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The 24th Annual Harvard East Asia Society Conference:

Moving Bodies: Mobility and Control across East Asia Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA


The Harvard East Asia Society (HEAS) invites currently enrolled graduate students working across all disciplines to submit abstracts for its annual conference. Now in its twenty-fourth year, the HEAS Conference is an annual forum for graduate students to exchange ideas and discuss their research related to Asia, both with their peers and with faculty members across Harvard University. The conference lets participants meet others doing similar research and forge new professional relationships.


This year’s theme explores the movement of bodies—humans, animals, viruses, information, signals, and waves—across and beyond East Asia. The pandemic time we are currently living through has confronted us with the fact that dreams of frictionless crossing are predicated upon systems of regulation and control. The highly globalized and interconnected world we inhabit does not dispense with but is suffused with checks, boundaries, and barriers that both obstruct and enable movements. The conference hopes to open up new questions, probe different methodologies, and examine understudied local and transnational representations and histories from all time periods with regard to mobility and control.


We welcome papers that examine Asia from various perspectives and disciplines, including (but not limited to) history, philosophy, religion, literature, art history, sociology, anthropology, archaeology, economics, political science, gender studies, environmental studies, and law. As our theme suggests, we will give preference to work that speaks to multiple fields or engages critically with the academic delineations that shape our approaches to mobility in East Asia.


The 2021 HEAS conference will be held from February 27th-28th, 2021.


Interested parties may apply via the online application form:

HEAS 2021 Abstract Submission.

The application requires basic contact and background information as well as a 250-word abstract. The application deadline is December 15th, 2020. Decisions will be emailed out in early-January. Applicants whose papers are accepted will be required to submit their final drafts by January 15th, 2021. Note: January 15th, 2020 by 11:59pm (Eastern Time) will be a hard deadline so that the committee has adequate time to organize the panels and clarify any miscommunication.


Due to the pandemic, this year’s conference will be held online via Zoom. Specific access information and links will be posted in the weeks prior to the conference. To seize the technological affordance engendered by this year’s particular circumstance, we encourage submissions from all geographic and time zones.


Eligibility and Application Guidelines:

1. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a program of graduate study.

2. Papers must be related to East Asia, Inner Asia or Southeast Asia.

3. Abstracts must be no longer than 250 words.

4. Deadline for abstract submission: December 15th, 2020 by 11:59pm.


More information can be found on our website:


Questions or concerns can be directed to


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