Event — IIAS 30

Decolonizing Area Studies. An Open Conversation

We welcome colleagues from Leiden and beyond, across disciplines and regions, to join us in this open and focused conversation on 12 October at 13.30. This event is in-person only. 

On October 13 we celebrate our 30th anniversary. Join us for a festive day of cultural performances, interactive workshops, engaged discussions, and delicious foods! More details here.

The conversation

The question of decolonizing academia has posed some of the most intriguing and confounding challenges to Area Studies in recent decades. Individual scholars, institutions, trans-regional collaborative networks, and funding agencies are all making a conscious effort to re-think Area Studies and propose future iterations. There is a need to come together and take stock of some of the work being done and to share experiences in the spirit of academic collegiality.

On the occasion of its anniversary – i.e. 30 years of academic facilitation in Asian Studies – the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) is pleased to invite its wider community to join us in an open conversation on Decolonizing Area Studies. Shifting academic perspectives and practices has been at the heart of IIAS’s efforts to reconfigure global academic collaboration on Asian Studies.

This event furthers our ambition to envision an increasingly interdependent and multi-centered world, beyond the center-and-periphery model.

A number of close international partners will be visiting Leiden, and we wish to take this in-person opportunity to concretely discuss the “how” and “what” of decolonizing Area Studies by focusing on the following five areas of action at the institutional level: (1) Supporting Research; (2) Educational Innovation; (3) Global Dissemination; (4) Sustaining Collaborative Networks and Platforms; (5) Building Institutions and Capacities.

The object of this Decolonizing Area Studies roundtable will be to consider new perspectives and ideas for future initiatives in order to push the boundaries of collaborative Area Studies in general, by taking concrete examples from both within and beyond IIAS. The discussion will be the first of a new series, which will serve as a strategic sounding board for IIAS and its partners in their self-conscious efforts to forge and sustain South-South-North (rather than region- or area-specific) frameworks of academic collaboration.


13.30 – 13.45      Words of Welcome

13.45 – 15.15      Decolonizing Area Studies: Sustaining Collaborative Networks and Platforms, Supporting Research, and Educational Innovation

15.15 – 15.45      Break

15.45 – 17.15      Decolonizing Area Studies: Building Institutions and Capacities, and Global Dissemination

17.15 – 18.30      Reception