Transmission of Academic Values in Asian Studies workshop, 25 & 26 June 2009
held at the The Australian National University, Canberra
For further information please contact Helen.McMartin[at]anu.edu.au
Workshop Convenor: Professor Robert Cribb, Robert.Cribb[at]anu.edu.au
We thank the following sponsors for their generous financial support of this workshop:
ARC Asia Pacific Futures Research Network
The Australian Academy of Humanities
The Australian National University
This workshop examines issues surrounding the transmission of scholarly values in Asian Studies. It will draw upon the views of scholars from a range of life-stages in order to seek a clearer picture of the values that scholars see as important to preserve and of the techniques for achieving transmission between the generations. A feature of the workshop will be attention to differences in values and practice between Australia and other countries.
The traditional practice of academic work has changed greatly over the last few decades. The measurement of performance has become increasingly fine-grained, academic procedures are increasingly regulated and monitored by institutions which do not themselves engage in academic work, the expectation that academics will be entrepreneurial has grown apace and there is a relentless drive for innovation and ‘border-crossing’ in research and teaching.
In this process of change, much of it driven by good intentions, relatively little public attention has been given to the question of what is lost in turning academia into a bureaucracy and a business. The speakers at this workshop have been asked to reflect in one way or another on those qualities of academic life which are insufficiently nurtured in the present managerialist environment. Discussion will focus on how a recognition of these values might be fed into the current processes so that the core elements that drive scholarly life can be sustained.
The values to be discussed include markers of scholarly excellence such as rigorous attention to empirical detail (including language competence), interpretative bravura, and theoretical sophistication, as well as markers of social significance such as policy relevance and the accessibility of writing to a broader public, and the vulnerability of research excellence to political pressures. They also include values related to ethical behaviour in research (both in relation to other researchers and in relation to informants and others who contribute to research). A particularly important issue is that of inter-generational relations: how do younger scholars balance the need for loyalty to their mentors with the need for creating a reputation of their own by overthrowing previous generations? How do senior scholars respond to being debunked? An important topic of the workshop will be the issue of engagement with Asia and with Asian scholarly communities.
Presentations will take the form of brief, ‘trigger’-style statements as a starting point for discussion. We expect that the workshop will make a valuable contribution to developing a sense of the wide variety of possible best practice in this field. To our knowledge there has been no previous workshop in Asian Studies focussing on the transmission of the distinctive scholarly values of the field in a cross-national comparative perspective. This workshop will contribute to developing research methodology for understanding the internal dynamics of academic life in Asian Studies.
CALL FOR PAPERS flyer, 8 December 2008
© The Australia-Netherlands Research Collaboration (ANRC)