Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some quotes from the introduction to Kuan-Hsing Chen's Asia as Method

Here are a few quotes from the introduction ("Globalization and Deimperialization") to Kuan-Hsing Chen's book, Asia as Method: Toward Deimperialization (Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2010), 1-16.
"If postcolonial studies is obsessed with the critique of the West and its transgressions, the discourses surrounding globalization tend to have shorter memories, thereby obscuring the relationships between globalization and the imperial and colonial past from which it emerged." (2)
"The epistemological implication of Asian studies in Asia is clear. If "we" have been doing Asian studies, Europeans, North Americans, Latin Americans, and Africans have also been doing studies in relation to their own living spaces. That is, Martin Heidegger was actually doing European studies, as were Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Jurgen Habermas. European experiences were their system of reference. Once we realize how extremely limited the current conditions of knowledge are, we learn to be humble about our knowledge claims. The universalist assertions of theory are premature, for theory too must be deimperialized." (3)
 "My use of the word 'globalization' does not imply the neoliberal assertion that imperialism is a historical ruin, or that now different parts of the world have become interdependent, interlinked, and mutually beneficiary. Instead, by globalization I refer to capital-driven forces which seek to penetrate and colonize all spaces on the earth with unchecked freedom, and that in so doing have eroded national frontiers and integrated previously unconnected zones. In this ongoing process of globalization, unequal power relations become intensified, and imperialism expresses itself in a new form." (4)
 "Current decolonization movements must confront the conditions left behind by the cold-war era. It has become impossible to criticize the United States in Taiwan because the decolonization movement, which had to address Taiwan's relation with Japan, was never able to fully emerge from the postwar period; the Chinese communists were successfully constructed as the evil other by the authoritarian Kuomintang regime; and the United States became the only conceivable model of political organization and the telos of progress. Consequently, it is the Chinese mainlanders (those still in China as well as those who moved to Taiwan in 1949) who have, since the mid-1980s, become the figures against whom the ethnic-nationalist brand of the Taiwanese nativist movement has organized itself. In contrast, the Americans and Japanese are seen as benefactors, responsible for Taiwan's prosperity." (9-10)
 (I hope he gives a more nuanced account later on of what he says rather sweepingly in this paragraph. I can see his point, but I think it's overstated.)

More as I finish other chapters in this book...

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