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California State University, Long Beach
Asian and Asian American Studies
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Asian Studies Graduate Student Conference

“Life and Identity in Asian Contact Zones”
March 18-19, 2011
Anatol Center, California State University, Long Beach

Asia, the most populated continent on earth, is a vast land with a rich variety of cultures. It can be called a continent of contact zones-areas in which cultures clash, grapple with, and influence each other. The Silk Road is an early example of an Asian contact zone; as merchants from East Asia traversed the steppes and deserts of Asia, crossing the mountains down into Persia and the Middle East, they encountered other Asian cultures as well as eventually meeting up with Mediterranean and European cultures. In addition to the trade of goods, the merchants picked up and transported ideas and knowledge, which they disseminated along the route, influencing the peoples they met.

In the twentieth century, Asian contact zones seem to work in two ways. First, Asian and Western cultures meet in the ports and other multinational industrial trade centers of Asia, creating contact zones where cultures can influence each other. We see this phenomenon in all regions of Asia. Second, Asian people have emigrated to almost every place on the globe and have created communities in their adopted lands where they preserve some of their traditions, mixing them with new ideas from the cultures they encounter to produce hybrid cultures.

Because Asian Studies is a multi-disciplinary form of study, our conference hopes to explore life and identity in Asian contact zones in their broadest scopes. We welcome papers in anthropology, art history, history, international studies, literature, political science, pop culture, and even education, as long as they relate to Asia or Asians in contact either with other Asian cultures or with other cultures around the world. Topics and themes can include post-colonialism, construction of identity, transnational trends and influences, challenges faced by Asians in America, globalism, effects of neo-liberalism, women’s issues in Asian contact zones, issues in teaching Asian-Americans or in teaching non-Asian-Americans to speak Asian languages, and historical examples of transculturation.

One afternoon will be dedicated to papers related to the Silk Road, and we encourage students of Middle Eastern Studies to submit papers for these panels to discuss research on Asian cultures connecting with Middle Eastern cultures via traffic on the Silk Road. We plan to have a keynote speaker presenting on the Silk Road. All other panels will be determined by the paper submissions received.

Call for Papers submission deadline was January 15, 2011.

Conference Information Flyer

Conference Program (Still subject to change)

Event Sponsors

Associated Students, Inc.
Gerry Riposa, Dean, College of Liberal Arts
Farhang Foundation (
Confucius Institute
Anne and Lynn Ryder
Cecile Lindsay, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies
49ers Bookstores and Fred Neeley, Director
Asian and Asian American Studies Department
College of Liberal Arts Student Council


Faculty Advisory Board

  • Bipasha Baruah – International Studies
  • Jeffrey Broughton- Buddhist Studies, Chan Texts
  • Kendall Brown – Art History, Japanese Art
  • Masako Douglas- Japanese Studies, Japanese Language Pedagogy
  • Barbara Kim – Asian-American Studies, Korean Pop Culture, Transnational flow of culture
  • Margaret Kuo – History of East Asia
  • Linda Maram -Asian-American Studies, History, Practice of Filipino Pop Culture, and Transnational Flows.
  • Norbert Schurer – English Literature, Literature of the British Empire, Postcolonialism
  • Ray Waters – Comparative World Literature, Asian Literature
  • Scott Wilson – Anthropology, Chinese cultures
  • Teresa Wright – Political Science, social and political movements in China
  • Tim Xie – Chinese Language Pedagogy, teaching heritage speakers
  • Teri Yamada – Asian Studies, Southeast Asian Literature, Buddhist Studies

Silk Road