LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Center for East Asian Studies will host the 71st Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs (MCAA) from Sept. 16-18 at the Kansas Union.
The MCAA began in 1952 as a space for U.S.-based specialists on Asia who lived in regions far from coastal institutions to share research, network and promote greater engagement with Asia in the classroom. This year’s conference will include nine sessions with paper presentations representing countries and cultures across the Asian continent, examining topics such as art, politics, identity, borders and globalization.
"It will be a great moment for scholars, researchers, educators and students alike to get together in person and celebrate the field of Asian studies in the post-COVID time,” said Akiko Takeyama, CEAS director. “I'm delighted to host such a significant Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs here at the University of Kansas. Scheduled panels, workshops, a presidential panel and a banquet will be attended by more than 230 registered individuals not only from the region but also across the U.S. and the Pacific Ocean."
The KU community is welcome to attend session panels and workshops free of charge, but all other events are closed to the public.
Kamran Asdar Ali, professor of anthropology at the University of Texas-Austin, will deliver the keynote address, “Female Desire, Forbidden Love, and Forgotten Archives: Sexual Politics in 1960s Pakistani Cinema” during a banquet at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17. The Presidential Luncheon Panel, which will take place at noon Sept. 17, will explore “Global Asia and Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine” with a panel discussion facilitated by MCAA President Hiromi Mizuno, professor of history at the University of Minnesota, and featuring panelists Megan Greene, professor of history at KU; Ian Baird, professor of geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Susan Burns, professor of history, University of Chicago.
The conference offers graduate students multiple opportunities to support their professional development, including a networking reception Sept. 17. They are also encouraged to join workshops offered throughout the conference such as “Demystifying Academic Book Publication” and “Career Exploration and Planning Tools.”
Community college and minority-serving institution educators are also a key part of the MCAA. With support from the MCAA and a Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grant, CEAS will host a workshop on “Engaging with Global Asia in Community College Classrooms” from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 16. This workshop will feature presentations on internationalization projects by three Johnson County Community College faculty members — Dawn Gale, professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion; Eve Blobaum, professor and chair, Department of Sociology; and Deborah Williams, professor and chair, Environmental Science and Sustainable Agriculture, followed by Greene, who will explore how international topics fit into curriculum across disciplines.
KU Libraries and the Spencer Museum of Art will offer self-guided and guided tour options to highlight the art, faculty research and academic resources that represent and support Asian studies at KU. The guided tour times will include the East Asian collections of the Spencer Research Library from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 16 and 10:15 to 11 a.m. Sept. 17, the Spencer Museum of Art from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 17 and Watson Library from 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 pm Sept. 17.