Centre for Inter-Asian Research | Ahmedabad University


Our long-term plan is to engage with research problems that can be addressed by collaborative teams of scholars from social sciences and humanities, natural sciences, engineering and management, and public health. A project on climate in the age of the anthropocene, for example, might bring together the biologist, the anthropologist, and the economist, as well as those trained in cultural management, or public health and community medicine experts. Such projects would benefit from a historically informed sense of how different Asian societies have developed, and how they engage with each other in the resolution of problems faced in common. A project on food, health, and medicine could draw in a similar range of expertise. Another one, for instance, in business and innovation might focus on competition, productivity, and the growth of new industries in Asia by convening researchers from business and economics, sociology and public policy. Other topics like education, city cultures, technology and future of work, gender and religious identities could also serve as points of convergence for trying out new methodologies drawn from different disciplines. The groundwork for undertaking such projects will be laid by a few initial initiatives.

In the next five years, the Centre will develop at least 5 to 6 comparative research projects with collaborators from across Asia in the following thematic areas:

  1. Cultures of Sound and Music
  2. Digital Intimacy and Young Women in Globalizing Asia
  3. 21st century Urbanity, Migration and Mobility: The Asian City
  4. Business history and business cultures: Oceanic trade routes
  5. Participatory Citizenship and Local Governance
  6. Cultures of Sustainability: Food, Environment, Climate
  7. Performance cultures and circuits in Asia
  8. Manufacturing Innovation: Technology and Policy in the Age of Big Data
  9. Technology behind Retail: Systems and Practices impacting Consumer Preferences
Cultures of Sound and Music
Saath-Saath: Music across the Waters, Phase 2

Practice-based Research into India-China musical interactions
Tejaswini Niranjana

The Saath-Saath Project, involving a set of cross-cultural collaborations between musicians and scholars, aims to generate a strong interest in thinking through questions of cultural practice in China and India.


Digital Intimacy: Young Women and Social Transformation in Asia

Tejaswini Niranjana and Denise Tang

This project seeks to investigate how young women understand and experience intimacy in the age of social media. Specifically, it looks at negotiations around the institutions of family, marriage, and tertiary education, all three of which appear to be undergoing profound transformation due to digital mediation. It will carry out a multi-sited study of young university-going women in four cities: Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Singapore, and Bangalore, chosen for their high percentage of social media usage in Asia among women in the 18-30 age group. It will focus on three aspects of social media, namely microblogging, file-sharing and services (eg., provided by dating apps), as well as on communicative media (eg., WeChat, WhatsApp, Instagram), deploying in-depth, qualitative methodologies to generate rich site-specific data. Using a qualitative ethnographic approach, the project will track 120 women (30 in each of the 4 locations) over 24 months to throw new light on emerging practices of digital intimacy, with specific reference to how young, college-going women cultivate a digital persona of their selves, and how such personae forge new ways of negotiating and navigating the realms of courtship/marriage, kinship/family and university education.


Bai Meijiadai, Holly Hou Lixian, Ritty Lukose, Nitya Vasudevan, Audrey Yue

Research Assistants

Farah Binti Gulam Hussain Bawany, Chung Man Yin, Chinmayi Ramaiah