Human and Environmental Networks in East and Southeast Asia


About the Cluster

The main intellectual objective of the cluster is to discuss the historical depth and regional connections of what we have conventionally called “East Asia” and “Southeast Asia.” There are a wide range of possible ways of understanding how historical depth and regional connections could play out, such as entanglement of unexpected events or narratives, how marginal regions were connected, how the historical center was dislodged, or how miniature narratives turned into gigantic histories. The scale of events and patterns also figures into our consideration. In terms of linguistic domain, the adoption of the Sinitc and its vernacularization in regional contexts permeated in various cultural space we would like to examine more closely. Collaboration, exchange, mobility and juxtaposition of things in what have conventionally called Maritime Asia would also fall in our investigative scope.

The goal of our project is to foster a new spatial and temporal thinking regarding how human and environmental circuits and networks were built (or transformed) before and during the period when the eastern end of Eurasian landmass became modern. We gather a group of faculty members from Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts to interrogate how this new thinking could be formulated and how the new designs of empirical research would look like.

Principal Investigators

Noriko Aso, History, UCSC
Raoul Birnbaum, HAVC, UCSC
Alan Christy, Provost of Cowell college, UCSC
Minghui Hu, History, UCSC
Megan Thomas, Politics, UCSC

Faculty and Graduate Student Participants

Andrea Goldman, History, UCLA
Kate McDonald, History, UCSB
Michael Nylan, History, UC Berkeley
Stephen Roddy, Literature, USF
Anna Tsing, Anthropology, UCSC


September 8, 2018: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Human and Environmental Networks in East and Southeast Asia