AAS Boycott
In the last week, media reports have confirmed the fact that the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India has, in a letter dated February 19, 2018, refused “political clearance” for Pakistani academics to attend the Association of Asian Studies (AAS-in-Asia) conference, to be held at Ashoka University between July 5 and 8, 2018 (https://thewire.in/diplomacy/india-bars-pakistani-academics-from-attending-asian-studies-conference). In response to this publicity, the AAS and Ashoka University, the organizers of the conference, have issued an anodyne statement that

"The fact that the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India has decided to deny visas to Pakistani scholars (including scholars of Pakistani origin who are citizens of other countries) to attend the AAS-in-Asia conference in Delhi is not in tune with the open exchange of ideas and knowledge that is the very purpose of the conference. However, neither the Association for Asian Studies nor Ashoka University has the authority to tell the Government of India, a sovereign nation, to whom it may and may not grant visas, and nor have we been able to influence the Government of India to reverse its decision in this case."

Rather than take a strong stand against this blatantly exclusionary, anti-intellectual government position, the organizers have confirmed the right of governments to use visa regimes to deny the principle of academic freedom. They go on to claim that there are pragmatic reasons why they cannot cancel or scale back this conference, and that they had, in March 2018, informed the academics affected by the government’s decision. This action, and the fact that they are attempting to use Skype to allow some academics to participate from a distance, in no way exculpates them from what was clearly a decision to keep these inconvenient facts from the other participants in the conference, and from the public at large.

As concerned academics, members and non-members of the AAS, we find this situation reprehensible and unacceptable. Given the intransigence of the Indian government, the only responsible path open for the AAS would have been to refuse to host this conference in India; it is all the more objectionable that the organizers were willing to go ahead when scholars from the very region the association is meant to study cannot attend.  There is much more at stake than the inconvenience of cancelled bookings and refunded conference fees; to go along with the partisan and punitive actions of governments who wish to blunt critical thought and scholarly exchange is to be complicit with policies that a great many of us have contested in our research and writing. There are many moments in which we are called upon to stand up for our ideas; this is a particularly important moment to do just that.

The complicity of the AAS with the Indian government’s violation of academic freedom compels us to boycott the conference. We do so in solidarity with our Pakistani colleagues and to express our commitment to the unfettered exchange of ideas. Today, this government has decided to ban Pakistani scholars. Tomorrow, another might decide to deny Indian or Chinese or British scholars, or issue conference visas on the basis of religious identification or sexual preference. Would we still allow pragmatic reasons to dictate our participation? Boycotting is an obligation we owe not only to our Pakistani colleagues, but also to the values of open and inclusive intellectual exchange that we cherish.

Boycott letter FAQs: https://tinyurl.com/y867epl2


(Please include institutional affiliation)

