Call for Papers: Language, Power and Identity in Asia

call for papers [150-2]Language, Power and Identity in Asia – Creating and Crossing Language Boundaries

Organised by the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, The Netherlands, in collaboration with LeidenGlobal and the Language Museum (Leiden).

Conference dates: 14-16 March 2016

Venue: National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden, The Netherlands

The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden, The Netherlands, is hosting an international conference to explore the interrelations between language, power and identity in Asia. Participants are invited to submit a paper to address aspects of this topic, with a particular emphasis on Asia, but papers that illustrate the subject from other parts of the world are also welcome.

The conference explores how linguistic differences, practices, texts and performances are of critical importance to political, social and intellectual power structures among communities in the past and in the present, especially through processes of identity formation. How do (and how did) languages shape borders – social, ethnic, religious, or “national”? Likewise, how do languages and linguistic communities move across these limits?  In what ways do processes of hybridisation and multilingualism affect the formation of transnational or translocal identities, and how have they done so in the past? How have policies of language standardisation impacted on the political and intellectual spheres? What is the power of orality and performance vis-à-vis a variety of textual productions, through manuscript culture, epigraphical practices, print media, and the Internet?

Submission details
The organisers invite proposals for individual presentations of twenty minutes in length (excluding discussion), or panel discussions of three to four speakers, totalling ninety minutes. Proposals should be submitted before 16 May 2015. For individual presentations, abstracts of 300 words maximum and a short author biography (including institutional affiliation) are required. Proposals for full panel discussions should be accompanied by a brief introduction to the topic of the panel (max. 300 words) and the names and backgrounds of three to four speakers. An academic committee will select and group the individual proposals into separate panels. Those who submit an individual or panel proposal will hear by 16 July at the latest whether their proposal has been accepted.

To submit an individual or panel proposal, please use the form available on our website

About the conference
Asia today, as in the past, is home to a great linguistic diversity. Language continues to be a powerful factor in both solidifying and challenging cultural, religious, social, and political boundaries – whether through the building or deconstructing of political affiliations, systems of standardisation, the dissemination of inscribed texts, printed media, or oral performances. The conference aims to explore language policies that impact related speech communities separated by national borders – such as the Pashtun and Malay – and the role of policies and legislation in identity formation, and relates this back to lived realities of modern multilingual states, such as India, Indonesia and China. The conference will also address the position of small-scale linguistic communities within the large empires of the past and nation-states of the present, and within a rapidly globalising world. The conference will explore the role of modern, global languages such as English and Mandarin, and of high-status literary and liturgical languages such as Sanskrit and (standard) Arabic in innovative and interconnected ways.

Participants in this interdisciplinary conference are invited to address these and other subjects pertaining to the interrelations between language, power, and identity in pre-modern and contemporary Western, Central, South, Southeast and East Asia. Academics working from a wide range of disciplines, including philology and literary studies, linguistics, cultural and media studies, history, anthropology, archaeology, epigraphy, and sociology are encouraged to submit abstracts.

We encourage the submission of panels and papers that address a specific theme, as well as ones that cut across thematic boundaries. Proposals that seek to draw comparisons across world regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East or Latin America), are also welcome. Projects that promise to open new methodological approaches to the study of language by cross-disciplinary foci such as language policies and the nation-state, endangered languages and communal cultural identity, and the spread and impact of (minority) languages worldwide are particularly welcome.

This conference is also open to postgraduate research students.

Conference organisation
The three-day conference will include plenary and parallel thematic sessions. Keynote speakers will address the terms of the conference in plenary sessions, and introduce specific themes that will be further discussed in parallel sessions. Paper presenters will have twenty minutes for their presentation, followed by discussion.

The registration fee includes coffee breaks, lunches, a dinner on 14 March and a conference package.

Early bird (1 December 2015): € 100; Regular (15 February 2016): € 125; On-site: € 150

(PhD) students:
Early bird (1 December 2015): € 50; Regular (15 February 2016): € 75; On-site: € 100

Financial support
Participants are expected to pay their own travel and accommodation expenses. Very limited financial support may be made available to specific scholars residing in Asia and to some junior or low-income scholars in other parts of the world. If you would like to be considered for a grant, please include your motivation for the request in the grant application field on the proposal form. Requests for funding received after 16 May will not be taken into consideration.

Organising team
Dr Tom Hoogervorst (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, Leiden); Prof. Maarten Mous (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics), Dr Philippe Peycam (director IIAS), Dr Dick Smakman (Leiden University Centre for Linguistics); Prof. Mark Turin (First Nations and Endangered Languages Program, University of British Columbia), and Dr Willem Vogelsang (IIAS).

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Book Announcement: From White to Yellow: The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300-1735

From White to YellowFrom White to Yellow: The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300-1735

(McGill-Queen’s University Press, December 2014).

