HUMA 6135: The Making of Asian Studies: Critical Perspectives
Thursdays 4-7 p.m. (CC 318)
The course examines how Asian spaces and identities have been produced historically drawing on perspectives from across the humanities and social sciences. The purpose of this course is not to provide a substantive introduction to historical or contemporary pro-cesses of change in Asia. Rather, the intention is to think carefully about (South, South-east, and East) Asian spaces: how they have been defined and deployed, and how Asian identities have been constructed and connoted.
As we read through the interdisciplinary material with different area foci, we will pay particular attention to (1) questions of methodology with an eye to our own scholarly projects and methods and (2) epistemology, i.e. how we think about Asia and how we po-sition our respective contributions to the “making of Asian Studies“. One of the larger questions of the course is directed at the relevance of Area Studies in an era in which in-ternational scholarship is often embedded within traditional disciplines and oriented to-ward globalisms and localisms.
Acknowledgement: The structure and content of this course is largely oriented around the syllabi of the previous course directors Philip Kelly and Peter Vandergeest.
Who can take the course: While background in contemporary social and cultural theory is recommended, students who do not have this background may still take the course. The course does not require international experience or a background in Asian studies. It is expected, however, that students are planning to or are already doing research on themes related to Asian studies and/or other area studies, and that they are prepared to reflect on their research in relation to the themes of this course.
ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION (10%): This course lives from class discus-sions that are based on the weekly readings and write-ups prior to the class meeting. The emphasis thus lies on continuous participation and mutual exchange.
Participation on WebCt (such as responses to response papers) will also count towards the participation grade.
RESPONSE PAPERS (25%): Students electronically circulate a 1-2 page response paper weekly (on Wednesdays by 7 p.m.). This response paper is made up of two sections: a brief summary of the pieces that were read and an analysis in which you demonstrate your skills in close reading. The format is flexible: it can be written as a critique or con-sist of a list of questions and comments. Please make it a point to comment on all the as-signed readings. These response papers are due every week, however, you may skip one week without 'penalty'. You need not submit a response paper on the day of your presen-tation.
GROUP PRESENTATION (5%): Each group will be responsible to introduce a set of readings by summarizing and contextualizing for the class in 15-20 minutes.
REFLECTION PAPER (10%): A reflection paper of 2-3 pages is due on March 11. In this paper you lay out your current ideas for the final paper. It is recommended that you work closely through some of the arguments of selected readings. By providing a critical exegesis of a central methodology, concept or narrative from these readings you may re-flect how your project can intervene in contemporary debates.
PAPER PROPOSAL AND BIBLIOGRAPHY (10%): In the paper proposal (variable length, see week 12 for submission dates), you present a second draft of your initial re-flection paper along with an annotated bibliography, which will form the basis for your final paper. The bibliography should mainly include course readings.
PEER REVIEWS (2x5%): Each student prepares two peer reviews (to be circulated elec-tronically prior to weeks 12 and 13) in the form of written comments and questions.
FINAL PAPER (30%): The final paper (15-20 double spaced pages, about 7.000 words without bibliography) is due April 8. Collaborative papers are encouraged.
The most up-to-date information can be found at webct.yorku.ca
The following reading list is not final and welcomes your input throughout the term. Apart from the required reading, you are expected to consult the recommended readings at your convenience and according to your specific interests. All readings are either available through the Worldwide Web (see footnotes) or on reserve at YCAR and in Scott Library.
1. January 7, 2010 - Introduction to the course content and format
For your own introductions please also prepare a list of five books that “changed your life” (academically and otherwise)
2. January 14 Area Studies and the Disciplines. Locating and Situating Research
Szanton, D. “The Origin, Nature, and Challenges of Area Studies in the United States”, in Szanton, D. The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines. Ber-keley: University of California Press, 2004, pp. 1-33. (also held on reserve in Scott library)
Read 2 of the following:
Mitchell, T. “The Middle East in the Past and Future of the Social Science”, in Szanton, D. The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines. Berkeley: Uni-versity of California Press, 2004, pp. 74-118.
Alan Tansman: “Japanese Studies. The Intangible Act of Translation”, in Szanton, D. The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, pp. 184-216.
Gibson-Graham, J.K. “Area Studies After Poststructuralism.” Environment and Planning A, 36.3 (2004): 405-419.
Walder, Andrew G. “The Transformation of Contemporary China”, in Szanton, D. The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, pp. 314-340.
Dirks, Nicholas B. “South Asian Studies: Futures Past”, in Szanton, D. The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004, pp. 341-385.