Suvir Kaul, A M Rosenthal Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Boreth Ly, University of California, Santa Cruz
Yogesh Chandrani, Colorado College
Andrew Liu, Villanova University
Ajantha Subramanian, Harvard University
Nathaniel Roberts, CeMIS, University of Göttingen
Ania Loomba, University of Pennsylvania
Rebecca E Karl, Professor of History, New York University
Arvind Rajagopal, New York University
Rupa Viswanath, University of Göttingen
Dr Manali Desai, University of Cambridge
Ritty Lukose, New York University
Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, UCLA
John Harriss , Simon Fraser University, Canada
Talal Asad, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Modhumita Roy, Tufts University
Abha Sur, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lucy Mae San Pablo Burns, UCLA, Asian American Studies Department
Professor Geeta Patel, University of Virginia
Hephzibah Israel, University of Edinburgh
Maggie Morrison (PhD) The University of Edinburgh
Luisa Steur
Anindya Raychaudhuri, University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK
Nahid Aslam
Hugo Gorringe, University of Edinburgh
Saadia Toor, City University of New York
Sayumi Takahashi Harb
Ralph Litzinger, Duke University
Andrea Mendoza
Angela Zito, NYU
Gavin Walker, Associate Professor, McGill University
Tom O'Keefe
Tani Barlow, Rice University
Jyoti Puri, Professor, Simmons College
Jacob Copeman, University of Edinburgh, UK
Laurie Sears, University of Washington
Brian Bergstrom, McGill University
Wenqing Kang, Cleveland State University
Fabio Lanza, University of Arizona
Patricio N. Abinales, University of Hawaii-Manoa
Banu Subramaniam, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Tariq Thachil, Vanderbilt University
Megan Moodie, University of California, Santa Cruz
Nauman Naqvi, Habib University, Karachi
Nicolas Jaoul, IRIS/EHESS
Amulya Mandava, Harvard University
Harlan Chambers, Ph.D. student, Columbia University
Meena Dhanda, University of Wolverhampton
Dwaipayan Sen, Amherst College
Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick
Anand Vaidya, Reed College
Dwaipayan Sen, Amherst College
Maggie Clinton, Middlebury College
Indrani Chatterjee, History, University of Texas at Austin.
Amit R. Baishya, University of Oklahoma
Snehal Shingavi, English, University of Texas at Austin
Rahul K Gairola, Murdoch University
Christian Hess, Sophia University
Tani Barlow
Nidhish Krishnankutty Sundar, University of Göttingen
Shana Sippy, Centre College
Lucinda Cole, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Yukiko Hanawa, NYU
Fadzilah Yahaya, National University of Singapore
Jawan Shir Rasikh, University of Pennsylvania
Lucinda Ramberg, Cornell University
Lance E. Nelson, University of San Diego
Noman Baig, Habib University, Karachi
Vicente L. Rafael, Univ. of Washington
Sipra Mukherjee, West Bengal State University
Yasmin Saikia, Arizona State University
Lalit Batra, Geography, University of Minnesota at Twin Cities
Ramesh Mallipeddi, University of Colorado Boulder
Chad Haines, Arizona State University
Bradley Jensen Murg, Seattle Pacific University
Praveen K Chaudhry, Political Science, State University of New York / FIT
Robert Warrior, Hall Professor, University of Kansas
Ashwin Subramanian, University of Goöttingen
Rochelle Pinto
Rei Terada, University of California, Irvine
Lou-Anne Fauteck Makes Marks
Sharika Thiranagama, Stanford University
Anupama Rao, Barnard College, Columbia University
Zayn Kassam, Religious Studies, Pomona College
Shakuntala Banaji, London School of Economics and Political Science
Stephen Whiteman, University of Sydney
Ashwin Subramanian, CeMIS, University of Göttingen
Roger Jeffery, University of Edinburgh, UK
Amelie Blom, Sciences Po, INALCO, Paris
Megnaa Mehtta, London School of Economics and Political Science
Arild Engelsen Ruud, University of Oslo
Zoe Headley CNRS Paris France
Siyen Fei University of Pennsylvania
Manu Goswami, New York University
Aminah Mohammad-Arif CNRS Paris
Eleanor Newbigin, SOAS, University of London
Hardeep Dhillon, Harvard University
John Faulkner, SOAS University of London
Subir Sinha, SOAS
Uday Chandra, Georgetown University, Qatar
Narendra Subramanian, McGill University
Devleena Chatterji, University of Minnesota
C S Lakshmi, Writer and Independent Researcher
Surjodeb Basu
Wardah Beg
Osama Siddique, LPRN, IDEAS and IGLP
Moane Rosello (Paris Sorbonne-Nouvelle University)
Britta Ohm, University of Bern (CH)
Edward E. Curtis IV, Indiana University Indianapolis
Jyotsna Kapur, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Feyzi Ismail, SOAS University of London
Ghazal Asif, Johns Hopkins University
Philip Oldenburg, Columbia University
Ammara Maqsood, Univeristy College London
Aradhana Anu Sharma, Wesleyan University
Krupa Shandilya, Amherst College
Furrukh Khan, Lahore University of Management Sciences
