Tobunken-ASNET Symposium"Ito International Research Centre Symposium『Crossing Boundaries: Migration, Mediation, Morality』"

Day: 8th ~ 10th June, 2019

Venue: Ito Hall, Ito International Research Centre (Morning session on June 8th)
    Main Conference Room, Institute for Advance Studies on Asia (Afternoon session of June 8th , all day 9th and 10th)

Aim of the Symposium: :
The International symposium ‘Crossing Boundaries’ will bring together scholars from many disciplines (history, literature, social and natural anthropology, sociology, political sciences, religious studies, geography, environmental studies, and engineering) to discuss multifaceted aspects of migration.

Contemporary world is faced with an acute crisis of migration. The fact that millions of people are forced to leave their homes in the Middle East and Africa illustrate the failures of the nation state system that characterized the universal mode of human political organization since WWI. With the dissolution of colonial empires, both political leaders and intellectuals hoped sovereign nation states will give rights to every individual and protect their dignity and equality. Yet, international community’s inability to confront and solve ethical, political, and material consequences of the migrants’ movement reveals the deeper political and intellectual defects of the global order of the post-WWII period. Migration as a political, cultural and social phenomenon challenges common ideas of citizenship and morality as many of the nation states fail to give migrants rights, while those societies trying to accommodate waves of migration are witnessing high levels of popular racist backlash among their citizens.

Although scholars, journalist and general public recognize the insufficiency of the nation state system’s ideal response to the migration crisis, we have yet to understand all aspects of this crisis, and imagine a soltion.

The symposium will re-examine the moution or an alternative political culture that can overcome these defects. More importantly, communities of social scientists and humanities scholars must cooperate to reflect on the historical roots and multifaceted aspects of this contemporary crisis to guide political leaders towards a more idealistic soluvement of people in the context of history, environment, culture and evolution, and critically engage with the current discourse on immigration. We will also connect on-going research projects with regional focus and beyond to encourage dialogue beyond disciplinary and regional boundaries.