Bowen, John. “The Development of Southeast Asian Studies in the United States”, in Szanton, D. The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines. Ber-keley: University of California Press, 2004, pp. 386-425.
Cumings, B. “Boundary Displacement: Area Studies and International Studies during and after the Cold War.” Bulletin of Concerned Asia Scholars, 29.1 (1999): 6-26.
3. January 21 Beyond Area Studies? Critiques and new visions
Part I (group work "book reviews"):
Ideally, you will bring to class a book on Area Studies (in the broadest sense) that you have already read, and that you revisit against the readings of the previous week. If no book comes to your mind, you may select from the following list (you are not required to pick a monograph that comes closest to “your area”):
Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1983. OR
Winichakul, Thongchai. Siam Mapped. A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1994. OR
Inden, Ronald. Imagining India. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1990. OR
Barmé, Geremie. In the Red: On Contemporary Chinese Culture, New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.
Foucault, Michel. “Two Lectures.” Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977, New York: Pantheon Books, 1980, pp. 78-108
Guyer, J.I. “Anthropology in Area Studies.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 33 (2004): 499-523.
Inden, Ronald. “Orientalist Constructions of India.” Modern Asian Studies, 20.3 (1986): 401-446.
Heather Streets: "Empire and 'the Nation': Institutional Practice, Pedagogy, and Nation in the Classroom" - in After the Imperial Turn. Thinking with and through the Na-tion. Ed. Antoinette Burton, Duke University Press, 2003, pp. 57-69.
4. January 28 Politics around the Construction of "Asia": The "Asian Values" De-bate (guest lecture by Dr. Susan Henders, Director of the York Centre for Asian Re-search and Professor of Political Science
1. The “Asian Values” proponents
Zakaria, Fareed, ‘Culture is Destiny: A Conversation with Lee Kuan Yew’, Foreign Affairs 73 (March-April 1994): 109-126.
Mohamed, Mahathir, ‘Western Modernism vs. Eastern Thought’, in Mahathir Mohamed and Ishihara Shintaro, The Voice of Asia: Two Leaders Discuss the Coming Century, transl. Frank Baldwin, Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1995. [In course kit for POLS4265 on Scott library reserve under Prof. Henders)
Final Declaration of the Regional Meeting for Asia of the World Conference on Human Rights (“Bangkok Declaration”), in Report of the Regional Meeting for Asia of the World Conference on Human Rights, Bangkok, 29 March -2 April 1993, UN General Assembly, A/CONF.157/ASRM/8, A/CONF.157/PC/59, 1993, at http://law.hku.hk/lawgovtsociety/Bangkok%20Declaration.htm. accessed 8 Dec. 2009.
2. The critics “Asian Values”
Inoue Tatsuo, ‘Liberal Democracy and Asian Orientalism’, in Joanne Bauer and Daniel A. Bell, The East Asian Challenge for Human Rights, Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999, pp. 27-59. [Scott library reserve]
Donnelly, Jack, ‘Human Rights and Asian Values: A Defence of “Western” Universalism’, in Bauer and Bell, pp. 60-87. [Scott library reserve]
Asian Human Rights Charter, Hong Kong: Asian Human Rights Commission, 1998 at http://material.ahrchk.net/charter/mainfile.php/eng_charter/ , accessed 8 Dec. 2009. [This is a charter drawn up by representatives of NGOS. Skim a few sections to see the contrast with the Bangkok Declaration, 2003, drawn up by representatives of Asian governments.]
Christopher Tremewan, ‘Asia-Pacific Regional Integration and Human Rights’, R. F. Wat-ters and T. G. McGee, eds., New Geographies of the Pacific Rim, Vancouver: Uni-versity of British Columbia Press, 1997, pp. 62-77. [In course kit for POLS 4265 on Scott library reserve under Prof. Henders]
Mark R. Thompson, ‘Whatever Happened to ‘‘Asian Values’’?’, Journal of Democracy 12(4)(2001): 154–66.
3. “Asian Values” and the social construction of political space
Manea, Maria-Gabriela, ‘ How and Why Interaction Matters: ASEAN's Regional Identity and Human Rights’, Cooperation And Conflict 44(1)(2009): 27-49.
Ambrosio, Thomas, ‘Catching the “Shanghai Spirit”: How the Shanghai Cooperation Or-ganization Promotes Authoritarian Norms in Central Asia’, Europe-Asia Studies 60(8)(2008): 1321-44.
