CFP: AAS/SSRC Dissertation Workshop on Dispossession, Capital, and the State

The Association for Asian Studies and the Social Science Research Council are pleased to announce the third jointly organized AAS/SSRC Dissertation Workshop, which will be held in conjunction with the AAS annual conference in Philadelphia in March 2014. The workshop is supported with generous funding from the Henry Luce Foundation.

2014 Theme: Dispossession, Capital, and the State

All across Asia access to and control over land has long been highly contested.  Both historically and today capital and states have variously combined to drive rural populations from their lands for plantation crops, mining, industrial sites, urban expansion, dams, roads and other public works. The results have included destruction of the commons, environmental and ecological disasters, land invasions, armed resistance, police and military confrontations, massive displacement, urban migration, urban and peri-urban slums, and alienation. Likewise, long established villages and urban communities have been displaced for redevelopment and gentrification. Such events appear to be gaining intensity over time and have been documented and dramatized in chronicles, novels, poems, and songs as well as by field and archival research. Capital and state beneficiaries may claim it is the inevitable “creative destruction,” necessary for long term economic progress and regime enhancement, but it has also led to massive social and economic inequities, “surplus” populations, and political turmoil.

This workshop is intended to bring together doctoral students, regardless of citizenship, in the humanities and social sciences who are (1) developing dissertation proposals or are in early phases of research or dissertation writing; and who are (2) planning, conducting, or are in the early phases of writing up dissertation research on these evolving processes, outcomes, and debates across the various regions of Asia. It is the hope that fuller understanding of the links and comparisons across space and time will both strengthen the individual projects and provide new perspectives on dispossession in Asia, and beyond. The workshop will be limited to 12 students, ideally from a broad array of disciplines and working on a wide variety of materials in a variety of time periods, and in various regions of Asia. It also will include a small multidisciplinary and multi-area faculty with similar concerns.

Eligibility and Application

Applicants need not have advanced to candidacy but must have at least drafted a dissertation research proposal. Applications are also welcome from doctoral students in the early phases of writing their dissertations. A narrative description of the dissertation topic (ten double-spaced typed pages), short application form, and curriculum vitae will be required for submission. Applications must be submitted by January 6, 2014.

Workshop participants will be selected on the basis of the submitted projects, the potential for useful exchanges among them, and a concern to include a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, intellectual traditions, and regions of Asia. Applicants will be informed whether or not they have been selected for the workshop by late January.

For further information about the workshop structure or eligibility, please contact David Szanton Questions concerning administrative matters or the application process should be directed to Nicole Restrick Levit

You may also visit the workshop page at: