Inter-Asian referencing and beyond: case studies, concepts and new possibilities for a study of contemporary Asia

Main researcher:
Dr. May Ngo, Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cooperating institution:
Waseda Universtity, Japan

An international conference in Prague co-organised with a collaborator based in Tokyo, Japan (Waseda University) will draw together invited speakers who will share and reflect on their own research on Asia within an inter-Asian referencing framework. Partly inspired by Chen’s (2010) ‘Asia as Method’, inter-Asian referencing (Iwabuchi 2014) is an approach whereby Asian societies become inter-reference points for each other rather than simply as testing sites for Western theories (Lim 2016). It is therefore an approach that centres Asian histories, experiences and practices that can generate new knowledge in the form of alternative perspectives, concepts, and theories. “Asia” is no longer the subject of analysis but the method of approaching both contemporary local phenomena and global relations (Hoang et al 2017).

The rise of Asia in global capitalism has produced diverse forms of unequal social, economic and political development. As less developed economies in Southeast and South Asia look increasingly to new sources of economic investment from East Asia (Hoang 2015) and cross-border exchanges in the region rapidly expand, new empirical possibilities for inter-Asian referencing has emerged. The invited speakers will interrogate a range of contemporary issues across Asia such as governance, migration infrastructure and brokerage, the development field, industrialisation and regional community building, amongst others, through an inter-Asian referencing lens.