Wednesday, April 26: “The Future of Area Studies: Lessons from China & the U.S.”

2:00–3:30 pm.  Register here.

The area studies model was a particular US invention during the Cold War, and ever since Bruce Cumming’s seminal essay “Boundary Displacement: Area Studies and International Studies during and after the Cold War” [1997], there have been academic debates in the US on the “uses and abuses” of this model and its implication for cross-cultural knowledge production (e.g. Miyoshi & Harutoonian eds. Learning Places: The Afterlives of Area Studies [2002], or Smith & Goss eds. Remaking Area Studies: Teaching and Learning across Asia and the Pacific [2010] ). Beginning in 2021, the Chinese government has advocated for the addition of a new “interdisciplinary (交叉学科)” category to its “Catalogue of Disciplines for Doctoral and Master’s Degrees,” under which it listed “区域国别学,” conventionally translated as “area studies,” as a first-level discipline. As early as 2017, a document issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education had inaugurated a new phase for the discipline, and by 2018, more than 400 research centers had been established at top Chinese universities dedicated to various regions of strategic importance, including Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, etc. At Peking University, these regional centers came to be organized in 2018 under the newly established “Institute of Area Studies” (北京大学区域与国别研究院). Bringing together prominent area studies scholars from China and the US, this interdisciplinary faculty roundtable aims to explore the future promise as well as lessons of the area studies model in China and the US.

Speakers: Yin Cao, History, Tsinghua University, Beijing
Ying Cheng, Asian and African Languages and Cultures, Peking University, Beijing
Barbara Watson Andaya, Asian Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Charles A. Laughlin, East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Virginia

Moderator: Ming-Bao Yue, Director, Center for Chinese Studies, UHM

Co-sponsors: UHM Deptartment of Asian Studies, Center for Southeast Asian Studies.