Editorial

By Paul van der Velde
Editor-in-chief

Taking a backward glance at the developments in the field of Asian Studies over the past years we can clearly distinguish two main trends. The first of these show increasing cooperation between Asianists in Europe which has borne fruit in a higher mobility of researchers and a greater transparency for Asian Studies. In view of rapidly increasing globalization the awareness of the need for more cooperation within Europe can but have a positive effect on the greater internationalization of Asian Studies with partners in Asia, North America, and Australia. Running parallel to this trend has been the dawning realization of European politicians that an Asia strategy should be developed most cogently in view of the economic challenge the Asian countries pose. This awareness led to the first meeting of heads of state of European and Asian countries in Bangkok in March of this year. The 'agenda' of the meeting had been partly set during a prepatory meeting in Venice last January, at which qualified resource persons from Asia and Europe met to discuss the improvement of the relationship between both continents. In a pioneering spirit the meeting stressed the similarities in Asian and European cultures, instead of evoking the differences habitually adhered to in traditional Orientalism. This frame of mind is clearly brought out in the article by Wim Stokhof,'Europe-Asia relationships on the threshold of the 21st century':"Only by weaving Europe's economic and political relationship with Asia into a broader fabric of c ultural and civil relationships will the indispensable, essential mutual trust be generated" (see page 3-4). Encapsulated in this quote is the second trend which is now going from strength to strength. The themes discussed during the meeting in Venice were already pointing in this direction, namely that and Asia strategy can never be successful without a cultural dimension. Therefore close synergy between politicians, the business community, and researchers in the field of Asian Studies will be indispensable to formulating an effective Asia strategy. In his article,'Towards a European perspective? Economics of Ea st and Southeast Asia', Wolfgang Klenner summarizes the idea as follows:"The varied 'national ingredients' of researchers in different European countries might help to raise the level of sensitivity to these cultural and historical elements even more and to integrate them into economic analysis concerning the Asian region" (see page 48-49). One of the results of this integration could be the setting up of European centres in Asian countries at which business, academic, and cultural representatives promote European interests.

International Cooperation
Representatives of the Association for Asian Studies (aas) and the iias met during the Annual meeting of the aas in Honolulu in April and the outcome of this meeting was the signing of a Letter of Intent. The aas and the iias agreed upon the compilation of scholarly resources on Asian Studies such as a Guide to Dissertations in the field of Asian Studies and a World Directory of Asian Studies Associations and Institutions. These projects will be implemented in the near future. The most important outcome of the negotiations was the commitment organizing an international convention of Asian Studies scholars from Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia in the Netherlands in 1998 in collaboration with European regional associations for Asian Studies. More concrete information on this event will be given in the next issue of this newsletter. The initiative taken by the iias to introduce Dutch Publishers on Asia proved to be a success. During the 1997 aas Annual Meeting in Chicago Belgian publishers will be in cluded as well so that there will be a presentation of 'Low Countries Publishers on Asia'. Representatives of the iias have paid a visit to Taiwan which resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding between The Bureau of International & Educational Relations of the Republic of China and the iias concerning the foundation of a European Chair of Chinese Studies in the field of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the IIAS. The chairholder will be appointed later this year. iias representatives also paid a visit to Cambodia where they found out that, notwithstanding the aftermath of the 'killing field s', a new generation of intellectuals is trying to build a new academic infrastructure.

National Cooperation
In the previous editorial it was pointed out that in order to be able to internationalize effectively and to play a role at a European level Asian Studies needs to be firmly anchored at a national level. National cooperation has received additional boosts from the signing of Memoranda of Understanding between the Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology (kitlv) and the iias and the between the International Institute of Social History (iisg) and the iias. The kitlv has a long-standing research tradi tion in Asian Studies based on its rich library, archives, and collections whereas the iisg focuses its attention more and more on Asia. The growing institutional cooperation is backed up by the activities of a steering group which is busy laying a sound foundation for a Netherlands (Low Countries?) Association for Asian and Pacific Studies. In the same vein the iias took the initiative to create a platform consisting of representatives of institutions holding Asian collections to work towards a host for Asian Studies which would make all these collections electronically accessible.

Source Publications on Asia
This issue contains several contributions on source publications pertaining to Asia. After decolonization source publications fell into bad odour in Europe. From the mid-eighties onwards a reversal has gradually become discernable under the influence of Asian scholars who see the European material as an indispensable source for their own modern history. Therefore present-day source publications have become collaborative projects between Asian and European scholars. In view of their nature, source publishin g tends to be long-term and it should not be forgotten that the source publication projects create a considerable academic spin-off. Once made accessible the sources are treasure troves for researchers from all fields. So far these publications are not available electronically. In view of the many possibilities for electronic publishing, the manner of source publishing is bound to change considerably. Realistically to optimize the use of source materials pertaining to Asia in Europe, a European source publ ication policy should be developed. Needless to say is that this has to be done in close cooperation with researchers from Asia. As far as contemporary sources and information on Asia are concerned we would like to draw the attention of our readership to the IIAS Internet Guide to Asian Studies. The Guide is a very useful tool both for accomplished surfers and those just setting out on the electronic path. It is our intention to publish a monitored second edition in 1997, if possible in cooperation with moderators of other major sites in the field of Asian Studies on other continents.

Editorial Staff
Our editor East Asia China, Stephan R. Landsberger, who has become Associate Professor in the field of social developments in contemporary China at the Sinological Institute of the Leiden University, will be replaced by Kitty Yang, iias staff member. We like to thank Stephan for his contribution to the growth of the Newsletter. As of the present issue the iias Newsletter is enlarging its reservoir of collaborators. Over the past two years more than 500 people have contributed to our Newsletter, thereby giv ing us a clear idea of the wide scope and rich texture of Asian Studies. However, occasionally important information still escapes us and therefore, apart from the regional editors, we will start working with correspondents in countries or affiliated institutes or associations in order to provide the readership with information as up-to-date as possible. Carol M. Hansen, who will retire, will be replaced by Ann Beard, editor of the aas Newsletter, as our aas correspondent. Sabine Kuypers, officer of the esf Asia Committee will keep us informed about developments in the esf and the Asia Committee. Likewise Leo Schmit, programme manager eu-asean will do the same for Brussels, while Leonid Kulikov will cover the cis. Mario Rutten and Willem Vogelsang are our correspondents of the caas and Research School cnws respectively. Yvonne Sanders and Annelies de Deugd of the iias will keep us in touch with new information on Asia and Asian Studies on the Internet. As of the next issue Sue Prentice, Librarian of the Australian National University, will be our correspondent Australia and New Zealand. We hope that the number of correspondents will grow considerably in the near future.


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