of excellent scholars specializing in studies of the Malay World. As a result, the research experience in the Netherlands benefited me tremendously, which allowed me to get in touch with several researchers in the field outside China, America and Southeast Asia, and helped me to get rid of the thinking patterns of essentialism among area studies scholars (or ‚ÄėIndonesian Exceptionalism‚Äô, i.e. ‚ÄėIndonesia is the most unique country unparalleled to other countries because I am studying Indonesia.‚Äô) By understanding the colonial histories of the Netherlands and Britain, I have more comprehensive knowledge of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. I could imagine that studying France would improve my understanding of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, while studying Spain and the US would benefit research on the Philippines and studying Japanese and Arabic would help one examine several specific topics during a specific period. Based on my observation, a lot of Chinese scholars belonging to my generation have undergone similar academic training in the West, especially in the field of Southeast Asian studies. In China, this kind of doctoral training is still not possible, as researchers in Southeast Asian Studies are limited by factors such as the duration of study, language skills and academic resources.

07.

Does the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at Peking University have any kind of collaborations with other departments or institutes within the university? What is academic exchange like in the field of Southeast Asian studies in China?

The School of Foreign Languages at Peking University is unique. On the one hand, it represents the Primary Discipline of Foreign Language and Literature in the university with over two hundred full-time faculty members, way more than those in the Schools of Foreign Languages at other comprehensive universities in China. On the other hand, the research interests of the faculties at the School of Foreign Languages cover many areas, such as literature, history, linguistics, anthropology, politics, and religious studies. The School could thus be described as a cluster of inter-disciplinary research and teaching in area and country studies. The Department of Southeast Asia collaborates with several departments within the School, particularly with the Departments of South Asia, Arabic, West Asia and Afro-Asia, which were all part of the now-defunct Department of Oriental Languages, and newly-established departments involving area studies, as joint research projects and inter-department modules are quite common. At the university level, there are a lot of inter-school platforms for collaboration. For example, the School of Foreign Languages convenes a joint program, Foreign Languages and Foreign History, with the Department of History and the Yuanpei College (Liberal Arts), as well as a joint program, Foreign Languages and International Communication, with the School of Journalism and Communication. The School of Foreign Languages has also established collaborations with the Schools of International Studies, Government, Law, Sociology, Chinese Literature, History, Philosophy and even the Schools of Medicine and Natural Science and Engineering within the university. This has been achieved through a series of inter-disciplinary platforms such as the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Asia-Pacific Research Institute and the Institute of Oceanic Research. The Institute of Area Studies further integrates resources for relevant disciplines across the university, as there are numerous opportunities for inter-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration.

Even with the impact of the pandemic, there have been lots of academic exchanges in the field of Southeast Asian studies in China. Although it is difficult to accurately count the number of scholars working in this field in China, from my personal view the scale of the academic community and the frequency of academic events are higher than those in America and Europe. The Association for Southeast Asian Studies in China, founded in 1978, holds a major conference every four years. The last conference was held in Guangzhou in 2019 with near four hundred participants in attendance. This number of attendances is just the tip of the iceberg for Southeast Asian studies in China, and this quadrennial conference has been unable to satisfy the demands of Southeast Asian studies in China. There are numerous seminars, workshops, and lectures on different scales in the field of Southeast Asian studies in China, most of which are centred in Beijing, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Nanning and Kunming, all cities with high concentrations of Southeast Asian Studies institutions. In recent years, the online visibility of Southeast Asian studies has improved dramatically, as many new online lectures during the pandemic have overcome the restraints of time and space in academic exchanges. There are countless accounts and a great deal of content on social media platforms such as Wechat and Weibo with a self-claimed focus on Southeast Asian studies, but they are of inconsistent quality.

A lecture on developmental states in Southeast Asia by T.J. Pempel, Jack M. Forcey Professor of Political Science at UC-Berkeley.

