NYU Shanghai Center for Global Asia Receives Luce Foundation Grant

On April 14, the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai (CGA) announced the award of a prestigious grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, which it received together with NYU Global Asia faculty in New York and Abu Dhabi.

The $450,000 grant will support a three-year collaborative research project entitled “Port Cities Environments in Global Asia.” At the Center for Global Asia (CGA) in Shanghai, the research will focus on the Indian Ocean. Professors Duane CorpisTzu-Hui Celina HungTansen Sen, and Lena Scheen are the main faculty members of this Indian Ocean research cluster. Their research will take place in collaboration with research clusters in Abu Dhabi and New York, as well as with the Martin Luther University in Germany.

According to Provost Joanna Waley-Cohen, the Luce grant will enable NYU Shanghai to implement the intellectual possibilities offered by NYU’s presence in Shanghai, New York and Abu Dhabi for the transnational study of Asia and Asian populations.

Professor Tansen Sen, the Center’s director, said CGA will specifically examine the internal dynamics and the external connections of the Indian Ocean port cities through multidisciplinary approach. “Port cities, such as Guangzhou, Shanghai, Penang, and Mumbai, were important sites of cross-cultural interactions and vital links between the maritime spaces and the hinterland areas of Asia,” he said.

He also pointed out that CGA had already identified the Indian Ocean as one of the main areas of study and has organized summer schools on the theme with funding from the Volkswagen Foundation.

Following is the press release issued by NYU:         

New York University has received a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for a three-year project entitled “Port Cities Environments in Global Asia,” which is a collaborative research and education initiative involving NYU faculty in New York, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi.

“Asian Studies is no longer defined only by regionally specific research,” says David Ludden, chair and professor in NYU’s Department of History, who directs the New York Center for Global Asia, which will house the project. “Asia is an expansive space of connectivity formed by interactions of mobility and territoriality, embracing lands and peoples all around the Silk Roads and Indian Ocean, from ancient times, and weaving all continents together in today’s globalized world.”

“The Port Cities Environments project will help us to build a transnational scholarly network for Asian Studies, which only NYU could manage with our campuses in three Global Asia port cities, which bring people together in Asia and New York,” adds Ludden, who will direct the project, along with Tansen Sen and Mark Swislocki, who lead the NYU Global Asia faculty in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi, respectively.

The Port Cities project has begun with discussions about the formation of collaborative clusters including faculty and graduate students on all three NYU campuses, focusing initially on five themes with contemporary and historic significance:

  • “Imperial Connections,” including trade networks, from ancient times to the present;
  • “Local Environments,” including ecologies, material culture, and aesthetics;
  • “Routes of Mobility,” over land and water, and transport and communication technology;
  • “Mobile Cultural Forms,” such as politics, religion, art, science, and medicine; and
  • “Temporality,” from ancient times, with long-term transformations and comparisons

The goal of NYU’s Port City Environments project is to build sustained collaboration among scholars on all three campuses, across many fields, to enrich faculty research, teaching, and graduate training, and, as a result, to improve knowledge production about Asia. The organizers aim to increase collaborative connectivity among faculty involved in Global Asia research and teaching at all three sites, with the goal of establishing “Global Asia” as dynamic field embedded in the curriculum and research agenda of NYU’s network of global campuses.

With support from the Luce Foundation—a three-year, $450,000 grant—and from the NYU administration on all three campuses, the project will host conferences on three campuses as well as symposia, distinguished lecturer visits, seminars, and workshops. It also seeks to bolster the Global Asia curriculum on all three campuses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

For more about the Port Cities Environments in Global Asia project, please visit here.



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