- Conference Theme
- Organising Committee
- Review Committee
- Grant & Scholarship Recipients
"Recentering: Asian Spaces, Cultures and Ideas in the 21st Century"
March 30 – April 01, 2018 | Hyōgo Prefectural Museum of Art & Art Center Kobe, Kobe, Japan
If globalisation is characterised by simultaneous networks of information, has the concept of centres become obsolete? Or do certain recent geopolitical developments – the fading of America’s “global leadership” being counterbalanced by the rise of China’s, the latter’s new Belt and Road Initiative promising to become a new Silk Road, Britain’s exit from the EU, and the newly proposed trade agreements between Japan and Europe – put the world on the verge of a radical recentering? Will the burgeoning mega-cities in Asia displace the traditional nation-state in the competition for capital, status and enhanced technologies?
Scholars and students of the humanities have long questioned the extent to which shifts in formations of power – empires, countries, regions, cities – resonate through cultural practices that centre on literary and aesthetic meaning, expression and representation. This provokes further questions about how such centres can be identified, defined and represented; and about their relations of other types and modes of centering. Is cultural prestige dependent on political centrality? Or can it be achieved through the circulation of forms and aesthetics that operate in their own economy? For that matter, what is central to its meanings and valuations of culture?
What of the humanities themselves? Fears of their marginalisation are based on the assumption that they were once central, and that the only way to restore their former authority is to argue against their subordination to scientific, technological or vocational forms of education. Can the humanities find new life in multi- or cross-disciplinary frameworks? How can they survive the dominant trend towards more marketable or “useful” forms of education? What is central to the humanities? Should older disciplines such as Literature and Aesthetics reinvent themselves as it be Cultural Studies? Or should they now concentrate on comprehending their own historical genealogies in relation to current scholarly practices?
There is also the question of why, in the wake of postcolonial and transnational decenterings, do elite Anglo-American universities retain so much of their cultural capital? How might humanities redefine themselves if recentred in Asian institutions? Is it possible for the prevailing discourses of Western humanism to be combined with Asian values, goals and traditions? Could such a transformation help to rehabilitate the humanities’ current beleaguered status in America and Europe?
Our present historical moment compels us to think through the implications of these and other modes of recentering. The Asian Conference on Arts and Humanities 2018 provides an opportunity for academics, artists, writers and students to explore the challenges of multi-faceted and interdisciplinary rethinkings of the ways we imagine, articulate and work with centres.
While we invite proposals that deal with any aspect of recentering, we offer the following list of possible areas of exploration. It is by no means final or exhaustive; rather, we offer it to stimulate and provoke considerations of how the humanities can engage with ideas of recentering and decentering.
The Concept of Centres
- What is a centre? Do centres still exist in a globalised world?
- What new definitions have emerged of power and centrality?
- Can simultaneous networks of information be restricted to any specific location?
- Does the concept of place retain any relevance in a globalised world?
- Will space-time compression inevitably accelerate?
Historical and Geographical Centres
- The Silk Road(s) then and now: centres in motion.
- The growing urbanisation of humanity, particularly in Asia.
- Cities and metropoles as centres: from world city to global city to mega-city.
- Is the nation-state now obsolete? What might take its place?
- Is it now possible to define a genuinely cosmopolitan ethics?
Centres and/of Knowledge
- What lies at the centre of the humanities? Do they retain relevance in Asia or the West?
- What are specifically Asian modes of knowledge? Is the university itself an imported form?
- Can the humanities be recentred around specifically Asian values, goals, traditions?
- Can English language and literature studies be recentered as a multi-focal globalised lingua franca?
- Why in a decentred world has the elite Anglo-American academy retained such prestige?
The Self as Central
- How can memory be preserved as the locus of future-directed experience?
- What alternative relations of person to collectivity might be possible?
- Are there new definitions of transnational identity?
- How has gender been transformed through interaction with global capital?
- How are forms of knowledge gendered?
- How does gender function in the institutional structures of academia?
In conjunction with our Global Partners, we look forward to extending you a warm welcome in 2018.
Professor Myles Chilton, Nihon University, Japan
Professor Steve Clark, University of Tokyo, Japan
Dr Joseph Haldane, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), Japan
Professor Donald E. Hall, Lehigh University, USA
Dr Yukari Yoshihara, University of Tsukuba, Japan
The Organising Committee of The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities (ACAH) is composed of distinguished academics who are experts in their fields. Organising Committee members may also be members of IAFOR's International Academic Advisory Board. The Organising Committee is responsible for nominating and vetting Keynote and Featured Speakers; developing the conference programme, including special workshops, panels, targeted sessions, and so forth; event outreach and promotion; recommending and attracting future Organising Committee members; working with IAFOR to select PhD students and early career academics for IAFOR-funded grants and scholarships; and oversee the reviewing of abstracts submitted to the conference.
