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“Asia Transforming” Addresses Challenges to Perceptions of Asian Culture

The Hofstra Cultural Center is hosting a conference, Asia Transforming: Old Values and New Presences, to address how ongoing economic, social and political transformations have challenged present-day perceptions of Asian cultural identities. This is a joint annual meeting of the New York Conference on Asian Studies and the Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies – the first such combined meeting of the two organizations. Topics of discussion include: interrogation of notions of hybridity, diaspora and migration; explorations of global Asian cosmopolitanisms/transnational culture; and the impact of globalization from a variety of perspectives. Conference dates are September 18-20, 2014.

For a full listing of conference participants, panel discussions and other conference-related events, visit

Conference co-directors are Hofstra University’s Yuki Terazawa, associate professor of history and executive board member, Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies (MAR/AAS), and Patricia Welch, professor of Japanese and Comparative Literature and director of Hofstra’s Asian Studies Program and Executive Board, New York Conference on Asian Studies (NYCAS).

Conference highlights include:

Thursday, September 18

There will be a series of evening events, focused on “comfort women” stations. Before and during World War II, Asian and European women were abducted and used in the Japanese Army’s system of wartime sexual slavery. There will be a 4-4:45 p.m. panel “Remembering War Atrocities and Sex Trafficking in East Asia,” followed at 7 p.m. with an address “Breaking the Silence on Wartime Sexual Violence in the Asia-Pacific War.”  8:45-10 p.m. is a screening of Song of the Reed (Taiwan, 2013; 73 minutes), highlighting the life stories of five survivors of military sexual slavery during the Asia Pacific War, focusing on their efforts to overcome PTSD, and reveals the women as inspirations of human dignity.  Co-sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan) and Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation.

Friday, September 19

12:30 p.m. Luncheon performance of The Taiko Masala Drum Ensemble, featuring traditional Japanese drumming. Founded by master drummer Hiro Kurashima, Taiko Masala performs at concerts, festivals, museums and schools. In addition to drums, their programs include wind and string instruments, such as the shakuhachi, fue, and koto, as well as dancing.

3:10 p.m. Keynote address “Democracies Under Threat in Asia? Political Transitions and Transformations” by Bridget Welsh, Senior Research Associate Center for East Asian Democracy, National Taiwan University ,NYCAS Conference Scholar and Joseph G. Astman Distinguished Conference Scholar.

Nyoman Masriadi's  "Chicken Dance," 2010. On display at the Hofstra Univ. Museum. On loan from Private Collection Image courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery, NY
Nyoman Masriadi’s “Chicken Dance,” 2010. On display at the Hofstra Univ. Museum. On loan from Private Collection. Image courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery, NY

4:30 p.m. Hofstra University Museum reception for the exhibition Past Traditions/New Voices in Asian Art at Emily Lowe Gallery (Behind Emily Lowe Hall), South Campus.

Saturday, September 20

12:45-2:45 p.m. keynote address and open business meeting of MAR/AAS and NYCAS. The address, “Kunti’s Protest: The Anatomy of a Mass Movement in Late Colonial India,” will be presented by Mrinalini Sinha, the Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and president, Association for Asian Studies. There will be an introduction by Margaret Abraham, professor of sociology, and president of the International Sociological Association.

For registration fees call the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669 or register online. All conference events, with the exception of meals (banquets and luncheons), are free to members of the Hofstra community, upon presentation of a current HofstraCard.

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