Islam in Asia after the Mongols: Historiography and Law

Islam in Asia after the Mongols: Historiography and Law

Speaker: Guy Burak
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2020-12-10 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2020-12-10 | 21:00-22:30 (Shanghai)
2020-12-10 | 17:00-18:30 (Abu Dhabi)

The talk will examine the historiographical framework of the “post-Mongol period” in the broader context of the study of the Islamic tradition in west Asia. In particular, I will reflect on the dialectics between two historiographical (and political) trends: one emphasizes the rupture caused by the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century, while the other stresses continuity between the pre- and the post-Mongol periods. As I will show, much of the debate is about how to evaluate and define change within the Islamic tradition. I will illustrate the dynamics between the historiographical approaches by concentrating on Islamic law and political thought. 

Guy Burak is the Librarian for Middle Eastern, Islamic and Jewish Studies at NYU’s Elmer Holmes Library. He is the author of The Second Formation of Islamic Law: The Hanafi School in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He has published articles on the legal, intellectual and visual histories of the post-Mongol period. He is currently working on a monograph on the history of dynastic law (qanun/kanun).

Introduction by Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, Professor of History and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies at New York University.

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• Metro: Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B 
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Sex Work, Media Networks, and Transpacific Histories of Affect

Sex Work, Media Networks, and Transpacific Histories of Affect

Speaker: Lily Wong
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2020-12-8 | 20:00-21:30 (Shanghai)
2020-12-8 | 7:00-8:30 (New York)
2020-12-8 | 16:00-17:30 (Abu Dhabi)

The figure of the sex worker—who provokes both disdain and desire—has become a trope for both Asian American sexuality and Asian modernity. Lingering in the cultural imagination, sex workers link sexual and cultural marginality, and their tales clarify the boundaries of citizenship, nationalism, and internationalism. Based on her book, Transpacific Attachments, Lily Wong will discuss the mobility and mobilization of the sex worker figure through transpacific media networks, stressing the intersectional politics of racial, sexual, and class structures. While imaginations of a global community have long been mobilized through romantic, erotic, and gendered representations, Wong emphasizes the significant role sex work plays in the constant restructuring of social relations and transpacific alliances.

Lily Wong is an Associate Professor in the departments of Literature (LIT) and Critical Race Gender and Culture Studies (CRGC) at American University. Her research focuses on the politics of affect/emotion, gender/sexuality, racial capitalism, minor-transnational solidarity movements, as well as media formations of transpacific Chinese, Sinophone, and Asian American communities. Her work can be found in journals including American Quarterly, Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Asian Cinema, Asian American Literary Review, Pacific Affairs, and China Review International, among others. She has published book chapters in World Cinema and the Visual Arts (2012), Queer Sinophone Cultures (2013), Divided Lenses: War and Film Memory in Asia (2016), and Keywords in Queer Sinophone Studies (2020). She is the author of the book Transpacific Attachments: Sex Work, Media Networks, and Affective Histories of Chineseness (Columbia University Press, 2018).

Introduction by Celina Hung, Assistant Professor of Literature, Interim Director of the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai.

Discussant: Weixian Pan, Assistant Professor of Interactive Media Arts, Global Network Assistant Professor, NYU.

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• 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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Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

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The Mongols’ Imperial Space: From Universalism to Glocalization

The Mongols’ Imperial Space: From Universalism to Glocalization

Speaker: Michal Biran
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2020-12-3 | 18:00-19:30 (Shanghai)
2020-12-3 | 5:00-6:30 (New York)
2020-12-3 | 14:00-15:30 (Abu Dhabi)

This paper seeks to explain how the Mongol imperial space was created, organized, and conceived by the Mongols and their subjects in the various realms. I stress the interplay between the Mongols’ universal vision during the heydays of Chinggis Khan and his immediate heirs, the construction of a “Chinggisid space,” and the revival of “glocal” (that is, local with global characteristic) spatial concepts in Mongol-ruled China and Iran. I conclude in assessing the impact of the Mongol Empire on the shaping of the post-Mongol imperial space.

