CALL FOR PAPERS - Collecting East Asia in Slovenia


Contemporary research on the topic of collecting East Asia is mostly focused on large collections, individual objects and collectors or connoisseurs from Western Europe and North America (see for example Pierson 2007, Tythacott 2011, Rujivacharakul 2011, Metrick-Chen 2012 etc.). This is partly due to the prevalence of Western Europe in the naval expeditions to East Asia and a renewed beginning of the global circulation of goods in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, which shaped the Eurocentric colonial perception and the refined sense of cultural difference. Based on the latter, the objects from East Asia were categorized as exotic and essentially different from their European counterparts, although the exchange had already been going on for centuries at that time. The collecting dynamic that followed was, therefore, on the one hand related to the market economy, and on the other to the Eurocentric cultural imagination of China. 

While most studies concerned with individual collections and objects of East Asian origin are based primarily on the analyses of collections and objects located in the Western European or North American regions, similar studies of these types of materials in the Eastern European and Balkan regions are still very limited. By the inclusion of the European periphery into the global exchange market between East Asia and Europe, in-depth analyses of collecting history in – until now – somewhat overlooked regions will certainly re-examine the established views and fill in the gaps in the history of collecting. 

Therefore, this 2021 special issue of the Asian Studies journal addresses the collecting history of East Asian objects in Slovenia. It aims to examine and reconstruct the intercultural relations between the Slovenian and East Asian areas and to shed light on the particular position of Slovenia within the history of Euro-Asian collectionist connections accordingly. This multifaceted reflection on the history of objects and collections will help us turn towards the future perspectives and explore possible new strategies of museum representations of East Asia. It will also encourage an alternative understanding of the binary relationship between East and West, especially with regard to the Eurocentric frameworks and colonial categories of collecting practices. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which the perception of East Asian societies and cultures was shaped in the 20th and 21st centuries, and to the extent to which the meaning and the role of various collected objects, as well as the experiences and impressions of travellers, have influenced the way East Asia is perceived in Slovenia today. 

We are particularly interested in the following aspects:

  • The diachronic and synchronic history of museum representations of East Asia in Slovenia; the question of the representativeness of individual museum objects, i.e. the criteria according to which they were included either in the exhibited collections or in the “hidden” East Asian collections in depositories;
  • The place of the relatively peripheral European regions of the former European empires within the global market of collecting and exchange: trends, tastes, material conditions, etc.; re-examination of Eurocentrism, Orientalism and colonialism in the discourses and practices of collecting and displaying of East Asian objects;
  • Evaluation of the collecting practices of both individual objects and entire collections in comparison with East Asian collections in foreign museums, particularly in the countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire;
  • The most appropriate ways and methods to examine, catalogue and present East Asian collections in Slovenia;
  • The conscious or unconscious impact of an East Asian object on the formation of structural thinking methods and the shaping of daily life and habits; the relation of a particular object to human society and culture in its primary and secondary environments; the relation of an object to the system of values and beliefs, to cosmologies and daily life;
  • Experiences and impressions of individuals or collectors from Slovenia and their influences on the formation of the “Slovenian” perception of East Asian cultures in the 20th and 21st centuries.


Abstract submission deadline: 30 September 2020 

Paper submission deadline: 10 November 2020

Publication of the special issue: May 2021

We cordially invite researchers working in the fields relevant to these topics to send their abstracts to

Submission of your abstract will be considered as an expression of interest. Acceptance for publication is only guaranteed upon the successful completion of the double-blind review process of the full-length article.

 Submission deadline: Previously unpublished articles are to be submitted online ( by 10 November 2020.


Pierson, Stacey. 2007. Collectors, Collections and Museums. The Field of Chinese Ceramics in Britain, 1560-1960. Bern: Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers;

Tythacott, Louise. 2011. The Lives of Chinese Objects: Buddhism, Imperialism and Display. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books;

Rujivacharakul, Vimalin (ed.). 2011. Collecting China: The World, China, and a History of Collecting. Newark: University of Delaware Press;

Metrick-Chen, Lenore. 2012. Collecting Objects / Excluding people: Chinese Subjects and American Visual Culture, 1830-1900. Albany, New York: Sunny Press.