Program, Abstracts & Papers
Poster Session
Background Readings
Media Coverage
Cornell University's East Asia Program, Southeast Asia Program,
and Department of Linguistics present:


Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
September 22-25, 2011

The goal of our symposium was to examine the relationship between the beginnings and spread of rice agriculture and cultural and linguistic developments of early Asian societies. The timing of the symposium was motivated by rapid advances in the fields of language reconstruction and subgrouping, human and plant genetics, archaeobotany, and related subfields of archaeological research. The symposium focused on the complex relationship between crops, language, and socio-cultural developments in early South, Southeast, and East Asia. We paid special attention to the role of rice as a dominant crop in early agricultural transformations and expansions across Asia, and to how human populations were impacted and societies changed as a result of the introduction and development of rice farming. A focal question of the symposium was the relationship between the distribution of major language families and their subgroups in Asia, and the spread of rice cultivation, examined in relation to theoretical issues such as the conceptions of “language family” and “population” across disciplines.

We were joined by over 100 participants, including archeologists, geneticists, and linguists from across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, as well as students and scholars from Cornell University and the Ithaca area community.
The papers from the symposium have appeard as a spcial issue of Rice:

Rice (ISSN 1939-8425), Volume 4, Numbers 3-4/December 2011.
Special Issue: "Rice and Language Across Asia: Crops, Movement, and Social Change."
Guest Editors: Magnus Fiskesjö and Yue-ie Caroline Hsing
Table of Contents: http://www.springerlink.com/content/1939-8425/4/3-4/

Rice and Language Symposium organizing committee:

Abby Cohn, Linguistics/SEAP
Magnus Fiskesjo, Anthropology/EAP/SEAP
Phanomvan Love, Linguistics
Susan McCouch, Plant Breeding and Genetics
John Phan, Asian Studies/EAP/SEAP
Laurent Sagart, CRLAO-CNRS, Paris
John Whitman, Cornell Linguistics/EAP, NINJAL

With generous support from Cornell’s College of Arts and Science, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, East Asia Program, Institute for the Social Sciences, Department of Linguistics, and Southeast Asia Program, Lehman Fund for Scholarly Exchange with China and The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research; and additional support from Cornell’s Departments of Anthropology, Asian Studies, Classics, and South Asia Program.