[CFP] East Asia as method – UC Berkeley, October 2016


Call for Papers


An Interdisciplinary Conference for Junior Scholars

October 7 & 8, 2016

Keynote Speakers:

Jini Kim Watson, Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, New York University (Discussant: Dan O’Neill, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley)

Jim Glassman, Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia (Discussant: You-tien Hsing, Professor of Geography and Pamela P. Fong Family Distinguished Chair in China Studies, UC Berkeley)

Conference Description:

What is East Asia? From ideological construct to physical and material reality, East Asia is still a contested territory, marked by the discourse of “Asian ascendancy” in the midst of new forms of conflict and contradiction, ranging from territorial disputes to economic tensions and historical revisionism. By questioning what constitutes East Asia today in a world of shifting boundaries, this conference for junior scholars seeks new approaches to understand the region and new methods to conduct area studies. Attending to flows, connections, travels and interactions that dismantle the understanding of East Asian studies as a bounded entity, the conference invites papers that critically discuss East Asia from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The questions our conference seeks to engage include, but are not limited to, three major thematic areas:

Theme 1: Culture

Cultural productions have always played a major role in the East Asian imaginary, variously constructed through the lens of memory, identity, and belonging. What are the roles of texts, images and practices in imagining East Asia? How do cultural productions reinforce or challenge nationalist discourses? What are alternative forms of cultural productions that reimagine national and regional boundaries?

Theme 2: Knowledge

Research interests abound in knowledge production, exchanges, and flows within East Asia and beyond. How has knowledge about East Asia been constructed in specific historical contexts? What are the roles of various actors, ranging from states and academics to international agencies? How has such knowledge contributed to the shape and content of East Asian society?

Theme 3: Space

East Asia can also be examined as a space produced through transnational flows of ideas, materials, and practices. What are cross-boundary inquiries that destabilize categories and narratives about East Asia as a fixed spatial entity? Some examples of topics to be explored are interconnections between imperialism, nationalism, and globalization that have shaped and reshaped East Asia.

All papers relating to “East Asia,” broadly conceived, are welcome. The conference accepts proposals for individual papers, to be organized into panels of three to four presenters.  All presentations will be no more than 15-20 minutes.


To apply to present at our conference, please submit the following two items as one continuous PDF document:

1. Title and abstract of your paper (maximum 250 words + title)

2. A one-page CV

Applications should be sent as an attachment to eastasiamethod@gmail.com. The deadline for all applications is April 15, 2016 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. Notifications will be sent by May 15, 2016.

Abstracts will be posted on the conference website for public access. Presenters will be strongly encouraged to submit completed papers by August 15, 2016.

Our two-day conference will be held at the University of California at Berkeley, and will include presentations, two keynote speeches, and dinners for presenters and participants. This conference is organized by the Haas Junior Scholar Fellows 2015-2016, with funding and support by the Institute of East Asian Studies at UC Berkeley.

A limited amount of funding may be available to invited conference participants to assist with travel and housing. It is strongly suggested that participants consult other funding venues to fund the majority of their travel costs. Details will be provided with the acceptance of abstracts and invitation to the conference.

For further information, please refer to the conference website at east-asia-as-method.weebly.com and the conference facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/eastasiaasmethod/.