This roundtable panel will explore the broad range of relationships between governments and scholars in South and East Asia, including censorship, regulation, authorization, sponsorship, and funding.
The immediate impetus for the panel is two recent events that have affected the AAS directly. In 2017 the Chinese government asked Cambridge University Press not to distribute certain Journal of Asian Studies articles in China; after Cambridge University Press refused the request, most Chinese distributors withdrew their orders for the JAS as a whole. Another is the refusal of the Indian government to grant visas to Pakistani scholars to participate in the AAS-in-Asia conference that was recently held in New Delhi. Many other events of these kinds occur on a weekly basis, some of them widely reported and others less well known outside their immediate contexts.
Our panel seeks to put these events into a broader context and to gain historical depth in understanding them. Rajeev Kinra will speak on the Mughal state's approach to questions of religious and intellectual freedom. Cynthia Brokaw will discuss the efforts of the Chinese and Manchu imperial states to control publishing and censor “dangerous” texts in China. Benjamin Elman will examine relations between “imperial rulers” and ”civilian literati” in China from 1350 to 1850, including the civil service examination system. Ananya Vajpeyi will focus on government control of scholars and scholarship in colonial India, including ways that laws and practices established in the colonial period have continued to be applied in independent India. Finally, Moss Roberts will speak on how China is represented in American politics, media, and academic discourse.
After brief presentations by each of the five speakers, the panel will be open to questions and comments from the floor.