Giving an online talk on the Chinese National Salvation Movement in Malaya and Java, hosted by the Harvard University Asia Center.

08.

You did your PhD research in the United States and have also gone on research visits in the Netherlands and Southeast Asia. What do you think are the differences in research directions and methods between your research in China and the research undertaken in the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia in Southeast Asia studies and studies of the Malay World?

Academic discourses are influenced by local social, political and cultural factors. Academic circumstances in different places certainly shape local Southeast Asian studies. In the United States, Southeast Asian studies was influenced by Cold-War area studies and was initially inextricably linked to decolonization, nation-state construction, modernization theory, and ideological debates. However, after decades of development, Southeast Asian studies has been organically assimilated to America‚Äôs academic ecosystem. Southeast Asia has been both a natural lab for social-science theories in the United States and an important source for the development of the relevant disciplines. This includes Clifford Geertz‚Äôs research on local knowledge, Benedict Anderson‚Äôs study of nationalism and James C. Scott‚Äôs work on anarchism. Contemporary Southeast Asian studies in the United States is closely associated with those areas that have received wide attention, including migration, human rights, ethnicity, gender, religion, the environment, climate change and postcolonialism, all sustaining the development of this scholarly field. Southeast Asian studies in Europe has been heavily influenced by its tradition of orientalism and production of colonial knowledge, but it shares common ground and even converges with its United States counterpart in methodology and theoretical concerns because of strong academic interactions across the Atlantic. To some extent, ‚ÄėFrench Indo-Chinese studies‚Äô, ‚ÄėDutch Indonesian studies‚Äô and ‚ÄėSpanish Filipino studies‚Äô, rooted in the production of colonial knowledge, have gradually been transformed into ‚ÄėEuropean Southeast Asian studies‚Äô, a discipline with a modern academic focus. After the Second World War, as Southeast Asian countries gained independence, local scholars started focusing on the issues of decolonization, construction of nation states, ethnic politics, and religion in their own countries. Also, an increasing number of Southeast Asian scholars have started to shed more light on neighboring countries or to break down the different silos of nation-states to study issues such as migration, the environment, cultural heritage, and regional cooperation. In addition, Southeast Asian studies in Southeast Asian countries is deeply impacted by western academia, with more frequent interactions between both sides. In the past, Southeast Asian studies in Singapore, with its close alignment with western academia, is a unique case in the region. More recently, highly internationalized research institutions have prospered all over Southeast Asia. As mentioned above, Chinese Southeast Asian studies, greatly influenced by the requirements of the government, economic activities, and popular consumption, has witnessed an explosive trend in growth in recent years. However, generally speaking, policy-oriented research concerning current affairs constitutes the mainstream of the discipline in China. By contrast, original research with theoretical rigor based on long-term fieldwork and first-hand multilingual materials is relatively weak.

09.

What are exchanges and interactions between Chinese and foreign scholars in the field of Southeast Asian studies like? How do you think the development of this field in China has been influenced by foreign scholars through such exchanges and interactions? And conversely, has Chinese academia influenced international academia in the field of Southeast Asian Studies?

Before the pandemic, Chinese scholars in the field of Southeast Asian studies had regular interactions with foreign scholars: Chinese scholars obtained more opportunities to travel abroad to study, research and participate in academic conferences. There were also a number of Chinese students studying at universities in the West or Southeast Asia. Furthermore, such exchanges were not one-way, as foreign scholars were ‚Äėbrought in‚Äô when Chinese scholars ‚Äėwent abroad‚Äô. The Internet also drastically improved the accessibility of materials. Yet, I think it is not quite accurate to use the word ‚Äėfrequent‚Äô to describe the interactions between Chinese scholars and their foreign counterparts, and the pandemic has complicated the situation, creating more difficulties for academic exchanges. Beyond the pandemic factor, I think there are two issues hindering such academic exchanges. On the one hand, Southeast Asian studies in China is unique in its discourse, language preferences, theoretical approaches and academic ecosystem, which are consistent with the problems faced by Chinese academics in general. Southeast Asian studies in China has formed a huge academic community that is capable of the domestic circulation of ideas. Even when completely without international interactions, many Chinese scholars are able to publish their research in Chinese journals to prioritize domestic demand and establish themselves within the domestic community. On the other hand, compared with many Humanities and Social Science disciplines, the internationalization of Southeast Asian studies has fallen behind. For disciplines such as economics, political science, and sociology, ‚Äėgoing abroad‚Äô and ‚Äė(foreign scholarship) coming in‚Äô have already become the norm, but those scholars who are most keen to enter into exchanges with their foreign counterparts mostly study Chinese problems since such interaction enables them to contribute ‚ÄėChinese perspectives‚Äô or ‚ÄėChinese voices‚Äô to international academia.

