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 2022-6-13
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 10-13; and then again from June 17-19.

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To our visitors:
• RSVP may be required for this event. Please check event details
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• There is no public parking on campus
• Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue) 
• Taxi card 
• Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B 
• Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

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Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

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© 2022 All Rights Reserved

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

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

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

The Young Scholars Symposium on “Asia and the World” 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’s contribution to the study of Asia.

*By invitation only

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

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Email: shanghai.cga@nyu.edu

Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

Pudong New District, Shanghai, China

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Keynote Address | Rethinking the Everyday: Approaching Asia-Africa through Daily Life and Popular Cultures

Rethinking the Everyday:
Approaching Asia-Africa through Daily Life and Popular Cultures

Speaker: Ying Cheng
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-4-29 | 20:00-21:30 (Shanghai)
2022-4-29 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2022-4-29 | 16:00-17:30 (Abu Dhabi)

What happens when an African audience watches Indian or Chinese films on Saturday nights? What exactly a Chinese student gets out of a seminar about youth dance culture in West Africa?

The presentation draws attention to current studies on the transnational cultural flows between Asia and Africa that have been largely ignored in dominant discourses of postcolonialism and globalisation. I try to illustrate how popular culture functions as an essential site of mutual representation and knowledge production within a Third World context. Popular culture forms exemplify ‘the episteme of the everyday’ (Newell and Okome, 2014) that speaks to ordinary people’s concerns, values, desires and desperations. The transnational circulations of pop cultural forms not only shape people’s imagination of self and other, but provoke alternative imaginaries of modernities and globalisation within a Southern context. 

The presentation calls for a southern, comparative theoretical endeavour among scholars of Asian and African studies: From which kind of shared daily experiences are the ‘African-Asian affinities’ (Jean-François and Jeychandran, 2022) generated? How could we think of Asia-Africa as an epistemological framework that challenges traditional models of academic theorisation in area studies and other disciplines? And how could we reactivate our academic debates with languages or ‘vernaculars’ rooted in the lifeworld of Asia and Africa?

Ying Cheng is an assistant professor in the Department of Asian and African Languages and Cultures, Peking University. Her research interests include youth and popular culture in Africa, African visual and performance arts, cultural interactions between China and Africa, and so on. Dr Ying Cheng is an editorial board member of the Journal of African Cultural Studies. She has also been a research associate (Arts of Africa and the Souths) of Rhodes University, South Africa since 2017. In recent years, she has published articles in African Arts, Routledge Handbook of African Literature, African Theatre, Journal of African Culture Studies and so on.

Introduction by M. Yunus RAFIQ, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at NYU Shanghai.

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

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© 2022 All Rights Reserved

Indian and South Asian Studies in China

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Asian Studies in China Blogs and Interviews

Indian and South Asian Studies in China

Interview with Dr Cao Yin, Tsinghua 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.

In this interview, we talk with Dr Cao Yin, Associate Professor and Cyrus Tang Scholar in the Department of History at Tsinghua University. Dr Cao specializes in South Asian Studies. His research interests include modern South Asia, global history, and Sino-Indian interactions. He is the author of Chinese Sojourners in Wartime Raj, 1941-45 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming) and From Policemen to Revolutionaries: A Sikh Diaspora in Global Shanghai, 1885-1945 (Leiden: Brill, 2018). His articles have appeared in Modern Asian StudiesSouth Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, and Journal of World History. He is currently working on a new project of the British Raj’s imagined infrastructures across the Indian Ocean region in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

01.

As a scholar specializing in Indian/South Asian Studies, could you please provide a brief introduction to the history of this discipline in China?

South Asian Studies in China might be said to have two origins. The first consists of studies of South Asian languages and texts that was undertaken through translations of classical South Asian religious literature. Such studies were influenced by the methodologies of comparative linguistics, popular among the so-called “Oriental Studies” scholars in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. This attracted some Chinese scholars to study classical South Asian language and texts. The second origin probably appeared at the end of the 20th century, when the demand to study Chinese geopolitics enticed International Relations and International Politics scholars to focus on contemporary political and economic trends in South Asia. With the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, the academic focus on the politics and economy of South Asia has increased markedly.

02.

As far as you know, how much interest do Chinese university students have in Indian/South Asian Studies? How much support have Chinese institutions provided to these students?

In China, Indian/South Asian Studies is among the less popular disciplines in regional studies. Because of language barriers, limited awareness of research topics, unclear career paths etc., there is not too much interest among students in this subject. The teaching at Chinese universities is language-oriented, which focuses on reading texts, translation, and language training. Since most universities in China that offer South Asian language programs are at local foreign language training campuses, they can only obtain limited funding from the government, so the support for students is relatively modest.

From Institute for International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University

03.

In terms of teaching, could you please compare Indian/South Asian Studies in Chinese universities with those in other countries? In your opinion, what should Chinese universities do to improve their teaching in this field?

Reforming the teaching of South Asian Studies could be approached from two aspects. First, a job-oriented teaching plan should stress vocational expertise in addition to language training. Second, a research-oriented teaching plan should provide students with rigorous academic training in the humanities and social sciences. In other words, in China, research on South Asia should lessen the emphasis only on language training (could language training centres that are independent of research institutes take charge of language training?). They should, rather, establish efficient curricula that integrate humanities and social sciences courses to cultivate comprehensive knowledge of the discipline and awareness of the issues [concerning South Asia].

