Call for Papers: Relocating Governance in Asia Conference at Leiden University


Call for papers at a conference at Leiden University, January 22-24 2020

Deadline for paper abstracts: August 15, 2019

From its early narrow focus upon the state, the study of governance in modern Asian societies has increasingly expanded to include non-state actors, networks and institutions. Colonial historians, for instance, have drawn attention to the continued importance of precolonial power brokers under European dispensations, as well as the merchants, mercenaries and local informants who helped sustain these. Likewise the authority of postcolonial nation states has been, and continues to be, mediated by the actions of a wide array of actors within civil society, from religious leaders, to media outlets and various NGOs. Together with formal states, these actors have helped shape Asian cultures of governance.

Focusing upon the interactions between state and non-state actors in colonial and postcolonial societies, this conference seeks to explore the modern history of governance in South- and Southeast Asia.

We invite papers based on case-studies on the following questions:

  • What were the limitations of colonial governance and how did these shape postcolonial states?

  • When and how did colonial society come into direct contact with the state? How was the experience of colonial rule different for those who were at the center or the periphery, geographically or socioeconomically?

  • How did people subjected to the colonial state attempt to ensure their interests were served, and what strategies did interest groups use to manipulate state policy-making and implementation? What role did power brokers and intermediaries play in this?

  • How, and to what extent, did the forms and routines of governance that were developed in colonial times, translate to and reverberate in post-colonial states?

Prospective participants are invited to send an abstract of no more than 250 words and a max. 100 word biographical statement by August 15th, 2019 to 

Decisions will be conveyed by September 15th. Final papers should be between 6,000-8,000 words.

For more information regarding abstracts, deadlines and specific subjects see here.