Accordingly, those scholars who specialize in Chinese studies and are interested in engaging with their foreign counterparts are usually familiar with foreign academic discourses and aware of the state of the field globally. In recent years, many publications on Southeast Asian studies in the West have been translated into Chinese, but several scholars who translated these works were not from the field. They usually focused on specific disciplines and the state of international scholarship, which allowed them to quickly grasp the academic value of these works from the perspective of disciplinary theories. In comparison, most scholars in the field of Southeast Asian studies in China do not possess the academic sensitivity and capability to participate in international exchanges. It is worth pointing out that, even with these systematic obstacles, the influence of foreign scholarship on Chinese Southeast Asian studies has been extensive and profound. It is already very common to cite English academic works in Chinese journals when some scholars with Southeast Asian language abilities could even draw on a wide range of local materials in their research. Objectively speaking, the influence of Chinese research on Southeast Asian scholars outside China is quite limited. This is closely related to the aforementioned restrictive factors, language barriers among scholars and academic systems in western and Southeast Asian academia. However, I think it’s necessary for the international academia to learn about research undertaken in China. It is undeniable that China has a geopolitical impact on Southeast Asia, and research by Chinese scholars on relevant issues will enable their foreign academics to strengthen their understanding of these complicated issues. Deepening international exchanges in the field of Southeast Asian studies is extremely important.

Professor Barbara Watson Andaya’s lecture on Christianity and the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia.

A Panel discussion after Professor Barbara Watson Andaya’s lecture on Christianity and the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia. Participants from left to right: Barbara Watson Andaya (Asian Studies, University of Hawai’i), Ni Yun (English, PKU), Chen Boyi (History, Xiamen University), and Xie Kankan (Southeast Asian Studies, PKU).

10.

In Europe and the United States, scholars have been moving away from western-centrism and revaluating decolonization. In one of your seminars, you have argued that many local scholars are now focusing on China at the expense of neglecting the perspectives from Southeast Asian countries. How could these problems be addressed in the future?

