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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

06 June 2022
After a delay of more than two years due to the pandemic, Dr Vicky Young and Professor Barak Kushner finally held their Cambridge University Global Humanities-funded international conference on decolonization and East Asia at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from 2-4 June 2022.

Approximately twenty participants came from a wide spectrum of specialist backgrounds in France, the UK, the US, and Japan joined the event on Decolonizing East Asian Studies: Rewriting the Boundaries of Region, Nation, WorldThis included scholars of Chinese and Taiwanese modern literature, modern Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese history, Korean literature, North Korean music, Korean politics, Japanese literature, as well as several postgraduate students and postdocs from the Faculty. For most it was the first time they had attended this genre of a cross-disciplinary and cross-border conference and the feedback was positive, suggesting numerous future courses of action. Over several days, the scholars fruitfully debated papers they had circulated several weeks prior in a series of five panels which ran over twelve hours of discussion. Participants also continued their debates over breaks and meals, which included a formal dinner at Selwyn College. Having been shut off from direct contact from colleagues on all sides of the oceans for far too long, the several days were a marvelous opportunity for everyone to share their new work in progress and push the frontiers of considering how we are grappling with new demands on scholarship and teaching about East Asia. After all, as all at the conference agreed, sharing and commenting on the work of others is the bedrock of advancing scholarship and establishing new ideas and intellectual endeavors.