Editorial introduction: Inter-Asia beyond Asia
Helen Hok-Sze LEUNG and Christine KIM
In a lecture given in Vancouver, Canada in 2016, Chua Beng Huat noted that the original intellectual vision and political commitments of Inter-Asia Cultural Studies (IACS) were not necessarily tied to the geographical reach of Asia, but rather to the ethics and practice of inter-referencing, which are applicable to decolonial projects elsewhere in the world. Other scholars closely involved in IACS have also emphasized the necessity of juxtaposing Asia with other comparable regional conceptions (Budianta 2010) as well as developing robust comparative methodologies that reach beyond established national or regional configurations (Niranjana 2015). This underlying, yet arguably unrealized, imperative to go beyond Asia underscores particular problems of uneven knowledge production and circulation. The IACS project has promoted the decolonization of structures of knowledge by centring local knowledges since the late 1990s. And while the project has produced influential cultural critiques of colonialism, nationalism, Cold War history, globalization, gender and sexuality, and popular culture as they pertain to Asia, its intellectual impact globally has not received the sustained scholarly attention it deserves, especially when compared with theoretical approaches such as postcolonial theory and diaspora studies, much of which originated from the work of US- and UK-based scholars. In this special issue, we begin to explore the new kinds of questions and projects that IACS could generate for research on contexts beyond Asia and for scholars based outside of Asia.
Helen Hok-Sze Leung is a Professor in the Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies and the co-director of the Institute for Transpacific Cultural Research at Simon Fraser University. She has published widely on Asian cinema and queer cultural productions and is the author of Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong and Farewell My Concubine: A Queer Film Classic. She co-edits the Queer Asia book series (Hong Kong University Press) and serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Chinese Cinemas, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly and the Asian Visual Cultures series (Amsterdam University Press). Her current research projects include a SSHRC-funded project on Transpacific Film Cities; a study of film sound and queer/trans cinema; and a co-authored project on queer Asian knowledge production.
Christine Kim is Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University. Her teaching and research focus on Asian North American literature and theory, diaspora studies, and cultural studies. She is the author of The Minor Intimacies of Race (University of Illinois Press, 2016) and co-editor of Cultural Grammars of Nation, Diaspora and Indigeneity (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2012). Christine is co-director of SFU’s Institute of Transpacific Cultural Research. Currently she is working on a SSHRC funded book-length project on representations of North Korea, cultural fantasies, and Cold War legacies.