The Newsletter 83 Summer 2019

ICAS 11, Leiden

Paul van der Velde

16-19 July 2019
Leiden, the Netherlands

‘Leiden Asia Week’ and ICAS
pre-events start on 13 July

And that brings us to this year’s ICAS meeting. Nobody could have predicted that it would take 21 years before ICAS would return to its place of birth. Has it fully grown up? By no means. There is still a world and more to explore for this fledgling. Yet we have learned a lot over the past 2 decades and hope to bring our combined experiences to this meeting on our home ground.

Asia and Europe. Asia in Europe.

Considering the location, the theme of this year’s ICAS is Asia and Europe. Asia in Europe. And to make it more of a European affair, we reached out to some friends of ours who we collaborate with more frequently, and asked if they would join us in this endeavour. We were delighted when GIS Asie (French Academic Network for Asian Studies) agreed to come on board as co-organisers and incorporate their own biennial conference into the ICAS programme. They are also the main sponsor of the French-language ICAS Book Prize (read more about GIS Asie on pp.10-11 of this issue)<.

Holding the convention in Leiden means that the ICAS team is not only performing its regular secretarial tasks, but also those of co-organiser, together with GIS Asie and local host Leiden University. From the outset, we knew this would mean more work for us, but we had no idea of what was to come. Compared to our usual 1000-1200 participants, this edition will be welcoming more than 2200 attendees to Leiden this summer! They hail from 75 countries and represent all conceivable fields of research within the Asia-related Humanities and Social Sciences, Civil Society and the Arts.

ICAS11 orgnazing partners


Connecting to the host city (and country)

As we do for every edition of ICAS, we like to connect with the city where it is being held. So too this time in Leiden. Leiden University is our local host, housing the event in its buildings and sponsoring the attendance of a very large number of scholars. The City of Leiden has also proven to be very generous; it is a main sponsor and has helped us deal with much of the bureaucratic elements of organising such an event. Many of the ICAS activities will take place outdoors or in other public venues, so that more of the city’s residents and business owners may enjoy and profit from this sudden influx of more than 2200 visitors. See more about these activities below.

The academic programme of ICAS 11 is also bigger than ever; it includes close to 550 panel sessions, roundtables, and book/PhD presentations. The programme will commence on 16 July with a festive parade through the streets of Leiden, which will lead the participants to the Hooglandse Kerk where the convention’s opening will take place. The attendees will be greeted by music from the pipe organ as they file into the gothic church, after which they will be welcomed by a number of representatives of the university, organisers and the city. During the ceremony we will be announcing the winners of the ICAS Book and Dissertation Prizes, and presenting them with their awards. The Book Prize is bigger and better than ever, and now includes yet one more language edition: Spanish/Portuguese. We will wrap up the formal procedures with an extraordinary performance, brought to us by Henri Tournier and Enkhjargal Dandarvaanchig, in which they combine Western, Indian and Mongolian musical elements.

Kamerlingh Onnes

As you make your way between the two main ICAS venues, Kamerlingh Onnes and Lipsius, you may choose to take a short walk along the Rapenburg canal, or instead you could walk through the Pieterskerkplein (Peter’s Church Square) at the heart of the ICAS area, where you will come across our Food and Cultural Market. At this market, especially organised for ICAS, but open to the public as well, you will be able to enjoy a selection from Dutch and Asian cuisines, and be entertained and informed by a number of artisans performing age old Dutch traditions, such as clog crafting, liquorice making and ‘ship in bottle’ building. There will be musical elements such as a vinyl DJ on a bakfiets, and perhaps even a martial arts performance. The market will be operational everyday between 16-19 July, from 12pm-8pm (although we will wrap up earlier on the Tuesday when all ICAS participants will be making their way to the ICAS opening ceremony). This means that you can have lunch and dinner at the market if you choose, or at least a drink after the last panel, which ends at 18.45.

Asian Book Fair

The market will not be the only lunch venue during ICAS 11. Kamerlingh Onnes and Lipsius both have a university restaurant, and we have also teamed up with a large number of cafés and restaurants in the immediate vicinity where ICAS participants will be made to feel welcome. Our decision to spread out the lunch options across various establishments fits in with our recurring wish to have as many local businesses as possible reap the benefits from ICAS.

ICAS can seriously change your orientation – Paul van der Velde, ICAS Secretary

Distances in the Netherlands are very small when compared to basically any other country in the world. Where most people would not bat an eye at commuting everyday for an hour or more, the Dutch just might. Commutes in the Netherlands are more commonly a 20-minute bike ride! But what this means is that you should not restrict your visit to Leiden, you can easily expand your experience into the rest of the country, where the furthest national destination is probably no more than a 2-hour train ride away! Think of all the world famous museums in the Randstad cities, not to mention the stunning Kröller-Müller museum in the Hoge Veluwe. And what about the ingenious Delta Works in Zeeland, or Afsluitdijk further north? Both structures are evidence of the famous Dutch resourcefulness and engineering. And make sure to enjoy Dutch stroopwafels and sample Jenever, the juniper-flavoured liquor from which Gin evolved. Get on a boat for a canal ride, or sail across the IJsselmeer. In short, please do enjoy all the Netherlands has to offer

Looking forward

For the first time ICAS will end with a blast – so make sure to stay till the very end! The grand closing party will take place at the City Auditorium (Stadsgehoorzaal), a beautiful concert hall in the middle of Leiden. There will be live music, karaoke, drinks, bites, dancing, and hopefully some really good unwinding and celebrating after a productive and inspiring convention week.

The location of ICAS 12 (to be held in 2021) will be unveiled during the opening ceremony of this current convention. We will maintain the surprise for now, but rest assured we will again make sure to link the conference to the city/country in everyway possible. ICAS is never simply a purely academic endeavour – it is creating, sharing and collecting knowledge, it is network building and facilitating new partnerships, it is learning from those beyond academia (such as civil society and practitioners), it is recognising great research, publications and effective projects, it is showcasing the arts, it is enjoying time spent with like-minded people, and it is so much more.

Leiden City Auditorium.

Lipsius Building, Leiden University.

We hope you will all join us at the next instalment of the convention, but for now, we look forward to welcoming you to Leiden for ICAS 11 this summer. Though with this being the Netherlands – how the weather will be, nobody knows!

Paul van der Velde, ICAS Secretary, IBP General Secretary, and IIAS Publications Officer