Bangladesh Study Group (KINDAS) – A special seminar with Prof. Willem van Schendel

Date and Time: March 21, 2018, from 13:30-17:10
Venue: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University
Inamori Memorial Building Room 201 (Tonantei)

  13:30-15:20 Part I: Presentations by participants
     13:30-13:50 Presentation by Takada—followed by discussion (1)
     13:50-14:10 Presentation by Minamide—followed by discussion (2)
     14:10-14:30 Presentation by Sugie—followed by discussion (3)
     10 minutes break
     14:40-15:00 Presentation by Tsubota—followed by discussion (4)
     15:00-15:20 Presentation by Togawa—followed by discussion (5)
     15:20-15:40 Presentation Fujita—followed by discussion (6)

List of presentators:
1) Mineo Takada, Professor, Hiroshima Shudo University
2) Kazuyo Minamide, Associate Professor, Momoyama Gakuin University
3) Ai Sugie, JSPS Research Fellow, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
4) Kenmei Tsubota, Research Fellow, Institute of Developing Economies, Chiba
5) Masahiko Togawa, Associate Professor, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
6) Koichi Fujita, Professor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University

    15:50-17:10 Part II:
     15:50-16:40 “Rethinking Flows, Spaces and Visualisation in Asian Studies”, by Prof. Willem van Schendel
     16:40-17:10 Discussion

The flows and networks that shape the lives of billions of Asians develop, fragment and recombine continually. A more systematic understanding of these dynamics is indispensable for the future of Asian studies. We know much about the vast and long-lived networks that historically drew large parts of Asia together. Such key networks sustained the spread of Buddhism and Islam, the rise of empires, and patterns of mass migration and long-distance trade. Understanding these is imperative for anyone wishing to sketch the broad contours of inter-Asian connectivity today.
But these connections hardly provide a full picture. Attention to sweeping interconnections should not impede the exploration of finer details and more quirky linkages, not least because the major inter-Asian networks bypassed many parts of Asia. How did and do these parts connect to other spaces?
I use the example of an Asian society that was barely involved in the sweeping interconnections to argue for a repositioning of the study of Asia that goes beyond simply linking the core concerns of ‘area studies.’ This society sits astride two major Asian regions: South Asia and Southeast Asia. The literature constructs it as isolated, peripheral, and, until very recently, without important external connections.
I challenge this view and try to demonstrate the remarkable fluidity of networks and how they recombine in unexpected ways. Paying closer attention to such recombinations may advance the study of Asia. Unfamiliar connections radiating from the ‘fault lines’ of Asia knowledge – from the borderlands between the conventional regions of area studies – can provide a starting point.