Asia Center Special Events & Lecture and Seminar Series

Events
20th Anniversary Celebration

20th Anniversary Celebration

The Asia Center was founded during the 1997-1998 academic year and celebrated its 20th anniversary on Friday, April 13, 2018, with a day of talks and panels featuring students, current and former center directors, and other distinguished speakers who have been instrumental in the work of the Asia Center. The day's events included A Dialogue with the Asia Center’s Former Directors and Acting Directors on the Changing and Enduring Issues in Asia; Study and Research in Asia: The Student Perspective; and Asia in the Next Two Decades: A Conversation with Current Harvard Asia-related Center Directors. The day concluded with the Honorable Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, delivering the 13th Tsai Lecture to a standing-room-only audience. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy delivered the 14th Tsai Lecture in November 2018, concluding the year of celebratory events.

Media from the 20th Anniversary Celebration:

Program

Welcome by Professor Karen Thornber (audio)

Introduction by Vice Provost Mark Elliott (audio)

Remarks by Professor Rema Hanna (audio)

A Dialogue with the Asia Center's Former Directors and Acting Directors (audio)

Remarks by Dean Claudine Gay (audio)

Study and Research in Asia: The Student Perspective (audio)

Asia in the Next Two Decades: A Conversation with Current Harvard Asia-Related Center Directors (audio)

Tsai Lecture, featuring the Honorable Kevin Rudd (video)

 

Asian American Studies Seminar Series

Asian American Studies Seminar Series

This series, inaugurated the 2018-2019 academic year, focuses on key issues in Asian American Studies.

Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar Series

Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar Series

In fall 2017, the Asia Center inaugurated Asia Beyond the Headlines, a new seminar series focused on urgent contemporary issues that cut across Asia. In the first Asia Beyond the Headlines seminar, One Belt/One Road in Historical and Global Context, leading scholars put China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the context of analogous programs that have changed human history. This event was followed by An Alternate View of the North Korea-U.S. Relationship, a panel that included the Honorable Donald P. Gregg, former Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.  Other Asia Beyond the Headlines seminars during the 2017-2018 academic year focused on Responses to the Rohingya Refugee Crisis; and Forced Migration in South Asia: Past and Present.

Future Asia Beyond the Headlines seminars will cover such topics as Japanese constitutional reform and its impact in East Asia, the Korean Peninsula in light of recent developments, social media in Asia, and environmental issues in Asia.

Asia Center Fellows Seminar Series

Asia Center Fellows Seminar Series 

The Asia Center, through its Visiting Scholar, Fellow, and Associate programs, engages scholars whose research foci align with the Center’s mission of generating and sharing knowledge about Asia in transnational and transregional perspective and fostering teaching, collaboration, and innovation across and beyond cultural and disciplinary boundaries.” The Asia Center Fellows Seminar Series provides a platform for these scholars to share their research and discuss and exchange ideas with the scholarly community at Harvard.  

Asia Center Seminar Series

Asia Center Seminar Series

The Asia Center Seminar Series, previously the Modern Asia Seminar Series, is the longest running of the Asia Center’s series. It was created to bring senior scholars, government officials, journalists, and other specialists to speak on key issues from a regional perspective. Talks in the seminar series have focused on topics such as community organizing in Japan and China, the Chinese diaspora, spatial planning in refugee camps in Southeast Asia, the connections between Chinese films and early Japanese animation, and reporting on Asia.

Borders in Modern Asia Seminar Series

Borders in Modern Asia Seminar Series

The Borders in Modern Asia speaker series convenes a series of invited speakers and roundtable discussions to examine the making and unmaking of borders in modern Asia. At a time when the policing and reinforcement of borders is everywhere on the rise, the seminar series examines both the weight and the porousness of national and regional boundaries in Asia, drawing from a range of disciplinary perspectives and emphasizing Asia’s many inter-regional arenas.

