Director’s Note

Tansen Sen
Director, Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai

The Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai was established in September 2015 with the aim of studying multiple aspects of intra-Asian interactions. Over the past three years, the Center has collaborated with local and foreign institutions, and with faculty within NYU’s Global Network University system, to organize monthly lectures, annual conferences, workshops, summer schools, and special cultural events. It has hosted postdoctoral fellows, doctoral students, and distinguished visitors such as Amitav Ghosh

The Center for Global Asia has received two prestigious grants in support of its research activities. A three-year (2018–2021) Henry Luce Foundation Asia Responsive Grant for US$ 450,000 is funding collaborative research on Indian Ocean port cities being undertaken by Global Asia centers in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai. From 2016 to 2018 another three-year grant for € 150,000 from the Volkswagen Foundation supported three Summer Schools on “The Indian Ocean World and Eurasian Connections”. These Summer Schools were jointly organized by the Center for Global Asia and the Center for Interdisciplinary Area Studies at Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. Two of these Summer Schools were held in Germany, and a third took place in Shanghai in July–August 2018. In addition, the Center for Global Asia was one of the partner institutions of the Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, which was recently awarded a Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant for a project entitled “Appraising Risk, Past and Present: Interrogating Historical Data to Enhance Understanding of Environmental Risk in the Indian Ocean World”. 

During the past three years, the Center for Global Asia has entered into collaboration with several institutions in China and elsewhere. It has partnered with the Asia Research Center at Fudan University in analyzing the state of Asian Studies in China. Together, the two institutions offer a postdoctoral fellowship on intra-Asian interactions for citizens of the People’s Republic of China, organize an annual conference, and contribute the “China Connections” section to the prestigious The Newsletter published by the International Institute for Asian Studies in Leiden in the Netherlands. 

In the next few years, the Center for Global Asia plans to strengthen its existing collaboration and research on the Indian Ocean world. For example, it will be editing the Journal of Indian Ocean World Studies in collaboration with the Indian Ocean World Centre at McGill University. The Center is also in the process of setting up a consortium to study interactions between India and China. This consortium will include the India China Institute at the New School in New York, the Harvard-Yenching Institute at Harvard University, the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi, and Peking and Tsinghua Universities in Beijing. 

To disseminate research outcomes and information on the study of Asia and the global significance of intra-Asian interactions, the Center for Global Asia is collaborating with its partner institutions to create databases on the state of Asian Studies in China, archival and documentary sources on India-China interactions, and Chinese sources on maritime Asia. 

Through the above partnerships and initiatives, the Center for Global Asia at NYU Shanghai aims to become a key research and knowledge hub for Asian Studies.

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