Message from the President

Greetings and welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Association for Asian Studies. Our association brings together scholars and teachers of Asia through an annual conference, publications, and outreach activities in the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and lower New York. We completed our 46th annual conference in October of 2017 at Drexel University in Philadelphia with the theme “Mobility, Technology, and the Environment in Asia.” The conference was very successful with close to 200 participants reading papers on a range of topics in the social sciences and the arts and humanities, and covering regions from the Far East to South East Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia.

Our 47th annual conference will be held Friday, November 2 through Sunday, November 4, 2018 at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA. Dr. David Kenley will be conference manager. This will be one of the few times time that MARAAS is holding a conference at a small liberal arts institution and will give participants the opportunity to present their work in an intimate setting. Elizabethtown is located in charming western Lancaster County and is a little more than an hour’s drive or train ride from Philadelphia. We will send out the call for papers sometime in March and look forward to your attending.

Graduate students who present are eligible for the Marlene Mayo Graduate Student Award which includes a cash prize of $500 and the opportunity to present their work at the Association for Asian Studies annual conference the following year. MARAAS also provides some travel grants for graduate students attending and those interested should contact our conference manager.

We continue to award the Marie Wanek prize for work on Asia done at the high school level. While the award has traditionally been given to essays on Asia, we have expanded this to include various forms of multi-media submissions. As of last year, we have rethought the award to offer the greatest possible opportunity to K-12 teachers in the region to expand their Asian Studies offerings in the existing curriculum at their schools, or introduce special events to show their students the rich cultures of Asia. If you are a teacher in Mid-Atlantic Region, please consider applying for funding to support an event or curricular change at your school. Further information on the award can be found on the MARAAS website.

The President’s position for this academic year is being shared by Dr. David Kenley and me as our elected President, Dr. Shawn Bender is away on sabbatical and will assume his role next year. David will step in as President in March. In recent years we have added committed and talented members to our executive and advisory boards. I urge anyone interested in participating in this dynamic organization to contact any of the board members to learn how you can contribute to furthering the mission of MARAAS.

I look forward to another exciting year for MARAAS and to meeting many of you at Elizabethtown in November.



Valerian DeSousa

Acting President, MARAAS