DAY 1 8th June, 2019
Venue Morning: Ito Hall, Ito International Research Center
Session 1: Main Conference Room, Institute for Advance Studies on Asia
  9:30-10:00 Welcome Drink
  10:00-10:10 Opening Remarks
Prof Tomoko Masuya (Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia [IASA], Director)
  10:10-10:20 Rationale of the Symposium
Dr Aya Ikegame (Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies & IASA, UTokyo)
  10:20-12:00 Keynote Speech
Prof Takeshi Hamashita (Sun Yat-sen University, China / The University of Tokyo)
“Cyclic and Counter-Cyclic Relations between Human Resources and Natural Resources: 16th-21st Centuries”
  12:00-13:30 Lunch Break
  13:30-16:00 Session 1: Questioning ‘Unfree’ Labour
In this session, historical developments of many forms of ‘slavery’ across the regions will be examined. We commonly consider ‘slavery’ as unfree, exploitative and immoral. The session presents complex and nuanced image of slaves across cultures and regions, and questions the genealogy of anti-slavery discourse.
  Dr Lucio de Souza (Tokyo University for Foreign Studies)
“Japanese Slavery and Japanese Diaspora in the Early Modern Period”
  Prof Behnaz Mirzai (Brock University)
“Iranian People of African Descent: Local Boundary and National Unity”
  (Coffee Break)
  Prof Andrea Major (the University of Leeds, UK)
“After Slavery: Debating Global Labour Migration, 1838-42”
  Dr Aya Ikegame (The University of Tokyo)
“Devotion and Slavery: Submissive Agency and Development in Modern India”
  16:15-18:15 Screening of a Documentary Film 'Playing with Nan' (2012) Conversation with the Director Dr Dipesh Kharel
  18:30-20:30 Reception
DAY 2 9th June 2019
Venue Main Conference Room, Institute for Advance Studies on Asia
  9:30-10:00 Welcome Drink
  10:00-12:30 Session 2: Imagining of Home and Beyond
In our increasingly ‘multicultural’ world, people are imagining and reconstituting what they think is the culture of the ‘home’. For migrants, this social construction of ‘culture’ engages both positively and negatively with the host culture. Their imagination of ‘home’ can also indicate a possible future of home that is otherwise unimaginable in their places of origin.
  Prof Seema Alavi (University of Delhi)
“Indian Muslims in the Age of Empire”
  Dr Robert Fletcher (The University of Warwick)
“Remittance, Remorse and Filial Duty: Home in the Correspondence of Charles Lenox Richardson (1833-62), Shanghai Merchant”
  (Coffee Break)
  Dr Emi Goto (ASNET/ IASA, the University of Tokyo)
“Fighting Over Homes: A Story of ‘Heretic’ in the 20th Century Egypt”
  Prof Mari Oka (Kyoto University)
“Deterritorializing the “Watan”:Variety of Homeland Image and Lived Experiences of Exiles”
  12:30-13:30 Lunch Break
  13:30-16:15 Session 3: Connected and Affected
Migration has often been understood as combination of the movements of individuals ‘pulled’ by wages offered and ‘pushed’ by social and economic conditions in the place of origin. In this movement, the individual choses ‘rationally’ where she/he would go. In this session, we take collectivity more seriously by arguing that people move because of networks, affective relations and hopes for change that were not necessarily ‘rational’.
  Prof Kazuo Morimoto (IASA, UTokyo)
“Why Are the Descendants of the Prophet Muhammad So Widely Distributed?”
  Prof Crispin Bates (the University of Edinburgh)
“North Indian Overseas Labour Migrants in the Colonial Era: Networks, Intermediaries and Trust”
  (Coffee Break)
  Prof Hidemitsu Kuroki (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)
“Unwittingly globalized: Connectivity of Lebanese and Syrian Migrants During the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries”
  Prof Shigeto Sonoda (IASA, UTokyo)
“Sandwiched by China and Japan: Analyzing Perception toward the ‘Rise of China’ by Second Generation of Chinese Migrants in Japan ”
  Dr Tina Shrestha (Waseda University)
"Aspirational Infrastructure: Everyday brokerage and the Foreign-Employment Recruitment Agencies in Nepal"
  16:15-18:30 Student Workshop:
We invite students to present short speeches (10-15 min) on the theme.
  Miki Kinoshita (Ph.D. Student, Osaka University)
“Literary Translation in the Qajar Dynasty”
Kaori Mizukami (Ph.D. Student, the University of Tokyo)
“Indian Immigrants to North America and Their Ports of Call in the Early Twentieth Century”
Jiwon Kim (Ph.D. Student, The University of Tokyo)
“Repatriation of Keijo Imperial University Alumni and Reintegration into Elite Japanese Society: With a Focus on Bureaucrats and Academics”
Xiaochen Su (Ph.D. Student, The University of Tokyo)
“A Battle of Resources: Social Integration of and the Perception of Control over Chinese Residents in the Russian Far East”
Yuki Nagae (Ph.D. Student,The University of Tokyo)
“Parental Beliefs on Preschool-aged Children among Immigrant Families in Japan”
DAY 3 10th June 2019
Venue Main Conference Room, Institute for Advance Studies on Asia
  10:30-11:00 Welcome Drink
  11:00-13:30 Session 4: Environmental Adaptation:
The movement of people has brought about dramatic environmental change through the introduction of commercial and food crops. These have turned many tropical regions of the world into plantation colonies. Changes in the natural environment have also encouraged and forced people to move out of their homes. The session brings together historians, social and natural anthropologists, and geographers to engage critically with the relationship between migrant humans and the environment.
  Prof Harro Maat (Wageningen University, the Netherland)
“Migrant Foodscapes in the Anglo-Dutch Caribbean: Slavery, Migrant Labour and Peasant Farming 1800-1950”
  Prof Takuro Furusawa (Kyoto University)
“History of Human Evolution and Adaptation from Africa to Asia”
  (Coffee Break)
  Prof Kazuhiro Nakayama (School of Frontier Sciences, UTokyo)
“Local Adaptation and Susceptibility to Lifestyle-related Diseases in East Asia”
  Prof Hiroki Ota (School of Science, UTokyo)
“Adaptation to Cultural Environments Found in Human Genome Diversity”
  13:30-14:30 Lunch Break
  14:30-15:30 Session 5: Relational Approaches to Migration
  Prof. Eiji Nagasawa (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies & Islam-Gender Studies, Project Leader)
“Beyond the Boundaries: Our Challenge with Islam-Gender Studies”
  Prof. Shigeto Sonoda (IASA, UTokyo)
“Survey on Second Generation Chinese Migrants in Australia and Japan”
  Prof Crispin Bates (the University of Edinburgh)
“Becoming ‘Coolies’: Re-thinking the origin of Indian Ocean Labour Migration in the Colonial Era”
  15:30-16:00 Coffee Break
  16:00-17:00 Round Table: Searching for a New Ethics
Chairs and/or some of the presenters of the previous sessions will join.
  17:00-17:15 General Comments & Closing Remarks
Prof Takafumi Ishida (School of Science & ASNET, UTokyo)

The latest information

The University of Tokyo (Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA) , Network for Education and Study on Asia (ASNET))

The Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Tokyo (TINDAS) Integrated Area Studies on South Asia
Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas: Relational Studies on Global Crises, Establishing a New Paradigm of Social/ Human Sciences based on Relational Studies (Project Leader, Keiko Sakai, Chiba University)
Grants-in-aid for Research/Basic Research A: Towards the construction of ‘Islam & Gender Studies’: Building foundations for comprehensive discussion on gender justice and Islam (Project Leader, Eiji Nagasawa, the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)

Contact: crossingboundaries2019[at]

Contact: crossingboundaries2019[at]