Early Modern Asia Seminar Series

Early Modern Asia Seminar Series

This seminar series, beginning in Fall 2018 and organized by Professor David Atherton, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, focuses on how the local, regional, and global experiences of early modernity are transformed when examined in trans-Asian perspective and how we might create alternative models that will prove more intellectually productive.

Faculty Book Events

Faculty Book Events

The Asia Center regularly organizes talks and panels on recently published books by Harvard faculty members and distinguished visitors. These have included a panel discussion in 2018 on Professor Michael Szonyi’s The Art of Being Governed (2017) featuring Professors Szonyi, Peter Bol, Ian Miller, and Karen Thornber; and a talk in 2017 by Asia Center Visiting Scholar and retired Air Vice Marshal, Indian Air Force, Dr. Arjun Subramaniam on India’s Wars: A Military History 1947-1971 (2017).

Films/Exhibits

Films/Exhibits

The Asia Center sponsors a number of arts-related activities throughout each academic year. These have included a special performance by the Shaolin Temple monks of China, an exhibit of Arabic Islamic calligraphy by Master Haji Noor Deen, an exhibit by documentary photographer Kevin Bubriski featuring photographs of Nepal, an exhibit by photographer Lisa Ross on Living Shrines of Uyghur Xinjiang, an exhibit of contemporary paintings from Myanmar, and an exhibit of historic maps from the Harvard University collections entitled Mapping Asia.

The Asia Center, in conjunction with the other Asia-related centers at Harvard, also organizes exhibits that feature student work. The Center has in addition sponsored a number of film programs including a Southeast Asia film series, a Thai film series, feature films from South Asia, and a film series called Aging in Asia. In conjunction with its 20th anniversary, the Center is organizing the screening of a number of films from Asia with the Harvard Film Archive for 2018.

Global History Seminar

Global History Seminar

The Asia Center supports the Asia-related presentations of the Global History Seminar, a biweekly event series hosted by the Department of History and focused on topics in global history, including economic, historical, and political issues in Asia.

Science and Technology Seminar Series

Science and Technology Seminar Series

Supported by the Asia Center and hosted by the Department of the History of Science, the new Asia Center Science and Technology Seminar Series focuses on critical historical and contemporary issues in science and technology in East, South, and Southeast Asia. The seminar series seeks to bring to campus speakers from various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences whose work investigates the place of the scientific and the technological in Asia and the place of Asia in our ideas and practices of science and technology. Please check back for upcoming seminar titles and dates.

South Asia Without Borders Seminar Series

South Asia Without Borders Seminar Series

Focusing on humanities and culture in broad perspective, the South Asia Without Borders Seminar Series seeks to break down traditional borders, whether they be disciplinary, geographical, or temporal. The series is co-sponsored by the Asia Center, the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, and the Department of South Asian Studies.

Southeast Asia Seminar

Southeast Asia Seminar Series

As part of its Southeast Asia program, the Asia Center sponsors or cosponsors a variety of talks and related events that focus on Southeast Asia or have meaningful Southeast Asia content.  Highlights from fall 2018 include:

December 2018 through January 2019
Unexpected Thailand
Student Photography Exhibit

Asian Centers’ Lounge, 1st Floor, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Sponsored by the Thai Studies Program at the Harvard University Asia Center

Thursday, September 27, 2018, 4:15 p.m.
STRONGMAN POLITICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Professor Roderick MacFarquhar, Leroy B. Williams Professor of History and Political Science, Emeritus, Harvard University
Professor Ayse Kadioglu, Visiting Scholar, Center for European Studies, Harvard University; Professor of Political Science, Sabanci University, Istanbul
Professor Elsa Clavé, Asia Center Postdoctoral Fellow, Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, Goethe University, Frankfurt;  Associate Researcher, Centre Asie du Sud-Est (EHESS-CNRS), Paris
Professor Valerie Sperling, Department of Political Science, Clark University
Moderator: Thomas Vallely, Senior Advisor, Mainland Southeast Asia, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School
S010, Tsai Auditorium, Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Co-sponsored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School;  the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, the Harvard University Asia Center, the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs

Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 4:30 p.m.
ROHINGYA PERSECUTION IN MYANMAR: EVIDENCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Dr. Jennifer Leigh,  Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified EFT Therapist, and Supervisor Lecturer in Psychology, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Parveen Parmar,  Chief, Division of International Emergency Medicine and Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
S250, 2nd Floor, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Sponsored by the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute with assistance from the Harvard University Asia Center

Thursday, October 4, 2018, 4:15 p.m.
DEMOCRACY WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT: STRONG STATE DEMOCRATIZATION IN AUTHORITARIAN ASIA
Professor Joseph Wong, Ralph and Roz Halbert Professor of Innovation, the Munk School of Global Affairs; Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto
Moderator:  Professor Scott Mainwaring, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazil Studies, Harvard Kennedy School
Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn St., Suite 200N
Democracy in Hard Places Seminar Series; Sponsored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovations, Harvard Kennedy School; co-sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center and the Kim Koo Forum on Korea Current Affairs at the Harvard Korea Institute

Friday, October 12, 2018, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
SYMPOSIUM: ORIGINS OF PROSPERITY AND STABILITY: STATE BUILDING IN 20TH CENTURY ASIA
Welcome:
Susan J. Pharr, Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics and Director, WCFIA Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Harvard University
Yasunori Nakayama, Director-General, Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA)
Keynote Speech:
"The History of Asia in the 20th Century: The Origins of Prosperity and Stability”
Akihiko Tanaka, President, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Discussant: Thomas Berger, Professor of International Relations and Director, Center for the Study of Asia (2018-21), Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University
Panel: “State Building in 20th Century Asia”
Shin Kawashima, Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo
  “A Silent Revolution: State Building and Democratization in Modern Taiwan”
Lung-chih Chang, Associate Research Fellow, Institute of Taiwan History, Academia Sinica
 “Nation-building in Singapore: The Authoritarian Structure of a ‘Vulnerable City-State’”
Keiko Tsuji Tamura, Professor, Graduate School of Social System Studies, the University of Kitakyushu
  “Building and Integrating the Indonesian State”
Nobuhiro Aizawa, Associate Professor, Kyushu University
Discussant: Dwight Perkins, Harold Hitchings Burbank Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, Harvard University
Moderator: Susan Pharr, Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics and Director, WCFIA
S020, Belfer Case Study Room, CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
Sponsored by the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA); co-sponsored by the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) and the Harvard University Asia Center  

Monday, October 15, 2018, 12 noon
Film Screening and Discussion
THE ROHINGYA CRISIS IN MYANMAR: SITTWE SCREENING & DISCUSSION
Sittwe is a short documentary about two teenagers separated by conflict and segregation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Sittwe explores each community’s perceptions of the “other,” the roots of the conflict, and prospects of reconciliation and peace.  The film was banned in Myanmar.
Discussion:  Myo Win, Burmese peace activist and Film Producer
Moderator: Yee Htun, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School
WCC Complex 1019, Massachusetts Avenue, Harvard Law School
Co-sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center, the Human Rights Program, Harvard Law School, and the Religious Literacy Project, Harvard Divinity School.
Monday, October 15, 2018, 4:15 p.m.
REPORTING INDONESIA’S GREEN REVOLUTION
Professor Suzanne Moon, Department of History of Science, University of Oklahoma
B10, Science Center, 1 Oxford St, Cambridge
Asia Center Science and Technology Seminar Series

Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 4:15 p.m.
4th Tambiah Lecture
MATERIALIZING THAI HERITAGE: CHANCE AND THE LIFE CYCLE IN THE NEW ETHNOLOGY
Professor Penny Van Esterik, Department of Anthropology, York University, Toronto, Canada
S250, 2nd Floor, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Sponsored by the Thai Studies Program at the Harvard University Asia Center

