When people write about the history of Southeast Asian Studies (or the history of scholarship on Southeast Asian history), they often state that there were biases in the work of colonial-era scholars (Euro-centric, paternalistic, etc.), but similar characterizations are not made about scholarship produced during the period of area studies (1960s-the present).
In fact, there have been clear biases in area studies scholarship pertaining to Southeast Asian history and that is the topic that this video addresses.
Knowledge production continuously transforms alongside changes in society and technology. At times, however, societal and technological changes are so profound that forms of knowledge that had previously been considered of central importance get displaced by new ways of knowing.
We are currently living in such a time of profound social and technological change (think globalization and the Digital Revolution), and area studies is a realm of knowledge production that is losing its position of previously held importance.
Interestingly, were we to look back at the rise of area studies in the decades following World War II, another time of profound change (think decolonization and the Cold War), we would find that area studies at that time itself replaced an earlier way of investigating and knowing the world: philology (the study of literary texts).
In this final video in this three-part conversation, we talk about Area Studies in the current age of the global dominance of English.
This video continues the conversation started in the previous post about Southeast Asian Studies. We start by talking about the article “Can There Be Southeast Asians in Southeast Asian Studies?” by Ariel Heryanto and then move on to talk about Orientalism, Decolonization, Baby Boomer Politics and Sympathetic Essentialism.
I’ve been sick recently, but I have a lot of ideas in my head and so I decided to record a video about them.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the field of Southeast Asian Studies, and how it fits (or doesn’t) in the world today. In the process, I came across some articles in Vietnamese online papers about a recent conference on Southeast Asian Studies in Vietnam that was recently held at Vietnam National University in Hanoi (VNU).
Anyone who has visited my flash blog about the need to transform Asian Studies for the digital age (Content Asian Studies) or who has read my piece in the Mekong Review on the decline of Asian Studies knows that I think a lot about the changes that are taking place in the world today (the rise of the Internet, the decline of the Humanities, etc.) and how those changes affect those of us who work in the field of Asian Studies.