The Global Asias 6 Conference

Global Asias 6 Conference

Global Asias Initiative and the Department of Asian Studies, Penn State
The Pennsylvania State University
United States
Takes place
In Attendance
From - Until
31.03.2023 - 01.04.2023
Connections Redaktion, Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics, Universität Leipzig

Hosted by the Global Asias Initiative and the Department of Asian Studies, GA6 complements the work of the award-winning journal Verge: Studies in Global Asias and will be the occasion to celebrate the launch of the Global Asias: Method|Architecture| Praxis book series.

Global Asias 6 Conference

After a pandemic-inspired hiatus, the Global Asias 6 conference returns to Penn State in spring 2023. Hosted by the Global Asias Initiative and the Department of Asian Studies, GA6 complements the work of the award-winning journal Verge: Studies in Global Asias and will be the occasion to celebrate the launch of the Global Asias: Method|Architecture| Praxis book series. By bringing into relation work in Asian studies, Asian American studies, and Asian Diaspora studies, these Global Asias projects cover Asia and its diasporas, East to West, across and around the Pacific, from a variety of humanistic perspectives—anthropology, art history, literature, history, sociology, and political science—in order to develop comparative analyses that recognize Asia’s place(s) in the development of global culture and history. In that expansive and multidisciplinary spirit, we invite paper proposals for the specific panels and roundtables listed below for the conference, to be held March 31-April 1, 2023. Please note: this year we are also accepting panel submissions (detailed submission instructions can be found at the end of this announcement). Materials (250-word abstract and brief c.v.) to specific roundtable and panel organizers, or panel submissions to the general conference submission email (, should be submitted by November 4, 2022.

Thanks to the generous support of the Global Asias Initiative, the Department of Asian Studies, the College of the Liberal Arts, and the School of Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Penn State will cover 3 nights lodging and food costs for all conference presenters. In addition, we will provide all conference participants with a 1-year subscription to Verge: Studies in Global Asias.

General questions about the conference and the panel submission process should be directed to GAI director Tina Chen (


This year, we are also welcoming the submission of panel proposals. Panel proposals should include a 1-paragraph panel abstract, four paper abstracts (each no longer than 250 words), and the cvs of all panelists. We encourage panel proposals that embody the expansive mission of Verge’s Global Asias project; panels reflecting the varied kinds of diversity cultivated by the journal (geographic, historical, disciplinary, and field) will be especially attractive to the conference organizers. If a panel is accepted for GA6, we will ask a Penn State colleague to serve as the panel chair. The entire proposal should be submitted as a single PDF document to All submissions due by November 4, 2022.



Archipelagic Histories, Global Asias
Nicolai Volland | and Jessamyn Abel |

The study of Asia, historically fragmented along national lines, has also been rooted on the terra firma of national territories. In recent years, however, scholars in a range of disciplines have proposed oceanic and archipelagic perspectives as a way to reconsider the regionally and globally inter-connected histories, societies, and cultures of Asia. In light of this new work, what does it mean to speak of Global Asias in maritime terms? How does a focus on interactions and intersections with and through the Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans reshape our understanding of locality and mobility, identity and connectivity? What can the ocean add to our methodological toolkit—what do concepts such as passages and entrepots, vortexes and monsoons, and flows and migrations contribute to our understanding of Global Asias? This panel seeks contributions from the social sciences and humanities to think about Global Asias from archipelagic and oceanic perspectives.


Globalizing Reproductive Justice across Asias
Keva Bui | and Heejoo Park |

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, which threatens the right to safe, legal abortions in the United States and will disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and people of color as well as disabled, queer, trans, and lower-income communities, this panel considers how the national body politics of Asia and its diasporas, inflected by overlapping histories of imperialism, militarism, racial capitalism, and voluntary and involuntary migration, have fundamentally been concerned with policing belonging and exclusion. We center analytics of reproductive justice to draw attention to state-sanctioned processes through which reproductive control continues to be unequally implemented across racial, gendered, and sexualized differences. We embrace a multiscalar approach—traversing the molecular, the embodied, the national, and the global—to foreground how “Asias,” in the plural, have been constituted through histories of eugenic nationalism that have curated “ideal” body politics and the violent exclusion of racial, gendered, and sexualized others. We invite papers that explore how reproductive control—ranging from forced or coerced sterilization and environmental poisoning to race-restricted immigration laws and transnational adoption programs—has shaped the formation of multiple nation- and empire-building projects across Global Asias. We are especially interested in proposals that examine how coalitions of transnational movements can expand the view of what reproductive justice constitutes in different contexts and strategies for enacting its possibilities.

