Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman welcomes abstracts for an international conference, "Scripts in Asia: c. 1500–2000," which will be held—via Zoom—from 27 to 28 April 2021. No submission/registration fees.


 Asian religious textual and manuscript cultures
Repositories: archives, museums, and libraries
Scripts as artistic expressions
Living cultural bearers
Literary scripts and cultures
Christian missionary education
Sinic, Indic and Arabic writing cultures: origins and expansions
Islamic (madrasah) literacy education
Comparative colonial acculturation and assimilation
Script and language extinction
Cultural nationalism and imperialism
Language and script renewal movements
Western education in Asia
Colonial and postcolonial language/script policy

Keynote Lecture (s)/Speakers

The Many Paths from Sound to Sign in Island Southeast Asia
          Campbell Macknight, Honorary Professor, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University
Mulaika Hijjas
          School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Deadlines and Dates to Remember

    • 31 March 2021: Submission of abstract via Submission Form
    • 5 April 2021: Notification of acceptance
    • 19 April 2021: Submission of Full Paper

How to Submit and About the Conference

Visit the conference webpage to view submission guidelines, presentation format, etc.
The European arrival in Asia in the 16th century was a turning point not only in the political trajectories but also in the writing traditions of Asian states and societies. In maritime Southeast Asia for instance, indigenous literacy in Indic-derived scripts was long widespread in societies such as the Batak (si-sia-sia script), Tagalog (baybayin) and Bugis (lontara). However, increasing European influence occuring alongside Islamization engendered the transition to Latin or Jawi (Arabic-derived) scripts.
Organized by the UP Asian Center, this conference intends to explore the impact of European presence in the various writing traditions of Asia. In what ways were certain languages and especially scripts privileged by colonial states? How is the transition from one writing script to the other reflected in the sources? How do postcolonial societies across Asia view or instrumentalize their varied epigraphical, textual, and codicological traditions?

The UP Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D.  program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here