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Join us in September for the 5th International Crossroads Asia Conference

The field of area studies (AS) as traditionally conceptualised, organised and taught at universities has long been subject to worldwide debates, especially since the end of the Cold War. Conventional approaches to AS have been criticised for ethnocentrism and methodological obsoletism, creating fixed geographical ‘areas’, and solidifying regimes of (Western) power and hegemony. Consequently, AS have been described as unsuitable for the study of the modern world, processes related to globalisation, and the increasing (im-)mobility of people, goods and ideas.

In 2011, the interdisciplinary research network Crossroads Asia was launched to tackle the question of how to conduct and position AS in the 21st century. In an effort to rethink AS ─overturn misconceptions of ‘the Other’ and challenge epistemic regimes─ the network has scrutinised traditional concepts and methods of AS and has explored novel research approaches related to multiple spatial realities, (im-)mobilities and (im-)mobilisation, borders and boundary-making/-weakening, and positionality.

The 5th International Crossroads Asia conference will provide a platform for sharing and discussing conceptual and methodological innovations in AS research that transcend traditional disciplinary approaches. Below is a schedule of events, all of which will be held at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn, Germany.

Thursday, Sept 22nd


10.30-12.30  Roundtable discussion (Crossroads Asia/ CrossArea e.V.): Situation der AS in Deutschland (in German)

13.00  Registration begins for the AREA STUDIES' FUTURES CONFERENCE

14.30-15.00  Welcome Address by Crossroads Asia Scientific Coordinator Dr. Claus Bech Hansen

15.00-16.00  Public Keynote Lecture by Prof. Shelley Feldman (Cornell University), 'Decommodifying knowledge: Recuperating the Interdisciplinarity of Area Studies'

16.00-17.30  Launch of the book 'Area Studies at the Crossroads. Knowledge Generation after the Mobility Turn', edited by Prof. Anna-Katharina Hornidge (University of Bremen) and Dr. Katja Mielke (Bonn International Center for Conversion), tbc


Friday, Sept 23rd


09.00-10.30 Querying Power Constellations and Destabilizing Epistemic Regimes

1a. Deconstruction of Western Knowledge and the Category ‘Other’

1b. Reshaping Places – Mastering Uncertainty: A Second Take on Area Studies in the Baltic Sea Region and Eastern Europe

10.45-12.15 Mapping the Socio-Spatial Complexity of Human and Non-Human Interactions

2a. Shedding Light on Agency and the Social Construction of Space

2b. Space, Place and Time

13.45-15.15 Critical Conceptual and Methodological Intersections with Area Studies

3a. Exploring Methodological Limits and Possibilities in Area Studies Research

3b. Intersections of AS, Post-Colonial Studies, Cold War Studies and Future Studies, Taking the Example of Development Discourses (Roundtable discussion)

15.45-17.15 Positionality and the Space(s) of Knowledge Production

4a. Re-constructing Positionalities in Area Studies Research

4b. Borders and the Politics of Belonging

17.15-17.30 Closing remarks


You can find the preliminary conference schedule here.

Information about the speakers can be found here.



Call for Papers