Asia and the Americas

A Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Section Annual Reports

Asia & the Americas Latin American Studies Association (LASA)

2020 Annual Report July 30, 2020 (via Zoom)

On Thursday, July 30, Asia & the Americas co-chairs Vladimir Rouvinski and Andres Serbin convened the section business meeting via Zoom, because of the exceptional circumstances caused by COVID-19 pandemics that not allowed holding this meeting in person. The meeting was attended by 22 section members, including two standing members of the section’s executive committee in addition to section’s co-chairs. During the meeting, the Section recognized the following members: Dr. Monica DeHart, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies & Global Development Studies at University of Puget Sound; Dr. Mercedes Vazquez, Lecturer & Honorary Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong; and Dr. Gonzalo Sebastián Paz, Adjunct Professor at Center for Latin American Studies of Georgetown University, for their contributions in the activities of the Section.

Vladimir and Andres informed participants of section activities after 2019 Congress in Boston, shared proposals for the 2020-21 LASA cycle and provided space for the participants of the meeting to share information about their research and activities.

Section Membership

LASA reports the section membership to be 99 as of July 2019; however, it is to understand that a large number of section members did not registered for LASA 2020 Virtual and, thus, may not have renewed membership for this cycle. Still, this membership is to evidence that, despite of the challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemics, there is a steady interest to strengthen Asia and the Americas area of studies, and there are many new members who joined the section this year.

2020 Congress


As in previous years, the section planned to have its pre-event, this time in collaboration with the University of Guadalajara. However, because of the sudden arrival of the pandemic, it was forced to cancel the pre-event: most of the participants were not attending the Congress anymore and the University of Guadalajara was quickly closed before new decisions were to be made with regard to how to operate in new scenarios.

Congress Panels and Events:

The Section had to take a decision on how to deal with Section’s panels approved to be presented at 2020 Congress. Before any decisions were to be made, section’s co-chairs reached out to the Section’s membership via e-mail, as well as conducted a survey on the web. The results of the consultations showed that the overwhelming majority of section’s members decided not to attend the virtual version of the congress, yet expressed their strong intention to participate in the next year’s congress. Taking into consideration this scenario, co-chairs called for an emergency meeting of the executive committee, which reached a consensus, in particular, to ask LASA officials to allow the section to maintain the same panels during the next year´s congress and to encourage LASA to cooperate more actively with the sections in terms of congress’ policies. At the same time, and despite of the fact that most of the section’s members did not attend virtual 2020 congress, Vladimir Rouvinski acting as a co-chair conducted a virtual business meeting during the congress, which was attended by 7 participants, including several new section’s members. It was also decided that the Section would conduct another business meeting in July (of which we report in this document).

Section Business

As in the last year, this year the section conducted its board nominations through e-mail so as to elicit a larger number of candidates for office as well as electoral participants. One of co-chairs and two members-in-large were to step down. In addition, communication officer Mercedes Vasquez decided to resign in March, because of the increased workload and online teaching at her home university in Hong Kong. However, after the first call for nominations was sent out, the section received no nominations at all before the original deadline (28 April). A new call for nominations was sent out, with deadline set to 15 July, and Section finally received two nominations for member-in-large.

Since there were no nominations for co-chair, despite of the original and new extended deadlines, upon LASA approval, it was decided that Vladimir Rouvinski will continuing serving as Co-Chair until next elections in 2021, as an exception. At the same time, as co-chair Andres Serbin assumed the coordination of the production of newsletter under the institutional platform of CRIES, there is no need for communication officer at this moment. Thus, this year marked the retirement of committee members Gonzalo Paz and Benjamin Creutzfeld, and two new members have joined the Executive Committee: Cynthia A. Sanborn (Universidad del Pacífico) and Jerry Garcia (Sea Mar Museum). These officers will serve a three-year term alongside four ongoing members of the executive committee and two co-chairs.

Current Executive Committee Roster

  • Vladimir Rouvinski, co-chair 2016-2021 ,Icesi U, Colombia
  • Andrés Serbin, co-chair 2019-2022,CRIES, Argentina
  • María Montt Strabucchi, treasurer 2019-2022, Pontificia U Católica, Chile
  • Victor Kheifets, officer 2019-2022, St. Petersburg State U., Russia
  • Allison White, officer 2018-2021, Tulane U, USA
  • Sebastián Naranjo R, officer 2018-2021, Renmin U, China
  • Cynthia A. Sanborn, officer 2020-2023, U. del Pacífico, Peru
  • Jerry Garcia, officer 2020-2023, Sea Mar Museum, USA

Finally, Rouvinski shared an update on section finance with the group.

Public Relations and Communications

During the business meeting, we discussed section strategies to increase visibility, including:

Section newsletter. As it was mentioned earlier, it was decided that CRIES, under the supervision of Co-Chair Andres Serbin, will be responsible for the publication of the Newsletter and the decision that section will subsidy production costs (as it did last time) have been approved. The CRIES staff member in charge of the Newsletter will be appointed during the next week and the appointment will be informed to the membership so they can provide information for the Newsletter.

