AAS-in-Asia 2020

Asia at the Crossroads: Solidarity through Scholarship

Special and Breaking News Sessions
Programme Updates

Since going fully online, we have been at work to bring you extra events, such as virtual tours of museums and cultural events and workshops to enhance your online participation in AAS-in-Asia 2020. We have also organised important late-breaking news roundtables in the plenaries that address the various impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and current challenges to academic freedom. We will update the website as additional programs are confirmed, so stay tuned.

Important Notice About Going Online

In response to the ongoing coronavirus global pandemic and continued travel restrictions, the Boards of the AAS and IAFOR have jointly decided to move the AAS-in-Asia 2020 conference entirely online, and extending the conference from Monday, August 31 to Friday, September 04, 2020.

In keeping with our commitment to you; academics, scholars and educators around the world, to continue to run the AAS-in-Asia Conference in these unprecedented and changing times, we will ensure the opportunity to present and participate remotely. We will be live-streaming all sessions, including plenary and featured addresses, as well as scheduling special sessions, facilitating discussions and interviews, and encouraging as much online interaction as possible.

The final registration deadline for presenters and panelists is July 31, 2020, and we encourage you to register as soon as possible to confirm your participation in this exceptional event.

We appreciate your continued understanding and support of AAS-in-Asia, in these very uncertain times.

Warmest regards,
Christine Yano, AAS President
Joseph Haldane, IAFOR Chairman


Keynote Speakers

Barbara Watson Andaya

University of Hawai’i, USA

Keynote Presentation | Globalizing Education in Asia: New Challenges for Asian Universities

In keeping with the theme of AAS-in-Asia 2020, “Asia at the Crossroads: Solidarity through Scholarship”, this presentation will focus on the globalizing of education, a key element in facilitating the scholarly exchanges that have become especially important in Asia. The presentation will begin by noting that the bridging of cultural differences through higher education has historical roots, but will then move to consider some of the early issues facing educators as Asian societies entered a new era after the Second World War. A major goal was to provide universal access to basic education, especially in newly independent and decolonizing states, while developing curricula that would instill a sense of national unity. As globalizing forces gathered pace, it also became obvious that preparing students for a changing world required greater attention to the international aspects of tertiary education, a direction that has gained in momentum since the late 20th-century. Developments have been most evident in the nexus between travel and technology, which has opened up new transnational opportunities for student and faculty mobility and for cross-cultural conversations. This has come, however, with unforeseen challenges, for the idea that universities can be “ranked” according to some international standard has led to increased uncertainty about expectations for teaching and research, especially in Asia’s highly diverse environment. The spread of COVID-19 has made us acutely aware of the unforeseen dangers now posed by international travel, and despite the progress in technology the goal of creating a more globalized environment for both students and faculty suddenly seems to be put on hold. Yet in these very difficult circumstances universities still have a special role to play in providing a space where debate is encouraged, where academic difference is tolerated, and where the objective of educating the next generation is prioritized. As the 21st-century advances we can thus affirm the “solidarity of scholarship” in an ever-widening global academy while acknowledging that the intellectual endeavor in Asia (itself a deceptive term) will always reflect the diversity that remains the key characteristic of this vast region.

Barbara Watson Andaya is Professor in the Asian Studies Program at the University of Hawai’i and former Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. In 2005-2006 she was President of the American Association of Asian Studies. Educated at the University of Sydney (BA, DipEd), she received an East-West Center grant in 1966 and obtained her MA in history at the University of Hawai’i. She subsequently went on to study for her PhD at Cornell University with a specialisation in Southeast Asian history.

Her career has involved teaching and researching in Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and since 1994, Hawai’i. She maintains an active teaching and research interest across all Southeast Asia, but her specific area of expertise is the western Malay-Indonesia archipelago. In 2000 she received a John Simon Guggenheim Award, which resulted in The Flaming Womb: Repositioning Women in Southeast Asian History, 1500-1800. She is General Editor of the new Cambridge History of Southeast Asia and is completing a book on gender in sexuality in Southeast Asia from early times to the present.