Michal Biran (PhD HUJI 2000) is a historian of pre-modern Inner Asia, China and the Muslim world and a member of the Israeli Academy of Science and Humanities. She is the Max and Sophie Mydans Foundation Professor in the Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she led the ERC-funded project “Mobility, Empire and Cross-Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia,” and teaches at the Dept. of Asian Studies and the Dept. of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. She has published extensively on Mongol and Pre-Mongol Central Asia (10th-14th centuries), including Qara Khitai, the Qarakhanids and the Chaghadaids; the Mongol Empire; cross-cultural contacts between China, nomads, and the Islamic world; nomadic empires; conversion; and Ilkhanid Baghdad. She has authored three monographs and more than 70 articles, and has edited or co-edited eight volumes, the last out is Along the Silk Roads in Mongol Eurasia: Generals, Merchants, Intellectuals (with Jonathan Brack and Francesca Fiaschetti, University of California Press 2020) and another The Limits of Universal Rule: Eurasian Empires Compared (with Yuri Pines and Jörg Rupke. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) is due to appear in January 2021. She is currently working on two book projects and, together with Hodong Kim, is editing The Cambridge History of the Mongol Empire.

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

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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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Sinophone Queer Homecoming as Tactics of Interventions

Sinophone Queer Homecoming as Tactics of Interventions

Speaker: E. K. Tan
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2020-11-17 | 17:00-18:30 (Shanghai)
2020-11-17 | 4:00-5:30 (New York)
2020-11-17 | 13:00-14:30 (Abu Dhabi)

In this presentation, I discuss the concept of “queer homecoming” as tactics of interventions that enables the articulation of alternative kinship structures in mainstream cultural expressions such as literature and new media to destabilize the myth of consanguinity among communities in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. By rethinking the implications of concepts such as the familiar and the familial, I examine how queer identities and queerness can unsettle the dominant discourse of heteronormative kinship and its marginalization of minority groups such as the LGBTQ communities in non-rights-based societies. I will focus on two examples, a campaign video for an LGBTQ rally in Singapore and the diary novel, A Wife’s Diary by Taiwanese lesbian writer Chen Xue, to exemplify how queer subjects navigate and negotiate a liveable space within the institution of family and the nation state. My attempt is to map out a regional topography of inter-Asian queer relationalities that reflect a set of spatial politics which seeks to reconfigure the heteronormative home and national space.

E. K. Tan is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies in the Department of English, and Asian and Asian American Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative and World Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities in the Nanyang Literary World. His essays have also appeared in publications such as Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. Sun Yat-Sen Journal of Humanities, Journal of Modern Chinese Literature, and Journal of Chinese Cinemas. He is currently working on two separate book projects tentatively titled Queer Homecoming in Sinophone Cultures and Mandarinization and Its Impact on Sinophone Cultural Production.

Introduction by Celina Hung, Assistant Professor of Literature, Interim Director of the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai.

Discussant: Joyce Tan, Diversity Initiatives Specialist, Student Life, NYU Shanghai.

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• Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

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Religious Tolerance and Inter-Religious Encounters in the Mongol Empire

Religious Tolerance and Inter-Religious Encounters in the Mongol Empire

Speaker: Jonathan Brack
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2020-11-12 | 19:00-20:30 (Shanghai)
2020-11-12 | 6:00-7:30 (New York)
2020-11-12 | 15:00-16:30 (Abu Dhabi)

Research on the Mongols’ attitudes toward the religions of the conquered people presents conflicting views. On the one hand, scholars argue that as Steppe people, the Mongols were either pragmatists or indifferent when it came to the religious practices and beliefs of their subjects, thus explaining the religious freedom they granted them and even their exemption of their subjects’ religious clergy from taxation. On the other hand, the Mongols are presented as inquisitive and curious, even high-minded, observers of the beliefs of their subjects, promoting, hosting and directly engaging in heated inter-religious debates at their courts that entailed Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Daoists.     

This presentation is divided into two parts. In the first part, we will offer a new approach to the question of the Mongols’ pluralistic attitude. We will argue that to explain the Mongols’ religious policies, we must view them as complementary to the Mongols’ own domestic mode of “empirical religiosity.” In the second part, we will turn our attention to one chief example of court-sponsored inter-religious interactions: the encounters between Buddhists and Muslims at the Ilkhanid court in Iran. We will use this example to explore the religiously competitive and dynamic arena of the court, where religious interlocutors clashed over attempts to gain the allegiance, or even conversion, of the khans. We will further ask how these encounters shaped the knowledge and perspectives of “local” religious interlocutors on their new religious competition.  