Section Awards. Following the decision made at last year´s business meeting, this year the Section has launched its Best Academic Work Award competition, with deadline for nominations set to 15 November 2020. The Section approved $300 award for the main prize and two diploma recognitions. The Section approved the juries: Mercedes Vasquez (U. Hong Kong), Takahiro Miyachi (U. Tokio), María Florencia Rubiolo (U. Cordoba). The results of the competition are to be announced during 2021 LASA Congress.

2021 Congress Planning

Before moving on to discuss Section’s participation in next year´s congress, co-chairs informed the participants about virtual meetings and consultations with LASA leadership, and shared their satisfaction with these new dynamics that are greatly improving chances of conducting a successful academic congress next year.

Pre-Congress Event Looking forward to the next LASA congress in Vancouver, members expressed their support of the idea to continue with our tradition to hold a pre-congress conference. Taking into consideration difficulties faced by at least some of the participants in getting visas to Canada, there is a proposal to hold a pre-conference event in Seattle/Tacoma, located in close proximity to Vancouver. Besides, some participants expressed their concern about financial obstacles existing for some of the members to assume the costs of travel to North America, and a possibility of hybrid/totally online events has been discussed. However, no decision has been reached at this point, and the participants agreed that Executive Committee will discuss this issue and make a proposal.

Tracks. Members expressed their satisfaction with the inclusion of “Asia and the Americas” special track in 2021 Congress in Vancouver. The co-chairs encourage the participants to design the panels to be submitted via this specialized track and offered a possibility of choosing two proposals that would be identified as “sponsored by Asia and the Americas LASA Executive Committee” (so as not to confuse with panels sponsored by the Section and mentioned below). The criteria for such a selection will be the same as for Section’s panels last year, and the call for paper will be sent right away, with deadline set to 20 August 2020 so that the Executive Committee has time to reach a consensus regarding which panels will be recommended. It was made clear that “sponsored by AA LASA Executive Committee” recognition does not guarantee the inclusion into the program. This decision is to be made by track’s chairs. In this regard, coordination among co-Chairs of the section and of the track “Asia and the Americas” has been already established.

Panels. In the meeting, the participants confirmed that two Section’s panels (approved for 2020 Congress) will be presented as Section’s panels during 2021 Congress in Vancouver. These panels are: “Universalidad desde abajo: teoría, práctica y narrativa en el contexto transpacífico entre Asia y América Latina” and “Placing India Within Transpacific Studies”. All the presenters at each of the panels re-confirmed their intention to participate in the next year´s congress.

Other Initiatives

Kathy Lopez invited participants to consider contributing into Palgrave Book Series "Historical and Cultural Interactions between Asia and Latin America" Fernando Pedrosa invited section’s member to learn about the activities of the group he leads in Buenos Aires: Andres Serbin and Enrique Dussel encouraged section’s members to take advantage of the activities (webinar, book and reports publications) that are carried out by CRIES and CECHIMEX. The other members also shared the news of their coming publications and other activities.

This meeting took place via Zoom, July 30, starting 9:00 AM EDT and ended 10:27 AM.



Asia & the Americas Latin American Studies Association (LASA)

2019 Annual Report June 2019

On Sunday, May 26, Asia & the Americas co-chair Monica DeHart convened the section business meeting as part of the LASA 2019 Congress in Boston, MA. The meeting was attended by 20 section members, including three standing members of the section’s executive committee in addition to the section co-chair. During that meeting, DeHart informed participants of section activities of the last year, solicited proposals for possible activities for the 2019-20 LASA cycle.

Section Membership

LASA reports the section membership to be 103 as of November 2018; however, there was general agreement that a large number of section members did not attend LASA 2019 and, thus, may not have renewed membership for this cycle. This membership number enables the section to propose two section panels for LASA 2020 in Guadalajara.

2019 Congress Participation and Activities


As in previous years, the section capitalized on local connections to collaborate with the Global Development Policy Initiative at Boston University to host a half-day pre-congress roundtable on “Shifting Environmental Politics in Nuestra Transpacific America.” Originally scheduled to include five panelists, travel and personal circumstances prevented two of the originally-announced participants from attending; however, Nicole Fabricant (anthropologist, Towson University), Rebecca Ray (economist, Global Development Policy Initiative/GEGI), and Jason Chang (historian, University of Connecticut), along with moderator Gonzalo Paz produced a stimulating conversation. Approximately 25 section members were able to attend and participate in the event. Following the roundtable, the section hosted a dinner reception for all attendees.