Masashi Nishihara

Research Institute for Peace and Security, Japan

Keynote Presentation | Rebuilding a Resilient Liberal-Democratic Order

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 is reinvigorating the rivalry between the United States and China, a source of major international tensions today. This rivalry is much more complex than that of the old Cold War period between the US and the Soviet Union. Instead, the new cold war between the US, a status quo power of the liberal-democratic order, and China, an anti-status quo power, represents their competition in trade, finance, technology, research and education, and even public health, not to mention the political and military spheres. This growing competition is seen today in the South China Sea, Taiwan, and the Senkaku Islands. In addition, China’s intervention in Australia’s domestic politics and its strong measures to control Hong Kong’s democratic practices pose challenges to their freedom and democracies. This hegemonic tendency may also extend to the competition between “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” strategy and the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI).

Whereas the United States is seeking freedom, China is seeking control by coercion, and the onset of COVID-19 has encouraged Xi Jinping as well as to a lesser extent Vladimir Putin to reinforce their authoritarian rule and coercive diplomacy. Moreover, they are likely to stay in power beyond the 2030s, and perhaps even longer. At the same time, the US global advocacy of universal values has declined under Donald Trump’s “America First” policy, thereby allowing the balance of power to tilt toward Beijing.

Nonetheless, China and Russia will have to cooperate on such global issues as unequal wealth distribution, excessive military spending, nuclear proliferation, environmental degradation, and pandemic disease. A democratic consultation process is likely to provide the most acceptable solution.

The G7 nations’ total GDP is 45% of the world’s and is far bigger than China’s and Russia’s combined (15%). The G7, which includes Japan, should thus take the lead in persuading other like-minded nations with strategic plans to reduce their dependence on China’s supply chains, to revitalize the free market economy, and to rebuild a resilient rule-based liberal-democratic order.

Masashi Nishihara has been President of the Research Institute for Peace and Security since 2006. Until then he served as President of the National Defense Academy, Yokosuka, for six years. From 1977-99 he was Professor of International Relations at the Academy. He was also Director of the First Department of the National Institute for Defense Studies. Dr Nishihara was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra in 1979 and at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York in 1981-82. Nishihara received his PhD in political science from the University of Michigan after having conducted field research in Jakarta. In 1986-95 he served on the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). He also served on the task forces and panels under Prime Ministers Kiichi Miyazawa, Jun’ichiro Koizumi and Shinzo Abe.

Nishihara specializes in international security and Asian politics with his works including: The Japanese and Sukarno’s Indonesia (University Press of Hawaii, 1976), The Political Corruption of Southeast Asia (in Japanese, ed. Sobunsha, 1976), Vietnam Joins the World; American and Japanese Perspectives (co-editor, New York, M.E. Sharp, 1997), and “Regional Security Perspectives” in Asian Security (an annual report of Research Institute for Peace and Security).

Cultural Events

A Virtual Museum Visit of the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
Joseph Haldane in Conversation with Yutaka Mino

Zen Buddhism and Well-being
Reverend Takafumi Kawakami | Shunkoin Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Taste Washoku to Unveil Japanese Society: Encountering with Wagyu and Matcha
Kae Sekine | Aichi Gakuin University, Japan

Kobe: Japan’s Culinary Melting Pot
Aiko Tanaka | Osaka Shoin Women’s High School and University, Japan

Haiku Workshop
Emiko Miyashita & Hana Fujimoto | Haiku International Association

Asia at the Crossroads: Conversations on Food, Politics, and Culture
Haruko Satoh in Conversation with Daisuke Utagawa

Wadaiko Performance
AIE International High School


Letters of Welcome

AAS Welcome Message

I would like to personally welcome you to this online conference. As a participant, you are helping the Association for Asian Studies break new ground in our pandemic era and beyond. This is our first all-virtual conference, and I want to thank our partner, IAFOR, for paving the way in making this happen. The pandemic has forced us into a world only made possible through technology, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I would rather see this as a unique opportunity. What you will and are experiencing in AAS-in-Asia is our new Plan A. In this virtual conference, we can span space and, to a certain extent, time in order to engage with each other in the ideas about Asia that we find so valuable. Our engagement is different – and many of us will be learning the ropes anew – but no less valuable. It is both mediated (internet and its capacity) and pure (content-rich exchange of ideas). Above all, it is our first step into the future.

For that, I am tremendously pleased and excited to welcome the several hundreds of you to our inaugural event! We are glad that you are here as we reconfigure what it means to gather and think through Asian Studies in the 21st century.

