AAS/​SSRC Dissertation Workshop: Toronto, March 2012

The Asso­ci­a­tion for Asian Stud­ies and the Social Sci­ence Research Coun­cil have announced plans for the first joint­ly orga­nized AAS/​SSRC Dis­ser­ta­tion Work­shop, which will be held in con­junc­tion with the AAS annu­al con­fer­ence in Toron­to in March 2012. The work­shop will be orga­nized and led by David Szan­ton and will fol­low the same basic mod­el used in pre­vi­ous AAS workshops. 

The work­shop title is “Rewrit­ing His­to­ry: Nation­al­ism, Iden­ti­ty, and the Pol­i­tics of the Past.” Rad­i­cal and con­ser­v­a­tive schol­ars, nov­el­ists and biog­ra­phers, gov­ern­ments, edu­ca­tion min­istries, and tourist agen­cies are all writ­ing and rewrit­ing nation­al his­to­ries and nar­ra­tives. Attempts to strength­en or legit­i­mate spe­cif­ic inter­ests have entailed the redis­cov­ery, rein­ter­pre­ta­tion and even the rein­ven­tion of val­ues and iden­ti­ties, past social forms, vic­to­ries and defeats, as well as nat­ur­al and human trau­ma. Rewrit­ing the past and cre­at­ing her­itage are ancient and seem­ing­ly uni­ver­sal phe­nom­e­na, rais­ing dif­fi­cult ques­tions about what we can know and the pol­i­tics of his­tor­i­cal writ­ing. Issues of rewrit­ing his­to­ry are not lim­it­ed to the con­cerns of his­to­ri­ans; they are as salient to anthro­pol­o­gists, polit­i­cal sci­en­tists, spe­cial­ists on reli­gion, cul­tur­al stud­ies, and oth­ers across the human­i­ties and social sciences.

This work­shop is intend­ed to bring togeth­er doc­tor­al stu­dents in the human­i­ties and social sci­ences who are devel­op­ing dis­ser­ta­tion pro­pos­als or are in ear­ly phas­es of research or dis­ser­ta­tion writ­ing and who are also deal­ing with the kinds of issues men­tioned above in the con­text of con­tem­po­rary or his­toric Asian states and societies. 

The work­shop will be lim­it­ed to twelve stu­dents, ide­al­ly from a broad array of dis­ci­plines and work­ing on a wide vari­ety of mate­ri­als in a vari­ety of time peri­ods and in var­i­ous regions of Asia. It also will include a small mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary and mul­ti-area fac­ul­ty with sim­i­lar concerns. 

The work­shop will be sched­uled for the days imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ing the 2012 AAS annu­al con­fer­ence in Toron­to. It will cov­er two and one-half days of intense dis­cus­sion begin­ning the evening of Mon­day, March 12, and run­ning through noon of Thurs­day, March 15.

Pend­ing receipt of out­side foun­da­tion fund­ing, par­tic­i­pants also will be invit­ed back for a post-field­work work­shop. The sec­ond work­shop will be held 24 months lat­er, after many or most par­tic­i­pants have com­plet­ed a sig­nif­i­cant amount of field­work or archival research and are at vary­ing stages in the writ­ing process. This fol­low-up work­shop is intend­ed to help par­tic­i­pants shape and artic­u­late the key focus of their dis­ser­ta­tions as they begin writing. 

The orga­niz­ers will be able to pro­vide at least lim­it­ed finan­cial sup­port for par­tic­i­pants, includ­ing three night­s’ accom­mo­da­tions, meals, and par­tial “need-based” trav­el funds. Stu­dents are encour­aged to approach their home insti­tu­tions for addi­tion­al sup­port. Addi­tion­al sup­port may become avail­able pend­ing out­side fund­ing. It is hoped that par­tic­i­pants also will attend the AAS annu­al meet­ing imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the workshop. 

Appli­cants need not have advanced to can­di­da­cy but must have at least draft­ed a dis­ser­ta­tion research pro­pos­al. Appli­ca­tions are also wel­come from doc­tor­al stu­dents in the ear­ly phas­es of writ­ing their dis­ser­ta­tions. Appli­ca­tion instruc­tions and forms will be avail­able on the SSRC Web site (www.ssrc.org) by Decem­ber 1, 2011, and must be sub­mit­ted by Jan­u­ary 3, 2012. 

Work­shop par­tic­i­pants will be select­ed on the basis of the sub­mit­ted projects, the poten­tial for use­ful exchanges among them, and a con­cern to include a wide range of dis­ci­pli­nary per­spec­tives, intel­lec­tu­al tra­di­tions, and regions of Asia. Appli­cants will be informed whether or not they have been select­ed for the work­shop by late January. 

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the work­shop struc­ture and eligibility,
con­tact David Szan­ton (Szanton@berkeley.edu). Ques­tions con­cern­ing admin­is­tra­tive mat­ters or the appli­ca­tion process should be direct­ed to Nicole Restrick (Restrick@ssrc.org).