04.

In the area of historical research, what are the new and popular topics related to India and South Asia in China? What aspects need to be improved? And what are the future prospects of development in these areas?

In my view, in China, South Asian Studies, as a sub-field of regional and country studies, still displays a tendency towards polarization. At one end is Indology, which is dominated by studies of classical languages and terms and the analysis of texts, while at the other end is policy studies, which is dominated by International Relations and International Politics. In China, research on South Asian history during the Islamic and British colonial periods is quite limited. In addition, there is still room for improvements with regard to the identification of research topics.

From Institute for International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University

05.

In the area of South Asian Studies, how is the state of interaction between scholars in China and those from other countries?

There is not much interaction. Publications on South Asian from prominent foreign university presses are rarely translated into Chinese. Similarly, research on South Asia by Chinese scholars is seldom translated and published outside China. Interaction between Chinese and prominent foreign South Asian Studies centres are not very frequent.

06.

What has Tsinghua University done to promote the study of South Asia?

There are several post-doctoral fellows and young scholars specializing in South Asian Studies at the Institute for International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS). They focus on all topics related to contemporary South Asian politics, economics, and culture. I have convened two course modules at the Department of History, Tsinghua, related to South Asian Studies, namely A Brief History of India and The British Raj and the Making of the Modern World.

I and the postgraduate students under my supervision focus more on the interaction between South Asia and other regions in the early-modern era, as well as on the impact of colonialism on South Asian politics, environment, and culture. Through events such as postgraduate reading groups, workshops for young scholars and public talks in South Asian Studies, South Asian Studies at Tsinghua have gradually cultivated the ability to interact with international academia and develop unique research themes.

07.

Regarding your courses on Indian history at Tsinghua, what has student feedback been like? In your view, before attending the first lecture, how much did students know about the subject? Why do they choose courses on South Asia?

In the first few years, not many students took my courses on Indian history. Most of those who enrolled in the classes had no background knowledge or language skills. They conveyed that it was hard to understand the content of the lectures. These students mainly learned about India through what they saw on the media and Internet. They took these courses in the hope of understanding Indian culture further. About a third of these students are international students, most of whom come from Malaysia. They opt for courses on India because they have often interacted with Indians in Malaysia and thus hope to learn more about the Indian community in their own country.

08.

Does Tsinghua provide extra support such as language training, academic resources or opportunities for students to take Indian/South Asian Studies abroad?

The IIAS recruits PhD students with a full scholarship. These doctoral students are entitled to two-year field trips in South Asia and one-year visiting positions at universities in Europe and the USA that have research programs on South Asia. MA students in the Department of History, Tsinghua University, can undertake a one-year study visit to Europe, the USA, or South Asia with funds from the China Scholarship Council. Since there are no schools of foreign languages or foreign teachers within the university, Tsinghua should step up its efforts to provide training in South Asian languages.

From Institute for International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University

09.

In the past, you have at various seminars frequently mentioned that Indian Studies should be placed within the wider perspective of Global Studies to make the necessary connections and comparisons. Regarding such cross-regional and interdisciplinary research, what is the state of collaboration between yourself and other South Asian Studies scholars and those in other disciplines in and outside Tsinghua? How have you collaborated with foreign scholars, organized lectures by foreign scholars for Tsinghua students, and partnered with foreign institutions?

I and some of my peers from the School of Foreign Languages, Peking University, have set up two research groups: Asia-African Studies in Motion, and the Monsoon Lab. Both aim to integrate South Asian Studies with African Studies, Southeast Asian Studies and Chinese Studies in order to extend the boundaries of South Asian Studies through inter-regional comparison and connection.

Additionally, I have also organized three lecture series for promoting global South Asian studies in Tsinghua. Through the Glocal Asian Studies Lecture Series in 2019, the New Frontiers of Global History Lecture Series in 2020, and the Asia & Africa Studies in Motion Lecture Series in 2021, I have invited more than one hundred scholars with humanities and social sciences backgrounds from across the world to give in-person and virtual talks. In so doing, I am working hard to build a platform to facilitate the interdisciplinary understanding and dialogue among young scholars in China to facilitate interaction among Southeast Asian Studies, Chinese Studies and African Studies in China.

I have also worked closely with the Centre of Global Asia at NYU Shanghai to train Chinese graduate students in issues related to methodologies and concepts in China-India Studies.

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The Materiality of Friendship: Kongfuzi as an Archival Source for China-India Interactions during the 1950s

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China-India Blog

Over the past several decades, the discourse and publications on China and India have been dominated by the issues of border conflicts and tensions between the two countries. On the other end of this spectrum are those who embellish the relationship between the two countries with jargon to create unconvincing depictions of the past, present, and future of China-India connections. The bickering, speculative predictions, and pointless embellishments have resulted in the neglect of many interesting facets of the China-India interactions and exchanges that took place within civil society, the contributions of lesser-known actors, and the myriad of things that were produced to facilitate, celebrate, or interrogate the connections between China and India. This blog will engage with such overlooked aspects with the aim of facilitating a more meaningful exploration of the longue dureé of interactions between China and India. Those interested in contributing to this endeavor should write to me at the email address chinaindiablog.cga@gmail.com.

