Prof. Abidin Kusno named new director at York Centre for Asian Research

The York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) has welcomed Dr. Abidin Kusno as its new director. He has replaced Dr. Philip Kelly as of July 1.

The purpose of YCAR is to create a “community of York researchers who are committed to analyzing the changing historical and contemporary dynamics of societies in Asia, understanding Asia’s place in the world, and studying the experiences of Asian communities in Canada and around the globe.” They have an inter-disciplinary membership, which “includes faculty, students, and other research associates from across the social sciences, humanities, health, education, creative and performing arts, law, and business,” according to YCAR’s website.

Before coming to York, Kusno was the Canada Research Chair in Asian Urbanism and Culture at the Institute for Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. He has completed a undergraduate degree from Petra University in Architectural Design and Engineering, and a master’s and PhD in Art History from SUNY Binghamton.

His academic work draws from a range of fields, including urban studies, history, politics, cultural studies, architecture, design, and geography. His research holds a primary focus on Indonesia in particular, and he is fluent in Bahasa Indonesia and Hokkien.

“Guided by the best practices that have been cultivated by the previous director, Dr. Philip Kelly, and the YCAR team, I hope to maintain YCAR’s reputation as a home for critical and engaged research,” said Kusno.

“All are welcome to visit YCAR, meet our associates, and get to know about all our events and initiatives at our annual meet and greet event, which is coming up on September 28,” he added.

Nabeel Ahmed, a second-year master’s student in Environmental Studies, researcher and graduate associate at YCAR, and a student associate at the City Institute at York University, is delighted to learn about the appointment of Kusno.

“It really helps that Dr. Kusno is the director, as I know he is interested in urban issues, just like I am.”

According to Ahmed, “Dr. Kusno is an excellent replacement, and I’m glad that he is leading YCAR. I know that he is open to a wide range of ideas, and in my past experience with him, he has been very supportive.”

Kusno was designated as a full-time professor for the Faculty of Environmental Studies in 2015, and will be YCAR’s fourth director.

Dr. Kusno is thrilled for research opportunities that are currently taking place in YCAR, and those that will take place in the future.

He said: “I am looking forward to continuing YCAR’s work of place-making for researchers working on Asia and Asian diasporas.”

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