Transit Asia Research Network (TARN)

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Transit Asia Research Network (TARN) was established in 2023 with a common agenda focused on “Conflict, Justice, Decolonization,” and to bring together transnational scholars, students, artists, and NGOs for collaborative activities. While TARN's steering committee and primary in-person activities are based in Asia, our agenda addresses transnational forms of conflict and social inequality, and we seek a network membership that reflects the global nature of our concerns.

As we delve into the examination of Asia in transition in the 21st century, it is crucial for us to contextualize the research questions within a global framework. We seek to foster cross-regional exchanges and facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and dynamics shaping the contemporary world. This approach allows us to draw upon diverse perspectives, experiences, and knowledge from different continents, enriching our research and promoting a truly global dialogue.

Our partnership originated in the collaborative network that we have established through the Global Humanities Institute supported by the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) and the Mellon Foundation (2019-2022): "Migration, Global Logistics, and Unequal Citizens in Contemporary Global Context."

TARN maintains its own website in addition to working with CHCI on maintaining this landing page, and invites you to visit to receive the latest network updates.

Our membership and mailing list

TARN welcomes members from and also beyond Asia. Sign up for our mailing list to receive news and opportunities. For any questions, please contact network manager Chen Ko-Lun at

Objectives (2023-2026)

  1. Establish long-term collaborative research clusters, exchange visits, periodically share research results, and aim at co-publication projects.

  2. To build a TARN website to share information, announcements, and resources with more advanced interactive gadgets and plug-ins for member institutes to communicate effectively.

  3. Develop a pattern of co-teaching courses and co-supervising theses among the TARN partner institutions.

  4. Encourage students from the TARN partner institutes to carry on cross-local collaborations on online publications.

  5. Collaborate on the annual summer schools to encourage young scholars and graduate students to share their research projects and extend their learning environments.

  6. To collaborate on co-edited publications in various forms.

  7. Build up an online platform as a living archive, circulate electronic newsletters among our network, and publish podcast series and electronic pamphlets as the output of the events of our collaboration for a speedy exchange of information and research ideas.

  8. Expand our collaboration network in Asia and beyond.

  9. Apply for additional funding to various foundations.

Problem Statement

Asia has significantly transformed as the post-Cold War era progresses into the 21st century. The emergence of China as a global power has posed a challenge to previous models of globalization and fundamentally reshaped China's relationships not only with Asian countries but also with the United States, Europe, Africa, and beyond. The current geopolitical tensions and global arms race discourse have heightened risks on multiple fronts. Moreover, the past two decades have witnessed the rapid rise of cyber surveillance, platform capitalism, algorithmic logistics, ubiquitous communication, digital governance, and the financialization of the metaverse virtual world.

The rise of global capitalism has also led to an escalation in the international migratory labor force, contributing to the issue of statelessness. This phenomenon is evident in the statistics, with over 100 million international migrants from Asia and 83 million migrating within Asia alone. These migrant workers and stateless individuals face severe discrimination and inhumane treatment due to their non-citizen status. Simultaneously, the relentless pursuit of infrastructure construction and natural resource extraction has had detrimental effects on the environment, resulting in drastic climate change and environmental crises. Additionally, within colonized or indigenous cultures, there is often a lack of recognition for the distinction between human and nonhuman, sentient and insentient, and lives worthy of respect versus those disregarded. This oversight perpetuates existing inequalities and injustices.

The Transit Asia Research Network (TARN) has been established to address the above-mentioned emerging forms of conflict and social inequality in today's societies. Our objectives are to promote collaboration among local and trans-local scholars, students, artists, and NGOs, to initiate innovative practices in intellectual, pedagogical, artistic, and social interventions, to nourish new forms of knowledge production, and to bring forth more equitable, peaceful, and sustainable societies.

The Launching Ceremony for Transit Asia Research Network (TARN) took place in the opening session of the 2023 ACS Institute Decolonization in the 21st Century on August 10, 2023, with 10 founding partner institutes. The ACS Institute focuses on four interconnected issues shaping transitions in the 21st century:

  1. Global Capitalism and Technologies of Governance: the transformation of global/local political economy and its impact on regional societies, the effects of China’s BRI, MSRI, and ARI on ASEAN, Central Asia, Africa and the global stage, logistical infrastructure, and technological governance, media empire, algorithmic automation, platform economy, digital surveillance, etc.

  2. Migratory Labor, Unequal Citizens, and Critical Legal Studies: The border politics, the exclusive regime of citizenship, ethnic minorities and indigenous people, religious minorities, sexual and gender minorities, xenophobia, mobility and immobility, migrant labor, statelessness, temporary dispatch workers, instant delivery service, modern slavery, etc.

  3. Environmental Crises and Multi-species Equality: ecological crisis, climate change, land deprivation, indigenous rights, animal protection, multi-species voices, hygiene and environmental problems, etc.

  4. Social Engagement and Art Intervention: creative resistance through art, video, and music, new genre public art, screen documentary, alternative curation, sensory ethnography, documentary, participatory art, community solidarity, media ecology, media rights, filmmaking, exhibition, platform productions, virtual productions, software literacies, impact production, diaspora and migration. etc.

TARN steering committee:

Activities and resources:


  • Will this world ever be the same? Perspectives on Palestine (Film screening & Symposium organised by ICCS & TARN, 15 Jan. 2024) LINK
  • Gender, Geopolitics and Forced Migration conference at AIT, Thailand (organised by AIT with TARN participants, 4-5 March 2024) LINK
  • Creating Emancipatory Futures: Filmmaking and Activism (organised by ICCS and TARN, 11 March 2024) LINK
  • Critical Curatorial Practices in the 21st Century: Public Space, New Media and Geopolitics (organised by ICCS and TARN, 29 April 2024) LINK
  • 2024 TARN Bangkok Meeting: Industry-led Operations of Capital in the 21st century (organised by ICCS, TARN and AIT, 1-3 Aug. 2024) LINK
  • Ninth Annual Research and Orientation Workshop on Global Protection of Refugees and Migrants (organised by MCRG with TARN participants, 8-14 Nov. 2024 ) LINK
  • CJD Online Journal
  • 2023 ACS Institute: De-colonization in the 21st Century (ICCS collaborated with TARN members, 10-15 Aug. 2023) LINK
  • 2023 TARN Taiwan Port Cities field Trip (organised by ICCS, TARN & NSYSU-IP, 15-18 Aug. 2023) LINK
  • People in Motion: Bridging Borders and Building Futures (CJD Conference organised by ICCS & TARN, 25 November 2023) LINK
  • The 30-minute Methods (Online seminar series organised by TDTU, VSA-Sth & TARN, 12 December 2023; 19 December 2023; 23 January 2024) LINK
  • Industrial-scale scam centers and network of outsourcing recruitment systems in the labor-supply chain ( Online Forum organised by ICCS & TARN, 18 December 2023) LINK