Duke's global centers & initiatives

Global Asia Initiative

Mission Statement

The Global Asia Initiative (GAI) at Duke has its origins in the efforts by groups across the world to articulate a new paradigm that looks at Asian nations, cultures, and civilizations in terms of their connections, interactions, and interdependencies in both historical and geographical space. The motive for such an exploration derives from contemporary research that exposes the entangled relations between countries in East, Southeast, South and West Asia not only in contemporary affairs, but also in the distant past.

Summary of 2020-2021 Programs

The Global Asia Initiative organized 2 events and co-sponsored 1 event with Asian/Pacific Studies Institute during the academic year 2020-2021.  An event highlight for GAI this year was the book writing workshop – ‘Borderlands as ‘Third Space’: Hybrid Amorphous Borders and the Imagination of Space in Asia’. This workshop was co-sponsored by Duke’s History department and was organized by Dr. Debojyoti Das, Sussex University with the support of by SSRC’s Inter Asia New Paradigm Grant.

In 2018, GAI had organized a workshop Trans-species Listening and Rights of Nature: Legal Persons beyond the Human. Scholars from 5 Universities – Joni Adamson (Arizona State University), Ambika Aiyadurai (IIT Gandhinagar, India), Hal Crimmel (Weber State University), Craig Kauffman (University of Oregon) and Jeffrey Nicolaisen (Duke University) – presented their work. As a follow-up to the workshop, a special issue was published in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment in Summer 2020. This issue was edited by GAI affiliates Jeffrey Nicolaisen and Ambika Aiyadurai and the GAI director, Prof. Prasenjit Duara.

Furthermore on April 5, 2021, GAI director Professor Prasenjit Duara was invited to deliver the prestigious Ernest Gellner lecture on ‘Nationalism and the Crisis of Global Modernity’.

2020-2021 Notable Programs

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