Message from the President

Greetings and welcome to the MAR-AAS webpage! The Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies is a friendly and interdisciplinary association for all kinds of scholarship of Asian Studies. Our members are active in research and teaching on Asia-related topics from Indian religions to Taiwanese politics to Japanese videogames and beyond. We welcome researchers of all disciplines, and scholars of all levels. Our yearly conference is a great opportunity to present an individual paper or organize a panel, whether based in one area of scholarship or crossing disciplines and national boundaries. Just check out some of our archived conference programs and see for yourself!

This year our annual conference will be held at Drexel University in downtown Philadelphia. The theme is ‘Mobility, Technology and the Environment in Asia.’ We are looking forward to some dynamic conversations about these issues and how different communities across Asia think about these issues, and work towards solutions in different ways. We expect to learn a lot from our presenters and be galvanized to act in our own communities here in the Mid-Atlantic USA.

As you may know, we have a great prize for the best graduate student paper presented at the conference - the Marlene Mayo Graduate Student Award, which includes a cash prize of $500 and a chance to present your work at the national Association for Asian Studies conference in the following year. There are also travel awards available for grad students travelling long distances to attend our conference. Please let the conference manager know by email if you are interested in these opportunities.

We also have funding available for K-12 events. The Marie Wanek Award has for a long time been used to award excellence in essay-writing on Asian Studies at the high school level. When the number of essays started to decline with shifting priorities in the K-12 system, the award was broadened to include multi-media submissions. This year, we have rethought the award to offer the greatest possible opportunity to K-12 teachers in the region to expand their Asian Studies offerings in the existing curriculum at their schools, or introduce special events to show their students the rich culture of Asia. If you are a teacher in Mid-Atlantic Region (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and lower New York), please consider applying for funding to support an event or curricular change at your school. Please visit the Wanek Fund tab for more information.

In other news, many of the board members have published interesting books in recent years, including Shawn Bender’s TAIKO about Japanese traditional drumming. You can check these out on the About tab.

You may also have noticed a new look to our website, but did you know we also have a facebook page and Twitter hashtag for the conference? Try #maraas2017 and see what pops up. You will no doubt see the friendly faces of board members and conference attendees. We are happy to welcome you to Drexel for the conference - if you see me please say hello!

Rachael Hutchinson
President, MAR-AAS