Celebration of Eastern Culture

SUNY New Paltz will host The New York Conference on Asian Studies for the first time since 2005 on Friday, Sept. 28 and Saturday, Sept. 29.

Conference co-chair and assistant professor of history at SUNY New Paltz  Akira Shimada said he is very excited for the event to come to New Paltz as the conference is one of the oldest regional conferences out of the nine held under the Association of Asian Studies, the largest scholarly, nonpolitical and nonprofit Asian studies community in the world.

The conference will feature 57 panels on a variety of topics from ancient studies of Asia to an analysis of modern and postmodern Asia. Ha Jin, award-winning writer and author of “A Good Fall,” a collection of short stories, will be featured to coincide with the theme of “Contesting Tradition.”

“It’s a large conference and we got generous support from multiple departments and schools, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Fine and Performing Arts, International Program and the President Don Christian,” Shimada said.

Buildings around campus will also host conference exhibitions celebrating Asian culture: the Sara Bedrick Gallery in the Dorsky Museum will have “Shinohara Pops! The Avant-Garde Road, Tokyo/New York”  through Dec. 16, which will examine the 50 year career of Ushio Shinohara.

Shinohara is famous for his role in the Tokyo avant-garde art scene that took place in the ‘50s and ‘60s and for inventing Boxing Painting, the style of painting with boxing gloves. Shimada said there will be a boxing painting performance by Shinohara on Sept. 29.

The McKenna Gallery will also feature an exhibition of feature films that focus on China’s agricultural development created by New Paltz graduate Veronica O’Keefe.

Maxwell Reide, a second-year digital media production and Asian Studies major and an experienced conference attendee said he does not know what to expect.

Reide said the last event he attended in the Asian Studies field was about Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in Asia which he said he found surprisingly interesting.

Professor Shimada said the event will be a great opportunity for students to experience a real academic conference and to learn more about scholarly discussions on Asia.

Students can enter the conference free of charge, though meals and the reception are for paying attendees only.  The registration fees for full participation of the conference, including meals and the Indian Music concert, is $60 for one day and $80 for the full conference. pass.