It has been a long time since western academia started to call for decolonizing and criticizing western-centrism in the study of Southeast Asia. This has been a driving force in western academia, as it continuously self-reflects and corrects earlier scholarship to develop and make progress in the field. The decolonization of knowledge production and of politics, the economy and culture are closely related but distinct facets. For over half a century, ‚Äėcolonization‚Äô has developed complicated connotations, which international scholars in the field of Southeast Asian studies have been reflecting on. Overall, the effort to decolonize Southeast Asian studies has resulted in dramatic progress, but there is still much to be done. This suggests a continuing need for further research and analysis. Similarly, it is not that the Chinese academic community is not aware of or has not reflected on so-called ‚ÄėChina-centrism‚Äô. The transformation of ‚ÄėNanyang studies‚Äô into ‚ÄėSoutheast Asian studies‚Äô is indicative of this awareness. Many Chinese scholars increasingly take this issue of ‚ÄėChina-centrism‚Äô seriously in their research. However, for Chinese scholars specializing in Southeast Asian studies, there is no standard solution to ‚Äėde-China-centrism‚Äô, nor a shortcut to achieve this goal. This is because the solution requires Chinese scholars to learn and borrow from western academia both comprehensively and intensively and to avoid presenting their research as derivative of western academic traditions. Chinese scholars have to both emphasize their innovative research with the use of primary materials, methods and concepts related to Southeast Asia, and avoid falling into essentialism. It is necessary for them to boost and strengthen their exchanges and interactions with foreign counterparts and, at the same time, insist on their own unique academic traditions. In the last few years, ‚Äėdomestic circulation‚Äô and ‚Äėexternal circulation‚Äô are two buzzwords that have been used to discuss the development of the Chinese economy, which seems suitable for describing the field of Southeast Asian studies as well. With a long history, a solid tradition, a rich and special academic focus and a growing community of scholars and students, Chinese Southeast Asian studies forms an ecosystem that differs from those in other countries for its foundation of ‚Äėdomestic circulation‚Äô, which does not exist in many places. With this foundation, even during the pandemic, the academic community in the field of Southeast Asian studies in China remains active. However, blindly emphasizing ‚Äėdomestic circulation‚Äô is problematic, as it will only lead to a lack of exchanges, rigid thinking and stagnant knowledge production. Therefore, in the post-pandemic era, there will be an urgent need for the field of Southeast Asian studies in China to restart and deepen ‚Äėexternal circulation‚Äô since it has to go global.

More on the authors’ reflections on Southeast Asian studies in China can be found in:

Xie, Kankan. ‚ÄúExperiencing Southeast Asian Studies in China: A Reverse Culture Shock.‚ÄĚ Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 52, no. 2 (2021): 170‚Äď87. doi:10.1017/S0022463421000473

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ATTCAT 2022

The International Workshop & Symposium on Annotation and Translation of Traditional Chinese Architecture Terminology

Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-6-10 to 2022-6-12
2022-6-17 to 2022-6-19

Chinese architecture is a critical component of global architectural heritage. Scholars of historic architecture around the world have been particularly fascinated by China’s traditional timber-frame system. However, the idiosyncratic technical terminology used to describe this system of building has long been an obstacle for scholars. Native and non-native speakers alike find it challenging to fully understand the terms and translate them into modern parlance and across cultural divides. Without a full understanding of the vocabulary used to describe Chinese architectural elements, this rich tradition remains largely inaccessible to an ever-expanding public interested in visiting, and more deeply understanding China’s cultural heritage sites.

In the light of this, a group of scholars and architectural historians, led by Professor CHEN Wei (Southeast University, China), Professor Tracy Miller (Vanderbilt University, USA), and Professor ZHUGE Jing (Southeast University, China), initiated an international collaboration called the Annotation and Translation of Traditional Chinese Architecture Terminology (ATTCAT). The ATTCAT project is a workshop that meets annually and brings scholars from different countries and cultures together to study the meaning of technical terms in traditional Chinese architecture and develop full annotated translations with bibliographic references. By then publishing revised annotations in open-access databases, the ATTCAT project seeks to advance a common knowledge of Chinese architectural terminology and the heritage it describes.

NYU Shanghai has been hosting the online workshop for the ATTCAT project since 2020. We are happy to announce that the 2022 workshop will be hosted again by NYU Shanghai and organized by Professor Lala Zuo (NYU Shanghai). The event will take place over Zoom across two weekends: June 10-12; and then again from June 17-19.

