The China Beat Hawaiian Vacation Special Episode

By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham

Well, it’s not exactly a vacation, but next week Asian specialists from around the world will be congregating in Honolulu, Hawaii, for a joint meeting of the Association for Asian Studies and the International Convention of Asia Scholars. While last year’s AAS meeting brought me to a familiar location—Philadelphia, where I grew up and went to college—this year’s conference is taking me someplace I’ve only heard about; my chief impressions of Hawaii are still derived from a Nancy Drew book I read in elementary school (if I recall correctly, I should be on guard against poisoned leis and watch out for haunted pavilions). Unlike Nancy, I’m not heading to Hawaii to solve a mystery, but instead to attend a number of events that I want to spotlight for China Beat readers who will be at the meetings.

The first is a series of Late-Breaking News panels, three sessions made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation. These talks will feature a mix of scholars and journalists discussing issues that have been in the headlines lately: online protest and cyber repression, the Thai-Cambodian border conflict, and the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis. Several of the participants will be familiar names to China Beat readers (such as Angilee Shah, Rob Gifford, and Ananth Krishnan), but click the link above to check out the full list of panelists and for times and locations of all the sessions.

The second set of events that I’m involved in are related to my job as editorial assistant at the Journal of Asian Studies. As part of our “JAS at the AAS” initiative, we’ve scheduled two meetings-in-conjunction.* On Wednesday, March 30, we’ll have a “Meet the Editors” open house; Jeff Wasserstrom (the journal’s editor), Jennifer Munger (the managing editor), and I will all be available from 4:00 to 6:00pm to meet with JAS contributors and readers and answer questions, discuss the submission process, and hear your feedback on the journal.

The second JAS-related activity is a roundtable on Saturday, April 2 that will revolve around a discussion of Victor Lieberman’s two-volume work, Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context. Jennifer Munger will be moderating the session, which will include three panelists whose research focuses on China: historian Jack Wills, geographer Carolyn Cartier, and linguist Victor Mair. Last year’s inaugural JAS roundtable, “What Makes a Region in Asia?”, resulted in a wide-ranging series of articles published in the November 2010 issue of the journal, and we’re looking forward to replicating that success this year.

Finally, AAS-going China Beat readers can (and should!) join us for our fourth annual bloggers’ breakfast on the morning of Saturday, April 2. We’ll meet at 8am at a Starbucks in the Hilton Hawaiian Village (the one in the Ali’i Tower Plaza, across from the Penguin Pond), so please stop by and grab a cup of coffee while chatting with other China Beatniks, Jeff, and myself.

* A third JAS meeting-in-conjunction, scheduled for the evening of Friday, April 1, is still listed on the program but has been canceled.

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