Friday, October 19, 2018, 12 noon
TAKING ROOT WHEREVER YOU LAND: THE LITURGICAL TRANSFORMATION OF POPULAR CULTS AMONG ETHNIC CHINESE IN VIETNAM
Professor Ngoc Tho Nguyen, Asia Center Visiting Scholar; Associate Professor in East Asian Cultural Studies, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City
Chair: Professor Michael Szonyi, Frank Wen-Hsiung Wu Memorial Professor of Chinese History; Director, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University
S050, Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Asia Center Fellows Seminar Series

Tuesday, October 23, 12 noon
FROM ECO-AESTHETICS TO ECO-JUSTICE: THE ECOLOGICAL DISCOURSES IN VIETNAMESE INDEPENDENT ART CINEMA
Hoang Cam Giang, Lecturer, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University - Hanoi; Harvard-Yenching Institute Visiting Scholar 2018-19
Chair/Discussant: Karen Thornber , Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
Common Room, 2 Divinity Ave., Cambridge
Harvard-Yenching Institute Lunchtime Seminar; co-sponsored with the Harvard University Asia Center

Thursday, October 25, 2018, 12:15 p.m.
PRESS FREEDOMS IN ASIA: PERSPECTIVES FROM CHINA, MYANMAR, AND THAILAND
David Barboza, The New York Times; former New York Times Shanghai Bureau Chief, 2013 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting
Esther Htusan, Nieman Foundation Fellow; correspondent for the Associated Press in Myanmar
Puangthong R. Pawakapan, Visiting Scholar, Harvard-Yenching Institute; Associate Professor, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University
Moderator:  Mable Chan, Fairbank Center Associate in Research; former ABC News producer and Hong Kong TVB news correspondent
S020, Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Asia Beyond the Headlines Seminar Series, Harvard University Asia Center; co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

Friday, October 26, 2018, 12:15 p.m.
SHAKING UP THE ESTABLISHED ORDER: REFLECTIONS ON RECENT CHANGES IN INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, AND THE PHILIPPINES
Professor Elsa Clavé, Asia Center Postdoctoral Fellow; Assistant Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, Goethe University, Frankfurt; Associate Researcher, Centre Asie du Sud-Est (EHESS-CNRS), Paris
Chair: TBD
S153, 1st Floor, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Asia Center Seminar Series

Monday, October 29, 2018, 5:15 p.m.
Book Launch
Nurturing Indonesia: Medicine and Decolonisation in the Dutch East Indies

Professor Hans Pols, author; University of Sydney
Discussants: Professor Sunil Amrith, Mehra Family Professor of South Asian Studies; Professor of History; Chair, Department of South Asian Studies, Harvard University
Professor Byron Good, Professor of Medical Anthropology, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Affiliate of the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
469, Science Center, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge
Sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center, .Department of the History of Science, and Chair of Australian Studies  

Tuesday, November 6, 2018, 12:30 p.m.
EXPLAINING THE DIVERSE MIGRATION AND CARE POLICIES IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
Ito Peng, Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto
Moderator: Mary Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
K262, Bowie-Vernon Room, CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge Street
Sponsored by the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; co-sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center

Thursday, November 8, 2018, 12 noon
RISE OF RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM AND ITS GENDERED IMPACT ON MYANMAR
Ms. Esther Htusan, Neiman Foundation Fellow; correspondent for the Associated Press, Myanmar
Moderator: Yee Htun, Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law, International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School
Wasserstein 3016, Harvard Law School
Gender, Law, and Society Workshop Series, Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School; co-sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 5:00 p.m.
CROSSING THE BORDERS OF ASIAN HISTORY AND GLOBAL HISTORY: ON C. A. BAYLY’S REMAKING THE MODERN WORLD
Chair by:  Sugata Bose, Gardiner Professor of History, Harvard University
Sunil Amrith, Mehra Family Professor of South Asian Studies, Harvard University
Introduction via video by:  Susan Bayly, Professor of Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Commentator: Charles S. Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Harvard University
Robinson Hall Lower Library, 35 Quincy St.
Borders in Modern Asia Seminar Series; sponsored by the Harvard University Asia Center

Friday, November 16, 2018, 12:15 p.m.
Title TBD
Professor Meg Rithmire, F. Warren McFarlan Associate Professor of Business of Administration, Harvard Business School
S153, 1st Floor, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Asia Center Seminar Series

