Call for Papers – ETE – v. 7 n. 2 (2020) – Emergence of New Commons for Learning, Remoulding of Intellectuals, and Language and Literacy in the History of Asian Higher Education

Deadline for the submission of originals: May 1, 2019

Guest Editors:

Parimala V. Rao (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) and Shin’ ichi Suzuki (Waseda University, Tokyo)


At the dawn of transfer of knowledge and technologies from Europe or America to Asia, Asian literacy was based on Chinese, Sanskrit, Pali, Arabic and local vernaculars. Linguistic adaptation relied on modifying or diversifying their languages or borrowing Roman letters to scheme-up their writing tools. For example, Khmer or Japanese, either modified itself or invented new words in order to accommodate various new notions and concepts. Such encounter with European languages and letters changed “indigenous or traditional literacy”. Encountering European languages made more Asians to learn them and led to Commons of Learning in Asia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

The “Commons of Learning” can be defined as “open space of linguistic and literate communication in learning”where in Asian people learnt new ideas, through merely accepting any new-comers from outside who brought them anything new, or visiting any country in Europe or the United States of America. They also invited someone from such countries to educational institutions in their regions if not states in modern sense, or got few opportunities in the colonial learning institutions like the Raffles’ College and such other institutions. Linguistic and literate communication in Asia was advanced through the narrow gates of Commons of Learning.

Knowledge, skills and technologies transfer from one region to another. Advancement of learning in a region necessitated re-institutionalizing learning systems which had accommodated “established learnings”. A Kuhnian view might suggest a paradigm change within a school or scholastic circle but conflicts among the schools of established learning in Asia, caused by encountering European Learning, could cause some types of hegemonic turnover among them touching political authorization of the school inside the polity. Literacy and “being literate” was political before modern age in Asia. 

Transnational circulation of knowledge has been observed historically. It occurred between Europe and Asia and amongst Asian cultures and learning. Translations of European concepts, notions and imaginations into a local language could be exported to other languages in the Asian circles. Some Asians were quick in absorbing European ideas while others were slow. Difference as such resulted in reorganization in hierarchical orthodoxies of politico-cultural literacy in the Asian contexts. It was also possible for Asian notions, conceptions and cultures to be transferred to European arts and scholarships. Through circulation of knowledge, skills and ideas from both sides, the pasts of several centuries witnessed some types of human enrichment in culture and civilization. How far did Asian higher learning contribute to create Commons of Learning for the coming generations not only in Asia but elsewhere? 

In the Empire defined by Hardt and Negri, the multitude (common people) should work as singularity in the globalized sphere of communication. Such singularity might suggest a New Space in a New Time beyond the horizon of the smudge of conventional nation-states. Against such politico-historical conditions, with the help of information science and its technology, the multitude of people could acquire new literacy based on virtual reality and virtual information. What kind of historical continuity or discontinuity in higher learning—systems, contents, pedagogies, and personnel—have surged or emerged through the development of higher educational institutions in such a politico-ontological alteration from the 20thcentury to the present? Assuming rudimental fluctuation in academic literacy and supposing positive opportunities for changing Knowledge or Information Commons(based on written materials) to Commons for Learning in new Literacy(based on virtual reality), there can be afresh historical reflections on and reappraisals of “Intellectuality” in and by which Asian world-views have been cherished, nurtured and built or rebuilt. 

With suppositions mentioned above, the present editors invite papers on “Emergence of New Commons for Learning, Remoulding of Intellectuals”, and “Language and Literacy in the History of Asian Education”. The papers may deal with historical reflection, retrospect and prospect into future. In addition, papers touching the following sub topics, are also welcome:

(1)   Studying Abroad; conversation with and translation of counter culture and civilization

(2)   Transfer and Circulation of Knowledge: outbound and inbound 

(3)   Academic Programmes : imported, borrowed, imposed and exported

(4)   Colonial Higher Learning: open, closed. transfigured

(5)   Higher Learning Commons for Women: single or mixed 

(6)   Hegemony of Academic Schools: political strife toward modernity or post-modernity

(7)   Critical Appraisal of Established Knowledge-Base: Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, state-religions and others 

(8)   Standard Languages and Information Literacy; new intellect and creativity

(10) Romanization of Vernaculars Tongues.