This week is the Association for Asian Studies 2021 Virtual Annual Conference. Yesterday’s Presidential Address by Christine Yano was very interesting and inspiring. She talked about the traditional Japanese musical performance form “Chindon-ya,” wherein the troupe performs while walking down the streets and alleyways, bringing music and happiness wherever they went and promoting local shops or events at the same time. She connected this with the experience of the academe, especially the Asianist, in motion; that one must interact with one’s ever-changing surroundings, take in external influences and play with them. What a potentially fulfilling, engaging exercise!
This is my first time attending and presenting at the AAS Conference. My presentation, “Working in the Margins: Filipino Intra-imperial Labor Migration in the Interwar Period,” will be available on demand throughout the entire conference for attendees. I find my topic quite concordant with Prof. Yano’s presentation. Filipinos traveled across the imperial and national island peripheries, playing with indigenous Filipino lifeways and riffing with local influences wherever they went. If you are attending the conference this year, I respectfully invite you to watch and interact.