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Timeline by calendar years

pre 2000
A series of planning meetings took place, sponsored by the joint International Program of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council) , to formulate an intellectual agenda for the Collaborative Research Network and to identify potential participants.

Fundraising for research and network coordination; further specification of research agendas and composition of area-based teams.

International network meetings to coordinate activities and to form working groups within area teams. The beginning of research by working groups.

Local meetings of area teams to survey preliminary results of research by working groups. Network meetings to share these preliminary results and develop comparative analysis, and to plan the final publication of the research network and its concluding conference in 2003.

Editing of the final publication; concluding conference at Yale University.

Timeline of network activities in 2000

Small grant received by ACLS from the Self-Determination Initiative of the Carnegie Corporation of New York for network planning meetings.

December 15-17
Meeting of Russia/n scholars at Klyazma Center near Moscow to discuss the establishment of a constituent CRN research team in Russia, called "Situating Russia: Imperial Spaces, National Boundaries." Approximately 20 people attended. The meeting was made possible by the Moscow office of the Ford Foundation, in the interest of developing the pre-existing "Situating Russia" proposal by engaging more Russian participants and by specifying the workplan.

The result was a new proposal for two years' work by three working groups, which would conduct research, analyze and write up results. Each working group would be led by at least one Russian and one American. The proposal was accepted and supported financially by the Moscow office of the Ford Foundation.

December 18
Comprehensive proposal for research phase of CRN submitted by ACLS to the Ford Foundation in New York. The request was for basic support of the CRN project, including the work of Southeast Asia team, the France team, and an ACLS component (for international network meetings and administration). The proposal was accepted and funded.

Proposal developed by the Xinjiang research project for submission to the Ford Foundation office in Beijing for research by Xinjiang researchers. This project is not formally a part of the "Identifications" CRN, but its participants have expressed interest in informal association with the CRN and in attending network meetings.

Timeline for network activities in 2001

June 15-17
Network meeting at Geliopark Center near Moscow hosted by "Situating Russia." Attended by representatives from the Southeast Asia team, the France team, and the Xinjiang project. Coordinators of the three working groups of "Situating Russia" presented their prospectuses for research and meetings over the next twelve months. Representatives from other teams discussed their current status and future plans. An important element of the Geliopark meeting was Peter Sahlins's presentation of the ideas and terminology articulated in the document "Official and Vernacular Identifications in the Making of the Modern World." A spirited discussion ensued concerning how these ideas might inform the research agendas of groups and individuals working within area-based teams.

June 24-28
Network meeting at Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand hosted by the Southeast Asia team. Attended by representatives from the Russia team, and by members of the Xinjiang project. The meeting consisted of: network sessions about the purpose, structure, and coordinating role of the network; discussions among the Southeast Asia team to develop a research agenda and workplan, and to establish two organizing centers for the project, one in Chiang Mai and the other in Kunming, China; a session at which researchers from the Xinjiang project described their work; and a progress report from the "Situating Russia" team.

August 30-September 4
Set of meetings in China to confirm plans for association of the Xinjiang project with the "Identifications" network. Government officials from the International Economic and Cultural Development Center in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region expressed interest in sponsoring the local arrangements for an international conference on a topic of mutual interest to Xinjiang scholars and CRN researchers. Researchers from the Xinjiang project discussed their methods and reconfirmed their willingness to engage intellectually with colleagues from the CRN's area teams and to share their research results.

October 26
Meeting of American team coordinators in Berkeley, California. This conference was organized to take advantage of the presence of several team coordinators in Berkeley on this date, and included a teleconferencing link to New Haven. The principal issue was the need to develop a functioning network structure for the remaining two years of the project.

It had become clear by this date that the network's area teams (Russia, France, and SEAsia) along with the associated project in Xinjiang, had successfully launched research that promised excellent collective studies of issues relevant to four regions of the world. But what would make them into a network, a new model of international research of the sort called for by the founding documents of the "Identifications" CRN? What intellectual interests would provide a common platform for comparative analysis across geographic areas and historical periods? Would the theoretical framework articulated in the original "Identifications" paper be able to organize the many projects it spawned into a coherent whole? And durable enough to change and grow as these projects developed in creative new directions?

The practical problems, then, were these: How to integrate the internal meetings each team planned in 2002 with network-wide communication (meetings for representatives of all teams and correspondence, mostly electronic, between network meetings). How to assure a working consensus on basic ideas?

A final topic, just barely broached, was the organization of the final product. It was clear that a set of four "area studies" volumes could be produced, one by each area-based team. But, to fulfill its ambition of the Collaborative Research Network, it would be better to have the concluding publication organized around cross-area and cross-disciplinary research questions.

These issues were not finally resolved, but they were put on the agenda for all future network meetings.

December 17-18
Network meeting at the University of the French Antilles in Schoecher, Martinique hosted by the France-French North Atlantic team. Attended by representatives from "Situating Russia," from the Southeast Asia team, and from the Xinjiang project, the network sessions of this meeting heard progress reports from area teams and then moved on to a discussion of what needed to be done to make the functions of the network more effective. The tri-level structure of the CRN was clarified: the level of the overall network, which coordinates all activities, being in particular responsible for stimulating comparative, cross-area analysis; the level of the team, which organizes meetings and provides communication within area-based teams and their working groups; and the level of the thematic working group, which initiates research and collects and summarizes findings. A tentative schedule of meetings for 2002 corresponding to these three levels was outlined.

The "team sessions" of this meeting were used to articulate a research agenda for the team, including a name for the project ("France and the French Atlantic World Since the Seventeenth-Century") and the composition and specific objectives of three working groups: "On boundaries of identity," "On migration and mobility," and "On color, culture, and citizenship."

In the interest of improving communication across the network, tentative plans were made for members of the France/French Atlantic team to attend meetings of working groups in Russia and Southeast Asia.

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For further project information contact Olga Buhkina. For other ACLS contacts, see staff listing.

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