Asiascape: Digital Asia Conference. Rethinking Communities in the Age of the Digital

Brill Academic Publishing, the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), the Leiden Asia Centre and Leiden University invite submissions from scholars in area studies, social sciences, humanities, law, computer sciences, and from multi-disciplinary backgrounds to the 3rd Asiascape: Digital Asia (DIAS) conference, to be held in Leiden, the Netherlands, on 29 May 2018.

The goal of the conference will be to critically assess what kinds of ‘communities’ might emerge from the age of the digital. Presenters are invited to explore this issue along social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of internet and digital media uses in Asia, and to bring multi- and interdisciplinary theories and methods to bear on this topic. A selection of high-quality contributions will be published in the academic journal Asiascape: Digital Asia (Brill).

DIAS contributors may want to consider combining their visit to Leiden with attendance at the International Communications Association’s annual meeting in Prague from 24-28 May; participants are also welcome to join the 16th Chinese Internet Research Conference (CIRC) in Leiden from 22-23 May, which extends the DIAS theme to various modes of digital connection.

Conference Theme: Rethinking Communities

Information and communication technologies like the internet are frequently singled out as harbingers of social and political change, in Asia as much as elsewhere. Yet there has not been a sustained scholarly effort to explore how contemporary ICT affect social groups, how they change interpersonal dynamics, to what extent they shape our sense of community, and what laws and regulations are leveraged to then govern such communities. Do digital technologies extend and accelerate the established logics of social interactions and group affiliations, or do they transform the rationale behind our relations? What happens to friendships, family ties, work relations, and political interactions once they are ‘upgraded’ to Web 2.0? What does it take to bring users together and turn them into political subjects like ‘netizens’? Can there ever be such a thing as a ‘digital community’, and if so: what would make such a community sustainable as a viable political group? And what changes do digital media networks introduce to traditional ‘imagined communities’, that is: to large-scale associations like nations, religious orders, or political movements, in which members do not personally know all other members but construct their sense of belonging through screens and digital interfaces? Questions like these go to the heart of how we conceptualize digital media and their relevance today.

Partners and Sponsors

The 3rd DIAS conference is made possible through the kind support of the following institutions (in alphabetic order): Brill Academic Publishing, International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden Asia CentreLeiden University Institute for Area Studies, the Leiden University research trajectory Asian Traditions and Modernities.