The Materiality of Friendship

Kongfuzi as an Archival Source for China-India Interactions during the 1950s

Tansen Sen

Professor of History
Director of the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai

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Shi Lu’s Visit to India in 1955 and the Cosmopolitanism of National Art

Shi Lu’s Visit to India in 1955 and the Cosmopolitanism of National Art

Speaker: Juliane Noth
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-3-10 | 19:00-20:30 (Shanghai)
2022-3-10 | 6:00-7:30 (New York)
2022-3-10 | 15:00-16:30 (Abu Dhabi)
2022-3-10 | 12:00-13:30 (Berlin)

The Chinese painter Shi Lu (1919–1982), a veteran of the revolution and party secretary of the Xi’an Branch of the Chinese Artists Association, visited Delhi in July 1955 as the artistic director of the Chinese pavilion at the Indian Industries Fair. During this visit, he produced several paintings and sketches that document sites of cultural interest and people from different social backgrounds in realistic portraits. But the encounter with Indian culture and with Egypt in the following year seems to have sparked in him a renewed interest in Chinese traditional painting, an interest that would lead him away from realistic modes of painting and towards more expressive and individualistic forms. The importance of these cross-cultural encounters resurfaced in 1970, when Shi Lu revised some of the paintings he had made in India and Egypt. While suffering from schizophrenic episodes, he covered the paintings with a new layer of graphic signs and texts. In my talk I will show how Shi Lu construed in these paintings a common cultural past for China and India while at the same time delineating a contemporary world of socialist cosmopolitanism in which the artist situated himself in a moment of utmost personal crisis.

Juliane Noth is Professor of East Asian Art History at Freie Universität Berlin and Research Professor at the China Institute for Visual Studies at the China Academy of Art. The focus of her research is on Chinese art and visual culture of the twentieth century. She is the author of Landschaft und Revolution: Die Malerei von Shi Lu (2009) and co-editor of four edited volumes. Her articles were published in Art History, Ars Orientalis, Trans Asia Photography Review, Xin Meishu, and Twentieth-Century China. Her second book, Transmedial Landscapes and Modern Chinese Painting, is forthcoming with Harvard Asia Center in May 2022.

Introduction by Adhira Mangalagiri, Lecturer in Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London; Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai.

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• There is no public parking on campus
• Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue) 
• Taxi card 
• Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B 
• Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

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Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

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The Alchemy of Ritual Architecture in Early Buddhist Asia

The Alchemy of Ritual Architecture in Early Buddhist Asia

Speaker: Tracy Miller
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-3-4 | 21:00-22:30 (Shanghai)
2022-3-4 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2022-3-4 | 17:00-18:30 (Abu Dhabi)
2022-3-4 | 7:00-8:30 (Nashville)

Although miao 廟, ta 塔, and si 寺 were all used to describe early Buddhist architecture in China, one of the first ritual spaces for the Buddha was a huagai 華蓋, literally a “foliate canopy” or “flourishing cover.” Similar to the central element in “Domes of Heaven” across Buddhist Asia, the floral shape of which is believed to derive from Western divisions of the circle, the huagai in the Chinese context predates other evidence of specifically Buddhist influence. But if the “foliate canopy” was not the result of the adoption of a new spiritual tradition, why incorporate this alternative celestial geometry into the Sinitic world view?

By examining the iconographic elements of crowning structures across Asia during the early centuries BCE-CE, this paper will show how ornamental canopies were expected to provide more than decorative shelter. Rather, they were conceived as necessary to create an appropriate atmosphere for the alchemical transformation of natural substances—from mined ore to the human body. Focusing on empirical observation over sectarian ideology, I argue that technologies of containment transmitted along the silk and incense routes from West Asia to China fueled the acceptance of alternative cosmologies and resulted in stylistically different, but functionally similar, ritual architectures.

Tracy Miller is Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture and Asian Studies at Vanderbilt University. Her research specialization is medieval Chinese ritual architecture and sacred landscapes. She holds an interdisciplinary MA (1996) and PhD (2000) from the University of Pennsylvania in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (emphasis: China). She has published The Divine Nature of Power: Chinese Ritual Architecture at the Sacred Site of Jinci (Harvard Asia Center, 2007), and articles in major art history and interdisciplinary journals including The Art Bulletin, Archives of Asian Art, Tang Studies, and Artibus Asiae. She is currently completing a book manuscript on the use of generative design strategies in the creation of ritual architecture in Medieval China. Additionally, working with colleagues globally (including at NYU Shanghai), she helped launch the ATTCAT (Annotation and Translation of Traditional Chinese Architecture Terminology) Project, published through ArchitecturaSinica.org, the first publicly accessible research database of traditional Chinese architecture and architecture terminology. At Vanderbilt she teaches courses on the history of art and architecture across Asia.

Introduction by Lala Zuo, Associate Professor of Art History at NYU Shanghai.

