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Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment

Approved by the Luce Foundation’s Directors in November 2010, the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE) is a competition for invited liberal arts colleges and formal associations of liberal arts colleges in the United States. LIASE, administered by the Foundation’s Asia Program, aspires to encourage innovative approaches to Asian studies teaching and research at the undergraduate level through the lens of the environment and sustainable development. By inviting faculty and students to cross geographic and disciplinary boundaries, LIASE will open opportunities to:

• increase the capacity of Asian studies faculty to teach about critical topics affecting the region; and

• expand Asia-related content across the curriculum.

Traditionally structured around the disciplines of history, religion, anthropology, philosophy, language and literature, Asian studies remains housed primarily within the humanities. For various reasons, students in other fields, including the physical and biological sciences, mathematics, and economics, often have relatively fewer opportunities to learn about Asia. Yet Asia’s transformation is changing the ways in which knowledge about the region is developed and taught. Asia has become prominent in campus discussions on the environment because of the environmental challenges the region presents as well as the green technologies being developed there.

Environmental challenges will require global cooperation and engagement by people with interdisciplinary training, comparative perspectives and knowledge of local conditions and historical and cultural context. LIASE will provide incentives for faculty and students to think in new ways about Asia and the environment; energize Asian studies programs; and build bridges between the humanities, social sciences, physical and biological sciences, and policy and professional fields.

Program Goals and Scope

The Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment is a two-stage, annual competition open by invitation to American liberal arts colleges and formal associations of liberal arts colleges. The competition begins with small exploration grants. Recipients of exploration grants will be eligible to submit proposals for larger implementation grants in a second stage. LIASE expects to support between 15 and 25 institutions over a period of five years.

LIASE is intended to challenge undergraduate institutions to create fresh entry points for engagement with Asia within and beyond the walls of the classroom. It aims to bring Asia specialists and non-specialists together to enrich the study of the region, broaden literacy about Asia among new constituencies on college campuses, and inspire ideas for future work and study on pressing issues of the 21st century.

In these guidelines, “environment” and “sustainable development” are defined broadly to draw participation from a wide range of disciplines.

Projects and programs supported through LIASE will be limited primarily to the regions of East and Southeast Asia.

For additional information, click here.

Please note: LIASE was approved by the Foundation’s Directors as a five-year initiative. We are now in Round Five, the final round of competition, which is only open to invited institutions. We are no longer accepting new pre-proposals or inviting further applications for LIASE exploration grants.



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