Verge: Studies in Global Asias Issue 10.2
Special Issue: Archipelagic Asias
Edited by Nicolai Volland (Penn State) and Leo Ching (Duke)
Deadlines | Convergence proposals: September 9, 2022, Essays: June 2, 2023
The study of Asia(s) remains fragmented along the lines of nations, histories, ethnicities, languages, and disciplines—all concepts that are rooted, epistemologically and pragmatically, on terra firma, on the supposedly sound conceptual ground of a continental Enlightenment tradition. What happens, however, when we shift our point of view, and instead adopt an oceanic perspective? How do our understandings of Asia(s) change when viewed from ashore? And how can engagement with and thinking through the ocean help us reconceive our critical and conceptual vocabulary and our approaches to the study of Asia?
This special issue proposes to reconsider the disciplinary practices of Global Asias from the perspective of the archipelagic. While acknowledging the influence of Édouard Glissant’s classic formulation, we understand the archipelagic in an expansive sense, to encompass a range of oceanic, maritime, and de-continental perspectives and approaches. Such interventions go back to the 1980s and 1990s, when scholars such as Hamashita Takeshi, Rob Wilson, and Kären Wigen proposed seaport-based and maritime configurations of traffic and exchange, “rim” studies as a critique of American militarization across the Pacific, and oceanic modes of spatial knowledge production.
More recently, the archipelagic and the oceanic have opened space for critical inquiry across a wide range of disciplines and fields. Cultural geographers such as Philip Steinberg posit the ocean as a space resistant to territorialization. For Paul Gilroy and Christopher L. Miller (among others), the Black Atlantic is a site to rethink colonial violence, the slave trade, and the foundations of modernity. Archipelagic regions such as the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean have been studied for their relationality and the historical and literary routes created by travelers and goods alike—such as evidenced in the recent work of Isabel Hofmeyr, Françoise Lionnet, and Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François (not least in Verge issue 8.1, on “Indian Ocean Studies, African-Asian Affinities”). The Transpacific, meanwhile, has been rediscovered as a site of imperial expansion and resistance alike, in recent work from Richard Jean So, Nan Z. Da, Lily Wong, Erin Suzuki, and Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi. And scholars from Epeli Hau‘ofa to Karin Amimoto Ingersoll have emphasized the oceanic to rethink the epistemological parameters of global academia.
At the current conjuncture, then, archipelagic and oceanic approaches are realigning and converging with other decolonial and decontinental movements from various disciplines and fields of inquiry; they harbor the potential not only to rethink Asian/area studies, but also to create new alliances with other fields and disciplines. The groundbreaking work from oceanic studies, archipelagic studies, and the “blue humanities” described above has inserted critical acumen into a range of fields including Asian American studies and indigenous studies, but is only beginning to reinvigorate the study of Asia, a traditionally “landed” discipline.
In this issue we consider the ocean not as peripheral, but as central—as constitutive to the making of Global Asias. Oceans connect as much as they separate; they provide space for movement and mobility, in the physical and the metaphorical sense, and for comparison and relational thinking; and they challenge rigidly drawn disciplinary boundaries. By proposing the archipelagic—in its expansive understanding—as a critical lens, we foreground the ocean as harboring the potential to create alternative spaces for thought; push back against dominant epistemologies; reconsider the critical vocabulary and methodological approaches to the study of Global Asia(s); and celebrate the minor, peripheral, and marginal.
We invite contributors to rethink the conceptual apparatus we use to study Asia(s) in its global dimensions. We welcome contributions that reconsider East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, Inter-Asian, Transpacific, Asian American, and Asian diasporic experiences from oceanic and archipelagic perspectives, from a range of humanistic and related social science disciplines, and across time periods. How can a maritime perspective help to unsettle and reconstitute the field? How can Global Asias literatures, histories, societies, cultures, cultural production, as well as gender, race, and identity, be reconceived in oceanic terms? How can oceans help us think across disciplinary boundaries? And how can our approaches to archipelagic Asias in turn be linked to, and intervene in, current critical conversations such as the Anthropocene, decoloniality, indigeneity, and the Global South?
Convergence Feature Proposals
One of Verge: Studies in Global Asias’ distinctive features is an opening section called Convergence, where we curate a rotating series of rubrics that emphasize collaborative intellectual engagement and exchange. Each issue features four of the following rubrics: A&Q, a responsive dialogue, either in interview or roundtable format, inspired by a set of questions; Codex, a collaborative discussion and assessment of books, films, or exhibits; Translation, for texts, primary or secondary, not yet available in English; Field Trip, reports from various subfields of the disciplines; Portfolio, commentaries on visual images; and Interface, texts exploring the resources of the print-digital world. We welcome those interested in these features to submit a Convergence proposal for the issue.
Proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and indicate what kind of feature is being proposed; demonstrate an awareness of the formats utilized by the journal; include an abstract and, if collaborative, a list of proposed contributors; and include a short (2 pg) cv.
The Convergence proposals deadline is September 9, 2022, however, we encourage those interested in submitting to contact co-editors about their ideas in advance of this date. Please direct all inquiries and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essays (between 6,000-10,000 words) and abstracts (125 words) should be submitted electronically through this submission form (https://forms.gle/eh6GgCmZT2C52yUn7) by June 2, 2023 and prepared according to the author-date + bibliography format of the Chicago Manual of Style. See section 2.38 of the University of Minnesota Press style guide or chapter 15 of the Chicago Manual of Style Online for additional formatting information.
Authors’ names should not appear on manuscripts; instead, please include a separate document with the author’s name, address, institutional affiliations, and the title of the article with your electronic submission. Authors should not refer to themselves in the first person in the submitted text or notes if such references would identify them; any necessary references to the author’s previous work, for example, should be in the third person.