I’ve been reading a new, and very interesting, book called The End of Concern: Maoist China, Activism, and Asian Studies (Duke 2017) by Fabio Lanza. It is about a group of young scholars who formed an organization in 1968 called the “Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars,” but more generally, it is about the place of that group’s scholarship in the larger trajectory of the development of Asian Studies in the US.
Here is the blurb from the book:
“In 1968 a cohort of politically engaged young academics established the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars (CCAS). Critical of the field of Asian studies and its complicity with the United States’ policies in Vietnam, the CCAS mounted a sweeping attack on the field’s academic, political, and financial structures. While the CCAS included scholars of Japan, Korea, and South and Southeast Asia, the committee focused on Maoist China, as it offered the possibility of an alternative politics and the transformation of the meaning of labor and the production of knowledge.
“In The End of Concern Fabio Lanza traces the complete history of the CCAS, outlining how its members worked to merge their politics and activism with their scholarship. Lanza’s story exceeds the intellectual history and legacy of the CCAS, however; he narrates a moment of transition in Cold War politics and how Maoist China influenced activists and intellectuals around the world, becoming a central element in the political upheaval of the long 1960s.”
This book is helping me think through a topic that I posted about recently – “Baby Boomer Politics and Southeast Asian History/Studies” – and I discuss The End of Concern in this video in the light of my interest in thinking about how the larger fields of Southeast Asian History/Studies have been, and continue to be, influenced by the politics of the post-WW II generation.