Japan Chapter of the Association for Borderlands Studies
The ABS Japan Chapter was officially founded in April 2016, receiving recognition as a Chapter organization at the Association for Borderlands Studies Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada.
Rationale for Creating the ABS Japan Chapter:
One of the missions advocated by Professor Iwashita in becoming President of the ABS was to encourage new researchers to join the ABS research camp, especially from his home region of Asia.
The development of border studies is of course not limited to Asia, and as scholars we all have numerous conferences occurring all over the world. As researchers whose work cuts across disciplinary and international borders, we all face challenges over which communities to participate in given the inevitable constraints upon our time and financial resources. ABS needs to position itself as the most attractive organization for coordinating and helping to develop the many emerging border studies schools, in order that border studies continues to develop into a crucial component of the humanities and social sciences. In order to realize this opportunity, the ABS should gather distinguished scholars and practitioners, as well as do all we can to encourage younger scholars and those from outside the traditional geographical and disciplinary areas of border studies to join us. We have a chance to capture this moment of growth in the world of border studies.
For the ABS as an organization, the goal should be to seek to develop and maintain its membership in as many areas of the world as possible. The trial formation of the Japan Chapter offers a means of stabilizing this membership and guaranteeing contributions from areas beyond the US and Europe. Developing such outreach programs would allow for the influence of border studies on the academy and wider society to extend and the influence of the ABS to be increased. One example of this is the organization of the first ABS outreach seminar in Oceania, which will be hosted by Alexander Bukh in New Zealand. We are working to develop our community in partnership with scholars in the traditional regions of borders studies in Europe and North American, as well as creating a global network beyond these regions, so that various institutions and organizations concerning border studies develop in tandem. Korean, Indian, and Chinese colleagues are also working with us to build a cooperative border studies community in Asia in spite of the difficulties over border issues in the region.
For us in Japan, a new academic association for border studies is necessary for promoting border studies as a field of research, but it is essential that such an association works in cooperation with international bodies. In Japan many associations that are established as Japanese outposts of international associations ultimately come to only function within a domestic context. This has been visible in Japanese outposts for political science and international relations, for example. What would be distinct about our Chapter is the overlap between the memberships of the two organizations, which would ensure that the Japan Chapter does not become isolated from the parent body of the ABS. Additionally, from the practical point of view, developing this new chapter as the Japanese outpost of a larger international organization makes things much easier from a bureaucratic standpoint. Furthermore, domestic appreciation for the work of our Chapter will be enhanced by the maintenance and continued demonstration of the closeness of our ties with the ABS parent body. Finally, it is anticipated that such factors would also be relevant in the case of chapters being founded elsewhere in the world, and consequently would also be helpful in strengthening the financial support afforded to such organizations.
It is with the above in mind that the establishment of a Japan Chapter of the Association for Borderlands Studies has been sought, and we hope you will support us in this exciting new endeavor and offer your cooperation in this effort to expand the reach and influence of both ABS and border studies itself.
A list of the Chapter’s members is available here: