Asia as Method

Toward Deimperialization

Asia as Method

Book Pages: 344 Illustrations: 1 table Published: April 2010

Author: Kuan-Hsing Chen

Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Centering his analysis in the dynamic forces of modern East Asian history, Kuan-Hsing Chen recasts cultural studies as a politically urgent global endeavor. He argues that the intellectual and subjective work of decolonization begun across East Asia after the Second World War was stalled by the cold war. At the same time, the work of deimperialization became impossible to imagine in imperial centers such as Japan and the United States. Chen contends that it is now necessary to resume those tasks, and that decolonization, deimperialization, and an intellectual undoing of the cold war must proceed simultaneously. Combining postcolonial studies, globalization studies, and the emerging field of “Asian studies in Asia,” he insists that those on both sides of the imperial divide must assess the conduct, motives, and consequences of imperial histories.

Chen is one of the most important intellectuals working in East Asia today; his writing has been influential in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and mainland China for the past fifteen years. As a founding member of the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society and its journal, he has helped to initiate change in the dynamics and intellectual orientation of the region, building a network that has facilitated inter-Asian connections. Asia as Method encapsulates Chen’s vision and activities within the increasingly “inter-referencing” East Asian intellectual community and charts necessary new directions for cultural studies.


“. . . much that is interesting and important, particularly concerning the impact of the Cold War on Taiwan, where Chen lives and teaches, and by implication on other Asian countries.” — Akira Iriye, Journal of Cold War Studies

Asia As Method is a timely intervention into three currents of cultural studies: postcolonial studies, globalization studies and Asian studies in Asia. . . . Chen works toward a critical syncretism that avoids the trap of merely replicating imperialist imaginaries and neocolonial structures as it contributes to building more resilient and just cultures.” — Rita Wong, Topia

“Kuan-Hsing Chen is a rare intellectual, one who played a role in key democratic events and transitions that shaped East Asia during the 1980s and whose scholarly practice has remained loyal to potential for emancipation unleashed by these movements. This makes Asia as Method an important book. . . . [I]t represents a welcome geographical project that should garner attention from scholars in geography and a number of other disciplines.” — Jamie Doucette, Environment and Planning D

“An ambitious and fascinating book. . . . Chen’s book is as much a challenge to Asian scholars in Asia as it is to those based in Europe and the USA.” — Thomas Radice, Journal of Intercultural Studies

“This book is not difficult to read and if you want to tap into some very contemporaneous thoughts on Asian political and economic issues in relation to the colonized subject, and the colonizing subject, then I venture to say this book will exceed your expectations. I found it rich and emotional, and extremely useful for thoughts on Inter-Asian concerns. It is especially relevant for us all as we live within the forces of globalisation, and in the Asian region, and for Australians as colonized and imperialised subjects. . . . I can highly recommend this book to all who are involved in Asian Studies.“ — Be Ryan, M/C Reviews

Asia as Method is a book of genuinely international importance. It is a significant intellectual achievement and a major breakthrough for the definition and legitimation of the disciplinary practice of cultural studies worldwide.” — Meaghan Morris, Lingnan University (Hong Kong) and University of Sydney (Australia)

“Kuan-Hsing Chen has attempted something both familiar and unusual. His book takes the old slogan of decolonization seriously and evaluates its achievements in different Asian contexts. But it also calls for continuing efforts against imperialism and the cold war, acknowledging the force of nationalism as an ally but not reposing faith in it. Asia as Method signals a new direction in cultural studies.” — Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University

“Kuan-Hsing Chen is one of a handful of scholars leading the whole project of ‘internationalizing’ cultural studies—an endeavor which has positively and irrevocably transformed the cultural studies project itself.” — Stuart Hall, Professor Emeritus, The Open University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Kuan-Hsing Chen is a professor in the Institute for Social Research and Cultural Studies at Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. He has written and edited many books in Chinese. He is co-executive editor of the journal Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface vi

Introduction: Globalization and Deimperialization 1

1. The Imperialist Eye: The Discourse of the Southward Advance and the Subimperial Imaginary 17

2. Decolonization: A Geocolonial Historical Materialism 65

3. De-Cold War: The Im/possibility of "Great Reconciliation" 115

4. Deimperialization: Club 51 and the Imperialist Assumption of Democracy 161

5. Asia as Method: Overcoming the Present Conditions of Knowledge Production 211

Epilogue: The Imperial Order of Things, or Notes on Han Chinese Racism 257

Notes 269

Special Terms 287

Bibligraphy 291

Index 305
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4676-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4664-7
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