We have heard for quite sometimes how Asia has emerged as one of the world’s fastest developing regions justifying more scholarly studies and collaborations at European universities. Yet, a globally connected ‘Asia’ is increasingly entangled to the point which ‘Asians’ are not only in Asia and ‘Westerners’ in the West, while many problems have become global and multi-causal that cannot be easily adjusted to the regionally or disciplinary structured academic environment. There are, it is true, ‘hard’ political, economic and cultural realities associated with ‘Asia’: the ‘rises’ of China and India for instance. The intricacy and shifting nature of these parallel phenomena calls therefore for a displacement of the notion of ‘area’ and with it, for rethinking scholarly engagements. The question of external institutional funding is thus inextricable from this picture of the changing state of academic area studies -- and the humanities in general.
It is in this context that we want to address the question of area studies and the way to support their transformation through institutional support mechanisms. In general, there is now a recognized need for European and Asian scholars and their institutions to engage in a more globally connected, if not always reciprocated, collaboration. For universities, however, securing external – state and privately originated - funding to support Asia/area studies research and educational capabilities, including language teaching, remains a major concern.
The objective of this exploratory roundtable is thus to ascertain to what extent national state and EU academic support institutions along with private foundations can be better included in the conversation over the reworking of area studies. Can the current programs (Marie Curie, ERC, VIDI, ANR, Volkswagen, etc.) help, not just in the consolidation but also in the transformation of area studies? To what extent their thoughts can be lent in the way that area/Asian studies in their different institutional expressions, as represented by the European Alliance for Asian Studies (EAAS), can help invent new forms of collaborations with Asian partners and beyond?
Co-organised by the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) and Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique Asie (GIS Asie) under the aegis of the European Alliance for Asian Studies (EAAS), this two-session interactive roundtable brings together representatives of supporting agencies (EU, national and private), directors of area studies institutions and individual scholars to explore ways to better collaborate towards a renewed practice of area/Asia studies.