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Location & Details

To our visitors:
‚ÄĘ RSVP¬†may be required for this event. Please check event details
‚ÄĘ Visitors will need to present a photo ID¬†at the entrance
‚Äʬ†There is no public parking on campus
‚Äʬ†Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue)¬†
‚Äʬ†Taxi card¬†
‚Äʬ†Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B¬†
‚Äʬ†Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

#Center for Global Asia

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CONTACT US

Email: shanghai.cga@nyu.edu

Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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Room W822, 567 West Yangsi Road,

Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China

© 2023 All Rights Reserved

Rolling with the Rotis: Body Techniques around the Bay of Bengal

Rolling with the Rotis: Body Techniques around the Bay of Bengal

Speaker: Krishnendu Ray
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-5-27 | 21:00-22:30 (Shanghai)
2022-5-27 | 9:00-10:30 (New York)
2022-5-27 | 17:00-18:30 (Abu Dhabi)

‚ÄúEvery habit makes our hand more witty, and our wit more handy‚ÄĚ Nietzsche

Taking mundane instances of making various kinds of rotis at home and in the marketplaces, and paan chewing around the Bay of Bengal littoral, I build on recent theorizations about doing and thinking. As a sociologist among historians, I tend to look backward from the current material evidence to its historical sedimentation across different temporalities. I distinguish between things and actions that have long lineages and ones with shorter pedigrees. Practices such as cooking and eating precede individuals, who are thrown into a world with standards of mutually intelligible and acceptable behavior. Drawing on recent theorization in Anthropology and Sociology, I develop an argument about the unconscious relationship between normed practice and performative instance. In this new behavioral bent, culture is less about values in the head, and more about repetitive practices of the body and the mind. Cooking is a micropractice with larger implications, about connectivities and differences, continuities and change.

Krishnendu Ray is a Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. He was the Chair of the department from 2012-2021. He is the author of The Migrant’s Table (2004) and The Ethnic Restaurateur (2016) and the co-editor of Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia (2012). He was formerly a faculty member and the Acting Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at The Culinary Institute of America (1996-2005) and the President of The Association for the Study of Food and Society from 2014-2018. He is an Editorial Collective Member of the Food Studies journal Gastronomica.

Introduction by Kathleen Burke, Doctoral Fellow, Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai; PhD Candidate, University of Toronto.

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To our visitors:
‚ÄĘ RSVP¬†may be required for this event. Please check event details
‚ÄĘ Visitors will need to present a photo ID¬†at the entrance
‚Äʬ†There is no public parking on campus
‚Äʬ†Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue)¬†
‚Äʬ†Taxi card¬†
‚Äʬ†Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B¬†
‚Äʬ†Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

#Center for Global Asia

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CONTACT US

Email: shanghai.cga@nyu.edu

Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

WeChat: NYUShanghaiCGA

Address:

Room W822, 567 West Yangsi Road,

Pudong New Area, Shanghai, China

© 2023 All Rights Reserved

4th CGA & GPS Young Scholars Symposium Asia and the World

4th CGA & GPS Young Scholars Symposium
‚ÄúAsia and the World‚ÄĚ

Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-4-29 to 2022-4-30

The Young Scholars Symposium on ‚ÄúAsia and the World‚ÄĚ is co-sponsored by NYU Shanghai Center for Global Asia and the GPS program, which brings together doctoral and postdoctoral fellows as well as recent alumni from NYU Shanghai to share their work on Global Asia, broadly constructed. This is the fourth year of the symposium and it is designed for scholars in their early career to explore the pan-Asian and global connections in their work. The participants will focus on topics on history, art, literature, society, archaeology, anthropology and cultural studies, and examine and expand the ever-changing intellectual boundaries of academic scholarship on China, Asia and the broader world. This year, in order to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of NYU Shanghai, we will also have participants, young scholars as well as faculty members, from Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Renmin University of China, who will share their research on the study of Asia. The objective is to eventually make the Young Scholars Symposium an annual pan-China event and showcase NYU Shanghai‚Äôs contribution to the study of Asia.

*By invitation only

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Location & Details

To our visitors:
‚ÄĘ RSVP¬†may be required for this event. Please check event details
‚ÄĘ Visitors will need to present a photo ID¬†at the entrance
‚Äʬ†There is no public parking on campus
‚Äʬ†Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue)¬†
‚Äʬ†Taxi card¬†
‚Äʬ†Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B¬†
‚Äʬ†Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987