Exhibit Asia: Partition and the Transition to Nation States in South and East Asia

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Call for Papers
November 20, 2022 to January 15, 2023
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Chinese History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Japanese History / Studies, Korean History / Studies, South Asian History / Studies

Exhibit Asia: Partition and the Transition to Nation States in South and East Asia

Dates: 1-2 September, 2023 Location: Royal Holloway, University of London (in person, with a hybrid option)


We invite proposals for papers that investigate trans-national histories, regional dynamics and nation-state formation in partitioned and postcolonial regions in South and East Asia, by using the mechanics and processes of exhibitions as the framework of investigation. For example, India/ Pakistan and Taiwan/ China started out as contested entities that had to produce their own sense of national identity and culture from a shared past. What role did exhibitions, arts and material culture play in this process? What place did princely/ royal heritage have (if any) in constructing national narratives in partitioned regions?

‘Exhibitions’ may be interpreted broadly. They could be on art, archaeology, agriculture, industry, housing, or any other topic. They need not be limited to those held in museums, or by state organisations.

Papers could:
• Discuss an exhibition that produced competing national narratives.
• Discuss national narratives that resulted from an exhibition in one region, paired with an example from its ‘other’. This could also be a joint paper between academics with overlapping regional expertise (for example, investigate two exhibitions in the two Koreas and the national narratives that they fed into).
• Discuss any exhibition in postcolonial South or East Asia, and its role in constructing post-partition national narratives.
• We welcome other relevant proposal ideas too. To discuss them, or in case of queries, please write to the organisers.


We invite proposals based on original, unpublished research that can be submitted as part of a journal special issue, planned as one of the outcomes of this conference. We welcome submissions from doctoral and early career researchers. Limited funding available.

Please send your abstract to CGSARHUL@gmail.com. Decisions will be communicated by 31 January 2023.

Organised by: Centre for Global South Asia, RHUL | National Museum of Taiwan History With: Dr Layli Uddin, QMUL | Dr Shaila Bhatti, NCA Lahore | Prof Aparna Vaidik, Ashoka University. Supported by: Tsao Yung-Ho Foundation of Culture and Education

Contact Info: 

Dr Mrinalini Venkateswaran (Mrinalini.Venkateswaran@rhul.ac.uk)

Dr. Weipin Tsai (Weipin.tsai@rhul.ac.uk)