- Dr Anne-Kathrin Wielgosz, Walsh University, United States
- Dr Divine Ngwa Fuhnwi, Protestant University of Central Africa (PUCA), Cameroon
- Dr Firas Al-Jubouri, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
- Professor Jie/Selina Gao, Murray State University, United States
- Professor Joseph Sorensen, University of California at Davis, United States
- Professor Kong Ho, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
- Professor Loren Goodman, Yonsei University, Republic of Korea
- Dr Reena Mittal, Dak Degree College, India
- Dr Rosalina Rara Sarabosing, Holy Name University, The Philippines
- Professor Steve Clark, University of Tokyo, Japan
- Dr Suranti Trisnawati, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia
- Dr Yi-Chin Shih, Tamkang University, Taiwan
- Dr Yukari Yoshihara, University of Tsukuba, Japan
IAFOR's peer review process, which involves both reciprocal review and the use of Review Committees, is overseen by conference Organising Committee members under the guidance of the Academic Governing Board. Review Committee members are established academics who hold PhDs or other terminal degrees in their fields and who have previous peer review experience.
If you would like to apply to serve on the ACAH Review Committee, please visit our application page.
ACAH2018 Grant & Scholarship Recipients
Our warmest congratulations go to Pin-Pin Debbie Chan and Mahbubeh Moqadam, who have been selected by the conference Organising Committee to receive grants and scholarships to present their research at The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities 2018.
IAFOR’s grants and scholarships programme provides financial support to PhD students and early career academics, with the aim of helping them pursue research excellence and achieve their academic goals through interdisciplinary study and interaction. Awards are based on the appropriateness of the educational opportunity in relation to the applicant’s field of study, financial need, and contributions to their community and to IAFOR’s mission of interdisciplinarity. Scholarships are awarded based on availability of funds from IAFOR and vary with each conference.
The Organising Committee of the relevant IAFOR conference awards scholarships to eligible applicants who have submitted exceptional abstracts that have passed the blind peer review process and have been accepted for presentation at the conference.
Stuart D. B. Picken Grant & Scholarship Recipient
Debbie Chan is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Asian Studies at the University of Western Australia. Her thesis explores a new discourse of masculinity in the visual and literary culture of Japan during the 1920s and 1930s – the Modern Boy (modan bōi), commonly shortened as the mobo. By interrogating the ideological tensions and socio-historical forces underpinning the mobo discourse, she looks at the way gender construction was linked in complex ways to Japan’s project of nation-building and international positioning in the early twentieth century.
The Modern Boy As a "Zero" Construct: Ambivalent Representations of Modern Masculinity in Early Twentieth-Century Japan
Pin-Pin Debbie Chan, University of Western Australia, Australia
This paper interrogates the Modern Boy (mobo) in the 1920s and 1930s Japan as a discourse of modern masculinity underpinned by transnational flows between differing cultures of reference. As a result of these transnational encounters, the mobo was often ambivalently constructed in visual and literary discourses of the time. On the one hand, the visibility of the “body” of the mobo in terms of his fashionable Western attire and engagement in new Western social practices made him a powerful sign of a desirable modern masculinity according to a Western culture of reference. The circulation of the mobo’s image as a beautiful commodified male in popular mass culture also points to a renegotiation of masculinity according to a new gender-blurring beauty aesthetic in early twentieth-century Japan. On the other hand, the mobo was often constructed as an undesirable form of masculinity – a “zero” type masculinity, as he was described by critics of the time. The parodic and emasculated “zero” mobo therefore functioned as a masculine “Other” to establish hegemonic masculine ideals. In the context of Japanese nation-building during the early twentieth century, such representations need to be interrogated as ideological strategies that constructed normative gender identity in Japanese society but also consolidated gendered national identity amidst great transnational cultural flows. As an ambivalent discourse of modern masculinity inflected by transnational flows, the mobo discourse contributes to an understanding of how gender construction was linked in complex ways to Japan’s project of nation-building and international positioning in the early twentieth-century.
IAFOR Scholarship Recipient
Mahbubeh Moqadam is currently a PhD candidate in Sociology at Middle East Technical University, Turkey and is a PhD candidate in Gender studies at Ankara University, Turkey. She was previously an assistant of Prof. Afsaneh Najmabadi at Harvard University, the US in a historical project about Iranian women. Born in Tehran, Iran, Mahbubeh Moqadam was educated at Tehran University, Iran and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology. Mahbubeh Moqadam attended Allameh Tabataba'i University, Iran gaining her Master degree in Women Studies and Family before embarking on various research studies related to gender issues both in Iran and Turkey. She is currently working on her PhD thesis which is about women's rights movements in Iran and Turkey.
The Possibility of Solidarity Listening to Young Women in Iran and Turkey
Mahbubeh Moqadam, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
It is a long time that women in the Middle East are struggling to create their own space in the “modern society”; however, up until now, the picture of them, almost always, has been reproducing the same portrait displaying their independent identity neither in an evolutionary style nor a revolutionary way. Especially during last decades, although feminist-activists’ efforts have changed a variety of situations for women, the mentioned stereotypical picture has been repeating in a large-scale by Media; an image showing the women usually under the veil in different shapes but all are the same in one characteristic: being passive. Studying sociology in Turkey as an international student from Iran, I have recognised that “we” as young female scholars do not know almost anything about each other. Coming across this reality beside my theoretical background, which is based on Postcolonial theories, motivated me to do this research. For doing this research, I have met young female scholars in two capitals: Ankara and Tehran and I have had deep conversations with them. Benefiting from discourse analysis and theories of Postcolonial Studies, I have tried to answer this question: why do we know each other?