Sunday, January 17, 2016

Call for Applications: 2016 Penn State Asian Studies Summer Institute: "Decolonizing Science in Asia"

Department of Asian Studies                                                                                 


School of Languages and Literatures                                                       Office:  814-867-3260
College of the Liberal Arts                                                                       Fax: 814-863-3528

The Pennsylvania State University                                                           E-mail: asianstudies[at]

102 Old Botany Building                                                                         Web site:

University  Park, PA  16802-6203                                                          


2016 Penn State Asian Studies Summer Institute

"Decolonizing Science in Asia"


Pennsylvania State University invites applications for its annual Asian Studies Summer Institute, to be held June 13-17, 2016. This year's Institute, co-directed by Prakash Kumar (Penn State), Projit Mukharji (University of Pennsylvania), and Amit Prasad (University of Missouri-Columbia), is on the theme of "Decolonizing Science in Asia."


The Institute is a weeklong structured program wherein participants will discuss their own work and engage with emerging theoretical and empirical works on the topic. The conveners will compile a list of leading works to be discussed at the workshop.  Penn State will cover housing and meals, and offer an honorarium to help defray travel costs (USD 400, 600, 800 to participants from east coast, Midwest, and west coast, USD 1000 to participants from Europe, and 1350 to those from Asia). Applicants must have completed their PhDs between August 2010 and August 2015, or be advanced graduate students who have completed a major part of their dissertation.


We embrace "decolonization" as a historiographical and methodological stand to create a space for thinking of Asian humanities on its own terms. Investigating science in "Asia," where the latter is both physically situated and dispersed through the diasporas, we intend to de-center the west as a starting point of analysis. Considering multi-scalar and entangled processes of scientific practice and knowledge, we plan to 1) develop new conceptual frameworks and methods for understanding spaces and sovereignties; 2) explore the salience of themes central to Asian Studies such as questions of national state formation and citizenship, regions, identity, the postcolonial moment, selfhood, cultural meanings, public sphere, and subalternity; and 3) investigate vernacular traditions, the multiplicity of subject positions, and the equally heterogeneous process of "meaning-making." We thus seek to decolonize science from previous teleologies within which scholars framed particular histories of science in Asia as simply exemplifications of "modern science" that allegedly emerged in Europe. Particularly strong works will be considered for publication in Verge: Studies in Global Asias ( 


Interested participants should send the following documents in a single PDF file to Sue Stewart (sxs6[at] by March 1.

1. An abstract of 1500 words outlining research project and clarifying its connection to the Institute theme.

2. A sample of current work.

3. A current c.v. (no longer than 2 pp).

4. A letter from a principal advisor about the advanced status of work (in the case of graduate students).

Decisions will be made by April 1, 2016. Any inquiries with regard to the Institute may be directed to Prakash Kumar (puk15[at]

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