Call For Papers: The Trans/National Imaginary: Global Cities and Racial Borderlands


2015 Association for Asian American Studies Conference

April 22-25, 2015, Chicago/Evanston, Illinois

Submissions due by: October 17th, 2014


Call for Papers:

Association for Asian American Studies 35th Annual Meeting

Chicago/Evanston, Illinois

April 22-25, 2015





Judy Tzu-Chun Wu (Ohio State University) and Thuy Linh Tu (New York University)

            The 2015 annual meeting of AAAS will take place fifty years after the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965 and forty years after the end of the Viet Nam War in 1975.  Both events reshaped Asian/American and Pacific Islander populations in the U.S. by accelerating and diversifying migration and settlement.  As the fastest growing racial group in the U.S., Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders have increased in terms of numbers as well as in ethnic/national make-up and expanded in residential concentrations beyond the west coast, spatial shifts that have spurred on a host of other social and cultural changes.

            This flow of Asian and Pacific Islander people and goods have not been unidirectional, nor has it simply left intact the civil rights and cold war framing of the U.S. nation.  Rather, it has brought to light the military histories, imperial legacies, economic exigencies, and cultural longings that have made certain forms of migration and settlement possible and others unimaginable.  Having been both the embraced and the expelled, the indigenous and the ever foreign, Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders have transformed the social life and cultural imaginary of the American nation, even as they have posed tremendous challenges to its nation-building practices.

For the 2015 AAAS conference, we invite submissions from scholars, artists, filmmakers, and activists that consider the role of Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders in the construction of space, race, and the trans/national imaginary.  How do Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders change the American metropolis into a global city?   How have their settlement patterns shifted the spatial imaginary towards not only of the urban but also the suburban and the rural?  How do Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders transfigure the “heartlands” of America into  “borderlands”?  How have these changes enabled new narratives of being “at home” and “in the world”?

This focus on race and space is particularly fitting given the location of the 2015 AAAS conference in Chicago.  Robert Park and the Chicago School of Sociology pioneered studies of urban life, migration, and modernity.  We invite your submissions to engage anew in these topics by asking how cross-racial and cross-cultural contact and conflict shape understandings of borders and belonging.

As an innovation of the 2015 AAAS conferences, we plan to schedule thematically linked panels throughout each day that examine four main sets of questions, identified below.  We believe this will provide a more cohesive way to sustain dialogue across panels.

The Four Themes:

1.              Trans-Nationalism:

How do transnational processes—including labor migrations, adoption, travel and tourism, international research, military conflict, U.S. imperialism, social media and the internet, among others—reshape our understanding of the geographies of Asian/America and the Pacific Islands?


2.              Spatial Imaginaries:

How have Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders contributed to the cultural work of reimagining urban, suburban, and rural space and identity in the U.S.?  How has a spatial imaginary shaped Asian/American understandings of their own history and community? 


3.              Global Cities:

How have Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders transformed the communities of American neighborhoods through their labor force participation, social networks, cultural/religious institutions, and political activism?  How might we use these insights about Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders to evaluate Robert Park, the Chicago School of Sociology and their studies of urban life, migration, and modernity?


4.              Borderlands:

How might we deploy Gloria Anzaldua’s framework of the Southwest “borderlands” to rethink the location and the presence of Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders?  “How are new “borderlands” forged as Asian/Americans and Pacific Islanders engage in geographical, cultural, racial, gender, and sexual border crossings?

We welcome scholarship, cultural work, as well as political activist submissions for the 2015 AAAS conference.  Proposals for mentorship or professionalization round tables, panels, or workshops are also welcome. All submissions and proposals are due October 17, 2014 and should include a discussion of how the theme(s) of the conference will be addressed.  Please note:  Participants may only appear in the program twice and only in different roles.

Program Questions? For specific questions regarding type of sessions, submission guidelines, or other programmatic issues, please contact the Program Committee Co-Chairs: Judy Wu (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) and Thuy Linh Tu (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

The 2015 Proposal Submission process is now open! Please log on here with your AAAS membership credentials. Please note that all submitters MUST be an active and current member with AAAS.