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Workshop Directors

Çağlar Keyder
Boğaziçi University

Ravi Arvind Palat
State University of New York at Binghamton

Workshop Participants

Michelle Antoinette, Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Cultural Inquiry, Research School of Humanities and the Arts, College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University
“Asian Art and its Shifting Topologies: Creating New Identities for Asia through Contemporary Art Networks: The Asia Art Archive”

Ainur Begim, Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology, Yale University
“Oil, Geopolitics, and the State in Postsocialist Kazakhstan”

Ana Maria Candela, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of California, Santa Cruz
“Qiaoxiang on the Silk Road: Cultural Imaginaries as Structures of Feeling in the Making of a Global China”

Nora Fisher Onar, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Bahçeşehir University (Turkey); Visiting Fellow, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford
“Historical Legacies in Rising Powers: Towards an (Eur) Asian Approach”

Sonja Ganseforth, Research assistant, Institute of Oriental Studies / Centre for Area Studies, University of Leipzig
“Anti-Imperialist Solidarity, Pan-Asianism and Neo-Colonial Interventions Imagining Japan’s Role in the Middle East”

Rada Ivekovic, Professor, Sociology Department, University Jeran-Monnet at Saint-Etienne
“Sovereignty, citizenship and subjectivation in a new context, as Asia emerges”

Hasan H. Karrar, Assistant Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences
“Merchants, Markets, and Crony Capitalism: Explaining the Frontier Economy in Chinese Central Asia Today”

Tim Summers, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Centre for East Asian Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
“Yunnan and Southern Silk Roads: Provincial history and contemporary Chinese policy formation”

Lerna K. Yanık, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Kadir Has University, Istanbul
“Economic Matters, Geopolitical Outcomes: Politics of Capital, Place, and Time in Turkish Foreign Policy, 1945-1960, 1970-85 and 2002-2011”

Call for Workshop Papers

Asia as an area of study was contoured by the geopolitical imperatives of the Cold War – despite a long history of interactions across this geographical expanse, before the end of the Second World War, there were few references to Asia as a coherent unit and there is no term for the continent in any indigenous language. This constitution of Asia, accompanied by the independence of former colonies, also led West Asia to be restructured as the ‘Middle East’ and separated from ‘South Asia’ to which it had long historical connections. ‘Southeast Asia’ was similarly divorced from both ‘South’ and ‘East’ Asia. These arrangements were framed by U.S.-sponsored alliances (SEATO and CENTO) in which Pakistan played a bridging role as a member of both, while India, Indonesia, and many other regional states joined together to launch the Non-Aligned Movement.

The end of the Cold War has created new fractures as the demise and breakup of the Soviet Union rendered Non-Alignment anachronistic, and new cultural geographies have come into being in material and political practice, as well as in the imaginary of the elites and the populations involved. The changed geopolitical ecologies reconfigure alliances which parallel earlier historical patterns.

This is evident in West and South Asia where deeper American involvement has been accompanied by Turkish and Indian bids for regional prominence, evoking memories of coeval dominions of Ottoman and Mughal empires. Sited at the confluence of several emerging networks, this region is crucial in understanding new realities of strategic alliances and interests. The expanded scale of production in China and India has intensified trade relations with the energy-rich states of West Asia. Denser trade in the neighboring seas accompanied by state failures in east Africa has also spurred a rise of piracy inviting new forms of cooperation between global and regional powers. If increased prosperity has made the ‘emerging economies’ more confident in their dealings with the West, their roles in their ‘near abroad’ has been akin to satrapies vying for greater autonomy. At the same time, the end of the Cold War has encouraged ethnic groups to tap into and revive their collective memories to challenge their fragmentation across national borders.

This workshop examines these realignments in their historical context. It is based on the premise that spatial imaginaries are generated by a broad parallelogram of forces, but have to resonate successfully with collective historical memories and cultural practices. We invite original contributions from scholars of different disciplinary affiliations and regional interests to situate historical and contemporary spatial imaginaries of Asia within a broader global geopolitical and historical framework.

Possible themes include:

  • historical roots of emerging alliances;
  • collective memories and new identities;
  • changing self-perceptions of states and their implications for global politics;
  • new patterns of cooperation and conflict; and
  • emerging security concerns in finance, energy, and other arenas.