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• There is no public parking on campus
• Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue) 
• Taxi card 
• Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B 
• Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

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Email: shanghai.cga@nyu.edu

Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

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© 2022 All Rights Reserved

Channels: Small Traders in the Digital Age

Channels: Small Traders in the Digital Age

Speaker: Biao Xiang
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-2-23 | 20:00-21:30 (Shanghai)
2022-2-23 | 7:00-8:30 (New York)
2022-2-23 | 16:00-17:30 (Abu Dhabi)
2022-2-23 | 13:00-14:30 (Berlin)

Co-organizer: Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

This presentation explores how petty traders and manufacturers from the global South can join the world market without relying on hierarchical supply chains, monopolistic platform companies, or informal networks. It suggests that international trade based on “channels” among petty traders can empower small players. Channel is in-person connection (though often supplemented by online communication) that people establish purposefully to exchange selected information for a particular goal. Neither random encountering nor friendship are channels. Channel is horizontal, thus different from supply chain. Channel enables traders and manufacturers to communicate constantly and therefore to change the product, the price, the methods of payment and goods delivery, thus different from digital platforms that offer many choices among ready-made goods and set prices but few chances for making changes or developing collaboration. Channel is “deal-specific” in the sense that traders constantly make new channels, thus it is different from personal networks. All transactions need channels of some sort, the question is under what conditions can small traders make effective global channels at a low cost, thus can free themselves from large corporations. This presentation addresses this question by drawing on traders’ experiences in Yiwu, a town in southeast China known as the world’s largest wholesale center for manufactured commodities for daily consumption.

Biao Xiang 项飙 is Director of Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany since 2020, and Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford before that. Xiang’s research addresses various types of migration – internal and international, unskilled and highly skilled, emigration and return migration, and the places and people left behind – in China, India and other parts of Asia. Xiang is the winner of the 2008 Anthony Leeds Prize for his book Global Bodyshopping and the 2012 William L. Holland Prize for his article ‘Predatory Princes’. His 2000 Chinese book 跨越边界的社区 (published in English as Transcending Boundaries, 2005) was reprinted in 2018 as a contemporary classic, and 自己作为方法 (Self as Method, co-authored with Wu Qi) was ranked the Most Impactful Book 2020. His work has been translated into Japanese, French, Korean, Spanish, German and Italian.

Opening Remarks by Burkhard Schnepel, Professor of Social Anthropology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

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

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Email: shanghai.cga@nyu.edu

Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

WeChat: NYUShanghaiCGA

Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

Pudong New District, Shanghai, China

© 2022 All Rights Reserved

Where is Home? A Conversation with Wang Gungwu

Where is Home? A Conversation with Wang Gungwu

Speaker: Wang Gungwu, Tansen Sen, and Tzu-hui Celina Hung
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2022-1-28 | 20:00-21:30 (Shanghai)
2022-1-28 | 7:00-8:30 (New York)
2022-1-28 | 16:00-17:30 (Abu Dhabi)
2022-1-28 | 20:00-21:30 (Singapore)

Wang Gungwu is a renowned scholar of Chinese history, Southeast Asia and the Chinese overseas, a leading theorist of Chinese identity, and a prominent commentator on the contemporary Chinese state. He has also been a celebrated builder of institutions in Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Born in Surabaya, Indonesia, Wang Gungwu did his schooling in Ipoh, Malaysia. He earned his bachelor and master degrees from the University of Malaya, and PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Wang Gungwu’s recent books Home is Not Here and Home is Where We Are recount his journey through transregional spaces and his participation in nation building, while reflecting the predicaments he had with his identity and belonging. This conversation with Wang Gungwu revisits some of the fascinating episodes described in these two books. It will also engage with him on the notable contributions he has made to the study of China, the Chinese overseas, and transregional history.

 

Professor Wang Gungwu is the former Chairman of the East Asian Institute and University Professor, National University of Singapore. He is also Emeritus Professor of the Australian National University. Professor Wang received his B.A. (Hons) and M.A. degrees from the University of Malaya in Singapore, and his Ph.D. at the University of London (1957). His teaching career took him from the University of Malaya (Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, 1957-1968, Professor of History 1963-68) to The Australian National University (1968-1986), where he was Professor and Head of the Department of Far Eastern History and Director of the Research of Pacific Studies. From 1986 to 1995, he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong. He was Director of East Asian Institute of NUS from 1997 to 2007.

Professor Wang is a Commander of the British Empire (CBE); Fellow, and former President, of the Australian Academy of the Humanities; Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Science; Member of Academia Sinica; Honorary Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Science. He was conferred the International Academic Prize, Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes, and the 2020 Tang Prize in Sinology.

His books include The Nanhai Trade: The Early History of Chinese Trade in the South China Sea. New Edition (1998), The Chinese Overseas: From Earthbound China to the Quest for Autonomy (2000), Anglo-Chinese Encounters since 1800: War, Trade, Science and Governance (2003), Renewal: The Chinese State and the New Global History (2013), Another China Cycle: Committing to Reform (2014), Home is Not Here (2018), and Home is Where We Are (2020).

