CFP: DEADLINE EXTENDED to 1/31 - Traffic, Territory, Citizenship: Framing the Circulation of People and Goods between Asia & the Americas in the 19th Century

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Call for Papers
April 15, 2016
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Anthropology, South Asian History / Studies, World History / Studies, Art, Art History & Visual Studies

DEADLINE EXTENDED to 1/31/16: Traffic, Territory, Citizenship: Framing the Circulation of People and Goods between Asia and the Americas in the Long 19th Century
We invite proposals for a two-day symposium on new approaches to the circulation and interchange of people and goods between Asia and the Americas during the long nineteenth century. Sponsored by the Binghamton University Citizenship, Rights, and Cultural Belonging Transdisciplinary Area of Excellence, the symposium will be held April 15-16, 2016, at Binghamton University’s Downtown Center.

Most discussions about the Americas and Asia focus on trans-Pacific trade and migration, overlooking other circuits of movement and connection. We seek, instead, to bring scholars of the Americas into conversation with scholars of South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia to consider global diasporas from each region in the context of labor migration, capitalism, and the emergence of both territorial empires and settler colonial nation-states in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Critical to our contemporary political economy, the traffic in goods and people between Asia and the Americas has been consequential since the establishment of regular global trade in the early modern era. Linking the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans together, this movement also reconfigured place, as capitalism’s shifting priorities redefined the scope, hierarchy, and density of interconnections on land. Maritime traffic not only linked ports-of-call, it hastened movement into interior hinterlands, configuring them as territory to contest, control, and conquer. Some territories became extractive zones, while others became settler colonies where immigrants lived and worked (often in conflict with indigenous populations) and developed new social and cultural attachments. Taken together, these circuits of interactions produced the pre-conditions for the interrelated political economic concepts that defined global relations in the 20th century: the nation-state, territorial sovereignty, and citizenship.

The symposium will feature two keynote sessions, led by guest senior scholars Madhavi Kale (Bryn Mawr College), a historian of Indian indentured labor migration and Indian domesticity, and Robert Hellyer (Wake Forest University), a historian of international trade in Japan and the global tea trade.

Open to any discipline, the symposium will combine sessions organized around questions drawn from participants’ research with presentations on primary sources. In addition to discussion and feedback on their research, participants will also collectively produce a digitally-annotated bibliography of relevant scholarship and a digital archive of primary sources – both to be published online as an integrated exhibit to spur future research and support teaching on the workshop’s themes.

Proposals should include a title, an abstract (250 words maximum), a description of the proposed primary source for the digital archive, and a brief (1p.) biography or CV. PROPOSALS NEED NOT BE FOR FULL PAPERS - we are looking to start new conversations, so prospective or early work is very welcome.  

Please send proposals via e-mail to by January 31, 2015.

(NB: While the symposium does not have funding to support participants’ travel or lodging, meals will be provided.)

John Cheng Assistant Professor of Asian and Asian American Studies Binghamton University 
Dael A. Norwood Assistant Professor of History Binghamton University

Contact Info: 

Dael A. Norwood
Assistant Professor of History
Binghamton University
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