International Conference on Inter-Asian Connections
Dubai, UAE: February 21-24, 2008

The SSRC is pleased to announce an open call for proposals from faculty members at accredited universities and colleges in any world region, to organize and direct a 4-day thematic workshop at an international conference on "Inter-Asian Connections." Workshop directors selected by the SSRC will be expected to help recruit and select 8 international workshop participants from across relevant disciplines in the social sciences and related fields.

To be held in Dubai, February 21-24, 2008, the conference will host multiple workshops showcasing innovative research from across the social sciences and related disciplines, on themes of particular relevance to Asia, reconceptualized as a dynamic and interconnected historical, geographical, and cultural formation stretching from the Middle East through Eurasia and South Asia, to East Asia.

This expanded understanding should bring to the fore new and unanticipated research themes and cross-regional/trans-regional connections and formations. The conference theme of "Inter-Asian Connections" is flexible enough to encompass a wide range of projects, from explorations of inter-regional historical and material connections (for instance trade and migration flows; Asian international relations; the diffusion and exchange of ideas and ideologies), to cross-national and comparative investigations of contemporary political, socio-cultural, and economic processes.

Applications are invited from scholars who would like to convene an international workshop that brings together a group of researchers working on a specific theme located in an "Inter-Asian" research landscape, whether this involves the comparative investigation of societies/polities within Asia (as defined above), or the exploration of historical and/or contemporary transnational/cross-national/trans-regional processes, structures, practices, and flows within and across the territorial and imaginative space of Asia.

We aim at gathering as broad an international and multi-disciplinary representation of scholars as possible. We also encourage proposals for workshops that will see participation by activists, policymakers, media practitioners, and cultural producers addressing different aspects of the "Inter-Asian" conference theme.

The conference structure and schedule has been designed to enable intensive ‘working group’ interactions on a specific research theme through the workshops, as well as broader interactions on topics of mutual interest and concern to all participants. Accordingly, workshop sessions will take place in the morning, while the afternoon and evening sessions will be reserved for public keynotes, plenaries, and roundtables addressing different aspects of Inter-Asian research. Each workshop will meet for three mornings. The concluding day of the conference will bring all the workshops together in a public presentation and exchange of research agendas that have emerged over the course of the deliberations in Dubai.

We invite researchers to apply to organize a workshop on a theme of their choice. Each workshop may have one or two directors and will include 8 participants (graduate students, junior faculty, other researchers and scholars) chosen competitively. Workshop directors should have sufficient research experience on the region and themes of their proposals. Workshops will be selected according to four criteria:

i. The theoretical and/or empirical contributions of the workshop—i.e. the extent to which the proposed workshop topic represents an innovative and original contribution to existing scholarship on the subject;

ii. The "Inter-Asian" relevance of the workshop—i.e. the extent to which the proposed workshop topic takes forward the intellectual mandate of the conference, of redefining "Asia" as a dynamic and interconnected formation, whether through innovative comparative approaches or through a focus on connections within and across the traditionally defined regions of Asia (Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia);

iii. The anticipated composition of the workshop—i.e. the extent to which the workshop will elicit participation from a diverse community of scholars, with preference given to workshops that have multi-disciplinary and international appeal, and that involve scholars and researchers at different stages of their careers;

iv. The anticipated research outcomes of the workshop—i.e. the extent to which the workshop has the potential to generate new and innovative research agendas and to forge/sustain intra and inter-regional networks of scholarly research and exchange among institutions and individuals working in and on Asia.

Following the selection of workshops and directors, the SSRC will announce and widely circulate an open call for individual paper submissions for each of the workshops. The responsibilities of the workshop directors will include:
• Collaborating with SSRC staff to select 8 participants for their workshop;
• Communicating with workshop participants;
• Ensuring the timely delivery of papers;
• Preparing a workshop agenda;
• Convening daily meetings at Dubai; and
• Presenting a research statement at the conclusion of the conference.

In addition to covering the travel, accommodation, and other related costs associated with attending the conference, the SSRC will offer an honorarium of 500 USD to compensate workshop directors for their time and efforts. Limited funds may also be available to cover expenses of some workshop participants, based on an assessment of needs.

For additional inquiries, please contact the SSRC at



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