InterAsian Connections 2016 conference series now has an open call for workshop papers. Due to be held in Seoul in April 2016, the InterAsian meetings generate a space for innovative research from across the social sciences and related disciplines and explores themes that transform conventional understandings of Asia. More information can be found here: http://www.ssrc.org/pages/interasian-connections-v-seoul-2016/
InterAsian Connections 2016

InterAsian Connections V: Seoul Workshop — Knowledge Mobilities and the Prospects for InterAsian Urbanisation

Francis Collins
Senior Lecturer, Geography, School of Environment, University of Auckland

Kong Chong Ho
Associate Professor, Sociology, National University of Singapore

CALL FOR WORKSHOP PAPERSOver the last two decades, Asian nations have embarked on ambitious political projects that seek to reconfigure education, research, and knowledge as critical drivers of competitiveness, productivity, and economic growth. Heralded as the pathway to global emergence, these knowledge projects hinge on the cultivation and circulation of people, the transfer of skills and knowledge, and the generation of new InterAsian connections that cut across traditional hierarchies of nations, cities, and institutions. These aspirations speak to the multiplex challenges of interconnected Asian modernities: demographic growth in some places and a desire for renewal in others; the human capital demands of service and technology-centered economies in an era of growing trade; the impact of regional mobility and ethnic diversity on national identities; the place of meritocracy, privilege and inequality in the making of knowledge economies; and the social and ecological consequences of economic growth.

In the Asian region, a select group of regionally and globally connected cities are key sites for the generation and articulation of knowledge-based political projects and migration trajectories. Stretching from Dubai and Riyadh in West Asia, Delhi and Mumbai in South Asia, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in Southeast Asia, to Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo in East Asia. Long seen as critical spaces for nation-building projects, these cities are being re-crafted as post-industrial zones, desirable destinations for knowledge migrants, and regional hubs for education, research and technology. These cities are being re-assembled through transnational flows of popular culture, symbolic and aesthetic expressions, governmentalities of migration regimes, and materialities of new built forms. Concomitantly, this reworking of the Asian urban also articulates through a range of deterritorialising and reterritorialising effects as universities seek out global status and regional networks beyond the nation, workplaces become more diversified, urban spaces are reshaped to attract foreign students and workers, and principles of citizenship and political participation are re-examined.

This workshop will explore the emerging role of knowledge migration and the InterAsian connections that are being reconfigured in and through major urban centres in the region. Participants are asked to address specific forms of knowledge migration – student, scholar, scientist, professional – and examine the ways in which these mobilities are generated in and generative of new InterAsian connections; involve the de/reterritorialisation of urban, national and regional spaces; and articulate through new political anxieties and subjectivities. We seek papers from scholars across the social sciences and humanities who are working empirically in Asia on the role of education and knowledge in migration. Contributions are encouraged from scholars advancing new conceptualisations of the interconnections between mobility, cities, and knowledge flows. Potential themes include:

  • The desires/aspirations of people on the move and the role of knowledge as driver and enabler of migration.
  • Cities as desirable destinations for students, scholars, and professionals, and the ways in which such desirability is generated in transnational flows of popular culture, governmental discourses, institutional narratives and other symbolic endeavours.
  • The role of population mobilities in reconfiguring the role of cities within national, regional, and global spaces.
  • Emergence of various intra-regional Asian connections: Islamic, Southeast Asian, diasporic, mobility in the wider spheres of China and India, cross-regional movement.
  • InterAsian knowledge flows and the challenge of Anglophone hegemony in research, teaching and practice; alternative centres of knowledge production and circulation.
  • Normative and alternative globalization and regionalization of urban knowledge endeavours – policy mobility and learning in government, institutions, civil society.
  • Political anxieties and subjectivities in knowledge migration: demographic renewal, diversity and national identity; challenges to authoritarian rule; regional identities.

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