Programme

The Asian Conference on the Social Sciences (ACSS) is a multidisciplinary conference held concurrently with The Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment (ACSEE). Keynote, Featured and Spotlight Speakers will provide a variety of perspectives from different academic and professional backgrounds. Registration for any one of these conferences permits attendance in all three within the event.

This page provides details of presentations and other programming. For more information about presenters, please visit the Speakers page.


  • Independence and Interdependence: Preliminary Thoughts from the Viewpoint of Japan’s Experience on SDGs Implementation
    Independence and Interdependence: Preliminary Thoughts from the Viewpoint of Japan’s Experience on SDGs Implementation
    Keynote Presentation: Kotaro Katsuki
  • South Asian Indenture to Jamaica: Between Law, Literature and Social Science
    South Asian Indenture to Jamaica: Between Law, Literature and Social Science
    Keynote Presentation: Eddie Bruce-Jones
  • Independence and Interdependence – Perspectives from a Development Practitioner Based in Indonesia
    Independence and Interdependence – Perspectives from a Development Practitioner Based in Indonesia
    Keynote Presentation: Toshi Nakamura
  • What Role Should Japanese Universities Play in the Refugee Crisis?
    What Role Should Japanese Universities Play in the Refugee Crisis?
    Keynote Presentation: Osamu Arakaki
  • Defining and Measuring Resilience in an Aging World
    Defining and Measuring Resilience in an Aging World
    Featured Presentation: James W. McNally
  • Locating Data for Research: Data Collections and Resources for Thesis Writing, Teaching, and Grant Development for the Social Sciences and the Environment
    Locating Data for Research: Data Collections and Resources for Thesis Writing, Teaching, and Grant Development for the Social Sciences and the Environment
    Featured Workshop Presentation: James W McNally & Kathryn Lavender
  • Independence and Interdependence – A Personal Perspective
    Independence and Interdependence – A Personal Perspective
    Featured Presentation: Lowell Sheppard

Previous Programming

View details of programming for past ACSS conferences via the links below.

Independence and Interdependence: Preliminary Thoughts from the Viewpoint of Japan’s Experience on SDGs Implementation
Keynote Presentation: Kotaro Katsuki

The introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in autumn of 2015 reflects the current situation regarding our societies both domestically and internationally. The presentation will attempt to provide an overview of the historical context that led to the adoption of the SDGs, and to shed light on one of the key features, partnership, and share with the audience the Government of Japan’s efforts to promote the agenda, with concrete examples of cooperation with various stakeholders in Japan.

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South Asian Indenture to Jamaica: Between Law, Literature and Social Science
Keynote Presentation: Eddie Bruce-Jones

The 100th anniversary of the abolition of British indentureship in 2017 marked a renaissance of governmental, civil-society and scholarly activity on the legacy of indentureship. The indentureship system sent over one million Indian and Chinese labourers to the Caribbean and other British colonial territories between 1845 and 1917. However, there is a great deal of scholarly work yet to be done on this important social, political and economic system of labour relations.

The work required to fully understand and critically interrogate the indenture system and its significance both to the nation-building project of empire as well as the interior lives of the indentured labourers and their descendants, is by its very nature, interdisciplinary. It involves examination of the legal and administrative structures that enabled the indenture system to emerge in the orbit of the transatlantic slave system. It also requires a close look at the literature written by descendants of indentured labourers, which allows a window into the effects of the system on the material conditions and identity of a significant part of the South Asian diaspora. Finally, a look at the archival records from the era, including for example indentures, colonial planning records and correspondence on mortality rates during the transport, allows critical historians to ask questions that demand imaginative interpretive inquiry.

This lecture outlines an ongoing project that explores the relationship between the lifeways of indentured labourers through literature and archival records. The project interrogates the relationship between the various legal frameworks mobilised by the indenture contracts in the regulation of everyday lives of labourers, including immigration law, private contract law, criminal law, labour law, and family law. This aspect of the project is relevant to legal theorists and legal historians and helps situate indentureship as a legal form in the context of the British colonial era. The project suggests ways in which diasporic imaginings of indenture contest the temporal and spatial rigidity of conventional legal historical narratives.

