Eastern Thought in the Americas—RIAS Vol. 20, Spring-Summer (1/2027)


Eastern Thought in the Americas
edited by Anjali Singh and Marcin Fabjański
RIAS Vol. 20, Spring-Summer (1/2027)
(Call open until December 30th, 2025)

Eastern philosophies, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, have profoundly influenced various facets of life in the Americas. The intersections of Eastern thought with North American, Latin American, Caribbean, and Pacific Islands philosophy, and letters, have a rich and varied history, beginning with the influence of Eastern philosophies on Herman Melville and the Transcendentalists. Melville’s “Buddhist” fascinations gave rise to poems, such as “Buddha”, while his earlier insights into Zoroastrianism and Hinduism permeate many of his sea-locked novels. Emerson’s exploration of Hindu and Buddhist texts is evident in his essays, where he extolled the virtues of self-reliance and the interconnectedness of all life. This legacy continued through the Modernist movement, with poets like T.S. Eliot, who incorporated themes from the Upanishads into his seminal work, The Waste Land. The Beat Generation further cemented the presence of Eastern thought in American literature, with figures like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg drawing heavily on Buddhist practices and philosophies, and its teachings on spontaneity and mindfulness.

These “obvious” observations aside, it is important to ask about the mechanisms of the transoceanic and hemispheric migrations of philosophical concepts. The 19th century expansion of trade networks, the incorporation of Hawai’i into the US, and the migration of Chinese and Japanese populations to the Americas, significantly facilitated the transmission of Eastern thought to the American islands in the Pacific, and to the Eastern Coasts of the Americas, from Brazil, Argentina and Peru to Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought with them their cultural and philosophical traditions, which gradually integrated into the local cultures, contributing to the multicultural fabric of these nations. In Hawaii, and in the Philippines, the influence of Japanese and Chinese migrants is particularly noteworthy. They have also contributed significantly to the local cultures in the Pacific Islands, infusing Eastern philosophies into the daily lives and practices of these communities. The spread of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism through these migrations has left an indelible mark on the region's cultural and philosophical expressions. Today, the influence of Eastern thought permeates not only literature but also social and philosophical discourses across the Americas. Latin American writers like Jorge Luis Borges and Octavio Paz have explored themes of infinity and the cyclical nature of time, drawing parallels with Buddhist and Hindu concepts. In Canada, writers like Joy Kogawa and Fred Wah have brought the richness of Japanese and Chinese philosophical traditions into their literary works, addressing issues of identity, memory, and cultural heritage.

In the Caribbean, the impact of Indian indenture, particularly in countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname, led to a profound integration of Hindu and Muslim traditions into the cultural and religious landscape. The works of Caribbean writers like Derek Walcott and Kamau Brathwaite reflect a synthesis of local and Eastern philosophies, addressing themes of colonialism and identity through a transcultural lens. As scholar Jane Iwamura notes, "The infusion of Eastern philosophies into Western thought has created a hybridized space where new forms of cultural and philosophical expression can flourish" (Iwamura, Virtual Orientalism). This ongoing polyphony highlights the enduring impact of Eastern thought on the literary, philosophical, and social landscapes of the Americas, fostering a richer, more interconnected global culture.

This issue, seeks to explore how Eastern thought systems have been integrated, adapted, and transformed within American contexts, and impacted American cultural, literary, and artistic traditions. Additionally, it aims to explore the role of Eastern philosophies in contemporary American social and political movements, as well as the transnational and transcultural exchanges between Eastern and Western thought. It also intends to lead an enquiry into the influence of Eastern immigrant communities on the philosophical and cultural landscapes of the Americas, and on shaping intellectual and cultural dialogues. Inviting contributions that address the integration and adaptation of Eastern philosophical and spiritual practices, their impact on cultural traditions of the dual American continent, their role in contemporary social and political movements, and the broader processes of globalization and cultural exchange, we welcome submissions in the areas of Cultural Studies, Literary Studies, Media Studies, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and more, addressing (but not limited to) the following themes/sub themes:

- Eastern Philosophies in American Contexts
- Mapping Eastern Thought in the Americas
- Spiritual Practices and Religious Communities
- Eastern Thought and Dominant Concepts of Health
- Pop-Mindfulness: The Commercialization of Eastern Philosophical Practices
- Eastern Influences on American Literature and Art
- Eastern Thought in Film and Popular Culture
- Philosophical Dialogues between East and West
- Eastern Thought in American Social and Political Movements
- Transnational and Transcultural Exchanges
- Eastern Thought: Immigration, Identity, and Cultural Hybridity
- Eastern Philosophies and Environmental Ethics
- Globalization and the Dissemination of Eastern Thought 

The length of the article should be between 4,000 and 6,000 words. The submissions should be delivered to the Review of International American Studies via its Online Journal System by December 30th, 2025.


Submissions MUST include:

  1. First Name and Family Name of the Author
  2. Institutional Affiliation of the Author
  3. Author's ORCID number (www.orcid.org)
  4. Author's website address (optional)
  5. Author's email address
  6. If the Author wishes to receive a complimentary hard copy of the journal, the physical address to which the copy should be delivered
  7. The title of the article
  8. A 250-350-word abstract of the article
  9. A 250-350-word biographical note on the Author
  10. A list of 5-6 Keywords
  11. Disciplines represented (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_academic_disciplines)
  12. The text of the article formatted in strict accordance with the principles of the MLA Handbook (9th edition) (length between 4,000 and 6,000 words)
  13. The bibliography of works cited formatted in strict accordance with the principles of the MLA Handbook (9th edition)
  14. All images must be submitted in print quality (min. 300 dpi)
  15. All copyrighted visual material must be accompanied by permissions or licenses issued to the Author.


IMPORTANT: Please, bear in mind that incomplete submissions will be automatically rejected.