VERGE: Studies in Global Asias
Senior Editors, Tina Chen and Eric Hayot
Verge: Studies in Global Asias is a new journal that includes scholarship from scholars in both Asian and Asian American Studies. These two fields have traditionally defined themselves in opposition to one another, with the former focused on an area-studies, nationally and politically oriented approach, and the latter emphasizing epistemological categories, including ethnicity and citizenship, that drew mainly on the history of the United States. The past decade however has seen a series of rapprochements in which, for instance, categories “belonging”to Asian American Studies (ethnicity, race, diaspora) have been applied with increasing success to studies of Asia. For example Asian Studies has responded to the postnational turn in the humanities and social sciences by becoming increasingly open to rethinking its national and regional insularities, and to work that pushes, often literally, on the boundaries of Asia as both a place and a concept. At the same time, Asian American Studies has become increasingly aware of the ongoing importance of Asia to the Asian American experience, and thus more open to work that is transnational or multilingual, as well as to forms of scholarship that challenge the US-centrism of concepts governing the Asian diaspora.
Verge showcases scholarship on “Asian” topics from across the humanities and humanistic social sciences, while recognizing that the changing scope of “Asia” as a concept and method is today an object of vital critical concern. Deeply transnational and transhistorical in scope, Verge emphasizes thematic and conceptual links among the disciplines and regional/area studies formations that address Asia in a variety of particularist (national, subnational, individual) and generalist (national, regional, global) modes Responding to the ways in which large-scale social, cultural, and economic concepts like the world, the globe, or the universal (not to mention East Asian cousins like tianxia or datong) are reshaping the ways we think about the present, the past and the future, the journal publishes scholarship that occupies and enlarges the proximities among disciplinary and historical fields, from the ancient to the modern periods. The journal emphasizes multidisciplinary engagement—a crossing and dialogue of the disciplines that does not erase disciplinary differences, but uses them to make possible new conversations and new models of critical thought.
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Issue 1: OPEN ISSUE
The history of scholarship on Asian America, when juxtaposed with the fields of Asian Studies, reminds us how much nations, national movements, and other forms of national development continue to exert powerful effects on the world in which we live. Such movements also remind us of the importance of inter-nationalism, of the kinds of networks that can spring up between states and which can work to disrupt the smooth passage of the planet into a utopian post-national future. The growing interest in the global and the transnational across disciplines thus brings the various Asia-oriented fields and disciplines—history and literature, Asia and Asian America, East and South, modern and premodern—closer together. This inaugural issue seeks to feature work that illustrates the diverse engagements across disciplines (literature, history, sociology, art history, political science, geography) and fields (Asian Studies and Asian American Studies) that are possible once we begin thinking about the possible convergences and divergences such divisions have traditionally represented. We welcome a range of perspectives; featured contributors include Ien Ang, Dean Chan, Alexandra Chang, Catherine Ceniza Choy, Magnus Fiskejo, Pika Ghosh, Evelyn Hu-Dehart, Yunte Huang, Suk-young Kim, Joachim Kurtz, Meera Lee, Wei Li, Colleen Lye, Sucheta Mazumdar, Tak-wing Ngo, Haun Saussy, David Palumbo-Liu, Sheldon Pollack, Shuh-mei Shih, Eleanor Ty, and Jeffrey Wasserstrom.
Submission deadline: December 1, 2013
Issue 2: ASIAN EMPIRES & IMPERIALISM (edited by On-cho Ng and Erica Brindley)
The nature of Asian empires in the past, as well as the definition of imperialism in contemporary times, is a topic of ongoing discussion among scholars from a wide range of fields. In this special issue of Verge, we will explore a cluster of issues concerning the mechanics and influence of empires, imperial authority, and imperial types of influence over indigenous cultures and frontiers in Asia, as well as their diasporas abroad and in the USA. We invite submissions that address one or some of the following questions: How did various imperial efforts interact with local concerns to shape the history of cross-cultural interactions in this region? How did imperial regimes propose to solve the issue of a multi-ethnic empire? What were the roles of specific geographic and economic spheres in Asia (such as those of nomadic, agricultural, maritime, high altitude or lowland, and far-flung/diasporic cultures) in contributing to the distinctive quality of certain empires? How do certain characteristics of imperial administration and control in Asia compare to those of imperial states in other regions of the world? In addition to questions concerning the long history of Asian imperialism and comparisons with other empires, we also solicit submissions that speak to questions concerning contemporary Asian diasporas and their reactions to various forms of imperialism in the modern age. Questions might address such topics as “Yellow Peril” fears about Asian cultural imperialism; Japanese internment camps as a US response to Japanese imperial expansion in the Pacific; the Tibetan diaspora in South Asia and the Americas as a reaction to contemporary Chinese imperialism; Vietnamese responses to French, Chinese, or American imperialisms, and the treatment of Japanese-Americans in Hawaii in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.