4. Movie: Big Business and the Ghost of Confucius
5. February 4 Orientalism and Postcolonialism
Said, E.W. “Orientalism Reconsidered.” Cultural Critique, 1. (Autumn, 1985): 89-107.
Sarkar, Sumit “Orientalism Revisited: Saidian Frameworks in the Writing of Modern In-dian History.” Oxford Literary Review, 16 (1994): 204-224.
Dirlik, Arif. “Chinese History and the Question of Orientalism" History and Theory Vol. 35 Issue 4 (1996).
Said in an interview posted on YouTube: http://southasia.apps01.yorku.ca/category/how-should-we-study-south-asia/
Ahmad, Aijaz. Orientalism and After, in ibid. In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures. London: Verso, 1992.
Cohn, Bernhard. “The Command of Language and the Language of Command.” in Ranajit Guha, ed., Subaltern Studies IV. Writings on South Asian History and So-ciety. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985. Pp. 276-329.
Breckenridge, C. and Peter van der Veer. Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993. Pp. 1-22.
Coronil, Fernando. 1996. “Beyond Occidentalism: Towards Nonimperial Geohistorical Categories.” Cultural Anthropology. 11.1 (1996): 51-87.
Doniger, Wendy. “I have Scinde: Flogging a Dead (White Male Orientalist) Horse”. Journal of Asian Studies 58.4 (1999):940-960. [especially pages 940-946]
Robert Young, White Mythologies. Writing History and the West. London: Routledge, 2004, pp. 126-140.
Embree, Ainslie T. “Presidential Address: The Tradition of Mission--Asian Studies in the United States, 1783 and 1983.” The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1 (1983), pp. 11-19.
Schwartz, Benjamin I. “Presidential Address: Area Studies as a Critical Discipline.” The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 40, No. 1 (1980), pp. 15-25.
In this class we are taking up debates that emerged out of the publication of Edward Said’s Orientalism in 1978 – three decades ago! Since then, several scholars have as-sessed what “Orientalism” meant for their disciplinary fields (see publications of the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars). We will talk about implications of “Orientalism” for research and teaching and assess our own writing against the critiques voiced in the readings (“Orient as an object frozen by the gaze of the West” [Said], meaning of inter-pretation of texts, role of the researcher etc.), If you haven’t done so, please also take a look at Edward Said’s Orientalism (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978).
6. February 11 Constructing “insider” knowledge from outside Asia. De-centering “the West”
Assayag, Jackie and Véronique Béneï. At Home in the Diaspora. South Asian Scholars and the West. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003 (select two articles according to your interest). Held on reserve in Scott library.
Trinh, T. Minh-ha. Woman, Native, Other. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989. (Chapters 1-2)
Charabarty, Dipesh. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Differ-ence. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. (Chapter 1)
We will wrap up our discussions on research in relation to Area Studies, post-Orientalism and positionality and discuss what it can mean to not essentialize “the Other”.
"Telling Inside Stories: The Paradox of Researcher Privilege" by Andra L. Cole and "Going Deep: Intersecting Self as Researcher and Researched" by Avi Rose. Both in an anthology titled "Lives in Context: The Art of Life History Re-search" (2001) by Ardra L. Cole and J. Gary Knowles.
Miraftab, Faranak, 2004. Can you Belly Dance? Methodological Questions in the Era of Transnational Feminist Research.” Gender, Place and Culture 11 (4), pp. 595-604
7. February 18 READING WEEK - no class
8. February 25 On Translation (guest lecture by Dr. Michael Nijhawan, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology) Part I
Asad, Talal. “The Concept of Cultural Translation” in Genealogies of Religion (by Talal
Asad). Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.
Spivak, Gayatri Chakrabarty. “Translating into English” in Sandra Berman & Michael
Wood (eds.), Nation, Language and the Ethics of Translation. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 2005.
Mandair, Arvind. “The Politics of Non-Duality. Unraveling the Hermeneutics of Modern
Sikh Theology” in Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of
Identities in South Asia (ed. by Kelly Pemberton and Michael Nijhawan),
Part II: Trinh Minh-ha: Reassemblage
9. March 4 On Geography (guest lecture by Dr. Lisa Drummond, Professor of Ge-ography)
10. March 11 Making of Asian Identities in Literature
(Reflection papers due)
Weaving myth into/from history: Shashi Tharoor’s ‘tour de force’ The great Indian Novel
Opium, indenture and the Empire: Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies
Colonialism at the Margins: Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace
Activist prose: Writing for/about the people
Literature (we will choose 2 books from this list, depending on your interest):
Ghosh, Amitav. The Glass Palace. New York: Random House, 2000.
