International Institute for Asian Studies
Asian Cities - With a special eye on contemporary developments, IIAS aims to explore the longstanding Asian urban "tradition", by exploring the origins of urbanism and urban culture in different parts of Asia and linking the various elements of city cultures and societies, from ancient to modern (colonial and post-colonial) times | Read more
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The "Asian Cities" cluster explores modes of urban development in Asia, and deals with cities and urban cultures with related issues of flows and fluxes, od ideas and goods, cosmopolitism, "métissage", and connectivity at their core, framing the existence of vibrant "civil societies" and political micro-cultures.

Asia is experiencing a process of increasing human concentration built upon ancient urban traditions at a pace never before encountered. This unprecedented rate of change brings with it tremendous transformations framing new expressions of social, cultural and political modernity.

Keeping a close eye on contemporary developments, the cluster seeks to explore the longstanding Asian urban 'tradition', by discussing the origins of urbanism and urban culture in different parts of Asia, and by linking the various elements of city cultures and societies, from ancient to modern (colonial to postcolonial) times.

Through an international knowledge network of experts, research institutes and cities, it aims to create a platform for scholars and urban practitioners focusing on Asian cities 'in context' and beyond traditional western norms of knowledge, with the potential to evolve into a broad multi-disciplinary corpus contributing to the actual development of Asian cities today.

IIAS-CSEAS Winter School: Mapping the Aesthetics of Urban Life in Asia: A Dialogue with the Arts UKNA Macau Winter School Urban Heritage in Taipei

PRCUD Palembang forumPostcolonial Global City

Asian Cities Updates

UKNA - Urban Asia presentation series
20 October 2016

In this lecture, Dr Rituparna Roy will speak about the presence of Kolkata in her maiden collection of shorts - GARIAHAT JUNCTION (for which she is seeking representation)

Call for proposals
10 October 2016

The 10th International Convention of Asia Scholars will take place in Chiang Mai from 20-23 July 2017. We are now accepting proposals for panels, roundtables, book/PhD presentations and the IBP Book Prize.

Call for applications
1 October 2016

IIAS offers an annual award for the best master’s thesis in the broad field of Asian studies, written at a Dutch University.


The Workshop on the Heritage of Ancient and Urban Sites sought to unravel the complex politics involved in the manufacturing of heritage. To understand how stake-holders from across Southeast Asia define and voice local priorities, twenty-two cultural heritage practitioners based in...


Reviewed title: Herzfeld, M. 2016. Siege of the Spirits: Community and Polity in Bangkok, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 9780226331584


Xinjiang’s largest cities have undergone a series of redevelopment programs over the last decade. The westerly autonomous region in China is inextricably connected to the romantic narrative of the Silk Road, a narrative that is used to legitimize the destruction and gentrification of historic...


Reviewed publication: Saglio-Yatzimirsky, M.C. 2013. Dharavi from Mega-Slum to Urban Paradigm, New Delhi/Abingdon: Routledge, ISBN: 9780415812528


Reviewed title: Lim, William (ed.) 2014. Public Space in Urban Asia, London: World Scientific Publishing, ISBN 9789814578325


The strong urban dynamics that have been occurring in Vietnam over the past decades have led to a reshuffling of social practices, especially in the field of social exchanges and ritual activities. This paper gives a glimpse at evolving urban sociability through the lens of gift-giving practices...