David Lelyveld, William Paterson University (Retired)
Jigna Desai, University of Minnesota
Suzanne L. Schulz, Bard Early College, Queens, NYC
Robert Rozehnal, Lehigh University
Shahnaz Rouse, Sarah Lawrence College
Professor Susan Seizer, Indiana University
Parthiban Muniandy, Sarah Lawrence College
Gu Jiangtao, University of Rochester
Gu Jiangtao, University of Rochester
Kajri Jain, University of Toronto
Michael Levien, Johns Hopkins University
Usha Iyer, Stanford University
Rosie Thomas, University of Westminster
Anuja Jain, University of St Andrews
Margherita Long, University of California, Irvine
Grégoire Schlemmer, IRD - Paris 7 university
Saiba Varma, University of California, San Diego
Geetha Krishnamurthy
Kanishka Goonewardena, University of Toronto
Tita Chico, University of Maryland
Kristin Plys, University of Toronto
Nadia Z. Hasan, York University, Toronto
Sindhri Saba, EHESS, Paris
Madhusudan Rimal, University of Alberta
Sailaja Krishnamurti, Saint Mary's University
Alpa Shah, London School of Economics
Shirin Rai University of Warwick
Asad Ahmed
Charlotte Thomas, Sciences Po CERI
Hoang Tan Nguyen, UC San Diego
Safoora Arbab, University of California, Los Angeles
David Rudner, University of California, Los Angeles
Sarah Frederick, Boston University
Kasturi Ray, San Francisco State University
Gautam Premnath, Independent Scholar
Tariq Rahman, University of California, Irvine
Vazira Zamindar, Brown University
Natasha Raheja, New York University
Shefali Chandra, Washington University in St. Louis
Amy Schrager Lang, Emerita Syracuse University
Sameen Ali, Lahore University of Management Sciences
Nosheen Ali, Aga Khan University, Karachi
Sravanthi Kollu, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Tariq Rahman, University of California, Irvine
Zain R. Mian, University of Pennsylvania
Joseph E. Schwartzberg, retired
Shayan Momin, New York Universiy
Jeevan Sharma, University of Edinburgh
John Pincince, Loyola University-Chicago
Alessandra Mezzadri SOAS
Anthony Good, University of Edinburgh
Christine Marran, University of Minnesota
Christopher Candland, Wellesley College
Jayinee Basu - Touro University
Dredge Kang, University of California San Diego
Abdul Qadar, CEIAS (EHESS) Paris
Matt Wills, UC San Diego
Michael Stanley-Baker, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Julia Corwin, University of Minnesota
Piya Chatterjee, Scripps College
Zunaira Komal, University of California, Davis
Sanam Roohi
Asher Ghertner, Rutgers University
Medha, SFCW
Nalamala Chandra Bhanu, CeMIS, University of Göttingen
Rahul Rao, SOAS University of London
Svati Shah, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Neena Mahadev, Yale-NUS College
David Faust, University of Minnesota
Anthony Morreale, University of California, Berkeley
Tani Barlow, Rice University
Quynh Pham, University of Minnesota
David Eng, University of Pennsylvania
Mayank Kohli, University of Minnesota
Nabeel Jafri, University of Toronto
Lorraine Wong, University of Otago
Patrick McCartney, Kyoto University, Japan
Bakirathi Mani, Swarthmore College
Peter Thilly, University of Mississippi
Fatima Tassadiq, University of Pennsylvania
Iftikhar Dadi, Cornell University
Usman Hamid, University of Toronto
Shakthi Nataraj, University of California, Berkeley
Gabriel Dattatreyan, Goldsmiths, University of London
Neera Singh, University of Toronto
Brigitte Sebastia, Independant Researcher
Drew Kerr
Gloria Goodwin Raheja, University of Minnesota
Jocelyn Chua, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Eli Friedman, Cornell University
Kate Costello, University of Oxford
Peter Moody, Columbia University
Syeda ShahBano Ijaz, UC San Diego
Fareena Malhi, American University
Kristopher Reeves, National Institute of Japanese Literature
Yasir Khan, UC Berkeley
Usman Ghaus, University of Southern California
Sharad Chari, University of California, Berkeley
Christian Sorace, Colorado College
Zaheer Baber, University of Toronto
Vasuki Nesiah, NYU
Camille Le Doze, Montpellier Sup Agro
Michael W. Charney, SOAS, the University of London
Purvi Mehta, Colorado College
Ju Hui Judy Han, UCLA
Suzanne Gardinier, Sarah Lawrence College
David Borgonjon, Columbia University, EALAC
Genevieve Clutario, Harvard University
Benjamin Kindler, Columbia University
Deepti Misri, University of Colorado Boulder
Jeong Min Kim, NYU Shanghai
Mitchell Ma, University of Toronto
Aneil Rallin, Soka University of America
Ian Barnard, Professor of Rhetoric and Composition, Chapman University
Teren Sevea, University of Pennsylvania
Mark Driscoll, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Huma Dar, UC Berkeley
Bradly W. Reed, University of Virginia
Salman Hussain, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Teren Sevea, University of Pennsylvania
Syeda Masood, Brown University
Prerna Srigyan
Pooja Nayak, University of Pennsylvania

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