Transnational and Transregional Research
The study of Asia from a transnational and transregional perspective is critical in understanding the interconnectedness of Asian countries and their interactions with the rest of the world. Since many current research questions and challenges are not limited to a single country or region but cut across the strongly interwoven global community, studies focusing on multiple countries and regions are paramount.
At the core of the Harvard Asia Center’s mission is the promotion and support of this perspective on Asian studies at the university. This is done by fostering research and bringing together faculty members, students, scholars, and professionals to explore the intersected histories of the region and the significant issues facing Asia today.
Toward this end, the Center works collaboratively with various research centers and individual stakeholders from schools across Harvard and scholars and practitioners from around the world. The Center supports Harvard faculty members with research grants and by organizing conferences and seminars that include more than one country/region in East, South, and Southeast Asia. Financial support is available to Harvard students for travel to conduct transnational/transregional research, attend conferences, and study languages.
The Center has an active visiting scholars’ program which welcomes individuals from around the world whose research projects focus on two or more East, South, and Southeast Asian countries, to conduct independent research at the Center with the support of Harvard faculty members. Another component of the Center’s scholarly community is its Graduate Student Associates Program which convenes students working on transnational topics to receive feedback and support from their peers. Topics being explored by the current cohort of affiliates include Digital Platforms and Promotion of Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Asia; Afghanistan-India Connections in the 19th and early 20th Centuries; Maritime Security in East Asia; State Inc. and Asian diasporas in Knowledge Spaces; Trajectories of Media
Narratives on China Amid the Pandemic in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand; and Asia Africa Relations. Affiliates contribute significantly to the Center and Harvard University by participating in seminars, panel discussions, and other activities where they share their expertise and present their research.
Throughout the academic year, the Center organizes talks and panel discussions on topics of transnational and transregional importance through its seminar and lecture series, Asia Beyond the Headlines, Asia Center Seminars, Borders in Modern Asia, Science and Technology, the Southeast Asia Lectures, the endowed Tsai Lecture, and others. Past events include: South and Southeast Asia and the 2020 U.S. Election; China and Asia in a Changing Climate: Natural Science for the Non-Scientist; Back to the Water’s Edge? Historicizing Current American Security Policies in the Asia-Pacific; The Fractured Himalaya: India, China, Tibet 1949-62; The Print Sublime: Global Scripts in the Age of Mechanical Writing; Border Conflicts in the Himalayas: Bhutan, Nepal, India, and China; The U.S. and Korea: Unfinished Story; and Exploring Asia-Africa Partnerships: Nuances of India’s Approaches and Situating the China Factor. Some of the past speakers of Tsai Lecture include the late Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary-General of ASEAN; Pritzker Prize-winning architect and humanitarian Shigeru Ban; internationally renowned human rights lawyer and advocate, late Asma Jahangir, the Honorable Caroline Kennedy, the Honorable Kathleen Stephens, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, and Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the former Sikyong (President) of the India-based Central Tibetan Administration.
The Center will continue to play a critical role in promoting transnational and transregional research at Harvard by providing resources and support to our faculty, students, and scholars and by pursuing new programs that take innovative approaches to the study of Asia.