ASAA 20th Biennial Conference: AsiaScapes: Contesting Borders

Univ. of Western Australia, Perth
8th – 10th Jul 2014
Deadline: 29th Nov 2013

This conference invites presentations addressing shifts, continuities, innovations and tensions in Asia. We welcome engagement from scholars and practitioners in the humanities, social sciences and other sciences, as well as interdisciplinary explorations of Asia and Asia-Australia relations.

The pace of globalisation has made contestation of national borders a key part of both lived realities and academic analysis. Global problems increasingly demand international engagement and cross-disciplinary approaches.  As an integrating theme of the 20th Biennial ASAA (Asian Studies Association of Australia) Conference we focus on both senses of border-crossing – national and disciplinary – in the multipolar world.


Conference Theme

Although ‘landscape’ as a metaphor is well-worn, ‘-scape’ remains a productive suffix, spawning terms such as ethnoscapes, technoscapes, mediascapes, ideoscapes and so on, to account for the movement of peoples, technologies, money, images, ideals and ideologies throughout the world. This Conference seeks to emphasise the involvement of Asia as a region of origin, transmission and reception in such flows, extending from the local to the global in scale.

The first decade of the 21st century has seen the beginnings of a shift towards redefining ‘Asian Studies’ as a platform of collaboration between disciplines and cultures rather than an investigation of Asia as a defined and bordered space. This Conference aims to encourage reflection upon how the region has played a part historically in processes of imaginative world building, as well as considering the material processes and structures in which these ideational constructions are based.

It follows that the Conference Theme also seeks to problematise the regional classifications of bordered entities within Asia. The viability of regional delimitations has been queried since the formation of Asian Studies programs in the Cold War period. On the other hand, as Emmerson presciently noted in 1984, while such naming may be an exercise in fiction, it is perhaps most like science fiction, since labelling something that does not yet exist may facilitate its eventual emergence as a reality. Clearly, institutions like ASEAN now provide some material foundation to the concept. Similar dilemmas have been the object of scholarly critiques in regard to West Asia, the Middle East, and indeed all the so-called constituent regions, and Asia itself. This conference seeks to encourage further thought on how the intensified processes of multiple and complex social, economic and cultural tessellations have impacted on the construction, shifting and dismantling of borders within which we experience and understand Asia.


Call for Panels and Papers

Panels and individual papers that engage with the Conference Theme are invited from all areas of Asian Studies. We encourage panels and papers in the following areas:

  •     Anthropology, sociology and inter-disciplinary studies
  •     Archaeology
  •     Cultural studies
  •     Economics, trade and business
  •     Ecology and environment
  •     History
  •     Language, education and communication
  •     Law
  •     Literature and translation
  •     Politics and international relations
  •     Resource politics
  •     Science policy and collaborative research.


Please submit your full panel proposals or individual paper abstracts online. Panel proposals should be no longer than 200 words; paper abstracts should be no more than 300 words. Download and read the Guidelines for Submission here.


Submitting a Panel Proposal

The deadline for panel submissions is 29 November 2013.
Notification of acceptance will be on or before 20 December 2013.

Panel proposals are expected to include at least 3 papers on a related theme that the Panel Convenor invites and coordinates. Further papers submitted independently before the February deadline may subsequently be added to panels, by the Conference Committee, where they fit. A panel proposal should consist of text about the panel theme (no longer than 200 words) followed by a series of paper abstracts, all in one Microsoft Word document. Please use the abstract template available to assist you in this task. We recommend that you use this template and save your proposal and the abstracts within before uploading.

Applications for panel proposals where the panel presentations will be delivered in an Asian language will be considered. Please note that this applies only to those Asian languages currently targeted within Australian educational policy contexts.

For detailed information on abstract / panel proposal submissions visit the conference website at:






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