2017 ASDP National Conference


ASDP 23rd National Conference

Asia Connections:  Confluences and Contradictions

Date:  March 2-4, 2017


Hilton Portland Downtown & Executive Tower
921 SW 6th Avenue
Portland, OR  97204
Tel:  503-226-1611

Conference Room Rate:  $179 + tax (single/double occupancy, WIFI included)  Book before February 7, 2017 to secure conference rate.
Hotel Online Reservation (click here).
If you are having difficulty reserving a room, please call 1-800-HILTONS for assistance and reference the Asian Studies Development Program.


To study Asia is to study connections.  Whether through wide-angle historical lenses or through tightly-focused analyses of contemporary issues, studying connections among peoples, cultures, ideas and ideals enhances and broadens understanding.  The 2017 ASDP National Conference invites papers from faculty and students in the humanities and social sciences that explore connections with and within Asia.  In addition to providing a forum for sharing diverse, disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, the Conference welcomes proposals that explicitly explore how to connect undergraduate students with current scholarship on Asia.


The ASDP 2017 Program Committee welcomes proposals for papers, panels, and roundtable discussions on content and/or teaching topics related to bringing Asian perspectives to scholarly research and the teaching of Asian studies to undergraduates.  Submissions are invited to all areas and fields within Asian Studies from faculty and students.

Click here for Proposal Submission Guidelines.

** PROPOSAL DEADLINE:  Extended to December 1, 2016 **


This year, the ASDP National Conference will be hosted by Portland Community College and held at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower in downtown Portland, Oregon.  The ASDP National Conference is an annual event that provides an opportunity for ASDP alumni and other interested college and university faculty members to share research related to Asian cultures and societies, as well as strategies for effectively infusing Asian content into undergraduate humanities, social science, business, and science curricula. 

Conference Program (PDF)
Program Abstracts (PDF)

Field Trip to Lan Su Chinese Garden
Join members of PCC's Asian Studies Committee on Thursday afternoon for an informal tour of the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  Lan Su Chinese Garden is a walled Chinese garden of roughly 40,000 square feet in the Chinatown neighborhood of Portland. The name of the garden combines lan (蘭) or "orchid" and su (蘇) or "arise” or "awaken" and can thus be interpreted poetically as the "Garden of Awakening Orchids." Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of Portland's greatest treasures and is the result of a collaboration between Portland and her sister city of Suzhou, located in China's Jiangsu province and famous for its beautiful Ming Dynasty gardens. Built by artisans from Suzhou, Lan Su is one the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. To enter the garden is to enter another era and a truly distinctive aesthetic combining architecture, landscape design, and nature in ways that afford direct, experiential insight into Chinese culture, history and ways of thinking.
Lan Su Chinese Garden Tour information (flyer)

Other Asia-related Activities and Sites in Portland
"What the World Owes the Comfort Women" by Dr. Carol Gluck.
March 2, 2017, Portland State University Ballroom (flyer)
Presented by The PSU Center for Japanese Studies, co-sponsored by The Friends of History.

Asia-related Sites and Activities in Portland (flyer)


Dr. Alisa Freedman

Talk Title:  "Tokyo in Transit: Japanese Trains as Social and Cultural Vehicles" 
March 3, 2017

The sight of long trains rapidly snaking between skyscrapers and of commuters, especially workers in suits and students in uniforms, flooding station platforms, characterizes the allures and difficulties of Tokyo in the global imagination. The most efficient, largest, and busiest transit network in the world, Tokyo’s public transportation includes more than 100 train and 13 subway lines that carry a total of more than 28.85 million passengers daily. Tokyo vehicles are social and cultural spaces different from other metropolitan commuter networks: they are a means to see how the city has affected ways people behave. I will survey important historical changes in Tokyo’s social fabric made possible by developments in modern mass transportation. Commuter trains, streetcars, and buses have changed human subjectivity and artistic production, giving rise to gender roles that have come to represent Japan. The extension of Tokyo’s transit networks made it possible for men and women of different social classes to work, play, and interact with each other in unprecedented ways. Prewar culture involving commuter vehicles anticipates what is fascinating and frustrating about Tokyo today and provides insight into how people try to make themselves at home in the city.

Alisa Freedman is an Associate Professor of Japanese Literature and Film at the University of Oregon. Her publications include Tokyo in Transit: Japanese Culture on the Rails and Road (Stanford University Press, 2010), an annotated translation of Kawabata Yasunari’s The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa (University of California Press, 2005), a co-edited volume on Modern Girls on the Go: Gender, Mobility, and Labor in Japan (Stanford University Press, 2013), and a co-edited textbook on Introducing Japanese Popular Culture (forthcoming from Routledge in 2017), along with guest-edited journal issues, articles, and literary translations on a range of topics. She is Editor-in-Chief of the U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal and has been nationally recognized for her efforts in advising students.

