CFP: Graduate Student Conference April 7-9, 2020

The School of Pacific and Asian Studies (SPAS) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) welcomes proposals for papers, performances, and panels for its 31st annual Graduate Student Conference. The conference will be held at the Center for Korean Studies on the UH Mānoa campus in Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 7-9, 2020.

The theme this year is “Stories of Movement in Asia: Boundaries and Exile.”

Throughout history, Asia has been characterized by movement and mobility – of people, ideas, cultures, arts, education, bodies and goods. In today’s world, this movement has been intensified by economic and technological integration, as well as by political crises and economic uncertainty as individuals and whole communities seek better lives both within and beyond the Asian region.  The human beings involved in these movements bring with them their own ambitions and their own histories, but they are also the vehicles for the transmission of cultural forms and attitudes. On one hand, such movement can be seen as a positive element. New technologies of communication are enlarging the boundaries of “Asia” and changing the demography of the region itself. They enable the creation of transnational communities centered not just on ties of kinship and language, but also on shared ideas, experiences, or desires, which can reduce the apprehension that exiled peoples may experience when relocating to a different environment—or, in some cases, obviate the need for physical relocation entirely. On the other hand, movements across national and cultural boundaries create their own challenges, prompting powerful institutions to exert new kinds of control and new forms of exile aimed at stopping or shaping these flows in particular ways. Yet even in adverse conditions, the people who move across the diverse landscapes of Asia and beyond connect with one another in ways that sometimes go unnoticed. The goal of this conference is to bring to light these connections and the influence that they have had on shaping Asia—past and present—and through it, the world. We especially encourage proposals from graduate students who are engaged in original research related to Asia and movement, broadly defined.

 Why Apply?
The SPAS Graduate Student Conference gives students an opportunity to present their research to a friendly group of peers and professors. As many students from across the U.S. Europe, and Asia attend the conference, there are ample opportunities to network with fellow academics with a passion for the study of Asia.

Who Can Apply?
Graduate students in any academic discipline with a focus on Asia.

How to Apply
Applicants should submit a 250-300 word abstract to with “SPAS 2020 Grad Conf Abstract” as the subject by January 31, 2020.

Please direct any questions to the conference organizers: Jordan Antonio ( and Cheyne Tribbey (

Panel Discussion Tuesday Oct. 15: What’s Happening in Hong Kong?

The Asian Studies Program, the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, the Institute of Asian-Pacific Business Law (IAPBL) and the Pacific-Asian Legal Studies (PALS) Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law cordially invite you to the Asia Law Talk, “What’s happening in Hong Kong?” on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

As the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70th anniversary on October 1, 2019, anti-government protesters in Hong Kong were blocking roads, setting fires and throwing petrol bombs.  Police have arrested hundreds of protesters, one as young as 12, and have been accused of using excessive force.  What has led to this state of conflict, in a city previously known for its tradition of peaceful protests and a restrained police force?  Two visiting experts from Hong Kong will share their observations regarding the protests and analyze how the unrest – and China’s response to it – could affect Hong Kong and the rest of the region.

When:  Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Where: University of Hawaii School of Law, Davis Levin Livingston Moot Courtroom

Speakers :
Moderator: Professor Carole J. Petersen,  Graduate Chair of Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace, the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa


Frank Ching: What’s Happening in Hong Kong and What Could Come Next?

Anna Wu Hungyuk:  Protests in Hong Kong Since 2012: Freedoms, Franchise and Identity


Frank Ching is a journalist and writer who has reported on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for many years. He worked for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review and was a columnist with the South China Morning Post. Currently, he writes a weekly column on China that appears in English-language newspapers, primarily in Asia. For the last 15 years, he has also served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, teaching a course on China’s External Relations.

Anna Wu Hung-yuk is a Hong Kong lawyer and Chair of the Competition Commission. She previously served on Hong Kong’s Executive Council and in the Legislative Council. She has chaired the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority, the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Consumer Council, and the Operations Review Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. She also served as a member of the Law Reform Commission, an honorary professor of the University of Hong Kong, and a global advisor for UCLA.


Please join us for light refreshments.   Your RSVP by October 11 would be greatly appreciated.

* The refreshments will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sponsor: This event is sponsored by the Pacific-Asian Legal Studies (PALS) Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law.  Co-Sponsors:  Center for Chinese Studies; Asian Studies Program; Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace; Institute of Asian-Pacific Business Law (IAPBL).

“To Create an Immigrant-Friendly Japan, Start with Education Reform”: ASP MA student Asia Dobbs’ article in The Diplomat

Discrimination against foreigners, and even against foreign-returned Japanese, has become a problem in Japan. Why is this happening? In The Diplomat on Sept 9, 2019, Asian Studies Program MA student Asia Dobbs offers some answers based in Japan’s education system:

” Although education is not often discussed in connection with immigration, the roots of the problem lie in the secondary school system, which elicits and encourages these types of discriminatory behaviors. The Japanese school system incorporates militaristic and conformist ethics and permits strong government control over education through textbook and curricula censorship. Regarding curricula, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) controls all K-12 educational materials. Schools have to follow guidelines called gakushu youryou, which tell schools what and how to teach — and which also excludes comprehensive humanistic education about topics such as human rights. Through this strong control, the ministry works to shape obedient students who will easily conform to social norms, not only in schools but also in their supposedly homogeneous society.”

For the full article, please visit The Diplomat here.

Asian Studies Emeritus Prof. Belinda Aquino Quoted in Mouth-Watering NYT Article

Dr. Belinda Aquino, emeritus professor of Asian Studies and founding director of the Center for Philippine Studies at UHM, was quoted in a New York Times article about Filipina food writer Doreen Gamboa Fernandez and the newfound popularity of Filipino cuisine in the US.

Check it out here:

New Master’s in Asian International Affairs Now Accepting Applications!

The Asian Studies Program is thrilled to announce the opening of a new Master’s in Asian International Affairs (MAIA) degree program!

This program is designed for working professionals who have no background in Asian studies but whose careers would be enhanced by a deeper understanding of contemporary Asia. Classes will be held in the evenings, on weekends or online, and there is no Asian language proficiency requirement.

We are now accepting applications until July 19 for Fall 2019 (classes start August 26).

Applications for Spring 2020 (classes start January 13) will be accepted on a rolling basis, with a priority deadline of September 1, 2019.

For more details about the program and how to apply, please see the Academics–>Graduate section of this website, or contact Asian Studies Graduate Chair Dr. Young-a Park at

Dr. Kristi Govella on Trump in Japan

The Washington Post published an article by Dr. Kristi Govella published about US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Japan. She argues that the visit sent mixed signals about key issues affecting the future of the US-Japan relationship.

Check it out at:

Dr Patrick Patterson on Asian Beauty

Click the link below to hear Honolulu Community College professor Dr Patrick Patterson talk to KTUH host Crystal Kwok about concepts of Beauty in Asia!
(Dr Patterson’s interview begins at 6 minutes 30 seconds)

Like this topic? Enroll now for Dr. Patterson’s summer online course at UHM, ASAN 320Z (602), Advertising, Beauty and Desire in East Asia!!
Enrollment period ends at noon on Friday May 10.