Association for Asian Studies returns to the University

UVM will be hosting the annual conference of the New England branch of the Association for Asian Studies for the first time in over 15 years. The association holds seven regional conferences around the U.S. and in Japan; UVM will host the New England branch in the Davis Center on Saturday, Nov. 6, Asian Studies Director Erik Esselstrom said. There will be 17 panel sessions with three to four scholars on each panel from various universities from the New England area, Esselstrom said. Scholars will present their research on topics in East, South and Southeast Asian history, literature, philosophy, political science, anthropology and cultural studies, according to the Asian studies website. “It’s not just for people to present work, it’s a great way for researchers to network and build relationships,” Esselstrom said. Their lectures will be followed by Q-and-A presentations where the audience will have the opportunity to participate. Dartmouth College professor Pamela Kyle Crossley, a world-class historian of the Qing empire in China, will be the keynote speaker for the event, the website states. The event is not open to the public; those attending must register in advance and pay a fee to cover the cost of hosting the conference, Esselstrom said. Attendants will be invited to a reception at 5:30 p.m. immediately following the presentations, Esselstrom said. Esselstrom himself will be providing for 10-15 Asian Studies students to attend for free — he anticipates that this will be a worthwhile experience for them. Esselstrom was contacted last year and offered the opportunity to host the conference at UVM. He had anticipated this for many years and as the new Asian studies director he was able to accept. Schools that have most recently hosted the event include the University of Massachusetts and University of New Hampshire, Esselstrom said. The conference means good news for the Asian Studies Program, one of the fastest growing programs on campus. “It’s going to be terrific,” Esselstrom said. “This is a great chance for the students to meet and talk with accomplished scholars.”