Call for Papers: On the Natural History of Destruction

June 4, 2018


A one-day workshop, On the Natural History of Destruction: Technology, Politics, and Material Transformation in Asia’s Long World War II aims to illuminate the complicated relationship between political possibilities and material transformation in Asia during the catastrophe of the continent's long World War II (1931-1954). The workshop will bridge the artificial divide between East and Southeast Asia by bringing together scholars from across the field of Asian studies to discuss the ways that the experience of war altered the complex relationships between politics, culture and technology, not least as a consequence of the violent alteration of physical landscapes and social relations by fighting, colonialism, mobilization, industrialization, resource extraction and disaster. In doing so, the workshop will add towards an understanding of the war and its attendance conflicts as global and regional events rather than ones contained within limited geographical boundaries of nation-states. At the same time, it will create opportunities for discussion across disciplines, including history, literature, cultural studies, human geography and anthropology, around the common rubric of the wartime history of technology, broadly defined.

The workshop will take place October 5, 2018.


Early-career scholars and advanced PhD students are invited to submit 300-word abstracts online at by April 6, 2018. Email submissions should include the applicant’s name, email address, institutional affiliation, paper title and abstract, together with a short academic biography (no more than 100 words). Selected participants will be notified by April 20, 2018.  

For more information, please write to [email protected].