Call for Papers

Call for Papers: The First Graduate Symposium on Asian Studies at Urbana- Champaign

Transcending Boundaries: The State of Interconnections in Studies of Global Asia Date: April 13, 2024
Format: In person
Submission and Contact: Asian Studies Group, Submission Deadline: December 24, 2023

Location: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Asian Studies Group announces the call for papers for the graduate symposium: “Transcending Boundaries: The State of Interconnections in Studies of Global Asia.” The conference is scheduled for April 13, 2024, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We eagerly await submissions from graduate students and anticipate a dynamic symposium featuring emerging scholars contributing to our collective understanding of Asian societies and communities. Together, we can navigate uncharted terrain, embracing the transformative potential of interdisciplinary and transnational approaches to Asian Studies. We would also like to extend our invitation to faculty members, independent scholars, community members, or advanced undergraduate students interested in presenting their work to peers and receiving feedback. We look forward to constructive conversations between scholars across disciplines and areas of interest.

Transcending Boundaries: Discovering Interconnections in Studies of Global Asia

This year’s theme, “Transcending Boundaries,” calls for research that goes beyond established borders of knowledge, expanding deep interconnections in people’s lived experiences across time, spaces, and identities. Boundaries can take many forms, such as social conditions of exclusion and discrimination, unequal access to capital and safety, or canonical narratives imposed on our epistemology to understand the world. For our symposium, we pose the following question: what boundaries restrict our research methodologies and epistemologies, and what is to be gained by transcending such boundaries shaped by disciplines, ideologies, and everyday experiences in our societies? We invite presenters to identify the boundaries they aim to cross in their research and how these boundaries perpetuate narratives that might constrain our vision and isolate us from generating collective change. As humanities scholars, we see it as our commitment to dismantling these artificial barriers by demonstrating to the public that these boundaries are often porous, unstable, arbitrary, and constructed by power dynamics that are often unacknowledged. We invite pioneering scholarship that promises to make an impact in the field by challenging established canons and narratives that have perpetuated exclusivity.

Moreover, the theme of “interconnection” underscores the importance of inclusivity and diversity in the field of Asian Studies. To bridge studies of Asia with the burgeoning fields of global studies and Asian American studies, we invite scholars to explore voices and perspectives that have been historically marginalized by the meta-narrative that centered on the nation-state. Our symposium calls for a paradigm shift that acknowledges the interconnectedness of Asian societies with the wider world. We believe that by raising public awareness of the interconnections between various sources of oppression, we can empower solidarity among transnational movements addressing ongoing inequalities based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and social class. By fostering an interdisciplinary and transnational approach, we can gain a deeper understanding of Asia’s multifaceted landscape. Through this approach, we can better appreciate how Asia engages with global processes and, conversely, how global phenomena impact the diverse peoples and cultures that call Asia home.

The theme “interconnection” does not exclude research that focuses on certain specific geographical regions. Rather, we encourage such submission and expect most of our presenters to be specialists in regions such as East Asia, Inner Asia, Middle East, and South Asia. As an interdisciplinary forum, we welcome research from various disciplines such as anthropology, critical literature, history, media and communication, education, political science, religion, and all relevant fields of study. We welcome themes that deal with questions of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, environment, technology, medicine, and media. We especially encourage submissions that delve into issues that have received less attention in academic discourse.

Submission Deadline

Abstract Submission: Please send an abstract (250-300 words) outlining your research and its alignment with the symposium themes to our email address by December 24, 2023. Please include “Graduate Symposium” in your email title. Our team will send out notices of acceptance in mid-January.

Presentation Formats: Accepted papers will be presented in person at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. We will be offering presentation and discussion options via Zoom as well, but we strongly encourage participants to visit Champaign-Urbana in person (we are currently working on providing travel funds in the form of lodging funds for participants in need).

For any questions or inquiries, please direct them to For any updates and information on the sponsoring units, please consult our website.

This event/project was supported in part by grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI grant program. The content of this event does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.