Jonathan (Yoni) Brack is Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He received his PhD in 2016 from the University of Michigan, and was a postdoctoral fellow in The Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2017-2020). He studies medieval and early modern Iran and the Mongol Empire. His research examines Muslim-Buddhist exchanges and polemics in Ilkhanid Iran, sacral kingship, and Mongol conversion to Islam. His recent and forthcoming publications include “A Mongol Mahdi in Medieval Anatolia: Reform, Rebellion, and Divine Right in the Post-Mongol Islamic World” (Journal of the American Oriental Society, 2019), and “Disenchanting Heaven: Interfaith Debate, Sacral Kingship, and Conversion to Islam in the Mongol Empire, 1260-1335 (Past & Present, forthcoming 2021). He recently co-edited, together with Michal Biran and Francesca Fiaschetti, a volume title Along the Mongol Silk Roads: Merchants, Generals, Intellectuals (University of California Press, 2020).

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

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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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Environmental Aspects of the Mongol Conquest

Environmental Aspects of the Mongol Conquest

Speaker: Nicola Di Cosmo
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2020-11-5 | 21:00-22:30 (Shanghai)
2020-11-5 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2020-11-5 | 17:00-18:30 (Abu Dhabi)

This lecture will address the early stages of the Mongol conquest (c. 1206-1260) from an environmental perspective.  It will focus in particular on the characteristics of the Mongol army and its requirements in relation to the lands that they invaded.  The relationship between Mongols, climate, and environment will be illustrated through several case studies.

Nicola Di Cosmo 狄宇宙  is the Henry Luce Foundation Professor of East Asian Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study.  He holds a PhD from Indiana University, and has previously taught at Harvard University and at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). His research interests are in the history of Chinese and Inner Asian frontiers from the ancient to the modern periods, history of nomadic peoples, Manchu and Mongol history, and climate history.  His publications include Ancient China and Its Enemies, Manchu-Mongol Relations on the Eve of the Qing Conquest, and The Diary of a Manchu Soldier in Seventeenth Century China. He has edited several volumes, the last of which is Empires and Exchange in Eurasian Late Antiquity (2018).

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

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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

CONTACT US

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Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595032

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Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

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New York Global Asia Colloquium Pandemic in the Gulf

New York Global Asia Colloquium
Pandemic in the Gulf

Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
October 23, 9:00 - 10:30 AM (New York)
October 24, 5:00 - 6:30 PM (Abu Dhabi)
October 24, 9:00 - 10:30 PM (Shanghai)

Global Asia Colloquium
Fall 2020
COME ONE AND COME ALL !!!

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23:
Indian Immigration, Labor, and COVID-19 in the Gulf.

Research presentations on the experiences of middle class Indians in the UAE and Qatar, by Neha Vora (Lafayette College) and on Indian laborers in the UAE, by Andrea Wright (William and Mary), with discussant, Dina Siddiqi (NYU), introduced by David Ludden (NYUNY and NYUAD).

The global pandemic has intensified inequalities globally. In the Arabian Peninsula, the coronavirus pandemic has taken a particularly heavy toll on immigrant populations. In the case of immigrants who work as manual laborers and live in dormitory housing, the pandemic has heightened their concerns over unemployment, deportation, and infection. Middle-class immigrants, too, contend with rising unemployment and many have chosen to return to India. In addition, xenophobia is on the rise in Gulf countries as all residents are living in a state of heightened insecurity. In this discussion, Andrea Wright and Neha Vora will explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Indian diasporic communities, their employment, and their everyday lives in the Gulf. We will introduce audience members to our research among different Indian immigrant populations and explore how our interlocutors are affected by state and local responses to the pandemic.

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• 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) 20595032

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Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

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© 2021 All Rights Reserved

Viewing Mocha from Sea, Air, and Land

Viewing Mocha from Sea, Air, and Land

Speaker: Nancy Um, Binghamton University
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
October 24, 9:00 - 10:30 AM (Shanghai)
October 23, 9:00 - 10:30 PM (New York)
October 24, 5:00 - 6:30 AM (Abu Dhabi)

In the seventeenth century, port city vistas emerged as popular imagery that frequently accompanied maritime travelogues and merchant narratives, proliferated actively by Dutch presses. While the texts of these books have been scrutinized, their accompanying images require closer examination. In this talk, I will take up several views of the port city of Mocha, on the Red Sea coast of Yemen, from that era. They include iconic printed images which originated in the Netherlands, but also an Indian painting workshop. These varied representations will be treated in conversation with each other and explored through the complicated relationships that they sustained between port city spaces, travel narratives, and image genres in the seventeenth century, a time when Red Sea and Indian Ocean travel, for both trade and pilgrimage, generated considerable visual interest.