Submission deadline: April 1, 2014
Issue 3: COLLECTING (edited by Jonathan Abel and Charlotte Eubanks)
As a construct and product of powerful institutions from empires, to nation-states, museums, to universities, Asia has long been formulated at the level of the collection. Whether through royal court poetry compilations, colonial treasure hunters, art historians, bric a brac shop keepers, or librarians of rare archives, the role of collecting and classification has been deeply connected not only to definitions of what counts as Asia and who can be considered Asian, but also to how Asia continues to be configured and re-configured today.
With this in mind, this special issue of Verge seeks to collect papers on the history, finance, psychology, politics and aesthetics of collecting Asia in Asia and beyond. This collection hopes not only to bring into relief how “Asia” has been created but also to promote new definitions of Asia. What, for instance, are the historical implications of government-sponsored poetry anthologies in Mughal India, Heian-era Japan, or 20th century North Korea? What do the contents of treasure-houses -- at Angkor Wat, Yasukuni Shrine, or Vishwanath -- tell us about evolving concepts of art and of the elasticity of cultural and national contours? When did Japan become a geographical base for the collection of Asia? Who collects Chinese books? How has Indian art been defined by curatorial practices? Why did South Korea begin to collect oral histories in the 1990s? What politics lie behind the exhibition of mainland Chinese posters in Taiwan? How much money do cultural foundations spend on maintaining collections? Where are the limits of Asian collections in geographical and diasporic terms? How do constructions of these collections impact our views of the collective, whether of Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala, Japanese internment camps in Indonesia, global Chinatowns, or adherents of new Asian religions in the Americas and former Soviet Republics?
This issue is interested in the various cultures of collecting Asia and collecting Asians, in the many politics of collecting, in the odd financial restrictions on collectors, in the psychology of collecting, in the anthropology of how communities form around collected objects, and in the sociology around collective histories.
Submission deadline: November 15, 2014
Issue 4: ASIAN URBANISMS AND URBANIZATIONS
(edited by Madhuri Desai and Shuang Shen)
In the contemporary age of globalization, the city has gained new importance and attention as a center of information industry, a node of transnational and translocal networks, and a significant site of capital, labor migration and culture (Saskia Sassen, Manuel Castells and David Harvey). While this renewed interest in the city both perpetuates and revises theories of the city as a metaphor of modernity (Walter Benjamin, Georg Simmel), it also opens up questions regarding the uniqueness and relevance of earlier cities and their experience of urbanization. When we move us away from Eurocentric understandings of modernity and time, it becomes increasingly possible to study non-European urbanisms in the past and at present with theoretical rigor and historical specificity. For this special issue, we invite submissions (around 8000 words) that explore urbanism as a site of comparison and connection among various Asian locales and beyond. We are interested in not just studies of Asian cities and their urban experience but also how “Asia” has been imagined both historically and contemporaneously, through urbanism and urbanization, and how “Asia” as a term of travel is registered in the urban space. This special issue will draw attention to the following questions: As cities become increasingly connected and similar to each other, how do they express their distinct identities as well as articulate their unique histories? Besides circulation, movement, and networks that have been much emphasized in contemporary studies of the city, how do borders, checkpoints, and passwords function in urban contexts? How does the city articulate connections between the local, the national, and the transnational? How does the Asian experience of urbanization and ideas surrounding Asian urbanism revise, rethink, and in some cases revive Asia’s colonial past? What does the Western perspective on some Asian cities as unprecedented and futuristic tells us about the imagination of Asia in the global context? How do migrant and ethnic communities negotiate with and redefine the public space of the city? How is the urban public shared or fragmented by co-existing ethnic and religious communities? How is the rising cosmopolitanism of these cities challenged through migration and sharply defined ethnic and religious identities? We invite submissions that address these questions within the context of Early modern, colonial and contemporary urbanisms and urbanizations.