As the York Centre for Asian Research’s (YCAR) fourth director, I am fortunate to inherit not only a solid foundation but also a dedicated community of scholars and students who have made YCAR their “home.” In my tenure at YCAR, I will continue to cultivate the four areas of the Centre’s geographical focus: South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Asian Diasporas while also attending to their intertwined histories and overlapping territories. This is a long-standing strength of the Centre.
The series of events and projects represented on our website demonstrate how we take Asia as both a site of inclusive identification and a field for critical inquiries. They represent our commitment to foster critical approaches that address socio-political, cultural and environmental issues. They also show how we support both curiosity-based research and policy-relevant research that are informed by theoretical and local-regional knowledge. Such interdisciplinary, transnational and critical approaches to Asian studies are also key features of our Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies (GDAS), which is open to all York graduate students. We welcome York students with an interest in Asian or Asian diaspora studies to join us as Graduate Associates and take advantage of what YCAR has to offer.
At the heart of YCAR are our associates. They are the real strength of the Centre and the source of our growth and capacity to enhance the quality of the academic environment at York. One of the things that I have learnt is that the Centre is working hard to serve its membership by providing research spaces, supporting events and activities, engaging in graduate training, and supporting opportunities for knowledge mobilization. Together we will continue to host international scholars, organize workshops, conferences and scholarly meetings, initiate and support research working groups, and grow the Centre’s publication program.
YCAR was established in 2002 as an Organized Research Unit to promote academic exchange through a range of programs and events related to Asia and the diaspora. It continues to foster co-operation with researchers at other universities and partnerships with different institutions and communities. The number of activities at the Centre, ranging from individual seminars to collaborative workshops as well as research projects of various scales is a testament to such an engagement with wider academic and non-academic communities. We welcome everyone to join us at any of our open events.
Finally, let me thank all of our former directors who are all still actively contributing to the Centre in meaningful ways. I honour our past and am grateful for the future. Let’s continue to build our reputation as a great centre for Asian and Asian diaspora research and graduate student training.
Director, York Centre for Asian Research
Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies