Beginning in 2014, the Association for Asian Studies has held five AAS-in-Asia Conferences co-hosted by Asian partners who have invested tremendous effort in seeing these projects to completion. The conferences have been occasions for Asia-based scholars to join with scholars from North America, Europe, Australia, and beyond in presenting new work, sharing ideas, and networking in a more accessible venue than the large North American AAS annual conference. The AAS-in-Asia conferences have involved the AAS in a learning process, most dramatically this past summer in relation to the AAS-in-Asia conference in Delhi. The Indian government’s refusal to grant visas to 8 Pakistani and Pakistani-origin scholars whose papers has been accepted for the conference provoked heated debate within and around AAS about the appropriateness of holding the meeting at all. Given the difficulty of identifying future Asian hosts and the political complications present in most potential sites, the 5-year anniversary of this program is an appropriate moment to take stock and have a conversation about the conferences’ future. Do the potential benefits of AAS-in-Asia meetings outweigh the effort required to organize them and the ever-present possibility of political controversy?
The AAS officers will be present at this meeting to listen to members’ views.