Thursday, November 29, 2018, 5:00 p.m.
Title TBD
Professor Puangthong R. Pawakapan, Visiting Scholar, Harvard-Yenching Institute; Associate Professor, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University
S250, 2nd Floor, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Thai Studies Seminar Series; sponsored by the Thai Studies Program at the Harvard University Asia Center

Friday, November 30 (dinner), and Saturday, December 1, 2018
Professor Mary Steedly Tribute
Department of Anthropology, with assistance from the Harvard University Asia Center

Monday, December 3, 2018, 12:15 p.m. (TO BE CONFIRMED)
Panel in the Asian Diaspora program
S020, Belfer Case Study Room, Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St.,
Cambridge

Stanley J. Tambiah Lecture in Thai Studies

Stanley J. Tambiah Lecture in Thai Studies

The Asia Center supports an annual lecture series named for the late Professor Stanley Tambiah, the Esther and Sidney Robb Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus at Harvard University. The inaugural Tambiah Lecture was delivered by Professor Katherine A. Bowie, University of Wisconsin, Madison, in October 2014. This was followed by lectures from Professor Justin McDaniel, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and Thongchai Winichakul, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The most recent Tambiah Lecture was given October 2018 by Professor Penny Van Esterik, Department of Anthropology, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Surin Pitsuwan Lecture in Thai Politics and Society

Surin Pitsuwan Lecture in Thai Politics and Society (formerly the Thailand@Harvard Lecture Series)

The Thailand@Harvard Lecture Series began in 2012 with a lecture given by Dr. Komatra Chuengsatiensup, Director, Society and Health Institute, Ministry of Public Health, Bangkok, who presented After the Flood: Reaction, Relief and Recovery in Thailand. Since then, there have been six additional lectures. Korn Chatikavanij, Chairman of Thailand Democrat Party Policy Unit, Chairman of Thai Fintech Association, and former Finance Minister of Thailand, delivered the most recent lecture, titled Thailand 4.0: The Rise of a Stagnant Nation: (Moving Beyond Red, Yellow, And Green). The lecture series was renamed the Surin Pitsuwan Lecture in Thai Politics and Society in December 2018.

 

Thai Studies Seminar Series

Thai Studies Seminar Series

The Thai Studies Seminar Series brings local and international scholars of Thai studies to Harvard to engage with Harvard students, faculty members, and the local community and to address various developments and issues that are unfolding in the region. The seminar has featured speakers such as Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Quentin Pearson, Scott Stonington, and Sittithep Eaksittipong, among others.

Trump and Asia Seminar Series

Trump and Asia Seminar Series

The Trump and Asia Seminar Series, co-sponsored by the Asia Center, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Korea Institute, Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and Program on U.S.-Japan Relations (Weatherhead Center for International Affairs), focuses on the impact of Trump’s presidency on the Asia-Pacific region.

The inaugural seminar, What Next? Trump and Asia, took place in December 2016 and addressed questions surrounding President Trump’s Asia policy for the United States. Subsequent seminars focused on business and international trade between Asia and the U.S. in the Trump era, and President Trump's 2017 trip to Asia and Asia's response to it. Upcoming seminars will cover such topics as Asia-to-Asia diplomacy and environmental issues.

Tsai Lecture Series

Tsai Lecture Series

The Tsai Lecture Series, established in 2000 with a generous endowment from Felix Tsai, allows the Asia Center to bring to Harvard notable leaders in academia, government, and business, as well as other professions.  The annual lecture is open to the public, and it offers perspectives from a range of disciplines and from different regions in Asia. Past speakers have included the late Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary General of ASEAN; Pritzker Prize winning architect and humanitarian, Shigeru Ban; and internationally renowned human rights lawyer and advocate, Asma Jahangir. The Honorable Caroline Kennedy delivered the 14th Tsai Lecture in November 2018.

List of previous Tsai Lectures

 

Harvard University's Asia-Related Resources