California State University, Northridge will host the 50th annual Asia Studies of the Pacific Coast (ASPAC) conference from Friday, June 10, to Sunday, June 12.
The conference, titled “Imagining Asia,” will feature more than 40 panels presented by students and professors from across the country and the world on subjects such as urbanization, migration, sustainability and exchange. The event will be held at CSUN’s University Student Union, located on the east side of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.
The conference aims to highlight local and global perspectives, according to CSUN modern and classical languages professor and conference co-coordinator Drake Langford.
“We wanted to make connections between local communities and the global context,” he said. “We have many Asian immigrant communities and longstanding heritage communities [on the West Coast]. Building an awareness and understanding across the Pacific is important.”
CSUN political science assistant professor and conference co-coordinator Keiko Hirata said the conference will show how collaborative and interdisciplinary perspectives on Asian studies can provide deep insight.
“One of the goals of this conference is to promote Asian studies and to promote scholarly collaboration,” she said. “Asia has become so important at the global level, [and] it is really important that people understand that context. [We also will be] able to learn what other people have been doing in Asian studies.”
Langford added that seeing different perspectives allows a better understanding of Asian studies as a whole, and gives faculty and students a chance to collaborate.
“It’s been a nice opportunity to bring together the various faculty on campus who are engaged in Asian studies,” he said. “Gaining different perspectives on the conference themes is another great benefit.”
More than 80 undergraduate and graduate students from esteemed institutions such as Harvard University, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles and CSUN will present their research papers at the conference.
Presenting their papers provides students a great opportunity to feel acknowledged in the Asian studies community, Hirata said.
“I am so proud of CSUN students,” she said. “I think it is a great experience for them. We also have an award for the best graduate student paper, the ASPAC-Mori award. The winner gets a nominal amount of money, but the recognition as well.”
The 2016 ASPAC conference is open to the public. Tickets for the conference are $35 for community members and students, and $125 for professionals. Parking is available on campus for $6 per day. For more information on the conference, go to http://www.csun.edu/asian-studies-pacific-coast-2016.