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Image: "Newly arrived indentured labourers from India in Trinidad" (1897) | Wikipedia

Independence and Interdependence – Perspectives from a Development Practitioner Based in Indonesia
Keynote Presentation: Toshi Nakamura

While Southeast Asia is growing fast and has a booming middle class, there are still a large number of populations living in poverty. Kopernik, a social purpose organization founded in 2010 in Indonesia, is bringing innovative solutions to reduce poverty in Indonesia and neighbouring countries. The speaker will share his journey in establishing Kopernik, and talk about the approaches Kopernik takes in testing simple solutions in a lean way. He will also share his perspectives on how governments, companies, academics and non profits play important roles in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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What Role Should Japanese Universities Play in the Refugee Crisis?
Keynote Presentation: Osamu Arakaki

Although the history of asylum is long, the refugee regime was formally created after the First World War. The regime was reshaped during the Cold War. It was an attempt to incorporate the refugee problem into the context of international politics. However, we are witnessing various challenges and hurdles in dealing with new issues within the framework of the regime. Based on this general background, this presentation will discuss what Japan has experienced as a state party to the 1951 Refugee Convention. Then, it will focus on the role of Japanese institutions of higher education and research, that is to say, universities, in light of recent movements represented by the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Global Compact on Refugees.

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Defining and Measuring Resilience in an Aging World
Featured Presentation: James W. McNally

Much research and policy develop seeks to address the challenge of an “Aging World”. This is a misplaced concern as we are already living in an “Older World” where the population fifty-five and older has been playing an increasing role in the structures and behaviors of world populations for decades. This presentation focuses on how elders are showing increased resilience in the face of the physical, emotional and economic changes that are part of growing older and aging successfully. The presentation will review new findings and research that emphasizes the manner in which elders are adapting to living longer and how we are seeing a healthier and more successful cohort of older individuals. The presentation will look at issues such as aging in place, innovative treatments for chronic conditions and the problems associated with life extension as a goal as opposed to increased quality of life. The presentation will seek to summarize many of the themes and approaches offered as part of the AGEN19 meetings and make suggestions for new lines of inquiry.

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Locating Data for Research: Data Collections and Resources for Thesis Writing, Teaching, and Grant Development for the Social Sciences and the Environment
Featured Workshop Presentation: James W McNally & Kathryn Lavender

Instructors

James W McNally, Director, NACDA Program on Aging
Kathryn Lavender, Program Manager, NACDA Program on Aging

Researchers increasingly recognize the value of public use data for secondary research, thesis development, training and education and the development of independent research grants. As cutting edge international studies are emerging across Asia, Latin America, Europe, and increasingly Africa the opportunities for cross-national and comparative research are growing exponentially. This is a particularly exciting time to work, due to the large number of trained research professionals working within their home countries and providing culturally grounded interpretations of results. An ongoing barrier, however, is knowing where and what kind of data are available for secondary analysis.

The creation and maintenance of sustainable data archives can be challenging but it offers clear advantages for a national and international research strategy. Data that is preserved can be used by multiple researchers, testing a variety of hypotheses and increasing the return on investment to the expensive process of data collection. Having an internally managed archival system also provides greater control and autonomy in the equitable distribution of data resources. This workshop, sponsored by IAFOR and the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA) will offer hands-on examples of how to discover data resources, obtain them and then implement them as part of a research strategy. Regardless of whether or not you are a student looking for a thesis topic, an instructor looking for research material to using classroom teaching, or an established researcher looking for new opportunities the wealth of publicly available data has created almost unlimited opportunities to explore new themes and to collaborate with other researchers worldwide. NACDA has been in existence for over 35 years, and its preserves and really distributes over 1,500 studies on the lifecourse and health in the United States and worldwide. Funded by the National Institute on Aging in the United States, NACDA represents one of the world’s largest collections of research data. NACDA is only one of many such organizations, and increasingly these data resources can be found, if not in your home country then only a click away via the Internet.

The workshop will introduce you to NACDA and are many research partners across the world. All researchers attending The Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology 2019 (AGen2019), The Asian Conference on the Social Sciences 2019 (ACSS2019) or The Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment 2019 (ACSEE2019) are welcome to participate in this workshop, ask questions and learn about data resources you can use for research, classroom instruction or in developing a research paper or thesis for your college classes. All you need is your laptop or mobile device and our instructors will help you better understand the wealth of information that lies at your fingertips.

An IAFOR Workshop in collaboration with the University of Michigan

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Independence and Interdependence – A Personal Perspective
Featured Presentation: Lowell Sheppard

Lowell Sheppard will bring a personal perspective to the theme of “Independence and Interdependence” and offer personal accounts, stories, and examples of how communities have survived stress and disaster by fostering independence through interdependence. For example, he will tell how the role of the Tsunami Stones illustrate interdependence through time. He will also explore what true independence and self reliance are, which will be themes of his solo crossing of the Pacific.

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