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York Centre for Asian Research Update             Issue 25, Friday, September 23, 2005

Call for Papers: International Conference on Asian Comics, Animation, and Gaming (ACAG), York University, Toronto, Canada, May 18 – May 19, 2006

YCAR, in cooperation with the International Journal of Comic Art and Asian Cinema Studies Society, is organizing an Asian Comics, Animation and Gaming (ACAG) conference in May 2006 that will provide an international forum for presenting recent research on the emerging cultural markets in China and the Asian countries. It will also investigate the transnational issues of Asian cultural products, focusing on comics, animation and digital games in relation with the global world.  The conference will promote scholarship and intellectual engagement between academics and cultural production professionals on the conference themes (cultural economy and transnational imaginary) and topics from various backgrounds.


Papers that explore critical, philosophical and creative issues on Asian comics, animation, and digital games by drawing on the methodological and conceptual knowledge from a variety of disciplines are invited.  Possible disciplines and topics may include, but are not limited to the following: Cultural economy, product, market and industry; Cultural studies and cultural identity; East Asian Studies, South Asian Studies, Asia-Pacific studies; Anime and manga studies; Gender studies and body; Sociology, class and consumer cultures; Critical theory and representation; Human/cultural geography; Cross-cultural comparisons; Religious themes; History and cultural change; Aesthetic and creativity; Film studies; Fan culture and lifestyle studies; Cyberspace and Internet world; East and West Philosophy; Psychology  Localism, Globalism, Transnationalism.

Keynote Speaker: Professor John Lent, Mass Media and Communication Program, Temple University

Important dates:  Submission of abstracts: November 21, 2005; Acceptance of abstracts: December 7, 2005; Submission of full papers for review: March 1, 2006; Acceptance of full papers with revisions: March 15, 2006; Accepted papers due: April 3, 2006; Conference: May 18-19, 2006.

Abstract requirements

Initial submission should be in form of a word document attached to an email and submitted electronically to acag-ycar@yorku.ca with the subject heading “ACAG abstract submission.”  Each abstract should be no longer than 200 words, including the title (and subtitle if applicable), name(s) of the author(s), affiliations, mailing address(es), email address(es), two or three keywords that describe the submission.  Submissions must be received by November 21, 2005. 

Refereeing of papers

Selection of full papers for presentation will be a two-stage process.  All abstracts will be reviewed.  Author(s) selected will be invited to submit a full paper (no longer than 3000 words) for further review process.  Both abstracts and full papers will be peer reviewed by a panel of experts in the related fields.  Selected abstracts and full papers will be published in the refereed conference proceedings.

Conference Chair: Dr. Wendy Siuyi Wong, Associate Director, YCAR; Department of Design, Faculty of Fine Arts, York University. Email: wsywong@yorku.ca. For general enquiries, further information or to send an expression of interest, email: acag-ycar@yorku.ca.

ChATSEA invites PhD student applications for interdisciplinary dissertation workshop on November 11-13 at UofT

The Challenges of Agrarian Transition in Southeast Asia (ChATSEA) project invites applications from doctoral students to participate in an interdisciplinary dissertation workshop to be held at the University of Toronto from November 11-13, 2005. The workshop is intended for doctoral students whose dissertation projects deal with some aspects of agrarian transition in Southeast Asia. The purpose of the workshop is to encourage and assist doctoral students who are just beginning work on these issues, as well as those who are farther along in their projects. It will involve intensive discussion of the individual projects and also the larger theoretical and methodological issues that they raise. Possibilities for continuing networks among interested students and faculty will be explored. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in a doctoral program. They must have drafted a dissertation research proposal, even though it may not yet be approved by their committees.

The workshop will take place for three days at University of Toronto from November 11-13, 2005. It will include 12 students and four faculty members from a variety of disciplines. The costs of the workshop, meals and accommodation will be covered by the ChATSEA project. Travel will be subsidized up to a maximum of $500 per participant. Applications should include a curriculum vitae and an 8-10 page double spaced dissertation proposal. Application deadline is on October 18, 2005.

Application materials must reach the Convenor of the Dissertation Workshop, Professor Tania Li, Department of Anthropology, 100 St. George St., Toronto, M5S 3G3, no later than the deadline. Submissions by email attachment will be accepted by Kirsten Brown at biruclark@yahoo.com. Workshop participants will be selected on the content of the submitted projects, the potential for useful exchanges among them, and the benefits of including a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches and intellectual traditions. Applicants will be informed whether or not they have been selected for the workshop by October 20, 2005.

Call for Papers - Association of American Geographers, Annual Meeting, Chicago, March 7-11, 2006, Southeast Asia Sessions on Food/Commodity Networks and Migrant Identities

The Southeast Asian Division of the Asian Geography Specialty Group will sponsor two sessions at the AAG meeting in Chicago in March 2006.  Papers that focus on two processes – (1) the integration of Southeast Asia into global food and resource commodity networks, and (2) the reworking of identities through the process of migration in and from Southeast Asia - are most welcome. The sessions will provide the basis for a social gathering of geographers working in Southeast Asia or with Southeast Asian migrant communities elsewhere in the world.

1) Globalizing Food and Commodity Networks in Southeast Asia

This session seeks to explore the ways in which Southeast Asian food systems and natural resource commodities are increasingly integrated into globalized networks of investment, trade, retailing, and regulation.  Processes of interest include:  certification processes for food products and resource commodities;  alternative production and consumption arrangements;  the expansion of European supermarket chains into SE Asia;  the role of non-corporate networks in regulating linkages to global markets; agrarian change resulting from integration into globalized commodity markets; commodity chains and transformations at village and household scales.

