Asia and the Historical Imagination: Essays

full name / name of organization: 
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Asia and the Historical Imagination: Essays is a edited collection of essays concerned with representations of Asia's past. The essays in this volume will complement a 3-day workshop that. This 3-day workshop will be held at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) from 30th July to 1st August 2015.

We are interested in examining how frameworks from different disciplines can be used to assess the idea of an "imagined" Asia, and how we can explicate the intersections of history and fiction alongside the social, economic, cultural, and political exigencies of the region; for instance, how can we read Paul Theroux's Kowloon Tong: A Novel of Hong Kong (1997) against the backdrop of the recent Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong? How do we interpret Vyvyane Loh's Breaking the Tongue (2004) against the backdrop of Singapore's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2015? How do contemporary events and recent historical developments reconfigure our understanding of fictional histories and historical fictions? We also encourage cross-disciplinary submissions that are interested in examining representations of Asia beyond literary works (i.e. museum studies, linguistic studies, anthropological studies, religious studies, gender studies, etc.)

The workshop is also interested in proposals that explore the representations of Asia's past in relation to ongoing debates about World Literature. Scholars like David Damrosch, Eric Hayot, Franco Moretti, and Pankaj Mishra have examined some of the pitfalls in the study of World Literature, most notably its Western-centricity: how can we develop theoretical frameworks to "de-provincialize" literary studies? We would like to explore how historical representations of Asia "speak" to this debate, and consider how historicized readings of fictional works can potentially produce a more nuanced and thoughtful understanding of the making and shaping of a continent.

We are especially interested in original and unpublished papers (in English); the aim of the workshop is to produce a volume of essays that focuses on historical fiction about Asia.

Please send 250-word abstracts and CVs to by 15 July 2015. Complete essays are due 1 Sept 2015.