News & Events

2008 Wason Conference

East Asia Studies: Challenges of Complex Realities in an Era of Globalization and Digitalization

The 14th ACPSS International Conference and the 90th Jubilee of Cornell's Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia

November 7-9, 2008
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


Cornell University Library, the Cornell East Asia Program, and the Association of Chinese Professors of Social Sciences in the United States (ACPSS) announce the 14th ACPSS international conference to be held in conjunction with the 90th Jubilee of Cornell's Wason Collection on East Asia. The conference's theme is “East Asia Studies: Challenges of Globalization and Digitization,” and all events will be held at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA, from Friday, November 7 to Sunday, November 9, 2008.

The Wason Collection and the ACPSS

Cornell University Library's collection on East Asia was founded by Cornell alumnus Charles W. Wason in 1918, with the lofty ideal of bringing “China and the U.S. into intellectual relations.” During the past 90 years, the Wason Collection has provided strong academic support to generations of East Asian scholars at Cornell and throughout the world. Today, the Wason Collection is one of the top East Asian libraries in North America.

The Association of Chinese Professors of Social Sciences in the United States is an academic organization founded in 1995. The ACPSS has vigorously promoted research projects involving interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars and actively engaged in scholarly dialogue with Chinese academics across the Pacific.

Conference Theme

The forces of globalization increasingly pull Asian countries into the world economy and international politics. Some of the most impressive changes taking place in Asia are the result of the rise of China and India because of their rapid economic growth. These changes, among others, have greatly altered the economic and geo-political landscapes of Asia in the last two decades. This region has become a key economic engine for the world, dominating world trade in numerous sectors and attracting major investments from Europe, the United States, and elsewhere.

Hand in hand with the increased economic interactions comes an influx of social and cultural clashes among the affected countries. The sharp contrast between the cultures of the East and those of the West generates debate about which country's values factor into our understanding of freedom and democracy. These unprecedented interactions in economic, political, social, and cultural aspects of life have brought forth a wide range of new challenges for leaders, scholars, and everyone else involved in the process if they want to preserve world peace and ensure sustainable development and prosperity. It is therefore not just necessary but imperative for scholars of all disciplines to explore and understand the challenges and their impact on the future.

Just as globalization has affected East Asian scholars, digitization has imposed a huge challenge upon East Asian libraries. As the major component of the information revolution, digitization has fundamentally changed the landscape of the library. While the digitization of historical and current documents, books, research papers, newspapers, and journals, enables libraries to provide scholars with convenient access to information resources and addresses physical storage requirements, librarians are facing the daunting challenges of managing the transition from a traditional library to a digital one, supporting users’ information literacy needs, and strategically reallocating financial resources. As librarians of area studies, East Asian librarians also have compelling obligations to organize digital information into databases for East Asian studies. The rapidly developed technologies naturally pose growing challenges to East Asian librarians.

Scholars and librarians are inseparable partners in East Asian studies. This conference, jointly organized by Cornell University Library, the Cornell East Asia Program, and the ACPSS will provide East Asian scholars and librarians an excellent opportunity to understand and analyze each other’s challenges, exchange ideas and experiences, and share common concerns. This gathering will also serve as a unique event in honor of Charles W. Wason’s historical contributions to East Asian studies.

Suggested Topics Concerning China, Japan, Koreas, and Adjacent Regions

The conference will seek panels and papers to address issues revolving around (but not limited to) the following subjects:

  1. Regional Economy and Its Integration into World Economy
    • Economic development of China/Asia and the use or distribution of world resources (oil, food, water, minerals, labor, space, etc.)
    • Trade of China/Asia with America and Europe and the reciprocal impact on all countries' economic development and infrastructure
    • Economic relationships among Asian countries in the 21st century
    • Economic development of China/Asia and environmental protection issues
    • Economic stability and sustainability of China/Asia
    • Economic equality or inequality in globalization actions
    • Foreign investments in China/Asia and their impact on the finance system
    • China/Asian countries' overseas investments or enterprises
    • Outsourcing
  2. Regional Politics and Relations with World Politics
    • China's relationships with its neighboring countries (Japan, India, Koreas, Russia, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc.)
    • China/Asia's diplomatic principles and strategies with America, Europe, and Africa
    • North Korea and its impact on the region
    • Taiwan and its impact on the region
    • Internal politics of China/Asian countries and their impact on the region or Western world powers
    • Political reforms and democratization
  3. Social and Cultural Development
  4. Issues Related to the Environment and Public Health
  5. International Cooperation in Crime Control
  6. Overseas Chinese and Globalization
  7. Transition from Traditional Library to Digital Library
    • Transition of East Asian librarians' role
    • Reorganization of East Asian libraries
    • Redistribution of financial resources
    • Digitization of collections
    • Information literacy and instructions
    • Digital libraries and public services
    • Rewriting policies and issues related to copyright
    • Rethinking the roles of repositories
    • Evaluation of East Asian digital libraries
  8. Methods and Technologies Involved in the Digitization of East Asian Materials
    • Constructing databases for East Asian studies
    • Application of GIS technique to East Asian databases
    • Metadata structure for East Asian databases
    • Issues with vendor proprietary software in databases
    • Cataloging digital resources
    • CDs and DVD-ROMs vs. online databases
    • Databases and reference services
    • China's policies toward overseas Chinese
    • Overseas Chinese and China's modernization
    • Role of overseas Chinese business networks in globalization
    • Overseas Chinese's new transnational identity
    • Re-sinification of overseas Chinese communities
    • Collecting on overseas Chinese
    • Issues related to international laws
    • Comparative legal systems
    • Immigration issues
    • Human trafficking
    • Environmental protection and conservation (air quality, foor and water safety, sanitation, etc.)
    • Health care
    • Prevention and treatment of AIDS/HIV and other epidemics
    • Social welfare and security
    • Urbanization and rural development
    • Social equality and justice
    • Non-government organizations (NGOs)
    • Grassroots democracy and public administration
    • Rights of ethnic minorities, women, and children
    • Religion, philosophy, cultural values, and social harmony
    • Family planning, population control, and care for an aging population
    • Education, research, science, technology, and future development
    • Gender equality
    • Education development and reform
    • Cultural exchanges between East and West
    • Academic exchanges between East and West