 

Tansen Sen is Professor of history; the Director of the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai; and Global Network Professor at NYU. 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 co-authored (with Victor H. Mair) Traditional China in Asian and World History (2012), edited Buddhism Across Asia: Networks of Material, Cultural and Intellectual Exchange (2014), and co-edited (with Burkhard Schnepel) Travelling Pasts: The Politics of Cultural Heritage in the Indian Ocean World (2019) and (with Brian Tsui) Beyond Pan-Asianism: Connecting China and India, 1840s–1960s (2021). He is currently working on a book about Zheng He’s maritime expeditions in the early fifteenth century, a monograph on Jawaharlal Nehru and China, and co-editing (with Engseng Ho) the Cambridge History of the Indian Ocean, volume 1.

 

Celina Hung received her PhD in comparative literature from the Department of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her research centers on Sinophone literature and culture, Chinese migration and its cultural networks, Anglophone literature, and discourses of creolization and multiculturalism in Asia. She is writing a book project titled Creolizing the Sinophone Pacific, which examines the multilingual articulations of creolization by writers and filmmakers from Southeast Asia with such backgrounds as Babas, Chinoys, and Peranakans, amid a changing nexus of political and cultural forces. She also works on Taiwan’s cultural representations of new-immigrant communities. Some of her articles and chapters on these issues include “‘There Are No Chinamen in Singapore’: Creolization and Self-Fashioning of the Straits Chinese in the Colonial Contact Zone” (in Journal of Chinese Overseas), “Sinophone Studies through the Lens of Creolization” (in Sun Yat-sen Journal of Humanities), “Documenting ‘Immigrant Brides’ in Multicultural Taiwan” (in Asian Video Cultures), “Translator” (in Keywords of Taiwan Theory), “The Promise and Peril of Translation in the Taiwan Literature Awards for Migrants” (forthcoming in the volume Sinoglossia), and “Fishers, Captives, and Storytellers in Taiwan’s Transnational Fishing Industry” (forthcoming in the volume Feeling Transpacific Current(s)).

 

Introduction by Joanna Waley-Cohen, Provost for New York University Shanghai and Silver Professor of History at New York University.

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Location & Details

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• RSVP may be required for this event. Please check event details
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• There is no public parking on campus
• Entrance only through the South Lobby (1555 Century Avenue) 
• Taxi card 
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• Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

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Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595043

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Ningbo Museum Maritime Silk Road Research Center

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Blogs and Interviews
The Silk Roads: Past, Present, and Future

Ningbo Museum Maritime Silk Road Research Center

Rosemary Wang

Research Associate at the Center for Global Asia

With the introduction and implementation of the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), the historical role of the “Silk Roads” has been constantly re-defined and re-investigated. This has resulted in a widespread interest in the topic within and outside China. The emergence of relevant research centers in China has further stimulated the exploration of maritime and overland connections, both during the ancient and contemporary times.

In this series of blogs and interviews conducted by the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai, we aim to provide insights into the “Silk Roads” and BRI-related exhibitions and research in conversation with research centers in China. The aim is to better apprehend the past, present, and future of the “Silk Roads.”

In the first of this series, we interviewed Mr Mo Yida, Deputy Director of the Ningbo Museum Maritime Silk Road Research Center.

Q: CGA

A: Ningbo Museum Maritime Silk Road Research Center (hereafter “the Center”)

01.

How was the Center established? What are its main tasks?

As one of the cities of historical significance to the ancient Chinese Maritime Silk Road, Ningbo, both the city proper and the port, developed and grew at the same time as the Maritime Silk Road. Therefore, the city has always attached great importance to research, exhibitions and shows related to the Maritime Silk Road. One of the key missions of the Ningbo Museum, a key platform for showcasing the city’s history and culture, is to conduct research on and help organize exhibitions related to the Maritime Silk Road. In May 2011, the Maritime Silk Road Research Center was founded, under the auspices of the Ningbo Museum and the Institute of History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, becoming one of the newest additions to the list of strategic collaborative projects between the two organizations. The Center was the first high-level research institute on the Maritime Silk Road in China and was jointly established by a local museum and a national academic institution. The Center’s aims are to consolidate resources, advance academic research on the Maritime Silk Road in Ningbo and across China, promote the conservation of related artifacts, support an application for World Cultural Heritage status, foster the “Maritime Silk Road Spirit”, and facilitate the growth of Ningbo's maritime culture and economy.

At present, the Center’s research is primarily focused on the Maritime Silk Road, including basic research and public education.

02.

What are some of the most noteworthy projects the Center has been working on? What are its areas of focus?

The Center is currently carrying out several research projects focused on the interactions between Eastern Zhejiang province, including Ningbo and other countries. These include: (1) compiling a China Maritime Silk Road Research Yearbook, the first serial publication of this kind on this topic in China, starting with the year 2013; (2) compiling A Compendium of Historical Materials on the Ningbo Maritime Silk Road, which involves collecting and organizing pertinent historical documents; and (3) compiling Tiantong Temple and the Ningbo Maritime Silk Road, an examination of the relationship between them.

03.

Which exhibitions on the Maritime Silk Road has the Center helped curate? What has the Center published on this topic?

In terms of exhibitions, we have planned and organized one entitled “Across the Ocean: Exhibition of Cultural Relics from Nine Maritime Silk Road Cities”. This traveling exhibition was presented in Penglai, Yangzhou, Fuzhou, Zhangzhou, Quanzhou, Guangzhou, Beihai, Nanjing and Hong Kong.

In terms of publications, the Center has published Maritime Silk Road Studies in 20th Century China, Selected Papers on Maritime Silk Road in 20th Century China, Across the Ocean: Selected Papers on ‘Maritime Silk Road and the Process of World Civilization’ International Academic Forum, Across the Ocean: Exhibition of Cultural Relics from Nine Maritime Silk Road Cities (Catalogue) and the China Maritime Silk Road Research Yearbook that has been published every year since 2014 (for the year 2013).

04.

Does the Center work with other departments in the Ningbo Museum? Please say something about these collaborations.

The Center’s main missions are to carry out research on the Maritime Silk Road and to share its findings with researchers, educators and the public. Its collaboration with other departments within the Museum covers a number of areas. First, we have provided support to other departments engaged in work related to the Maritime Silk Road. For instance, we have worked with the Departments of Exhibition, Public Education, and Collection on exhibitions, educational initiatives, and the study and collection of Maritime Silk Road-related relics and materials. Secondly, we have spearheaded educational initiatives and compiled didactic publications on the Maritime Silk Road intended for a general readership, in coordination with other departments.

05.

Could you talk about collaborations between the Center and other Maritime Silk Road research centers, museums, and universities in China, such as those in respect of research projects and academic conferences?

First, the Center has been working with museums in Penglai, Yangzhou, Nanjing, Quanzhou, Fuzhou, Zhangzhou, Guangzhou, Beihai and other Maritime Silk Road cities on organizing exhibitions, such as the “Across the Ocean: Exhibition of Cultural Heritage from Nine Maritime Silk Road Cities”. Secondly, we have co-organized academic events with other research institutions. These include the “International Forum on the Maritime Silk Road and the Process of World Civilization” and the “Maritime Imprints: Ancient Ocean Map and Maritime Silk Road Symposium”, which we co-organized with the Institute of History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Thirdly, the Center is involved in a number of research projects in collaboration with universities. For example, we have been working with Ningbo University on a putting together A Compendium of Historical Materials on the Ningbo Maritime Silk Road.

06.

What has the implementation of the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) meant to the Center’s development and operations?

Since the Center works mostly on research related to the ancient Maritime Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative has had minimal effects on what the Center does.

07.

Has the Center been involved in exhibitions or research outside China?

No, not so far.

What about the Ningbo Museum? Can you share with us information about its international outreach and collaborations?

Related collaborative exhibitions include:

(1) 2016.12.20-2017.02.28: “China-Malaysia Relations: From Ancient Times to the Future”, Ningbo Museum/ Department of Museums Malaysia (Jabatan Muzium Malaysia, JMM)

Relevant link in Chinese:

http://www.nbmuseum.cn/art/2016/12/21/art-_46_17841.html

(2) 2020.07.04-09.06: “Lost in Lace: Lace & Lace Making in Nottingham”, Ningbo Museum/ Nottingham City Museums & Galleries

Relevant links in English:

https://nottinghammuseums.org.uk/lost-in-lace/

https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/asia-businesscentre/2020/08/25/an-exhibition-of-historic-nottingham-lace-finally-lands-in-china-for-exclusive-museum-tour/

Relevant link in Chinese:

http://www.nbmuseum.cn/art/2020/7/6/art-_461_4905.html#ad-image-0

(3) 2021.4.01-05.28: “Boundless Silk Road: From the Mediterranean to China – Selections from Japanese Hirayama Ikuo Silk Road Museum Collections”, Ningbo Museum/ Hirayama Ikuo Silk Road Museum

Relevant links in English:

http://www.musesilkroad.com/en/?c=news&a=view&id=201

http://www.silkroad-museum.jp/english/

Relevant link in Chinese:

http://www.nbmuseum.cn/art/2021/4/1/art-_461_4915.html#ad-image-0

08.

Can you elaborate on the educational services the Center offers to the general public (including students) on the Maritime Silk Road?

The Center takes its public education responsibility seriously in relation to the history of the Maritime Silk Road. To that end, the Center has launched a number of awareness-raising campaigns using the Ningbo Museum as a platform. In 2019, “Experiencing Ningbo Maritime Silk Road in Person through Real-life Interactive Activities” was launched. This program aims to impart knowledge about the Ningbo Maritime Silk Road to children and young people by incorporating pertinent data points and information into games that facilitate edutainment through scene-based and experiential activities. The games are intended to help players learn about and appreciate the historical, cultural, and national significance of Ningbo and the Ningbo Maritime Silk Road, and strengthen their sense of identification with the city’s history and culture.

In addition, the Center has organized five consecutive Maritime Silk Road creative design competitions, which highlight design elements inspired by Maritime Silk Road-related artifacts from the museum’s collection. Products built on the basis of these designs have been made commercially available for sale to the public.

09.

What role did the Center play in the applications for a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage listing for the Maritime Silk Road?

