Global Asia: Critical Aesthetics and Alternative Globalities

Dates de la conférence : 27-28 juin 2016

Lieu : Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Appel à proposition : date limite de dépôt des candidatures 30 mars 2016

In the inaugural issue of Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Tina Chen and Eric Hayot posit that “ ‘Asia’ has been ‘global’ since long before the diasporas of the nineteenth century; the question is how, and why, and what kinds of forms—social, cultural, and historical—have consolidated themselves around the various forms of locality and worldliness that characterize any dynamic culture” (xi). This articulation participates in a broader critical conversation in Asian and Asian American Studies which uses the concept of “Global Asia” to center Asia as a driving force of cultural and economic globalization, emphasize the interconnectedness of Asia and the world, and recognize Asia as a heterogeneous cultural imaginary. However, while such a conceptual paradigm may help us to focus on the interconnectedness and heterogeneity of Asia, its institutionalization and popularization also runs the risk of flattening political valences. For example, when governments market Asian cities as centers of cosmopolitan modernity, the construction of “globality” as a commodity paradoxically collapses the very heterogeneity it is meant to celebrate. As such, “Global Asia” thus bears potentially homogenizing consequences even as it creates counter-narratives to Euro-American historicism.

In this symposium, we concentrate on aesthetics as a means of interrogating “Global Asia” as an approach and a methodology. We begin with the premise that foregrounding the aesthetic is a radical and necessary approach to understanding the notion of “Global Asia” and its various problematics as an area of study and a mode of knowledge production. In particular, we seek papers that offer a “critical aesthetics” of globality—defined as an aesthetic practice that bears out critique of uneven power structures, transnational flows, cosmopolitanism, etc—as they are inherent in or perpetuated by the notion of “Global Asia.” How do these critical aesthetics espouse and/or critique the notion of “Global Asia,” and/or theorize alternatives? We thus seek papers that study artworks which are critical of the uneven power structures that “Global Asia” may create and which may move us toward an understanding of an “alternative globality.” Through our focus on form, genre, and medium, we aim to centralize the significance of literature, film, media, and art in order to investigate the aesthetic dimensions of “Global Asia” as a framework that shapes knowledge production in the humanities about Asia.

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