IUAES2015 Keynotes #2 16 July 2015, 10.15 – 11.00 hrs.
The current thickening of links across Asia is a late after-effect of decolonization. While European colonization re-oriented Asian countries to imperial metropoles, the recent resurgence of inter-Asian links can be thought of as a return to historical norm. As such, the new, reconnected Asia resonates in many ways with a pre-imperial Asia, in which people had kin in distant regions, diasporic life was normal, Buddhism and Islam made the unfamiliar familiar, and pilgrims and traders journeyed thousands of miles as a matter of course. While our inherited European social science categories are geared to conceptualizing single societies for single states, the inter-connected societies of Asia old and new provide rich veins of data for reconceptualizing inter-linked societies on a wider, transregional stage. What concepts can we draw from such inter-Asian data, contemporary and historical, to redirect social science and historical research?