Nancy Um is professor of art history at Binghamton University. Her research explores the Islamic world from the perspective of the coast, with a focus on material, visual, and built culture on the Arabian Peninsula and around the rims of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. Her first book, The Merchant Houses of Mocha: Trade and Architecture in an Indian Ocean Port (University of Washington Press, 2009), relies upon a cross-section of visual, architectural, and textual sources to present the early modern coastal city of Mocha as a space that was nested within wider world networks, structured to communicate with far-flung ports and cities across a vast matrix of exchange. Her second book, Shipped but not Sold: Material Culture and the Social Order of Trade during Yemen’s Age of Coffee (University of Hawai’i Press, 2017), explores the material practices and informal social protocols that undergirded the overseas trade in 18th C Yemen.

Um’s articles have appeared in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, African Arts, Northeast African Studies, Journal of Early Modern History, Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture, Art History, and Getty Research Journal. She has received research fellowships from the Fulbright program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Getty Foundation, and the American Institute for Yemeni Studies.

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

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• Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987

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Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595032

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Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

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© 2021 All Rights Reserved

Book Launch | China Goes Green: Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet

Book Launch | China Goes Green:
Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet

Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Time: 19:00 - 20:30 Shanghai

Book Abstract

What does it mean for the future of the planet when one of the world’s most durable authoritarian governance systems pursues “ecological civilization”? Despite its staggering pollution and colossal appetite for resources, China exemplifies a model of state-led environmentalism which concentrates decisive political, economic, and epistemic power under centralized leadership. On the face of it, China seems to embody hope for a radical new approach to environmental governance.

In this thought-provoking bookYifei Li and Judith Shapiro probe the concrete mechanisms of China’s coercive environmentalism to show how “going green” helps the state to further other agendas such as citizen surveillance and geopolitical influence. Through top-down initiatives, regulations, and campaigns to mitigate pollution and environmental degradation, the Chinese authorities also promote control over the behavior of individuals and enterprises, pacification of borderlands, and expansion of Chinese power and influence along the Belt and Road and even into the global commons. Given the limited time that remains to mitigate climate change and protect millions of species from extinction, we need to consider whether a green authoritarianism can show us the way. This book explores both its promises and risks.

Yifei Li is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at NYU Shanghai and Global Network Assistant Professor at NYU. In the 2020-2021 academic year, he is also Residential Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich. His research concerns both the macro-level implications of Chinese environmental governance for state-society relations, marginalized populations, and global ecological sustainability, as well as the micro-level bureaucratic processes of China’s state interventions into the environmental realm. He has received research support from the United States National Science Foundation, the University of Chicago Center in Beijing, and the China Times Cultural Foundation, among other extramural sources. He is coauthor (with Judith Shapiro) of China Goes Green: Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet. His recent work appears in Current SociologyInternational Journal of Urban and Regional ResearchEnvironmental SociologyJournal of Environmental Management, and other scholarly outlets. He received his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Bachelor’s from Fudan University.

Judith Shapiro is the director of the Masters in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development for the School of International Service at American University. She was one of the first Americans to live in China after U.S.-China relations were normalized in 1979, and taught English at the Hunan Teachers’ College in Changsha, China. She has also taught at Villanova, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and the Southwest Agricultural University in Chongqing, China. She is a visiting professor at Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University. Professor Shapiro’s research and teaching focus on global environmental politics and policy, the environmental politics of Asia, and Chinese politics under Mao. She is the author, co-author or editor of nine books, including China Goes Green: Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet (Polity 2020), China’s Environmental Challenges (Polity 2016), Mao’s War against Nature (Cambridge University Press 2001), Son of the Revolution (with Liang Heng, Knopf 1983), After the Nightmare (with Liang Heng, Knopf 1987), Cold Winds, Warm Winds: Intellectual Life in China Today (with Liang Heng, Wesleyan University Press 1987), Debates on the Future of Communism (co-edited with Vladimir Tismaneanu, Palgrave 1991), and, together with her mother Joan Hatch Lennox, Lifechanges: How Women Can Make Courageous Choices (Random House, 1991). Dr. Shapiro earned her Ph.D. from American University’s School of International Service. She holds an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and another M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Her B.A. from Princeton University is in Anthropology and East Asian Studies. 

Introduction by Maria Montoya, Dean of Arts and Science, Global Network Associate Professor of History, NYU Shanghai Associate Professor of History, NYU.

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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

CONTACT US

Email: shanghai.cga@nyu.edu

Phone Number: +86 (21) 20595032

WeChat: NYUShanghaiCGA

Address: 1555 Century Avenue,

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© 2021 All Rights Reserved