Professor Christine R. Yano (University of Hawaii)
President Association for Asian Studies


IAFOR Welcome Message

Dr Joseph Haldane, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR), JapanDear Delegates, Colleagues and Friends,

On behalf of IAFOR, and the local consortium of Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto Universities, I would like to extend to you a very warm welcome to this AAS-in-Asia Conference 2020.

This conference is exceptional in terms of the range and quality of the submissions, but also in terms of the circumstances in which it is taking place. First, we need to mention that this AAS-in-Asia 2020 was originally to be co-hosted by the Chinese University in Hong Kong, but due to the difficult situation there it came to Kobe with us as co-host. Then the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, throwing all of us into unchartered waters in search of a new normal. Uncertainty has hampered organisers and participants alike of international gatherings and conferences, of which AAS-in-Asia 2020 is one. The political fallout over the pandemic has made COVID-19 not only an international health hazard challenge to international mobility, but also a poison ivy to free exchanges of intellectual thought. The conference theme, “Asia at the Crossroads” could never be more apt for this AAS-in-Asia, which itself sits in this intersection of challenges. The need for trusted platforms that encourage, nurture, and protect free speech and academic exchange in Asia is pressing, and this conference provides such a platform, underlining the importance of the work of the AAS, and its continued strong presence in the region.

On a practical level, IAFOR has spent the past several months working with venues, conference committees, local partners, stakeholders, governments and various policy experts to respond to the still evolving situation as regards COVID-19, as the event shifted first from Hong Kong to Japan following the political crisis, and then from an on-site event to a hybrid event, and then finally to the wholly online form that the situation has dictated. Like many other institutions and individuals, this has involved stress testing the protocols, operations, and technologies that will allow a conference of this size to function, and for its participants to present and participate over a very full week of great and diverse programming.

I would like to thank my fellow AAS-in-Asia committee members, colleagues within IAFOR and its network, as well as the AAS leadership, for their enormous work behind the scenes to ensure the delivery and success of this very important conference.

At the time of writing (early August), Japan has been effectively in self-isolation since early April in a second period of sakoku (closed country/isolation), and this time I hope it doesn’t quite last the 214 years it did previously... and we need to show Japan is intellectually open and welcoming, if not physically.

This conference will bring people together at what is a very difficult time for us all, and I encourage your very active and enthusiastic participation: we have so much to learn from each other.

With warmest regards,

Dr Joseph Haldane
Chairman & C.E.O, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR)


Welcome from CSEAS, Kyoto University, Japan


Center of Southeast Asia Studies (CSEAS)


Programme Committee

Co-chair: Joseph Haldane (Osaka University), Chairman and CEO, IAFOR
Co-chair: Christine R. Yano (University of Hawaii), AAS President


Pavin Chachavalpongpun (Kyoto University)
Jack W. Chen (University of Virginia)
Purnima Dhavan (University of Washington)
Richard Donovan (Kansai University)
Jane Ferguson (Australia National University)
Yoko Hayami (Kyoto University)
Brendan Howe (Ewha Women’s University)
Peng Er Lam (National University of Singapore)
Ljiljana Markovic (Osaka University/Belgrade University)
Farish Noor (Nanyang Technological University)
Haruko Satoh (Osaka University)
Philip Streich (Osaka University)
Yoneyuki Sugita (Osaka University)
Julio Teehankee (De La Salle University)
Augusto De Viana (University of Santo Tomas)
Kiyomitsu Yui (Kobe University)


Organising Committee

Association for Asian Studies (AAS)

Prasenjit Duara (Duke University), President, AAS
Hilary Finchum-Sung, Executive Director, AAS
Robyn Jones, Conference Manager, AAS
Krisna Uk, Outreach and Strategic Initiatives Consultant, AAS
Christine R. Yano (University of Hawaii), AAS President


The International Academic Forum (IAFOR)

Joseph Haldane (Osaka University), Chairman and CEO, IAFOR
Ljiljana Markovic (Osaka University & Belgrade University)
Yutaka Mino (Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art)
Haruko Satoh (Osaka University)
Yoneyuki Sugita (Osaka University)
Kiyomitsu Yui (Kobe University)