2) Migration and Identity in/from Southeast Asia

This session explores the identity transitions and transformations that Southeast Asian migrants (and their left-behind families) undergo as a result of relocation.  The movements might include rural-urban or lowland-upland migration within national boundaries, temporary (but possibly long-lasting) assignments for contract work elsewhere in Asia, or permanent settlement in North America, Europe, or Australia.  How do migrants recompose and renegotiate gender/generational/ethnic/class/place identities in their new settings?  How does migration rework identities in places of out-migration?  What images of rural origins persist for rural-urban or transnational migrants and what are the material effects of these imaginaries? What is the future of sub-national regional identities in a context of greater mobility?

To participate, please contact (by September 30th):  Philip Kelly, Coordinator, Southeast Asia Area Director, Asian Geography Specialty Group.   Dept of Geography, York University, Toronto, Canada.  pfkelly@yorku.ca. Conference Details: http://www.aag.org/annualmeetings/index.cfm

Research Profile: Livelihood in Context - Learning from Cambodian fishers

YCAR postdoctoral fellow, Melissa Marschke, will speak at the York Geography Graduate Colloquium on Cambodian Fishers on Tuesday, September 27, 11:30 AM, Room S421 Ross, York University, Keele Campus.

Her study explores livelihood dynamics, sustainability issues and resilience-building strategies through the perspective of households and local level institutions in two rural Cambodian fishing communities, Koh Sralao (coastal) and Kompong Phluk (freshwater).  Two analytical approaches were used to enhance this exploration: (1) a sustainable livelihood framework, with an emphasis on household level negotiation strategies; and (2) a resilience analysis, with an emphasis on scale and uncertainty.  Qualitative and quantitative methods were used for data collection and analysis over a 21-month period, spanning the individual, household and community level.   

The study illustrates how rural fishers are able to live with uncertainty, and deal with on-going stresses and shocks.  Notably, there is an ever-increasing fishing pressure in coastal areas and along the Tonle Sap Lake: more fishers are competing over scarce resources within the same fishing grounds.  Conflict ensues, for instance, manifested in gear loss.  People cannot adapt to all stresses and shocks, given the constant changes that communities do face.  Nonetheless, people are continuously ‘doing something’ in response to these stresses and shocks.  Community-based natural resource management practices found in Koh Sralao and Kompong Phluk provide an example of this. 

What's the beef in Japanese universities? The Daily Yomiuri, 2005-09-23

Tokyo University brandy. Kobe University beef. Waseda University teddy bear. Faced with keen competition to stay profitable amid falling enrolment, Japanese universities have turned to selling consumer products as a form of publicity and a source of additional income.

The prestigious Tokyo University started selling its own brand of awamori, or rice brandy, in November last year. The rare black aspergillus fungus that was used to make awamori before World War II was found stored at the university's research institute seven years ago, officials said. Following the discovery, the university tapped the services of a distiller in Okinawa prefecture. The subsequent product, labelled with the university's logo, is now sold at stores on campus. The liquor has become popular for its fruity flavour and about 7,000 bottles have been sold, the officials said.

Another top-notch university, Waseda University in Tokyo, has started sellingT-shirts and stationery embossed with its Waseda Bear mascot to commemorate the 125th anniversary of its founding in 2007.

Over at Hyogo prefecture, Kobe University has chosen to lend its brand name to the prefecture's most well-known product - beef. The university, which breeds Tajima cows at its farm for research purposes, has been selling Kobe University Beef at the Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo since May. The prime beef is priced at 3,000 yen to 5,000 yen (S$45) per 100g, equivalent to other top-quality beef. A Mitsukoshi representative said the Kobe University Beef is enjoying brisk sales. 'In addition to its good taste, the product has been well received by food safety-conscious consumers because they seem reassured that it is produced by a university,' he pointed out.

And in Osaka prefecture, Kinki University, which prides itself on its tuna breeding techniques, has had quality tuna on sale since September last year. The fish is bred in a spacious preserve at its laboratory and fed with sardines, mackerel and other safe feed, the university said. Even though the project has not turned profitable, it is a good form of publicity for the school, said a university official. Kinki's laboratory has been shipping its tuna to department stores and restaurants in the Kansai region since September last year.

Meanwhile, Doshisha University in Kyoto has signed a tie-up deal with a winemaker run by an alumnus and started selling its own wine. These enterprising marketing moves come amid predictions by experts that, by 2007, the number of potential college students will drop to 699,000 - matching the number of vacancies available. It is believed that at least one private university has already filed for bankruptcy due to falling enrolment.

The Education, Science and Technology Ministry also welcomes moves by universities to boost their bottom line. 'These efforts help explain to taxpayers, who pay for their research costs, what kind of research the universities are doing,' an official said.

Boosting the bottom line

  • Tokyo University: Started selling its own brand of awamori, or rice brandy, in November last year. This is distilled from a rare black aspergillus fungus that was used to make awamori before World War II and was found stored at the university's research institute seven years ago. The brandy is now sold at stores on campus.
  • Waseda University: Has started selling T-shirts and stationery embossed with its Waseda Bear mascot to commemorate the 125th anniversary of its founding in 2007.
  • Kobe University: Has chosen to lend its brand name to the prefecture's most well-known product - beef. The meat comes from the Tajima cows bred at the university's farm for research purposes.
  • Kinki University: Has had quality tuna on sale since September last year. The fish is bred in a spacious preserve at its laboratory and fed sardines, mackerel and other safe feed.

  • York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR). For further information, contact ycar@yorku.ca
    Ste. 270 York Lanes, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto ON  M3J 1P3. URL: www.yorku.ca/ycar.