Top Page Congress Information JCREES News Link Collection JCREES Articles Board Members Secretariat SRC website

ICCEES Newsletter

The First East Asian Conference for Slavic Eurasian Studies (February 5–6, 2009): How It Was Organized

Kimitaka Matsuzato (SRC)

On February 22, 2008, representatives of the three Slavicist associations of East Asia held a summit meeting at Seoul University to develop academic cooperation among the Slavicists of East Asia. We formulated our agreement as a memorandum of understanding, which was signed by the presidents of the three associations on May 7, 2008. One of the core ideas of this memorandum was swiftly realized: the ICCEES Council meeting held in Stockholm in July 2008 accepted the Chinese Association (CAEERCAS) as an ICCEES member, and the Korean Association (KASS) normalized its relations with the ICCEES. Asian Slavicists began to play the role that they deserved in the ICCEES.

Article 2 of the memorandum proposed convening East Asian conferences for Slavic Eurasian studies annually. The Japanese association, JCREES, was honored to be the first host organization of this event. After the ICCEES Council meeting in Stockholm, the Korean and Japanese representatives held discussions to concretize the format and date of this conference, that is, February 5–6, 2009, and immediately coordinated it with the Chinese Association. The Organizational Committee entitled the conference “Resurgence of Russia and the Future of Eurasia – Views from the East” and called for proposals for panels and papers from September to November 2008. Eventually, we received more than ninety proposals. Since the ICCEES advertised this event, we have received a number of proposals from outside Asia: seven from Russia, one from Belarus, one from the United States, two from Malaysia, and others. Unfortunately, we did not have the budget to assist these people in coming to Sapporo and most of them abandoned their plans to come, but six papers were eventually presented by the participants from outside East Asia.

A scene from one of the panels

The world financial crisis damaged the conference. Yet we managed to organize twenty-four panels with seventy-five papers: twenty-four papers from Korea, nineteen papers from Japan (among them six from foreigners staying in Japan), sixteen papers from China, three from Russia, and one each from Mongolia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the United States. We may be proud of the high performance in the preliminary paper submissions: sixty-nine of the seventy-five papers (92 percent) were submitted in advance and uploaded on the HP. As the AAASS and ICCEES are losing this decent tradition of preliminary paper distribution, “Asian correctness” appears important.

The general consul of the Russian Federation in Sapporo, Vasily Saplin, kindly delivered a speech at the opening session, explaining the changes in Russia during the Putin era. The closing session of the conference was entitled “Dawn of Slavic Studies in East Asia (1950–70s)” and shared the memories and future perspectives described by the “founding fathers” of Slavic studies in East Asia: Li Fenglin (China), Ha Yongchool (Korea), and Haruki Wada (Japan). The First East Asian Conference for Slavic Eurasian Studies attracted the attention of world-famous journals. Professor Christopher Marsh of Baylor University participated in the conference not only as a paper presenter, but also as an observer of the journal Demokratizatsiya. Europe-Asia Studies also paid attention to this event. Many of the papers will soon be available in print in various journals and publications.

Slavic Research Center News No. 17, January 2010

[Secretariat] Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University
Kita-9, Nishi-7, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-0809 JAPAN
e-mail:src@slav.hokudai.ac.jp fax:+81-11-706-4952
copyright (c) 1998-2010  JCREES