Association for Asian Studies
Digital Dialogues Series:
Academics Online

This page hosts open-access educational resources produced as a part of the Association for Asian Studies Digital Dialogues Series: Academics Online. These webinar events address online harassment, digital engagement, and its impact on scholars and activists of Asia.

The goals of these sessions are to build knowledge and awareness among colleagues, offer practical instruction on operating in virtual spaces such as Twitter, and build ties among many types of educators to generate fruitful collaborations and solidarity for future activities and initiatives. The focus of this series, which may be expanded upon in future iterations, is activity related to China, India, Hong Kong, and Japan. The organizers and participants would like to express our gratitude to the AAS for hosting this series and to our other generous sponsors for making it possible.

Academics Online featured the following events (click to jump to a session description and its resources):

Session 1: Digital Harassment Across Asias (Feb 16, 2022)
Session 2: Best Practices for Social Media Safety (Mar 10, 2022)
Session 3: Activists and Advocacy Beyond Academia (May 2, 2022)

Event organizers:

  • Paula R. Curtis (Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, UCLA)
  • Ran Zwigenberg (Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University)
  • Tomomi Yamaguchi (Associate Professor, Montana State University)
  • Hiromu Nagahara (Associate Professor, MIT)
  • Ethan Mark (Senior University Lecturer, Leiden University)

Event sponsors:

  • Asian Languages and Cultures, UCLA
  • Association for Asian Studies
  • Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA
  • Center for Korean Studies, UCLA
  • Comfort Women Action for Redress and Education (CARE)
  • The Haruhisa Handa Professorship of Shinto Studies, UCLA
  • Japanese Arts & Globalizations Group, UCLA
  • Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities
  • Terasaki Center for Japanese Language Studies, UCLA
  • Verge: Studies in Global Asias and the Global Asias Initiative (GAI), The Pennsylvania State University

Session 1: Digital Harassment Across Asias

February 16, 2022
AAS page

This webinar offered lightning talks by scholars of China, Japan, India, and Hong Kong, with the aim of building knowledge and awareness of critical issues surrounding public-facing scholarship, activism, and online harassment in Asian Studies. Over the last several years, virtual spaces have become a significant site of misinformation, disinformation, and mobilization among extremist communities. Internet-based activism and political mobilization are not a new phenomenon; yet, alarmingly, in much of the world, right wing populists, conspiracy theorists, history deniers and the like have been invigorated by the possibilities of connecting online and have grown in size and strength. Many such actors have turned the internet into a battle ground, engaging not only in recruiting and radicalizing supporters but also in campaigns of harassment of their opponents.

Asia has been a particularly important venue for the growth of this phenomenon, and online harassment has been a growing problem that regularly impacts researchers and activists who become targets of those who oppose their political and scholarly stances. Despite the imminent personal and professional threats such campaigns pose not only to academic freedom at large but also to the safety of our colleagues and allies, conversations about how, where, and why these movements are occurring across the globe, and across Asias in particular, have been slow to begin. This event was one starting point for these discussions.


For this event, speakers were asked to submit bibliographies of suggested readings on each of their topics. Video recordings of the event and a PDF of speaker reading recommendations can be accessed using the buttons above.

Session 1 Speakers:

  • Mary Gallagher (Amy and Alan Lowenstein Professor of Democracy, Democratization, and Human Rights, University of Michigan)
  • Michael Berry (Professor and Director of the Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA)
  • Nitasha Kaul (Associate Professor (Reader) in Politics and International Relations, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster)
  • Audrey Truschke (Associate Professor, Rutgers University-Newark)
  • Jeffrey J. Hall (Lecturer, Kanda University of International Studies)
  • Tomomi Yamaguchi (Associate Professor of Anthropology, Montana State University)
  • Helena Wu (Assistant Professor of Hong Kong Studies, University of British Columbia)
  • Lillian Ngan (PhD Student, East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Southern California)
  • Paula R. Curtis (Postdoctoral Fellow, Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, University of California Los Angeles)

Session 2: Best Practices for Social Media Safety

March 10, 2022
AAS page

This webinar, the second in the three-part series of Academics Online events on digital harassment and public scholarship, introduced practical tips for academics and others who engage on social media, particularly through Twitter.

Focusing on Twitter functionality, it discussed common practices to navigate focused attacks by extremist online communities, methods for blocking accounts or protecting one’s tweets and/or identity. This workshop also touched on other related privacy practices. It was conducted by Paula R. Curtis (Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in History, UCLA), who has also created a guide to best practices for Twitter use as well as experienced digital-based harassment firsthand.

Safety Guide

For this event, I wrote a social media safety guide (focusing on Twitter) based on the content of the workshop that can be accessed using the button above.

Session 3: Activists and Advocacy Beyond Academia

May 2, 2022
AAS page

The third webinar in our Academics Online series, this event featured activists who work in public domains in connection with sensitive topics in East and South Asia. Whereas our first event, Digital Harassment Across Asias, focused on scholars sharing their knowledge and experiences with digital extremism from academic perspectives and our second event, Best Practices for Social Media Safety, provided practical advice on managing one’s online experiences as a public-facing educator and researcher, this webinar centered the experiences of activists. Sharing information on how activists have encountered attacks on their work and persons in digital and analog spaces in relation to venues such as non-profits, government organizations, or other capacities, the speakers educated scholars and listeners on how they can operate in solidarity with activists and grow our global networks of collaboration.