“This magisterial work fills an important gap in contemporary scholarship about racial history and European perceptions of the Japanese during the age of maritime explorations, beginning with the voyages of Marco Polo. The author approaches a delicate and complex topic with a breadth of knowledge and erudition based on the careful analysis of primary documents from a wide variety of both printed and manuscript sources in numerous languages.” M. Antoni J. Ucerler, S.J. Director, Ricci Institute, University of San Francisco

“Rotem Kowner has written an extraordinary book which will be must-reading for anyone interested in Western perceptions of the Japanese from the beginning (Marco Polo’s account) to the 18th century, and to anyone interested in the history of the very concept of ‘race.’” Gary Leupp, Department of History, Tufts University

“Erudite, comprehensive, and clearly-written, From White to Yellow offers the reader a panorama of the Euro-Japanese encounter in the pre-modern period that is unsurpassed in previous scholarship.” Ronnie Hsia, Department of History, Pennsylvania State University

For more information see:

Amazon sites:




Those interested in questions of race, racism, and ethnicity in and with regard to Japan, China and Korea, may also look at the following publication (now in paperback edition!)

Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions (Brill, September 2014).

Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel (editors)

For more information see:


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Call for Papers: 26th Annual EAJRS conference

call for papers [150-2]The 26th annual conference of the European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS) will be held this year at Leiden University, The Netherlands, 16-19 September 2015.

This year the main theme is “Breaking barriers: unlocking Japanese resources to the world”. But, as always, the conference will cover all subjects related to libraries, archives, museums and other collections related to Japanese studies.

We are now accepting registrations and proposals for presentations. The registration deadline is set for 29 May 2015.

More information is available at:
or from me directly:

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Fun Link Friday: Japan’s Cherry Blossoms in Years Gone By

Have the sakura bloomed where you are yet? Whether you’re still waiting on them or they’ve come and gone, check out this retrospective from The Wall Street Journal of cherry blossom and hanami photos from 1955 on.

A woman sitting under a cherry tree sketches blossoms as another woman in a kimono looks on in Japan in 1955. GETTY IMAGES

A woman sitting under a cherry tree sketches blossoms as another woman in a kimono looks on in Japan in 1955. GETTY IMAGES

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Call for Papers: Memories on the Move: Asian Connections

call for papers [150-2]Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies
Vol. 42 No. 1 | March 2016
Call for Papers
Memories on the Move: Asian Connections
Deadline for Submissions: June 30, 2015

In the last ten years memory studies has experienced a gradual shift towards comparative, interdisciplinary, and border-crossing perspectives. Studies on cosmopolitan memory (Levy and Sznaider), multidirectional memory (Rothberg), transcultural memory (Crownshaw), travelling memory (Erll), or transnational memory (De Chesari and Rigney) highlight the circulatory, competing, overlapping, fluid and dynamic nature of the processes of remembrance and cultural memory.

This special issue attempts to further the inquiry into the dynamic nature of memory cultures by forging dialogue between mnemonic contexts in/about Asia and those in Europe, North America, Australia, etc. How do forms of memorialization and cultural memories from/about Asia inflect or how are they inflected by various forms of transnational communication and exchange, or, more generally, the structures of global interaction? How do memory discourses from or about Asia circulate, migrate, or travel, and to what end? What “connective” relations (Hirsch) and convergences between national, regional, and global contexts are articulated in cultural texts (literary, media) when remembering landmark historical events across continents? Alternatively, what forms of disjuncture, ideological, and material blockages prevent connections and the circulation of memory in the global age?

We welcome contributions that examine how the “past within us” (Morris-Suzuki) or East Asia’s “difficult pasts” (Kim and Schwartz) resurface in representations across spaces, media or archives, and the ways they produce and/or subvert official state narratives. We are interested in new forms of “perilous memories” (Fujitani et al), individual or collective remembrances of “ruptured histories” (Jager and Mitter) embodied in fiction, memoirs, graphic narratives, documentaries, films or memorializing objects at large and their convergences across time and space. We invite research that broadly engages with memories on the move as well as the analytical frames about “memory in the global age” (Assmann and Conrad) and their possible junctions with or within Asia.

Please send submissions of 6,000 -10,000 words, notes included (the bibliography is not counted), an abstract of no more than 250 words with 5-8 keywords, and a brief bio as Word attachments to <>. Please also attach a cover letter stating that the manuscript is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere. Manuscripts should follow the latest edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Except for footnotes, which should be single-spaced, manuscripts must be double-spaced throughout and typeset in 12-point Times New Roman. For further instructions on documentation, consult our style guide

For submissions or general inquiries, please contact us


Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies, currently indexed in Arts and Humanities Citation Index, is a peer-reviewed journal published two times per year by the Department of English, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan. Concentric is devoted to offering innovative perspectives on literary and cultural issues and advancing the transcultural exchange of ideas. While committed to bringing Asian-based scholarship to the world academic community, Concentric welcomes original contributions from diverse national and cultural backgrounds. Each issue of Concentric publishes groups of essays on a special topic as well as papers on more general issues. The focus can be on any historical period and any region.

