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Call for Papers
December 18, 2020 to January 18, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Film and Film History, Japanese History / Studies, Literature, World History / Studies

Beyond Japanese Studies Symposium: Challenges, Opportunities And COVID-19

OVERVIEW   Symposium held 18-19 February, 2021. Online. (Australian AEDT time) 

This symposium is designed to respond to challenges, opportunities and needs in the academic landscape which have resulted from, or been intensified by, the effects of COVID-19.

Japan-interested scholars must today consider how their work intersects with ‘global studies’, Asian Studies, trans-national and trans-cultural aspects of the human, natural, economic and physical world. They must also seek to broaden the regional and global relevance of their work by better connecting with colleagues across borders. Taking “Beyond Japanese Studies” as its theme, this symposium aims to bring early career scholars together to share their research with a wider audience and to consider strategies that Japan scholars can use to thrive.

The symposium will be convened online by The Japan Foundation, Sydney (Eora nation, Gadigal land) and the Japanese Studies Department at the University of New England (UNE; Anaiwan country, shared with Gumbaynggirr, Kamilaroi and Dhunghutti nations).

Presentation is open to all non-tenured early-career scholars (up to seven years post-PhD) in Australia, New Zealand and the broader Asia-Pacific region (including the US) whose research is related to Japan. Attendance is welcome from anyone in the Asia-Pacific region with an interest in Japan-related scholarship.


This symposium seeks to consider how Japan-interested ECRs may develop their careers. It builds on a recent online roundtable discussion titled “The Rebirth of Japanese Studies”, held in mid-2020 in conjunction with the US Association of Asian Studies (AAS).

“The Rebirth of Japanese Studies” roundtable identified some critical areas for the revitalisation of the field:

  • Actionable solutions / future directions
  • Importance of fostering communicationcollaboration, and accessibility to productively move forward as a community “linked by the fluid canopy of Japanese Studies”
  • Importance of Japan specialists pursuing positions beyond Japanese Studies
  • Importance of preparing young scholars to be able to do the above
  • Importance of including/acknowledging a broader range of voices in Japan-related scholarship

Responding to the background outlined, the symposium will contribute to an urgent and ongoing global conversation about prospects and avenues for thinking ‘Beyond Japanese Studies’ from an Australian/Asia-Pacific perspective.


Early-career scholars are invited to submit an abstract for a 20-minute presentation from their own research, touching upon the theme of the symposium, Beyond Japanese Studies, and considering one or more of the following questions:

  • How does my research intersect with/contribute beyond Japanese Studies to other disciplines, regions, cultural traditions or philosophies?
  • How will or has my research develop(ed)/broaden(ed)/change(d) due to the multiple impacts of COVID-19 and/or other future challenges such as Climate Change/the Anthropocene?
  • How does my research assist in considering the future after 2020?
  • How does my research broaden our understanding of Japanese Studies?
  • How do/can I advocate for/articulate the value of my research to society beyond the Japanese Studies academy?
  • What are some broad or specific applications/implications of my research for society in Australia, New Zealand, and the wider Asia-Pacific;

Contributions are welcome from a broad range of disciplines, including anthropology, art history, economics, history, linguistics, literature, media studies, musicology, and from a range of locations.

An honorarium of AU$100, kindly sponsored by the University of New England and the Japan Foundation, Sydney, will be offered for all presenters at the symposium (maximum of 12).


Eligibility Criteria for Presenters

  • Non-tenured early-career scholar (up to seven years post-PhD)
  • Based in, or from, Australia, New Zealand and the broader Asia-Pacific region (including the US)
  • Research is related to Japan.

Submit an Abstract
Abstracts should be submitted via the online submission form below. When you submit your abstract, you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Title of proposed presentation
  • Abstract (maximum 350 words)
  • Short Biography
  • Date of PhD if already conferred or expected date of PhD submission (to confirm eligibility)
  • Current employment status (to confirm eligibility)
  • Preferred/suggested discussion topics for the collaborative seminar on Day 2
  • Whether you would like to be considered for the New Voices in Japanese Studies special issue