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University of Houston Hosts Southwest Conference on Asian Studies


The Southwest Conference on Asian Studies (SWCAS) will host its 52nd annual meeting at the University of Houston for the first time Friday, Nov. 3 through Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. SWCAS will have an array of panel sessions and multidisciplinary events at UH’s Student Center South with more than 250 scholars in attendance including faculty, graduate and undergraduate students who will present and attend in person and online, the highest attendance yet.

This year’s theme will be “Voices and Visions: New Perspectives in Asian Studies.” In one virtual panel, Canadian fiction writer Ling Zhang will discuss her debut English language novel “Where Waters Meet,” a captivating, multigenerational saga that brings much-needed attention to women's suffering during wartime and their extraordinary resilience in extreme circumstances.

SWCAS’s welcoming ceremony will take place Friday from Noon to 1:30 p.m. It will feature the first joint performance by the University of Houston Mariachi Pumas and the Houston Chinese Orchestra, representing the unique and diverse Hispanic and Asian American communities in Houston. Local Asian community partners including the Chinese Community Center, Korean Education Center, Japan-America Society of Houston and UH partners will attend and welcome out-of-town participants to the city of Houston. Both the welcoming ceremony and Zhang’s panel are open to the UH community and public, along with the Asian Studies Cultural Fair on Friday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

On Saturday morning, SWCAS will co-host a workshop series with Texas Asia Society on the theme of “Visualizing Asia,” for educators to share how they can incorporate materials from Asian studies in their curriculum.

Jean Oi, president of SWCAS’s parent conference, Association for Asian Studies, will give a keynote speech on Saturday from Noon to 1:30 p.m. She is William Hass Professor of Chinese Politics at Stanford University.

Melody Yunzi Li, assistant professor of Chinese Studies at UH’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and president of SWCAS 2023 said, “This is a rare chance for many scholars in Houston and from out of town to get together for an important regional Asian Studies academic conference. In a year of possibility and new beginnings, SWCAS celebrates local and global communities of Asian studies by connecting creative artists, academic scholars and community partners."

SWCAS provides a platform for scholars in Asian and Asian American studies to network and present their works. It also promotes interest in the scholarly study of Asia.

For more information on the event, contact Melody Yunzi Li at 314-445-7375 or

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