Congress Panels and Events:

In keeping with the trend of the last several years, the number and range of panels related to Asia and the Americas has continued to grow at LASA, with increasing representation of humanistic scholarship and pan- Asian foci. This year’s Congress program featured 20 panels devoted specifically to Asia-Americas dynamics/themes, and an additional 27 papers on other panels also focused on this trans-Pacific relations. The section sponsored two invited panels, "Asia and Latin America: Cultural Studies Perspectives" (which was Part I of a two-part panel, the second of which, “Asia and Latin America: Transpacific Imaginaries” took place on a separate day) and "China, América Latina, y el Caribe: Retos y oportunidades para un orden internacional cambiante." All of these panels generated large audiences and considerable cross-fertilization during the conference. Especially promising was the presence of a larger number of graduate students on and at these section panels, indicating a growing new generation of Asia and the Americas scholarship.

Section Business

This year the section conducted its board nominations and election process through e-mail so as to elicit a larger number of candidates for office as well as electoral participants. The group has sought to maintain a co-chair system that spans representatives from North and South America, as well as the humanities and social sciences, 2 ideally serving in 3-year rotations with alternating schedules so as to ensure continuity in the leadership with the advent of each new chair. This year marks the end of DeHart’s four-year term as co-chair, and the retirement of committee members Sue Gronewold, María Montt Straubcchi, Junyoung Verónica Kim, and Zelideth Rivas. The election process thus included (a) one new co-chair, (with Rouvinski continuing until 2020); and (b) three new executive committee members, including one dedicated to communication and media relations.

DeHart reported that elections, administered by Rouvinski through e-mail to all section members, had generated 30 votes and announced the results: (a) new co-chair, Andrés Serbin of the Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones económicas y sociales; (b) new communications officer, María Mercedes Vázquez Vázquez (U Hong Kong), and (c) two new executive committee members at large, Victor Kheifets (St. Petersburg) and María Montt Strabucchi (Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile). These officers will serve a three-year term alongside the four ongoing members of the executive committee.

Current Executive Committee Roster


  • Vladimir Rouvinski, co-chair 2016-2020, Icesi U
  • Andrés Serbin, co-chair 2019-2022, CRIES
  • María Montt Strabucchi, Secretary-Treasurer 2019-2022, Pontificia U Católica, Chile
  • María Mercedes Vázquez, communications 2019-2022, U Hong Kong
  • Victor Kheifets, officer 2019-2022, St. Petersburg State Univ
  • Gonzálo Paz, officer 2016-2020, Georgetown U
  • Benjamin Creutzfeldt, officer 2017-2020, Wilson Center
  • Allison White, officer 2018-2021, Tulane U
  • Sebastián Naranjo R, officer 2018-2021, Renmin U

Finally, DeHart shared an update on section finance with the group.

Public Relations and Communications

During the business meeting, we discussed section strategies to increase visibility, including:

  • Section newsletter. Members at the business meeting expressed their sense of the value of the newsletter and encouraged its continuation, approving the section subsidy for production costs.
  • Section Awards. The group recommended identifying one book and/or article per year for section awards. Members did not feel that the recognition necessarily needed to be connected with a monetary award (although it could), but felt these awards would provide important recognition to both the section and also to scholars/students who receive the recognition. Members expressed willingness to convene committees to review the nominated materials.

2020 Congress Planning

Pre-Congress Event Looking forward to the next LASA congress in Guadalajara, members expressed their strong desire to continue the tradition of holding a pre-congress event, given how successful these were in creating community among section members, providing a chance for a “workshop” on different issues that might be outside of one’s own individual expertise, and connecting with the local institutions/communities with which 3 the section collaborates. No consensus emerged on a particular proposal for next year’s precongress, but members articulated the following possibilities:

  • A full-day event that holds 2-3 different panels, each specialized in a distinct disciplinary (or social science v. humanistic) focus on a given theme, thus allowing for depth and breadth.
  • A full-day event that convenes panels of mixed disciplinary background on distinct themes.

Regarding a theme for the pre-congress, members recommended eliciting information from the sponsoring university in Guadalajara about the issues they’re currently working on and building on those. They also recommended themes that lent themselves to cross-disciplinary focus—i.e., transoceanic slave trade—that could be engaged in both historical and contemporary ways, focusing on domains on economics, politics, culture, etc. Another suggestion was to produce a special edition out of the event.

Following the section’s business meeting in Boston, Andres Serbin has established a working contact with the Department of Ibero-Latin American Studies at the University of Guadalajara that expressed its interest to cohost pre-conference LASA 2020 event.

Tracks. Members expressed concern about the disappearance of the “Asia and the Americas” track, noting that only a “Latin America and the Pacific Rim” track remained. People were interested in establishing a more expansive track that allowed section panels to be more visible in the program.

Panels. DeHart reminded members about the need to generate proposals for section panels for next year. She said that the co-chairs would establish a deadline for those proposals and that members could use the Asia & the Americas listserve or the Facebook page as a way to generate CFP for proposed panels.

Other Initiatives

Ignacio Lopez Calvo reminded the group of the Asia and the Americas series he edits through Palgrave Macmillan and Anthem Press. Manuscript proposals from the group are welcome. He also noted the ongoing East-West Cross-cultural relations conference (with distinct titles) that he organizes each May and invited section members to consider participating. More info on those opportunities will be circulated in the newsletter.