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#AsiaNow Speaks with Hyun Ok Park

Hyun Ok Park is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University and author of The Capitalist Unconscious: From Korean Unification to Transnational Korea, published by Columbia University Press and recipient of the 2017 AAS James Palais Award Honorable Mention. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. This book presents a paradigm shift on Korean unification, which is an unresolved and volatile matter for the global order. Regime change in North Korea and economic engagement with it have developed into showdowns in national and international relations whenever the security of the Korean peninsula is threatened by North Korea’s missile tests and nuclear development or by the trail of its refugees. Based on extensive archival and ethnographic research, I argue, instead, that Korea is already unified by capital in a transnational form. The hegemonic democratic politics of the post-Cold War era (reparation, peace, and human rights) have consigned the rights of migrant l ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Sonal Khullar

Sonal Khullar is associate professor of art history at the University of Washington and author of Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990, published by the University of California Press and winner of the 2017 AAS Bernard S. Cohn Prize. To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Worldly Affiliations traces the emergence of a national art world in twentieth-century India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan ambitions and orientations in contrast to previous studies that have highlighted postcolonial difference or deviation from Western norms. I focus on four Indian artists—Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941), Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011), K. G. Subramanyan (1924-2016), and Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003)—and situate their careers within national and global histories of modernism and modernity. These artists challenged the canons, disciplines, schools, and institutions of British colonialism and Indian nationalism, thereby modeling what Edward Sai ...

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Introducing Asia Mediated: Interdisciplinary Curriculum Innovation at Arizona State University

I was first alerted to the existence of Dr. Juliane Schober and Dr. Pauline Hope Cheong’s project, “Asia Mediated: Interdisciplinary Curriculum Innovation at Arizona State University,” by the sudden increase in undergraduate students roaming the halls near my office. I ran into one of the undergraduate interns in the elevator and asked what was going on; she replied that they were working on the Twitter and Facebook accounts of something called “Asia Mediated.” My interest was additionally piqued when the program announced its first invited speaker, Dr. Wenhong Chen, who would talk on the topic of “Big Data in China: Big Dreams and Big Brother.” After browsing some of the Asia Mediated literature following the announcement of this first talk, it seemed that the project’s push to uncover the multiplicity of assemblages that are transforming and are being transformed by the interplay of new media and the Asian context promised to reveal some important aspects ...

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#AsiaNow Speaks with Tania Murray Li

Tania Murray Li is Canada Research Chair in the Political-Economy and Culture of Asia and the Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Dr. Li is author of Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier, published by Duke University Press and winner of the 2017 AAS George McT. Kahin Book Prize (SE Asia). To begin with, please tell us what your book is about. Drawing on two decades of ethnographic research in Sulawesi, Indonesia, the book offers an intimate account of the emergence of capitalist relations among indigenous highlanders who privatized their common land to plant a boom crop, cacao. Spurred by the hope of ending their poverty and isolation, some prospered, while others lost their land and struggled to sustain their families. Yet the winners and losers in this transition were not strangers—they were kin and neighbors, increasingly caught up in a set of competitive, capitalist relations that imposed a stringent market discipline. My acc ...

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Reaching the Headphoned Masses: Introducing the East Asia for All Podcast

By Melissa A. Brzycki and Stephanie Montgomery In April 2016, Paramount Pictures released a photo of Scarlett Johansson cast as Major Motoko Kusanagi for the new live-action version of Ghost in the Shell, based on the Japanese manga series of the same name (Kōkaku Kidōtai). A heated discussion of race and the Hollywood whitewashing of Asian culture ensued across multiple social media platforms throughout pre-production and following the movie’s release in March 2017. For many fans, it felt as though the world of Ghost in the Shell—a cyberpunk futurist landscape of genderbending cyborg bodies—was stripped of its meaning to become a dazzling CGI backdrop for a mundane Hollywood plot. In the process of “translating” this beloved media franchise for an English-speaking audience, something had obviously been lost. As academics with training in East Asian language, culture, and history, we felt we could contribute to discussions like these. The Ghost in the Shell controversy finally m ...

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