Archives and History Making in 21st-century Asia and Beyond: Politics, Problems, and Possibilities

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Archives and History Making in 21st-century Asia and Beyond: Politics, Problems, and Possibilities
Stream: History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Yuet Heng Wong, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), The University of London, United Kingdom (organizer, presenter, chair)
Ruobing Wang, Fine Arts McNally School of Fine Arts, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore (presenter)
Siu Yin Cora Lee, Lee Kum Kee International Holdings Ltd, Hong Kong (presenter)


Asia has not only become a place of strong economic growth, but also a vibrant space for academic research, as well as a dynamic field itself to be studied. This panel discusses the multiple roles and possibilities of archives in today’s academia and society.

Archival research involves the study of historical documents which were created in the relatively distant past, providing people access often to institutions’, museums’, libraries’, companies’ records of events, people and objects of the past. It facilitates the investigation of documents and textual materials produced by about the institutions. In this digital age, online archives and databases become part of an important archival research material. With these various forms of archive, the identity of both user and archivist also expands from internal scholars, to international researchers, to artists, to research students, and to the public. These changes open more research directions and destinations, from studies of histories reflected by sources in archives, to studies of the histories and politics of archives in relation to their social-historical contexts, to contemporary art production, and even to business promotion.

However, these expansions of users, forms, and purposes require new methods to manage archives practically, as well as re-consideration of the objective and definition of “archives” itself theoretically. This panel includes studies and analysis of archives of four different types of institutions, discussing their formations, presentations, purposes, potential problems and possibilities, as well as politics, in order to generate a more up-to-date and critical review of current issues of “archives”.