Published: April 14, 2021

In 2020, the Center for Asian Studies held 22 events. After twelve in-person events before COVID-19, we moved to a virtual platform in April, allowing us to welcome a particularly large audience of nearly 1000 attendees over the year. Here is a summary of some of our bigger events.

In mid-February, CAS held an early event dealing with COVID-19: “The Coronavirus Crisis: an Emergency Teach-In.” This event sought to provide social, political, epidemiological, and cultural perspectives on the Coronavirus crisis (which was not yet a pandemic) to assist audience members with understanding and assessing the situation. It was moderated by CAS Director Tim Oakes, with panelists Molly Lamb, an Assistant Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health; Xiaoling Chen, a PhD Student in Health Geographies at CU-Boulder; and Travis Klingberg, a CU-Boulder alumnus and Postdoctoral Fellow in Geography at NYU Shanghai.

To address another crisis, CAS sponsored “Uyghur Voices: ‘Never Again’ Is Now” on March 4, featuring a heartfelt presentation by Uyghurs whose family members have disappeared. Speakers included Mustafa Aksu, a representative from the Uyghur Human Rights Project, and Sarah Tynen and Darren Byler, both from CU-Boulder. 

Our second event addressing the Coronavirus occurred on June 18. “Asia After COVID-19” looked at shifts taking place in Asia as a result of the global pandemic. The panel featured Michael Vatikiotis, a Singapore-based writer and journalist; Yang Yang, a CU alumna and postdoctoral researcher at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore; Ben Dooley, who reports on Japan’s business and economy for The New York Times; and Jinhwan Oh, Associate Professor of International Studies at Ewha Womans University and a recent CAS visiting scholar. 

Our fall event lineup started with “Hong Kong: Global China’s Restive Frontier,” a talk by Ching Kwan Lee, Dr. Chung Sze-yuen Professor of Social Science at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Professor of Sociology at UCLA. This event had 91 attendees logging in from locations around the world including Australia, Canada, China, Estonia, Hong Kong, Korea, Russia, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Our annual theme, Sound and Noise in Asia, coordinated by CAS affiliate Evelyn Shih, Assistant Professor of Chinese, started with a symposium that included a keynote address by Judith Zeitlin, “‘Instrument of Flesh’: The Operatic Voice in Late Ming Musical Culture.” The keynote was followed by panel discussions by David Humphrey (Michigan State University), Jina Kim (University of Oregon), Julie Keblinksa (University of California, Berkeley), and Evelyn Shih over two days. Our final event of 2020 was also on the Sound and Noise in Asia theme: “Listening for India: Reading and the Multilingual Nation,” was presented by Madhumita Lahiri from the University of Michigan.

Videos from select events are available at Overall, although we were used to holding in-person events aimed primarily toward the CU-Boulder campus community, the need to adapt to virtual events allowed CAS to pivot toward a wider audience around the globe, which we will continue into 2021 and beyond. Upcoming event information is always available at