Dr. Edward Slingerland

Talk Title:  "Trying Not to Try:  Cooperation, Trust and the Paradox of Spontaneity" 
March 4, 2017

Many early Chinese thinkers endorsed the spiritual ideal of wuwei, or effortless action. By advocating spontaneity as an explicit moral and religious goal, however, they were faced with the paradox of how one can try not to try, which later became one of the central tensions in East Asian religious thought. This talk will look at the paradox from both early Chinese and  contemporary perspectives, drawing upon work in economics, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and evolutionary theory to argue that this paradox is real, and is intimately tied up with cooperation dilemmas in large-scale societies and concerns about trust and moral hypocrisy.

Edward Slingerland is Professor of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University. He received an M.A. from UC Berkeley in East Asian Languages (classical Chinese), and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University. His research specialties and teaching interests include Warring States (5th-3rd c. B.C.E.) Chinese thought, religious studies, cognitive linguistics, ethics, and the relationship between the humanities and the natural sciences. His publications include: Trying Not to Try: Ancient China, Modern Science and the Power of Spontaneity (2014); Creating Consilience: Integrating the Sciences and the Humanities (co-edited, 2012); What Science Offers the Humanities: Integrating Body & Culture (2008); Confucius: Analects (2003); and Effortless Action: Wu-wei as Conceptual Metaphor and Spiritual Ideal in Early China (2003).


All presenters and attendees must register for the program.  Early registration is $250 (through February 1, 2017), late registration is $300 and student registration is $75.              Please fill in all requested information.

Online registration link here.

Click here to download and print registration form for payment by check.

Make your check payable to East-West Center with the notation ASDP National Conference.  Mail your payments and the form to:

East-West Center
Asian Studies Development Program
Attn:  Audrey Minei
1601 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI  96848-1601

** Early Registration Deadline:  February 1, 2017 **

Hotel Reservations

The conference will be held at:

Hilton Portland and Executive Tower
921 SW 6th Avenue
Portland, OR  97204

Telephone:  503-226-1611

The hotel conference rate is $179/night including WIFI access.  Conference attendees must make reservations prior to February 7, 2017 to secure the conference rate.

Online reservations can be made here.
If you are having difficulty reserving a room, please call 1-800-HILTONS for assistance and reference the Asian Studies Development Program.

Transportation to the Hilton from the Airport or Train Station:

Portland has a fantastic public transportation system, known as Tri-Met.  From the airport, take the MAX train to the Pioneer Square stop and walk 656 feet to the Hilton Portland & Executive Towers, at 921 SW 6th Avenue.

From Baggage Claim at the Portland International Airport:

Go to Portland International Airport MAX Station (Stop ID 10579) (to the right if you are looking out the doors, or follow signs in airport!)

Use a kiosk to purchase a two-hour ticket for $2.50 (cards are usually accepted, however having cash on hand is strongly suggested)

Board MAX Red Line to City Center & Beaverton which continues as MAX Blue Line (stay on board!)

Exit at Pioneer Square North MAX Station (Stop ID 8383)

As you exit the MAX, turn left and walk ½ block to SW 6th Avenue.  Turn right on SW 6th Avenue and walk to the entrance to the Hilton (~656 feet total).

Bring an umbrella!

From the Train Station:

As you exit the station walk left (towards WILF Restaurant) and cross NW Glisan Street, turn left and walk to NW 5th Avenue, turn right

Go to the MAX station at NW 5th & NW Glisan (Stop ID 7601)

Use a kiosk to purchase a two-hour ticket for $2.50 (cards are usually accepted, however having cash on hand is strongly suggested)

Board MAX Green Line or MAX Orange Line to Milwaukie

Exit at Pioneer Place/SW 5th Avenue (Stop ID 7646)

As you exit the MAX, turn left and walk to SW Taylor Street.  Cross Taylor Street. Turn right and walk one block up to SW 6th Avenue.  Cross SW 6th Avenue, turn right and walk to the entrance to the Hilton (~568 feet total).  Look for Hop City Tavern sign.

Bring an umbrella!

About Portland

Portland is the largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Mulnomah County.  It is located in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.  Portland is known for its breweries, food carts, Powell's City of Books, and a plethora of mouthwatering restaurants within walking distance of the Hilton Downtown. Besides the many restaurants and breweries from which to choose, Portland is also home to Pioneer Courthouse Square, known at Portland's Living Room, and Pioneer Place Mall, known for its varied shopping opportunities.  For the nature lovers close-by there is the Washington Park with the world famous Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and Hoyt Arboretum.  And a quick walk from the Hilton Portland can take you to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park (we are hoping for an early bloom of cherry and pear blossoms!).