Since the Center does research on the Maritime Silk Road, it is also actively involved in the process of applying for World Cultural Heritage status. In 2011, China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration began work on updating the “Chinese World Cultural Heritage Tentative List”. The Center, in cooperation with concerned organizations in Penglai, Yangzhou, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, Fuzhou, Guangzhou and Beihai, among others, jointly commissioned the Institute of History at the China Architecture Design & Research Group to prepare the application for inclusion in the candidate list. In 2013, the application was approved, and the Maritime Silk Road was added to the tentative list. In 2016, when China’s World Cultural Heritage status application for the Maritime Silk Road was being put together, the Center not only provided research, documentary and material support, but also prepared the Maritime Silk Road exhibition outline that was submitted as part of the application.

10.

What are the Center’s future plans?

Our plans include first, strengthening basic research on the Maritime Silk Road, especially on the Ningbo Maritime Silk Road. The focus will be on collecting, classifying and compiling historical records, archaeological findings, and other materials on the Ningbo Maritime Silk Road. This will help elucidate the setting, history, and evidence for the Ningbo Maritime Silk Road. Second, with the Ningbo Museum as a platform, we shall highlight and share our findings on the Maritime Silk Road with the public through exhibitions and educational activities. Third, we shall pay close attention to the ongoing research on the Maritime Silk Road within and outside China to enhance understanding of the history of scholarship on the Maritime Silk Road.

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A Star God is Born: Chintaku Reifujin Talismans in Japanese Religions

A Star God is Born: Chintaku Reifujin Talismans in Japanese Religions

Speaker: Sujung Kim
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2021-12-1 | 19:00-20:30 (Shanghai)
2021-12-1 | 20:00-21:30 (Seoul)
2021-12-1 | 6:00-7:30 (New York)
2021-12-1 | 15:00-16:30 (Abu Dhabi)

The talk examines talismanic culture in Japanese religions through the case of the Chintaku reifu 鎮宅霊符 (“numinous talismans for the stabilization of residences”). Whereas previous scholarship viewed the set of seventy-two talismans as having an ancient Korean origin or connection to the Onmyōdō 陰陽道 tradition in Japan, my analysis of the talismans suggests that they arrived to Japan directly from Ming China (1368–1644) around the late Muromachi period (1336–1573). Once introduced, the talismans were widely adopted across different religious traditions such as Buddhism, Shinto, Confucianism, and Shugendō under the name Chintaku reifujin 鎮宅霊符神 (the god of Chintaku reifu talismans) in Japan. Locating the broader transcultural history behind the Chintaku reifu talismans, the talk demonstrates how the talisman operated as a major force that shaped the talismanic culture in medieval Japanese religious landscape.

Sujung Kim is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at DePauw University. Her chief research field is Japanese Buddhism of the medieval period with a focus on transcultural interactions between Japanese and Korean Buddhism. Her interdisciplinary research interests also include Buddhist visual and material culture, as well as performative aspects of Buddhist narratives. After her first monograph, Shinra Myojin and Buddhist Networks of the East Asian “Mediterranean” (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2019), she is currently working on her second book project tentatively titled, Korean Magical Medicine: Buddhist Healing Talismans in Chosŏn Korea, in which she investigates religious, historical, and visual dimensions of healing talismans produced in the Buddhist settings during the Choson period. She has published numerous book chapters and articles on Japanese Buddhism, as well as Korean Buddhism. She is the recipient of the first Mujin Writing Award in 2020 and her second book project is supported by ACLS/Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation. Currently, she is a visiting professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea.

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

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

Pudong New District, Shanghai, China

© 2022 All Rights Reserved

Asia Research Center, Fudan University

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Asian Studies in China Blogs and Interviews

Asia Research Center,
Fudan 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.

In the first of this series, we interviewed Dr Zhang Ke, Associate Professor in the Department of History at Fudan University, who works at the Asia Research Center, Fudan University.

01.

Why did Fudan University decide to establish the Asia Research Center (ARCFD)? What is the ARCFD’s place in Fudan’s organizational structure? Where does the funding for the ARCFD come from?

The Asia Research Center, Fudan University, was officially established in 2002, thanks to the plan of the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies (KFAS) to set up Asian Studies centers in collaboration with prominent universities in China to boost Asian Studies both within and outside China. Fudan University was among the first institutions to receive funding from the KFAS to set up Asian Studies centers. Fudan University has continuously provided support to the running of the ARCFD.

The Asia Research Center, Fudan University, is an independent platform for research within the university, mainly covering a variety of programs in humanities and social-science disciplines. The funding of the ARCFD mainly comes from the KFAS, and since 2019 from the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies (CIAS), the successor to the KFAS.

02.

Does receiving support from the KFAS influence the focus and gravity of the ARCFD? Does the ARCFD collaborate with its Korean partners in its daily operations?

The KFAS has supported more than ten universities in China to establish Asian Studies centers. However, the KFAS does not interfere with each center’s specific operations and planning. The ARCFD has constantly maintained a good relationship with the KFAS (CIAS) and therefore has always emphasized its research on Korean language and culture and Sino-Korean exchanges, leading to the publication and translation of many relevant academic works.

Generally, the ARCFD operates independently and regularly reports to the KFAS (CIAS) and Fudan University on its progress and expenditure.

ARCFD Committee Meeting

03.

How does the ARCFD operate?

