Asia as Method: Toward Deimperialization
DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS
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.
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, and is co-executive editor of the journal Inter-Asia Cultural Studies.
"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
"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