Thirty-First Annual Political Economy Of The World-System Conference


 The XXXIst Political Economy of the World-System (PEWS) Conference will take place 10-12 May, 2007, at St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York (NY13617). The organizers of the PEWS Conference invite papers relating to the theme, "Asia and the World-System."

A focus on 'Asia' has the potential to destabilize the categories and paradigms associated with world-systems perspectives.  At the same time, these perspectives offer provocative challenges to our understanding of what 'Asia' actually is, what it means, and for whom.  The central goal of this conference is to create multiple spaces for conversations among scholars who are addressing these dual destabilizations across a full range of theoretical and methodological approaches.  

Historically, 'Asia' marks continental and maritime spaces whose particular development suggests alternatives to prevailing chronologies, geographies, and identities.  In a contemporary era marked by regional and global tensions and cooperations, Asian geographies appear as economic miracles and fractal order(s), developmental states, and quasi-states dependent upon migrant laborers and feminized work forces.

Yet Asia is also a concept that is not bound by geography.  It includes political and economic networks formed by Asian diasporas around the world.

The Conference organizers invite abstracts on the following four sub-themes as part of the overall theme elaborated above. We encourage papers that adopt holistic, theoretical and long-term historical perspectives on the question of Asia in the world-system.

1.         Geopolitics and New Developmental Visions: 

-           What are the stakes and prospects for the region over the longue

duree? How do representations of the region as 'network power', the 'Asia-Pacific', the 'Pacific Rim', and 'East Asian resurgence', speak to contemporary geopolitical and regional contradictions? For example, what are the implications of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization for the U.S.?

 -           What long-run geopolitical forces are at work to determine thenature of regional allegiances? Are Asian nation-states destined to compete with one another in a "race-to-the-bottom"? How do questions of nationalism and regionalism relate to processes of globalization?

What are the prospects of closer ties between China, Korea, and Japan?

-           Is nationalism bound to stultify regional cooperation in an age

of globalization? What historical legacies enable regional geopolitics to re-shape the region and the world into a more egalitarian world order? What are the current constraints on this possibility?

 -           How may East Asia/South Asia/China work to produce differentpolitical projects with wider social bases in the interests of the global multitudes?  

2.         Women, Migrants, Diasporas, and Class Struggles:  

-           How do social movements in the region emerge out of global processes of informatization and informalization in the context of (i) gender relations, migrant multitudes, and global diasporas; and (ii) changing work and disciplinary regimes?

-           If globalization is really the name for the end of the contemporary capitalist world-system (Wallerstein), how do the multiple social and political struggles in the Asian regions resonate with contemporary global movements for social justice intent on constructing a different world order? -

-           How are contemporary class struggles unfolding in India and the'Greater China Circle' in relation to both historical legacies and new forms of expanded reproduction? How do struggles of women and migrant workers re-create new spaces and transformations of gender and spatial relations?

-           How have relationships between markets, states, migrants, and feminized work forces evolved in East and South-east Asia? How are farmers and migrant labor creating new spaces of struggle against state practices? How do these struggles connect and combine over the region, and over the spaces of the world-economy?

-           How do overseas Chinese diasporas, long-term migration patternsand outcomes, and 'long-distance nationalism', work to produce a structured coherence in the Asian region? What long-term effects and what histories of movement and displacement do diasporic histories reveal? How do these histories relate to other regional factors? 

3.         Culture, Science, Religion and Ideological formations and transformations in Asia:

-           How may Asian cultural and economic constructs shape and guidethe world-system along possibly different paths in the new millennium? Is it possible to develop a vision of Asian democracy and an Asian developmental-bloc sharply at variance with the accelerating global inequalities of the contemporary world-system? What constraints do nationalism, communalism, 'Asian values', and transnational (flexible) citizenships, place in the formation of such a bloc?

-           How may one speak of Asian culture and popular culture? What are the transformative effects of Asian subaltern culture(s) in the twenty first century?

-           How do changing agrarian relations determine different Asian paths of development? Does Confucianism continue to play a 'unifying role' in the historical development of East Asia? How do religions relate to considerations of regional political economy?

-           How is the war on Islamic terrorism re-shaping regional configurations and alliances? How does communal violence overlap with nationalist discourse? What means of self-protection do they draw upon?

What long-term prospects arise out of cultural and religious developments in shaping questions of governance and governmentality?

-           How do hyper-media and changes in the communications orderimpact upon Asia? 

4.         Asian Environments and Historical Trajectories: 

       -           Can we afford to look at the rise of East Asia simply in terms of cyclical patterns of historical capitalism? Is it a shift in the locus of capital accumulation or will it mark a transformation in the historical processes signified by the capitalist world system?

-           How do different environmental legacies shape the future of the Asian region in the context of different disciplinary regimes of accumulation? What long-term contradictions emerge out of the intertwining of environmental considerations with capital accumulation?

-           How do historical patterns affect environmental concerns and trajectories? How do Asian environmental movements address the question of long-term sustainability of the world eco-system?

Participants are encouraged to seek funding from their home institutions in order to enable the attendance of additional international scholars. 

Please send your 2-3 page abstracts to Dr. Eve Stoddard, Chair, Global Studies, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617 ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ).