Asian Studies Association of Australia

Conference Theme

Asia - Crises & Opportunities: Past, Present & Future

For good or ill, change is often brought about by crises: old certainties can be destroyed or undermined: new situations and new possibilities then appear. Such changes often result in new social, political and economic realities which define whole eras, peoples and individuals.

Moreover, crises in one area can give rise to unexpected changes in other places and arenas often far away yet nevertheless connected. Today, Asia helps shape the world in more and more obvious ways and in many other more subtle ones; its crises are often world crises while world crises help reshape Asia.

The bursting of the 17th century tulip mania bubble resonated in the East Indies as well as Europe. The Great Depression of the 1920s shook the world and aided the rise of Communism throughout Asia and around the world.

The 1990s Asian Financial Crisis ushered in dramatic political changes throughout South East Asia while the current Global Financial Crisis seems to be aiding the rise and rise of China and India at the same time as Japan seems destined to genteel decline.

More Prosaically, Asian studies in Australia is also facing many challenges such as funding, problems with attracting students and getting them to study Asian languages; this in the face of an Asia with ever growing economic, political and cultural influence redolent with opportunities.

Even the apparent saviours of the Australian education system, international students, are a mixed blessing: is this a crisis or a new beginning?

In addition to any area of research under the broad umbrella of Asian studies, the 2010 ASAA Conference is particularly keen to receive papers on Crises and/or Opportunities in any area and from any discipline whether based on the present or in any time in the past.

This is of course, an opportunity - not a crisis!