Borders, Migration, and Transnational Flows
March 17-19, 2020 | Boston, MA

The Association for Asian Studies and the Social Science Research Council, with support from the Henry Luce Foundation, are pleased to announce the jointly organized AAS Dissertation Workshop Series. The workshop will be held in conjunction with the AAS annual conference in Boston, MA.

Asia and Asian identities have traditionally been conceptualized in terms of relatively homogeneous cultural linguistic regions, monarchies, spheres of influence, and more recently, bounded nation-states. Yet while both Asian armies and colonial regimes have often redrawn borders—incorporating new populations or dividing older communities—in recent years, once seemingly fixed social, cultural, and political spaces and places have begun to lose their edges. Internal migrations and growing rural-urban connections are undermining fixed ethnicities and identities. International diasporas are challenging and intensifying prior understandings of citizenship and loyalty. Transnational organizations and corporations, along with the ideological, capital, technology, and labor flows they encourage, are transforming the nature and conceptions of communities, borders, states, sovereignty, and human rights. Aesthetic traditions are crossing cultural borders to create innovative hybrids, while novels, plays, art, dance, music, and film are both exploring and expressing the personal and social implications of these moves. Once seemingly common-sense boundaries are increasingly seen as contestable artifacts of particular contexts or points in political time.

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 the early phases of research or dissertation writing; and who are (2) planning, conducting, or are in the early phases of writing up dissertation research. The workshop will be limited to 12 students, ideally from a broad array of disciplines and working on a wide variety of materials and in various regions of Asia. It also will include a small multidisciplinary and multi-area faculty with similar interests.

The workshop is scheduled for the days immediately preceding the 2020 AAS annual conference in Boston, MA. It will begin the morning of Tuesday, March 17 and continue for the next two and one-half days of intense discussion, and close with lunch on Thursday, March 19.

Participants will be invited back for a post-fieldwork workshop in 2021. The second workshop will be held 12 months later, after many or most participants have completed a significant amount of fieldwork or archival research and are at varying stages in the writing process. This follow-up workshop is intended to help participants shape and articulate the key focus of their dissertations as they begin writing.

The organizers will be able to provide financial support for participants including three nights accommodation, meals, and travel funds. It is hoped that participants also will attend the AAS annual conference immediately following the workshop. 

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. Applicants do not have to be current AAS members to apply for the workshop, but if selected, must join or renew their membership to participate.

Applications must be submitted through the SSRC’s online application system no later than January 6, 2020 and will consist of a narrative description of the dissertation topic (ten double-spaced pages), short application form, and a current Curriculum Vitae.
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, or eligibility, please contact Justin McDaniel Questions concerning administrative matters or the application process should be directed to SSRC staff at Faculty having related research interests who would be interested in serving as mentors for the workshop also should contact the organizers for details.