This international workshop aims to explore the nature and history of ‘modernity’ in Asia by investigating the sites of it earliest establishment and continuous evolution—Asian cities of the 19th-20th century. Cities were the gateways through which Asia first experienced the foreign other through trade. They were the fertile grounds where markets prospered and modern capitalism came into being. Flourishing trade then paved way for the arrival of colonialism—another painfully common and highly significant experience of modernity in Asia. With the encroachment of colonialism more cities were born from treaty ports and foreign concession areas. The increasing presence of colonizers encouraged the exchange and development of ideas. This no doubt hastened the pace of modernization in many areas and eventually brought about the notion of the modern nation-state and nationalism in Asia. Such similar courses of development of modernity had been experienced in most major cities throughout the Asian continent. Through revisiting and investigating these paths of modernity—trade, colonialism, and nationalism—and comparing and contrasting the experiences of each metropolis, we hope to better our understanding of the nature, the history, the development, and the influence of modernity in Asia of the 19th and 20th centuries. This may, in turn, help us to better prepare for and cope with the equally unsettling transformations of the rapidly globalizing world of the early 21st century.
We invite proposals for papers relating (but not restricted) to the following areas:
- The evolution of (one or more) Asian cities through international trade in the 19th-20th centuries.
- The arrival and development of colonialism in (one or more) Asian cities and its influence on modernization during the 19th and 20th centuries.
- The origins and development of nationalism in (one or more) Asian cities and how it influence or was influenced by modernity in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Participants should submit a 300-word abstract via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 December 2010.
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