The ARCFD is jointly managed by Fudan University and the KFAS (CIAS). The Principal of Fudan and the Chairman of the KFAS (CIAS) both take on the role of the Chairman. The structure of the ARCFD includes bodies such as the governing board and the academic council. The Center regularly organizes planning meetings. Day-to-day operations are in the hands of the Director and the Director’s team. Every year, the ARCFD regularly sponsors Fudan scholars’ Asian Studies projects, organizes academic conferences, publishes academic works, translations and collections, and pushes collaboration with internal and external research institutions.

04.

Which Asian region does the ARCFD focus on? Given the results of project grants in recent years, does the ARCFD prefer to support research on East Asia?

As a matter of principle, the ARCFD has not committed itself to focusing on any specific regions in Asia. Nevertheless, among the project grants in recent years, projects in East Asian Studies do account for a higher proportion and greater total number of projects. This is in line with the general picture of Asian Studies in China. In the future, the ARCFD will place more emphasis on the balance between different subjects of study and consider sponsoring some “neglected” projects which have received little attention.

05.

Does the ARCFD provide students and scholars with relevant language training?

The ARCFD prioritizes academic research and has little involvement in teaching. Its scholars already possess good language skills. The ARCFD currently does not plan to conduct language training.

06.

Given the presence of other institutions relevant to Asian Studies in Fudan University, such as the Japan Research Center, the Korea Research Center and the Center for Asian Economic Research, do the research areas of the ARCFD intersect with these institutions’? Does the ARCFD collaborate with these institutions?

Since its establishment, the ARCFD has constantly emphasized collaboration and interaction with other institutions in Fudan, certainly including the Japan Research Center, the Korea Research Center, etc. The collaboration includes sponsorship of relevant research projects, joint publications of collections and translations of academic works, joint organization of academic conferences and invitations to relevant scholars to be members of academic and review committees.

07.

How does the ARCFD collaborate and interact with other Asian Studies centers in and outside China?

The ARCFD and other Asian Studies Centers in China are all members of the Asian Studies network supported by the KFAS (CIAS) and hold regular exchanges. Every year, a joint meeting of the Directors of each Asian Studies center is held, where all the centers discuss their works and progress. The collaboration between the ARCFD and the Asia Pacific Research Institute, Peking University, is the longest and closest one. The two institutions have been regularly organizing academic forums and young scholars’ conferences for more than ten years.

08.

Could you please briefly talk about the development of Asian Studies in China? What role has the ARCFD played in this process?

Overall, there has been a lot of progress in the field of Asian Studies in China, especially in East Asian Studies. In recent years, academia has made a leap in studies of Southeast Asia, South Asia, Inner Asia and West Asia. Personally, I think the future direction of the field will be first, to focus on integrating the studies of all these regions to discuss interactions and communication of substance and values within Asia; and second, to think about concepts such as Asian values and Asian communities with a shared future as a whole to lay the foundation for reshaping Asian identity in the future. The ARCFD expects to work towards these two directions while maintaining the existing traditions to strengthen the influence.

09.

Has the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) brought more opportunities to the ARCFD? How does the BRI influence the operation of the ARCFD?

The BRI has indeed benefited the ARCFD and other Asian Studies centers with lots of fresh development opportunities in recent years. Focusing on the new problems emerging from the BRI, the ARCFD supports various academic conferences and research projects, some of which emphasize theoretical research, while others focus on practical ones. The ARCFD hopes to play to its and Fudan’s strengths, on the one hand to make intellectual contributions to the BRI with research in humanities disciplines, such as history, culture, geography and religion, and on the other hand to actively support policy research in international relations and the development of the political economy.

10.

How does the change in the contemporary international political landscape influence the operation of the ARCFD?

In the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of isolationism and nationalism in every country have generally presented great challenges to ‘Asian Studies’, and the ARCFD is no exception. The pandemic has caused lots of problems for academic exchanges in and outside China, as a lot of interactions could only be conducted on-line, and some projects had to be suspended. However, the changing international political landscape has stressed instead the urgency and values of rebuilding the ‘regional community’. The ARCFD hopes to strengthen research on topics like ‘Intra-Asian exchanges’ and ‘Reshaping Asian values’ in order to excel in ‘working ahead of the times’ and thus to prepare the foundation in the face of the development of and changes to the future political landscape.

11.

Compared with the initial years, how has the ARCFD developed over the years? Where and how can it improve in the future?

Almost twenty years ago, when the ARCFD had just been established, a shared platform for different Asian Studies disciplines in Fudan University was lacking. Nor was there any adequate funding for research projects, academic publishing or organizing conferences. This was about the time when the ARCFD was set up. The Center has provided a lot of Fudan scholars, young emerging ones in particular, with valuable assistance in terms of research funds and platforms in all these years, enabling them to publish a number of works on a variety of topics. Compared with its initial years, today the ARCFD has established an extensive network among both scholars and institutions, which marks the greatest development of the Center.

In the future, the first thing to focus on is the dimension of theories and the Center’s directions. Amid the rapid changes in and outside China, there will be much more to work to do on how to reshape Asian values and identity, reiterate the meaning of ‘Asia’ and tell good Asian stories. The ARCFD hopes to support relevant research in this aspect. The second aim concerns specific operations. The Center hopes to gradually resume its pre-pandemic operations and development in the next few years, to keep working on its existing projects and to expand its network of external collaboration.

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