Global Chinese Medicines: Beyond “Tradition,” Beyond “China”
Pierce Salguero |

Gone are the days when the history or contemporary practice of Chinese medicine can be described in terms of discrete Chinese versus “Western” traditions. Emergent scholarship understands Chinese medicine in terms of the global flows of knowledge, and traces these currents beyond the confines of national or cultural boundaries and the imaginary silos of traditions or disciplines. A new generation of scholars emphasizes the global movements of ideas and practices as well as their local reassembly by practitioners, experts, and other influencers in order to continually create novel and even idiosyncratic modes of healing. Inclusive of both historical and contemporary perspectives, our panel explores how Chinese medicine has been constructed by the interplay between the global and the local, drawing attention to specific moments of transnational entanglement and crosscultural exchange. We are particularly interested in challenging static notions of “China” or “Chinese” by focusing on the interconnectivity between Chinese, Chinese American, and other Chinese diasporic communities.

In the Wake of Calamity: Post-Disaster Reconstruction in Asia
Nicholas Risteen |

The legacy of disaster encompasses a broad swath of historical experience throughout Asia. Whether natural disaster like the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Sumatra, Sri Lanka, and other sites around the Indian Ocean; wartime destruction in Japan or Vietnam; or ecological devastation from industry, climate change, or rapacious overdevelopment, a subtle union of precarity and possibility overlays many of them. Even as sites smoldered, emboldened politicians pondered: how best to respond to such disastrous opportunity?

Large-scale reform is often impossible without disaster’s calamitous push but potential breeds pitfalls. Beyond the basic needs of disaster relief (which often go unmet), post-disaster environments throughout history have offered a unique opportunity to reimagine the promise of reconstruction. What are the ethics and imperatives of responding under such conditions? Is prevention ever possible, or must we always instead be positioned only to respond? What kinds of unexpected repercussions arise from reconstruction’s efforts?

This panel explores responses to post-disaster situations in Asia in all its various forms. While war and natural disaster offer the most consistent body of historical circumstance, new threats abound from climate change to political instability. Welcoming of architectural, political, visual, or philosophical approaches, this panel seeks to broaden our understanding of post-disaster’s unique intellectual and creative space alongside its lingering historical legacies and conundrums.

Trans-Eurasian Studies
Keru Cai |

Recent geopolitical situations (such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the war in Ukraine) have brought to attention historically intricate connections across Eurasia that continue to ramify in urgent ways. This panel conceives of trans-Eurasian studies as a necessary interdisciplinary analogue to transatlantic, transpacific, or trans-Saharan studies. Invoking “Eurasia” to refer to the entire supercontinent of the old world, a usage that has appeared in social anthropology (Chris Hann), history (James Millward, Alessandro Stanziani), and literary studies (Katerina Clark), Trans-Eurasian studies aims to transcend the traditional contours of area studies fields by tracing the historic and contemporary networks stretching across the Eurasian landmass. Such an approach elicits alternatives to or fleshes out the relationships between West and East that scholars have been scrutinizing since Said’s Orientalism. Trans-Eurasian dynamics thereby provincialize Europe, a remote peninsula of the great Eurasian landmass, without losing sight of it.

We invite papers investigating how transnational or transcultural exchanges across Eurasia have not just been between Western Europe and Asia, but have involved the gradual movement of ideas and persons across the geographic expanse between the two. We also solicit work that focuses on the long history of contacts interrupted or altered by the establishment of new maritime trade routes or imperial relationships among Western Europe, India, China, and the New World. At the same time, we welcome papers that consider how the maritime is complementary or integral to thinking about trans-Eurasian dynamics.

Contact (announcement)

general questions: Tina Chen:

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