Ghosh, Amitav. Sea of Poppies. New York: John Murray, 2008.
Tharoor, Shashi. The Great Indian Novel. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1989.
Toer, Pramoedya Ananta. This Earth of Mankind. Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1982.
Yamada, Teri Shaffer, ed. Virtual Lotus: Modern Fiction of Southeast Asia. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002.
Selections from Arundhati Roy's Listening to Grasshoppers, The Algebra of Justice, Power Politics
Gordon, Andrew. “Rethinking Area Studies, Once More.” The Journal of Japanese Studies. 30.2 (2004): 417-429.
Part II: Red Sorghum (1987)
11. March 18 Remaking Territory, Location and Identity in Film (guest lecture by Dr. Pietro Giordan, Professor of Humanities and East Asian Studies
Read two of the following:
Chow, Rey. Primitive Passions: visuality, sexuality, ethnography, and contemporary Chinese cinema (Part 3: Film as Ethnography; or, Translation Between Cultures in the Postcolonial World). New York: Columbia University Pres, 1995. Pp. 173-202.
Yoshimoto, Mitsuhiro. 2002. “Questions of Japanese Cinema: Disciplinary Boundaries and the Invention of the Scholarly Object.” in Masao Miyoshi and H.D. Harootu-nian, eds., Learning Places: The Afterlives of Area Studies. Duke University Press, 2002. Pp. 368-402.
Mohammad, Robina. “Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani. Bollywood, the ‘homeland’ nation-state, and the diaspora.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 25 (2007): 1015-1040.
Carruthers, Ashley. 2002. The Accumulation of National Belonging in Transnational Fields: Ways of Being at Home in Vietnam.
Mankekar, Purnima. “Brides who travel.” Positions, 7.3 (1999): 731-761.
Raghavendra, M. K. “Globalism and Indian Nationalism” (on class, pan?-nationalism, patriotism through Rang de Basanti) Economic and Political Weekly (2006), pp. 1503-1505.
Abbas, M.A. 1997. “The New Hong Kong Cinema and the Deja Disparu.” In Hong Kong: Culture and the politics of disappearance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997, pp. 16-47.
Nijhawan, S. 2008. “Out of Place in Lindenstrasse: On the Representation of Ethnicity in a German Soap Opera.” South Asian Popular Culture 6.2, pp. 161-176.
12. March 25 Workshop Part I
During the workshop, students discuss each others’ “long proposals” from a methodo-logical perspective. The deadline for submitting the “long proposal” is March 18/March 25 though it is recommended that a draft may be sent earlier to the person in charge of introducing your project. The deadline for submitting your comments on the three pro-posals assigned to you is March 23/29. These comments will be discussed in class, where each proposal is allotted 30 minutes (including introduction of proposal by the person in charge, discussion and response of the author).
13. April 1 Workshop Part II
See March 25 for the dates
Alternative sessions (depending on interest of the group)
Criticism after decolonization: Founding terminologies and vocabularies of decolonization
Williams, Patrick and Laura Chrisman. Colonial Discourse and post-Colonial Theory: An Introduction. In Colonial Dis-course and post-Colonial Theory: A Reader. New York: Columbia University Press,1994. XXX
Dirks, Nicholas. “Introduction: Colonialism and Culture.” in Dirks, Nicholas, ed.. Colonialism and Culture. Ann Arbour: University of Michigan Press, 1992. xxx
Parry, Benita. “Problems in current theories of colonial discourse.” Oxford Literary Review, 9 (1987): 27-59.
O’Hanlon, Rosalind and David Washbrook. “Histories in Transition: Approaches to the study of colonialism and culture.” History Workshop, 32 (1991): 110-127.
Discourse, Resistance, and Power: Subaltern Studies, Gender and the Work of History
Guha, Ranajit and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, eds. Selected Subaltern Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988, pp. v-x.
Spivak, G. 1988. “Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography.” in Guha, Ranajit and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, eds. Selected Subaltern Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Pp. 1-36.
Spivak, G. A Literary Representation of the Subaltern: A Woman’s Text from the Third World. Pp. 241-268 in ibid. In Other Worlds. Essays in Cultural Politics. New York: Routledge. 1988
Guha, Ranajit. “The Prose of Counter-Insurgency.” in Guha, Ranajit and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, eds. Selected Subaltern Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Pp. 45-88.
Young, Robert. “Spivak: decolonization, deconstruction.” In White Mythologies, pp. 157-175.