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Job Opening: Program Events Assistant, Harvard University

job opening - 5Institution: Harvard University
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posted 03/12/2015
Department: Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs
Education: BA preferred

Duties & Responsibilities:
The Events Coordinator reports to the Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project (FDP) and plays a key role in planning and organizing multiple FDP events per week. The coordinator also designs and plans the practical implementation of large-scale conferences (300+ attendees) and event series, including the program’s weeklong issue based events – Europe Week and South Asia Week. S/he assists the Executive Director with the strategic planning and execution of the Fisher Family Fellowship program.

Main duties are events coordination, including:

Event Logistics: Drafting of invitation letters to high-level political and diplomatic figures; correspondence with their staff; hotel booking and meeting room reservations; event design, catering arrangements; assistance in design of materials for workshops and events (promotional materials and presentations); name tag and tent card preparation; attend and support events as needed, including occasional evening events; assistance with staffing co-curricular student events and dinners; handling post-event wrap-up, including thank you notes and reimbursements; tracking and analyzing event data.

Event publicity: Designing and distributing event posters; creation and coordination of online publicity of events through email and social media; use of online tools and expansion of existing database to manage invitations; event tracking and other details; work with colleagues in FDP and Belfer communications for event collateral; arrange for the media needs of each event, respectively.

Event documentation: Responsible for arranging photography and other media needs for all events; coordinate audio recordings of events to be used for FDP’s “Conversations in Diplomacy” podcast series; maintain post-event publicity through online posting of event write-ups.

Administration and support: Provide administrative support to the Executive Director as needed; maintain database systems, list-serves and calendars; general financial support for day-to-day operations and event expenses; coordinate all scheduling logistics for FDP meetings and events; assist with email and social media communications; order office supplies and participate in rotating office responsibilities with colleagues.

Basic Qualifications:
1-2 years of work experience in event planning or in an administrative role.

Additional Qualifications:
Bachelor’s degree preferred. International exposure and experience strongly preferred.

  • Proficient in advanced functions of Microsoft Office Suite, in particular, use of Microsoft Excel to analyze and display data, experience using databases
  • Early adopter of technology and ability to learn new software quickly
  • Proficiency/knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite (layout, video editing) for designing event flyers and posters a plus
  • Skilled in the use of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Able to problem solve and excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Strong oral and written communications and mature and sophisticated composure, professional demeanor
  • Ability to work in a busy office with competing demands; not easily flustered nor easily overwhelmed by a high volume of activity and projects and displays integrity and trust with a demonstrated ability to handle highly confidential information
  • Demonstrated time management skills and ability to effectively and proactively handle multiple high-priority tasks with minimal supervision in a fast-paced environment
  • Demonstrated interpersonal skills, including the ability to work across teams and with a variety of projects and constituencies; ability to forge collaborative working relationships with diverse constituencies
  • Interest in international affairs and statecraft
  • Language skills of any sort are a plus

Additional Information:
The Future of Diplomacy Project is dedicated to promoting the study and understanding of diplomacy, negotiation and statecraft in international politics today. The Project aims to build Harvard Kennedy School’s ability to teach in this area, to support research in modern diplomatic practice and to build public understanding of diplomacy’s indispensable role in an increasingly complex and globalized world.The Future of Diplomacy Project aims to redefine diplomacy in a modern context through the lens of leading practitioners who are engaging in innovative means of conflict prevention and resolution at the negotiation table and beyond. Resident fellows, who have held prominent positions in governments worldwide, share their experiences with students in a range of seminars and simulations. In addition, the Project hosts a speaker series featuring international leaders. Over the past few years the Future of Diplomacy Project has had speakers including Jim Steinberg, US Deputy Secretary of State, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Finish President Martti Ahtisaari and Pulitzer-prize winning international correspondent for the New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof. Most recently, Dr. Javier Solana, former Secretary General of NATO and Cameron Munter, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan have spoken on behalf of the Project. Through the range of its activities, the Project aims to prepare Harvard students for international challenges in the 21st century.

This position is a fully benefits eligible term appointment ending one year from date of hire, with possibility of renewal.

Full details on

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Resource: Finding Internships/Jobs through Active Connector

Through the magic of new Twitter followers, I recently came across the Active Connector website, which may be of use to people at various levels of Japanese competency who are interested in finding internships or jobs in or related to Japan.

active connector

I will say upfront that I am not familiar with this site and have never used it, but at a glance, it seems to be quite helpful. The goal of Active Connector is to facilitate global connections in business and industry by helping people, especially students, find various kinds of employment at Japanese companies. This is especially useful in light of the harsh conditions and limited success in job hunting in Japan by college graduates, which is often even more difficult for foreigners who may not be well-versed in how to work the Japanese system of employment to their advantage.

You can visit Active Connector’s news page to see local events, many of which appear to be in English, and follow them on Twitter to find job/internship announcements. It looks like signing up for their site is free, and even if you just want to get a brief look at what they can offer, they have a jobs page with limited access to information about some of their recent job postings.

Do you have experience with Active Connector? Any thoughts to share on it? Please shoot us an email at or leave a comment below!

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